New Arch To Riverfront Ramps Are A Great Improvement

 

 When I first moved to St. Louis in August 1990 the grand staircase down to our riverfront wasn’t complete — it was grass with steps only on the North & South edges. At some point the center steps were completed.But even as a young (20s) able-bodied person the steps were …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Consider Ranked-Choice Voting?

 

 When you have two candidates running for office it is easy to understand the winner — the person who receives more than 50% of the vote — even if by just one vote. I’m looking at the March 7th Democratic primary ballot with 7 choices for mayor and 6 choices …

St. Louis’ Easton & Franklin Avenues Became Dr. Martin Luther King Drive 45 Years Ago Today

 

 Last month, on the Martin Luther King holiday, I posted my 13th look at the street named after the slain civil rights leader — see Annual Look At Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive. From a STL250 Facebook post that has since been deleted: This Day in …

Opinion: Sales Taxes Outdated In 21st Century

 

 We order stuff online frequently because it’s convenient to do so, not because we want to save on taxes. Often we’ll order from target.com so we pay the same tax rate we do when we shop at Hampton Village location once per month.  Amazon is the bulk of our online …

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City Democrats Website Greatly Improved, But Still Lacking

December 30, 2016 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on City Democrats Website Greatly Improved, But Still Lacking
 

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen are still on their winter break so this week I want to talk about the St. Louis Democratic Central Committee:

The St. Louis City Democratic Central Committee is the elected body consisting of one Committeewoman and one Committeeman from each of the 28 wards in St. Louis City.
We are tasked with building a strong party organization within the city of St. Louis and working to get Democrats elected up and down the party ticket in every election.

Every party has a central committee, but, to my knowledge, the Republicans and Greens don’t have two members for every ward — as provided by state law. Not surprising since St. Louis is a reliable “blue city”. They’re elected every 4 years in the August primary before the presidential election.

The city Democrats website used to be awful, not even listing who the committee consisted of. Thankfully it is substantially better than in the past.

Screen shot of stlcitydems.com, click image to view
Screen shot of stlcitydems.com, click image to view

But it’s far from perfect. Each of the 28 wards is independent from each other so the amount of information you get varies greatly from ward to ward. All list the committeewoman & committeeman, with contact info (phone, Twitter) for some of the 56 members.

Of the 28 ward organizations:

  • 18 (64%) have NO website, Facebook page, etc
  • 5 (18%) do have a website & Facebook page
  • 4 (14%) have a Facebook page, but no website
  • 1 (4%) has a website, but no Facebook page
The 8th ward is one of the 5 with both a website & Facebook page
The 8th ward is one of the 5 with both a website & Facebook page

Each ward page includes a PDF of the boundaries, however, nowhere online have I been able to find ward maps with precinct boundaries.

Below is a list of all 28 wards and additional sites listed on the city Democrats page, again, 64% have nothing:

  1. Facebook
  2. website
  3. website, Facebook
  4. website, Facebook
  5. Facebook
  6. website, Facebook
  7. website, Facebook
  8. Facebook
  9. website, Facebook
  10. Facebook

It’s important to remember the committeeman, committeewoman, and alderman may not get along with each other. They may all work against each other. or two may work together against the third.   If you have an interest in St. Louis politics the ward-level is a good place to get involved– especially with the Spring 2017 primary election just around the corner.

— Steve Patterson

Christmas Is A Religious Holiday For Many, Cultural For The Rest Of Us

December 28, 2016 Featured, Popular Culture, Religion Comments Off on Christmas Is A Religious Holiday For Many, Cultural For The Rest Of Us
 
We buy a new ornament every year, this year we got a leg lamp ornament -- a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story (click image to watch video clip)
We buy a new ornament every year, this year we got a leg lamp ornament — a reference to the 1983 classic: A Christmas Story (click image to watch video clip)

For many of us, Christmas is an important holiday. My husband and I are both atheists, but we have a Christmas tree every year. Sunday his family came down from Springfield IL for brunch at our loft, it’s an important cultural holiday for us.

We’re not alone:

About nine-in-ten Americans (92%) and nearly all Christians (96%) say they celebrate Christmas, according to a 2013 Pew Research Center survey. This is no surprise, but what might be more unexpected is that a big majority (81%) of non-Christians in the U.S. also celebrate Christmas. This includes 87% of people with no religion and even about three-quarters of Asian-American Buddhists (76%) and Hindus (73%). Roughly a third of U.S. Jews (32%) – many of whom have non-Jewish spouses – said in a 2013 survey that they had a Christmas tree in their homes during the most recent holiday season. Among Americans overall, about half (51%) say they celebrate Christmas as more of a religious holiday, while roughly a third (32%) say it is more of a cultural holiday to them personally. (Pew)

The results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll reelected this diversity of views:

Q: For you personally, is Christmas a religious or cultural holiday?

  • Very religious 3 [10%]
  • Religious 7 [23.33%]
  • Somewhat religious 0 [0%]
  • Equally religious & cultural 7 [23.33%]
  • Somewhat cultural 0 [0%]
  • Cultural 8 [26.67%]
  • Very cultural 5 [16.67%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

Though not reflected above, the 25th is just another day in December for others.

However you spent the 25th I hope you had a great day. Trying to decide if I’ll stay up late to ring in 2017 this weekend.

— Steve Patterson

Taxpayers Need To Pay To Rebuild Dead Highway Site, Not Stadium

December 26, 2016 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Taxpayers Need To Pay To Rebuild Dead Highway Site, Not Stadium
 

Like governor-elect Greitens, I’m opposed to tax supported stadiums for millionaire team owners. However, I also recognize there are places where strictly private funding can’t get the job done — public money is needed to seed development.

A proposed MLS stadium would be built here, the site of a long-dead planned highway project
A proposed MLS stadium would be built here, the site of a long-dead planned highway project

Decades ago Missouri & St. Louis used taxpayer money to buy and raze a huge area West of Union Station for a planned highway that’s long dead. This vacant hole has been a huge negative, preventing smaller private investment all around from spreading to improve the tax base and employment.

It took taxpayer money to raze the neighborhood that once existed here — it will take taxpayer money to undo the damage. Regardless of what goes here — public money will be needed.

I haven’t reviewed the MLS stadium proposal, but it could potentially spur other development that would, in time, completely fill in this hole, St. Louis & Missouri needs to look at the long-term pros & cons to investing in this area. No doubt the proposal is heavily tilted in favor of the would-be team owners, that’s why it needs to be scrutinized and revised. But outright rejection is saying this huge dead hole is ok as is for another 2-3 decades.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: For You Personally, Is Christmas A Religious Or Cultural Holiday?

December 25, 2016 Featured, Popular Culture, Religion, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: For You Personally, Is Christmas A Religious Or Cultural Holiday?
 

The last Sunday Poll of  2016 happens to fall on a holiday. Today’s question is what type of holiday is it for you personally.

The poll will be open until 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

Filling Still Open For March 7, 2017 Partisan Primary

December 23, 2016 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Filling Still Open For March 7, 2017 Partisan Primary
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

On Fridays I usually post new board bills introduced at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, but as I mentioned last week, they’re on their winter break now. Full board meetings will resume on January 6, 2017. That’s also the day filing closes for candidates seeking to be on a partisan ballot on the March 7, 2017 primary. Filing began last mont on the 28th.

As of yesterday, there are 32 candidates who have filed to run for various offices — all Democrats. It’s asinine for St. Louis to hold a primary to select partisan candidates and a month later to hold a general election so the primary winner can run unopposed or minimally challenged by a marginal Green, Republican, or independent — welcome to St. Louis.

Anyway, though we may see a few more candidates file and/or existing candidates drop out of the race, the March primary is pretty much set.

Seven current candidates seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor, in ballet order:

  • Antonio French
  • Lewis Reed
  • Jeffrey L. Boyd
  • Tishaura O. Jones
  • Lyda Krewson
  • William (Bill) Haas
  • Jimmie Matthews

Once again, Darlene Green is currently unopposed for the job of Comptroller.

The odd-numbered wards are up for re-election  and it looks like there will be some changes.

  • Ward 1 — Only one candidate has filed so far, not incumbent Tyus.
  • Ward 3 — looks like an open seat, three candidates have filed and none are incumbent Freeman Bosley Sr!
  • Ward 5 — Incumbent Tammika Hubbard, whose parents lost recent revotes, hasn’t filed to run for another term. Thankfully, she won’t likely run again. There are 3 candidates so far, but more are possible.
  • Ward 7 — Incumbent Coatar unopposed so far.
  • Ward 9 — Incumbent Ortman has one challenger so far.
  • Ward 11 — Incumbent Villa has one challenger so far.
  • Ward 13 — Incumbent Murphy unopposed so far.
  • Ward 15 — This will be an interesting race as former Ald Florida attempts to unseat incumbent Green.
  • Ward 17 — Incumbent Roddy unopposed so far.
  • Ward 19 — Incumbent Davis has one challenger so far.
  • Ward 21 — Since Ald French is in the race for mayor this is an open seat, 3 candidates have filed so far.
  • Ward 23 — Incumbent Vaccaro unopposed so far.
  • Ward 25 — Incumbent Cohn unopposed so far.
  • Ward 27 — Only one candidate has filed so far, not incumbent Carter.

The sevens wards in bold (3,5,9,11,15, & 19) are ones I’ll be watching, plus others, if more candidates file in the next two weeks.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

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