A Decade Since Developer Pyramid Construction Collapsed; Guidelines Needed for Development Incentives

 

 A decade ago I was about four hours from St. Louis, still in a rehab hospital after my February 1st stroke. I got a call from a friend, a former Pyramid Construction employee, telling me he heard the heavily-leveraged company was shutting down that day. I immediately called someone still employed at …

Deutsch Family Profiting From Public Right-of-Way…Again

 

 A couple of weeks from now will mark two years since my post titled: Deutsch Family Has Profited From Public Right-Of-Way For Nearly Two Decades. It was a more detailed follow up to an April 2009 post called Stealing a Sidewalk. From the 2016 post: In the late 1990s, Larry Deutsch was …

Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis End Development Incentives?

 

 Today’s poll is about the controversial topic of incentives to spur development. In December 2017 a report from Comptroller Darlene Green said, for the 2017 fiscal year that ended in June, tax abatements resulted in forgoing about $17 million dollars in revenue — St. Louis only receives about 19% of property …

Our First Visit to Mau Haus Cat Cafe & Lounge

 

 Last weekend David and I were going to be in Maplewood, so we decided to visit Mau Haus — a cat cafe & lounge. We have some food & beverage while spending an hour in a room with 18 cats and about 15 strangers. It was a wonderful time, we’re …

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Sunday Poll: Should Missouri’s Governor Eric Greitens Resign?

February 25, 2018 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Missouri’s Governor Eric Greitens Resign?
 
Please vote below

Thursday was a busy news day.

Robert Mueller filed new charges against Manafort & Gates, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner drank chocolate milk to demonstrate his commitment to diversity, and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens was indicted:

The St. Louis grand jury’s indictment accused Mr. Greitens, a first-term Republican who was seen as having ambitions for higher office, of photographing a nude or partially nude person without the person’s knowledge or consent in 2015. The indictment said Mr. Greitens then transmitted the photo in a way that allowed it to be viewed on a computer, which prosecutors said made the crime a felony rather than a misdemeanor.

The charge comes weeks after Mr. Greitens acknowledged having an extramarital affair in 2015, but denied reports that he blackmailed the woman or took a nude photo of her without permission. A St. Louis television station had aired a report with claims that Mr. Greitens, a married father of two, took a compromising photograph of a woman with whom he was having an affair and then threatened her with retribution if she revealed the relationship. (New York Times)

Democrats, and some Republicans, are now calling on Greitens to resign. This is the subject of today’s poll.

On Friday he resigned his leadership post in the Republican Governors Association.

 

This poll will close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 35 of 2017-2018 Session

February 23, 2018 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen Week 35 of 2017-2018 Session
 
St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 35th week of the 2017-2018 session.

NEW BOARD BILLS ON THE AGENDA* FOR INTRODUCTION TODAY 2/23/18:

*Note that just because a bill is on the agenda doesn’t mean it’ll be introduced, similarly, bills not on the agenda might be introduced if they suspend the rules to do so. This information is based on the published agenda as of yesterday @ 8am:

  • B.B.#266 – Navarro –An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 215 York.
  • B.B.#267 – Moore – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name, Frankie Muse Freeman Boulevard, to begin at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and North Sarah and run east on Lincoln to the intersection of Lincoln and Bishop P. L. Scott Avenue.
  • B.B.#268 – Muhammad –An ordinance prohibiting the issuance of any package or drink liquor licenses for any currently non?licensed premises within the boundaries of the Twenty-First Ward Liquor Control District.
  • B.B.#269 – Guenther –An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Iowa and Juniata regulating all traffic traveling northbound and southbound on Iowa at Juniata and regulating all traffic traveling eastbound and westbound on Juniata at Iowa, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#270 – Boyd –An ordinance approving a Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Program for the City; authorizing certain other actions; amending Ordinance 69427 pertaining to workforce inclusion by amending Sections Three, Four, Five, and Ten of said ordinance, which are codified as Sections 3.110.020, 3.110.030, 3.110.040, and 3.110.090 of the Revised Code of the City of St. Louis, to increase percentage goals for minority, women, and city residents, and to put in place a mandatory one?year disqualification penalty and liquidated damages for developers and contractors who fail to meet the goals; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#271 – Navarro/Williamson — An ordinance pertaining to the Skinker-DeBaliviere Historic District; amending Ordinance #57688, approved September 22, 1973 and having as its subject matter the boundary and regulations and standards for the Skinker-DeBaliviere-Caitlin Tract Parkview Historic District, and providing new standards for the Skinker-DeBaliviere-Caitlin Tract Parkview Historic District.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2017-2018 session.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: We Need More Gun Control

February 21, 2018 Crime, Featured Comments Off on Readers: We Need More Gun Control
 
Grand Theft Auto’s gun store Ammu-Nation

Every time we have a mass shooting in America I’m reminded the rest of the world doesn’t have this same problem. How can we have such a major problem but nobody else does? They have firearms, are not immune to mental illness, play the same video games, etc.

After the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, the country made its previously patchwork state-by-state regulations more uniform and banned some semiautomatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns. A 1987 attack in Britain led to an outright ban on the ownership of high-powered self-loading rifles and burst-firing weapons. (The Washington Post)

We have far more guns than per person than any other country. Some argue this is why they need a gun — to protect themselves from other people with guns.

Amendment II
A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed. (Cornell Law School)

The above language is a big part of our problem.  The late 18th century language doesn’t work in the 21st century. So we work at the fringe.

From October 2017:

Democratic politicians routinely profess their fidelity to the Second Amendment — or rather, “a nuanced reading” of it — with all the conviction of Barack Obama’s support for traditional marriage, circa 2008. People recognize lip service for what it is.

Then there are the endless liberal errors of fact. There is no “gun-show loophole” per se; it’s a private-sale loophole, in other words the right to sell your own stuff. The civilian AR-15 is not a true “assault rifle,” and banning such rifles would have little effect on the overall murder rate, since most homicides are committed with handguns. It’s not true that 40 percent of gun owners buy without a background check; the real number is closer to one-fifth.

The National Rifle Association does not have Republican “balls in a money clip,” as Jimmy Kimmel put it the other night. The N.R.A. has donated a paltry $3,533,294 to all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post, equivalent to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The N.R.A. doesn’t need to buy influence: It’s powerful because it’s popular.

Nor will it do to follow the “Australian model” of a gun buyback program, which has shown poor results in the United States and makes little sense in a country awash with hundreds of millions of weapons. Keeping guns out of the hands of mentally ill people is a sensible goal, but due process is still owed to the potentially insane. Background checks for private gun sales are another fine idea, though its effects on homicides will be negligible: guns recovered by police are rarely in the hands of their legal owners, a 2016 study found.

In fact, the more closely one looks at what passes for “common sense” gun laws, the more feckless they appear. Americans who claim to be outraged by gun crimes should want to do something more than tinker at the margins of a legal regime that most of the developed world rightly considers nuts. They should want to change it fundamentally and permanently.

There is only one way to do this: Repeal the Second Amendment. (New York Times Opinion piece)

Repeal the 2nd amendment and adopt a new modern amendment. It’ll take generations to accomplish, if ever. In the meantime, with more guns than population, mass shootings will continue.

Results of the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: We don’t need more gun control legislation, just enforce existing laws/regulations.

  • Strongly agree 0 [0%]
  • Agree 8 [25%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [3.13%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [3.13%]
  • Disagree 5 [15.63%]
  • Strongly disagree [16 50%]
  • Need LESS gun control 1 [3.13%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

 

I hope the students will succeed where us adults have failed over and over.

— Steve Patterson

New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy

February 19, 2018 Books, Featured Comments Off on New Book | The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s by Peter B Levy
 

I was alive during the 1960s…but only the last few years. As such, I have no memory of the many cultural changes that took place between 1960-1970. I asked my oldest brother, 67, about becoming a teenager in the 60s…in our hometown of Oklahoma City. His reply:

Race Riots, rampant drug use, and anti war protests were all prevalent around the country, but primarily on the coasts. Race, drugs, and war protests were virtually nonexistent in Oklahoma at the time. The were some sit-ins downtown OKC and Tulsa, but nothing that matched the rest of the country or the riots in Tulsa in the 20s.

You can read more about the Tulsa race riot here.

A new academic book, due out next month, looks at race riots in America. The Great Uprising: Race Riots in Urban America during the 1960s is by Peter B. Levy:

Between 1963 and 1972 America experienced over 750 urban revolts. Considered collectively, they comprise what Peter Levy terms a ‘Great Uprising’. Levy examines these uprisings over the arc of the entire decade, in various cities across America. He challenges both conservative and liberal interpretations, emphasizing that these riots must be placed within historical context to be properly understood. By focusing on three specific cities as case studies – Cambridge and Baltimore, Maryland, and York, Pennsylvania – Levy demonstrates the impact which these uprisings had on millions of ordinary Americans. He shows how conservatives profited politically by constructing a misleading narrative of their causes, and also suggests that the riots did not represent a sharp break or rupture from the civil rights movement. Finally, Levy presents a cautionary tale by challenging us to consider if the conditions that produced this ‘Great Uprising’ are still predominant in American culture today. (Cambridge University Press)

You can read the introduction here. I was unable to find any reviews, other than those on the Cambridge site. Again, this is an academic book — not a coffee table book.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?

February 18, 2018 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: More Gun Control or Just Enforce Existing Laws?
 
Please vote below

Last week’s shooting in Florida has sparked heated debate about solutions to the rising number of mass shootings:

More than a dozen school shootings have already occurred so far in 2018.

According to non-profit organization Everytown for Gun Safety, a total of 17 shootings have occurred on school campuses across the United States as of February 14.

The Wednesday shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida marks the 18th incident so far this year. (ABC15 Arizona)

One issue raised is more gin control vs enforce existing legislation vs less gun control. Today’s poll question is focused on this aspect of the debate.

Today’s poll will close at 8pm. If mass voting is detected it’ll be closed sooner. Results, and my view, on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

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