Celebrating Blog’s 19th Anniversary


  Nineteen year ago I started this blog as a distraction from my father’s heart attack and slow recovery. It was late 2004 and social media & video streaming apps didn’t exist yet — or at least not widely available to the general public. Blogs were the newest means of …

Thoughts on NGA West’s Upcoming $10 Million Dollar Landscaping Project


  The new NGA West campus , Jefferson & Cass, has been under construction for a few years now. Next NGA West is a large-scale construction project that will build a new facility for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in St. Louis, Missouri.This $1.7B project is managed by the U.S. Army …

Four Recent Books From Island Press


  Book publisher Island Press always impresses me with thoughtful new books written by people working to solve current problems — the subjects are important ones for urbanists and policy makers to be familiar and actively discussing. These four books are presented in the order I received them. ‘Justice and …

New Siteman Cancer Center, Update on my Cancer


  This post is about two indirectly related topics: the new Siteman Cancer Center building under construction on the Washington University School of Medicine/BJC campus and an update on my stage 4 kidney cancer. Let’s deal with the latter first. You may have noticed I’ve not posted in three months, …

Recent Articles:

Sunday Poll: Should Parents or Government Decide If Kids Get Vaccinated?

April 28, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should Parents or Government Decide If Kids Get Vaccinated?

Please vote below

Measles has been in the news a lot lately, mostly from the coasts:

A measles quarantine has been ordered at two public universities in Los Angeles in an effort to try to prevent the spread of the highly contagious disease.

The order was announced by public health officials Thursday at the University of California, Los Angeles and California State University, Los Angeles for students, faculty and staff who were exposed to a confirmed case of measles and who cannot prove that they have been vaccinated against measles.

Those students and university employees — numbering more than 200 people — were ordered to stay home, avoid contact with others and notify public health officials if they develop symptoms. (CNN)

Other big measles stories are from New York. From a current Missouri article:

More than 600 individual cases of measles have been confirmed in 22 states since Jan. 1, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services said the state is included in that number with one reported case in Jefferson County. Missouri saw 14 cases in 2018. (ABC Jefferson City)

The measles vaccine is the topic of today’s poll.

This poll will close at 8pm tonight, on Wednesday I’ll share the non-scientific results and my thoughts.

— Steve Patterson

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 2 of 2019-2020 Session

April 26, 2019 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills Week 2 of 2019-2020 Session

St. Louis City Hall

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen will meet at 10am today, their 2nd meeting of the 2019-2020 session. Their first was Tuesday 4/16/19 when new members (newly elected & reelected) were sworn into office.

As the first session meeting with the introduction of new legislation, today’s agenda includes 24 new bills:

  • B.B.#2 – Coatar – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission pertaining to the Zoning Code, Title 26; amending Chapter 26.08 of the Revised Code by adding a cross-reference in the definition section for marijuana related uses; adding a new Chapter to the Zoning Code, Title 26, pertaining to the regulation of medical marijuana facilities and including sections on the purpose, definitions, use regulations and site requirements for Medical Marijuana Facilities, to be codified as Chapter 26.70 of the Revised Code; and containing a severability and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#3 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller, owner and operator of St. Louis Lambert International Airport to enter into and execute the Land Lease Agreement between the City and the United States of America, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration, granting to Lessee, subject to and in accordance with the terms, covenants, and conditions of the Agreement, certain rights and privileges in connection with the occupancy and use of the Premises, which is defined and more fully described in Section 1 of the Agreement that was approved by the Airport Commission and is attached hereto as ATTACHMENT “1” and made a part hereof, and its terms are more fully described in Section One of this Ordinance; containing a severability; and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#4 – P. Boyd – An Ordinance establishing a four-way stop site at the intersection of Garesche and Goodfellow regulating all traffic traveling north-westbound and south-eastbound on Garesche at Goodfellow and regulating all traffic traveling north- eastbound and south-westbound on Goodfellow at Garesche, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#5 – Bosley – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on April 3, 2019, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 1179, from “B” Two-Family Dwelling District to the “F” Neighborhood Commercial District, at 1500-04 Salisbury; and containing an emergency clause
  • B.B.#6 – Moore – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 1880, from “C” Multiple- Family Dwelling District to the “H” Area Commercial District, at 3614 & 3616 Cote Brilliante; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#7 – Muhammad – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 3399, from “F” Neighborhood Commercial District to the “B” Two-Family Dwelling District, at 1913 & 1925 E. College; and containing an emergency clause
  • B.B.#9 – Arnowitz – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Director of the City Department of Health (DOH) to enter into and execute an Agreement with St. Louis University (SLU) and St. Louis University College for Public Health and Social Justice (SLCPHSJ) as part of a Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) grant to fund an Academic Health Department (AHD), upon approval of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and to expend funds by entering into contracts or otherwise for the grant purposes and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#10 – Clark-Hubbard – An Ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission on February 6, 2019, to change the zoning of property as indicated on the District Map and in City Block 4549, from “B” Two-Family Dwelling District and “E” Multiple-Dwelling District to the “G” Local Commercial and Office District, at 5505, 5535-55 & 5559-79 Delmar Blvd. and 713-27 &731 Belt Ave., so as to include the described parcels of land in City Block 4549; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#11 – Muhammad – An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters of the City of St. Louis a proposed amendment to the Charter of the City of St. Louis to maintain the Board of Aldermen as body of twenty-eight Aldermen representing twenty-eight wards, and preventing its reduction beginning December 31, 2021, to a body of fourteen Aldermen representing fourteen wards as called for under Article I, Section 3 of the City Charter; providing for an election to be held for voting on the proposed amendment and the manner for the voting; and for the publication, certification, deposit, and recording of this ordinance; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#12 – Vaccaro – An ordinance repealing Section One of Ordinance No. 68605, approved March 16, 2010, and codified as 2.08.430 in the City Revised Code of Ordinances, which pertains to election rules and procedures relating to the payment of taxes by candidates for elective office in the City, and replacing said section of Ordinance No. 68605 with a new Section One requiring all candidates for elective public office in the City to have paid in full at the time of their filing the those taxes and bills for services set forth herein and to provide evidence thereof in a sworn affidavit at said time.
  • B.B.#13 – Davis – An Ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of The City authorizing and directing (i) the issuance by The City, of its Airport Revenue Bonds, (ii) St. Louis Lambert International Airport, in an aggregateAGENDA NO. 2 APRIL 26, 2019 8
    principal amount not to exceed Thirty Five Million Dollars ($35,000,000) in one or more series as part of the $3,500,000,000 of bonds approved by the voters of the City in 1991 and 2003; and containing a severability and an emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#14 – Davis – Pursuant to Ordinance 68937, an ordinance authorizing the honorary street name Fr. Biondi S. J. Way, which shall begin at the intersection of Lindell and Grand and run south on Grand to the intersection of Grand and the eastbound entrance ramp to Highway 44.
  • B.B.#15 – Coatar – An ordinance promoting the use of energy efficient heating through the connection to the Downtown Steam Distribution system; promoting the continual use of the Downtown Steam Distribution System for any development project occurring in Downtown St. Louis seeking Municipal
    Financial Incentives; prohibiting the Clean Energy Development Board from approving financing for any project that would result in a commercial building disconnecting from or no longer using the Downtown Steam Distribution System for heat; a portion of the net profits be remitted to the SWMDC and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#16 – Coatar – An Ordinance amending Ordinance No. 50258, which ordinance relates in part to the vacation of Russell from DeKalb to Second Street (the “Russell Vacation”) with conditions, authorizing the termination of the fire lane on the Russell Vacation in order that Soulard Second Street, L.L.C. or its successors and assigns (the “Developer”) may build a project on certain land (the “Subject Property”) located at 161-181 Trudeau.
  • B.B.#17 – Roddy – An ordinance submitting to the qualified voters residing in the Central West End Southeast Special Business District, as established in Ordinance No. 63780, approved May 31, 1996, amended in Ordinance No. 64550, approved January 15, 1999, and amended in Ordinance No. 68236, approved January 16, 2009, a proposal to extend the levy of a tax on the real property located in said district for an additional ten years and increasing the amount of such tax to an amount not to exceed $0.85 per $100 assessed valuation; submitting said proposal to the voters of said district at a Special Election on August 6, 2019; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#18 – Roddy – An ordinance approving the petition to establish the Newstead West Community Improvement District, establishing the Newstead West Community Improvement District.
  • B.B.#19 – Spencer – An Ordinance requiring a City-wide vote to approve any proposal aimed at or having the effect of privatizing the St. Louis Lambert International Airport by the City’s renting, leasing or transferring its control of the Airport, either in whole or in part, pursuant to the Federal Aviation Administration Airport Privatization Pilot Program (49 U.S.C. §47134; Section 149) and the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-95); and containing a severability clause and emergency clause.
  • B.B.#20 – Roddy – An ordinance repealing paragraph (f) of Section Two of Ordinance 63780, approved on May 31, 1996, as amended in Ordinance 64550, approved January 15, 1999, and Ordinance 68236 approved January 16, 2009 and in lieu thereof a new paragraph (f) is enacted extending the period of time during which the Central West End Southeast Special Business District shall be permitted to collect a tax within the boundaries of the district and increasing the amount of such tax to an amount not to exceed $0.85 per $100.00 of assessed valuation of all real property within such district and to amend and restate the use for which the additional revenue produced by such tax may be put to include cleaning, landscaping and maintenance, security and public safety, purchase and installation of public infrastructure, public transportation, administration, and contingency fund for such categories; and containing effectiveness and emergency clauses.
  • B.B.#21 – Cohn/Clark-Hubbard – An ordinance approved and recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment approving and authorizing the execution and delivery of an Operating Lease Agreement of the property known as the West End Community Center between the City of St. Louis, as lessor, and Demetrious Johnson Charitable Foundation, Inc., as lessee; with an emergency provision.
  • B.B.#22 – Howard – An ordinance pertaining to parking within the “5347 Nottingham Parking District;” establishing the location and restrictions for curb parking in the restricted parking zone within the “5647 Nottingham Parking District;” authorizing the placement of Permit Parking Only signs within the District; and prohibiting the parking, within the District, of any vehicle which does not display the authorized permit; containing definitions, a penalty clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#23 – Middlebrook – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 1920 North Broadway.
  • B.B.#24 – Vollmer – An ordinance to provide for the borrowing of funds in anticipation of the collection of tax payments levied by the City for deposit in its General Revenue Fund for the calendar year ending December 31, 2019 and remaining uncollected and other revenues remaining to be collected and deposited in the General Revenue Fund for fiscal year ending June 30, 2020; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#25 – Guenther – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 3230 Oregon.
  • B.B.#26 – Guenther – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for 2911-2915 Ohio.

The meeting begins at 10am, past meetings and a live broadcast can be watched online here. See list of all board bills for the 2019-2020 session — the new bills listed above may not be online right away.

— Steve Patterson

Readers: Keep Workhouse Open; Patterson: Shut It Down

April 24, 2019 Crime, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Readers: Keep Workhouse Open; Patterson: Shut It Down

In the recent non-scientific Sunday Poll more than half the respondents thought St. Louis’ workhouse should remain open.

The Medium Security Institution located at 7600 Hall Street, March 2010

Inside the fences

Here are the results:

Q: Agree or disagree: The St. Louis Workhouse should remain open.

  • Strongly agree: 6 [25%]
  • Agree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Somewhat agree: 4 [16.67%]
  • Neither agree or disagree: 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree: 3 [12.5%]
  • Disagree: 1 [4.17%]
  • Strongly disagree: 6 [25%]
  • Unsure/No Answer: 0 [0%]

Others, including myself, strongly disagree.

In a letter to the Close the Workhouse campaign, city Comptroller Darlene Green added her voice to those who want the decrepit jail built in 1966 to close its doors forever.
“Closing MSI is the right thing to do,” Green wrote. “It is within reach and can be completed in a matter of months, not years, with focus from the administration.” (Post-Dispatch)

From last month:

When Mary Fox took over the public defender’s office in St. Louis in 2007 there were about 2,000 defendants incarcerated who hadn’t been convicted of the alleged crimes that put them behind bars. Then, as now, the bulk of the people in jail in the city were there on pretrial release, most of them poor people, many black, who could not afford the bail set by a judge.
That number, still too high, is down to about 800, Fox said Thursday night at an event held by a coalition of activist groups known as Close the Workhouse. (Post-Dispatch)

Here’s more on the Close the Workhouse campaign:

The Close the Workhouse campaign aims to attack mass incarceration, without legitimizing or justifying the continued caging of people as punishment. We call for the closure of the Medium Security Institute, better known in St. Louis as the Workhouse, an end to wealth based pretrial detention, and the reinvestment of the money used to cage poor people and Black people into rebuilding the most impacted neighborhoods in this region.

The Workhouse is part and parcel of a racist and predatory system of mass incarceration that grew directly out of slavery and Jim Crow and works to perpetuate this shameful legacy in America. The story of the Workhouse illustrates this oppressive history.

The campaign is a collaboration of the individuals subjected to incarceration at the Workhouse and lawyers and activists engaged on the issue. The campaign’s three primary organizational partners work in collaboration everyday in St. Louis to get people free: Action St. Louis, ArchCity Defenders, and Bail Project St. Louis.

The Campaign emerges directly from the outcry that was the Ferguson Uprising. It is grounded in a commitment to end an ongoing war against Black people that has been waged against generations of families in St. Louis. Our aim is not to reform but rather dismantle a racist system that has destroyed lives and to abolish the practice of criminalizing the poor. We not only seek to close the workhouse but also to use the money currently spent to cage Black people to rebuild the most impacted communities. We embrace this task in order to vindicate the victims of the Workhouse and to secure future generations’ ability to thrive.

Please join us in this fight to permanently limit the City of St. Louis’s ability to cage poor people and Black people in this region. Help us share the report and plan throughout impacted communities in St. Louis. With your support, “this is a fight we can win, it is a fight we have to win”.

The St. Louis Workhouse is part of the problem in St. Louis, it’s not a solution.

— Steve Patterson


Dennis J. “DJ” Wilson: April 14, 1952-April 20, 2019

April 22, 2019 Featured, Media Comments Off on Dennis J. “DJ” Wilson: April 14, 1952-April 20, 2019

St. Louis lost a great resident on Saturday. Dennis J. Wilson, or simply DJ, lost his fight with cancer. He’d written for numerous publications and worked for East-West Gateway Council of Governments.  For many DJ is best known for his KDHX radio show/podcast ‘Collateral Damage‘.

DJ Wilson hosting Collateral Damage on December 8, 2008.

I’m not an eloquent writer, so I’ll share some words of others.

St. Louis Magazine’s Jeannette Copperman:

More sentimental and sensitive than he’d ever let you guess, DJ was always keenly aware that for most of us, life is hard, and while he might down a few beers and watch a soccer game to forget that fact for a minute, he never tried to pretend or romanticize. He faced brain cancer the same way, reminding me by text of a British colleague who’d announced calmly, after suffering after a soon-fatal aneurysm crossing Grand Avenue, “Something untoward has happened in my head.”

I worked with DJ first at Saint Louis University. So laidback it took a while for his sharp intelligence to hit you, he kept his feet propped on his desk whenever possible, a huge hole visible in the sole of his shoe. He was the first vegetarian I’d ever met, and I was charmed to see that he ate junk food readily; this was principle, not a health crusade. Later, we shared an office at the RFT. One day I was diving into research for a story on shock therapy, and he reached about two-thirds of the way down a stack of old newspapers and clippings that was taller than the divider (the fire department later ordered it dismantled) and located, on the first try, an article on the topic from the late 1970s. He repeated such feats regularly, knew something about everything, steered me to what mattered and called bullshit on what didn’t.

Former 2-term Alderman and new transportation planner Scott Ogilvie:

I’d been a guest on Collateral Damage prior to my February 2008 stroke, once while in the hospital, and numerous times since. For a couple of years there I was either the most frequent guest or in the top 5. I was often his go to person when a guest cancelled, as  I was usually available. A couple of times I was free but couldn’t get to KDHX, DJ came and picked me up in his old Volvo 240 wagon.

Looking back through his Facebook profile he had only one favorite quote:

“Autobiography is only to be trusted when it reveals something disgraceful. A man who gives a good account of himself is probably lying, since any life when viewed from the inside is simply a series of defeats.” ? George Orwell

St. Louis was a better place because DJ was part of it.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should the St. Louis Workhouse Remain Open or be Closed?

April 21, 2019 Featured, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should the St. Louis Workhouse Remain Open or be Closed?

Please vote below

For a while some have been pushing the City of St. Louis to close its Medium Security Institution, commonly known as the workhouse. Others have argued it can’t be closed because the downtown facility doesn’t have capacity to handle all inmates.

From September 2018:

In a report released Thursday morning by the Close the Workhouse campaign, organizers make their case as to why St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson, Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen should shut down the facility at 7600 Hall Street, which holds roughly 550 people, the vast majority of whom are awaiting trial.

City officials say it isn’t feasible to close an institution that houses hundreds of people facing felony charges but add they are taking steps to reduce the jail population without risking public safety. They’ve also pushed back against recent complaints about jail conditions, offering reporters a tour of the facility in March. The building may be old, said Public Safety Director Jimmie Edwards at the time, but it is clearly functional.

The Close the Workhouse report says that contradicts the “unspeakably hellish” conditions former inmates, several of whom are now organizers, experienced while they were inside. (Post-Dispatch)

Debate about closing/not closing the workhouse, located at 7600 Hall St, continue.  This is the subject of today’s poll:

Today’s poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson