Reading: Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All by Philip Langdon

 

 Last week I received a new book that immediately caught my attention. Within Walking Distance: Creating Livable Communities For All speaks to a core personal issue for me — walkability. Before the personal automobile displaced public transit, most everything in American cities was within walking distance. For nearly a century now Euclidean, …

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri Close Interstate Rest Areas?

 

 Missouri has low fuel taxes and the legislature is unwilling to increase it. Maintenance needs remain. Some states in this situation have opted to closer rest areas: For more than half a century, old-fashioned, no-frills highway rest stops have welcomed motorists looking for a break from the road, a bathroom …

Lyda Krewson Is The 5th Mayor Since I Moved To St. Louis

 

 On Tuesday, while waiting for the inauguration of our first new mayor in 16 years, I reflected on the mayors we’ve had since I moved here in August 1990. For many of you, Francis Slay has been the only mayor you’ve had as a voting-age adult. This could be because …

Opinion: Turnstiles Are For Fare Collection, Not Public Safety

 

 Many, including regional elected officials, letters to the editor, and others, are pushing the idea of turnstiles as a way to increase public safety on our MetroLink light rail system. Incredibly ill-informed because turnstiles, physical & virtual, are meant to combat fare-evasion. Heavy rail systems like Chicago’s EL, the NYC …

Recent Articles:

Vote Yes on Prop S, Betts in 5th, Pattan in 19th

February 24, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Vote Yes on Prop S, Betts in 5th, Pattan in 19th
 
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

I’ve got my absentee ballot for the March 7th primary next to me, thankfully it’s fairly short. The sample ballot, however, is long — it includes every party and all 28 wards.

As is my tradition, I’ll review in reverse ballot order:

Proposition S

Shall the City of St. Louis, Missouri, be authorized to impose an annual fee of $5,000 for each permit (new or renewal) for a Short-Term Loan Establishment or $2,500 for a permit issued with less than 6 months remaining in the calendar year?

YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION

NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION

The phrase “Short-Term Loan Establishment” means payday loan business. Read about a great local non-profit alternative here. When voting, please vote yes on Prop S!

Board of Aldermen

I’ve not kept close tabs on all the aldermanic races — 14 odd-numbered wards plus a special election to fill the vacant 16th ward slot. It’s encouraging to see 11 are contested races, only 4 are not. I do have an opinion on two races — the 5th ward, where I live, and the 19th ward, that I can see from our windows & balcony.

5th Ward

The 5th sward is fed up with the Hubbard’s, last year we saw Rodney Hubbard replaced as Democratic committeeman and his wife, Penny Hubbard, replaced as state rep — both in special elections after courts found irregularities in voting in the August 2016 primary. Five people are challenging their daughter Tammika Hubbard, the incumbent. I’m backing the woman who unsuccessfully tried to unseat Penny Hubbard as committeewoman — Megan Betts. I was proud to endorse her in 2016 and I remain convinced she is concerned about the entire ward and city. See Betts’ Facebook page and.or Twitter feed.

19th Ward

In the 19th ward I endorse Lindsay Pattan over incumbent Marlene Davis.  I was impressed with Pattan before I even met her, the professionalism of her meeting invite was promising. In person I could see why she’s a successful business person. Davis, on the other hand, is…not Lindsay Pattan.

If you’re a 19th ward voter please vote foe Lindsay Pattan. To learn more see her website, Facebook page, Instagram, and/or Twitter feed.

Comptroller

Long time incumbent Darlene Green is being challenged by Alexandra Johnson. see her websiteFacebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram.

Mayor

I don’t have an endorsement in this race, but here are the Democratic candidates in reverse ballot order:

Voters please research the candidates in the races on your ballot. If there’s a ward election on your ballot don’t vote for the incumbent just because they’re the incumbent. Conversely, don’t vote for their challenger just because they aren’t the incumbent.

— Steve Patterson

Marti Frumhoff 1957-2007

February 23, 2017 Featured Comments Off on Marti Frumhoff 1957-2007
 
Marti Frumhoff February 23, 1957-May 16, 2007

Today would have been Marti Frumhoff’s 60th birthday, but she died less than 3 months after her 50th birthday. Marti worked tirelessly to make St. Louis a better place to live. She still made time to  mentor me in the real estate business.

Marti was the big sister I never had — she was 10 years + 5 days older than me.  A decade ago we celebrated our birthdays together — her 50th & my 40th. She was 50 when she had a heart attack at home…alone. I was 40 when I had a stroke at home…alone.

I think about her often, especially in February.  When I heard about the vandalism at a historic Jewish cemetery earlier this week I had to check. Frumhoff is interred at a different historic Jewish cemetery less than a mile away. I can’t understand why anyone would would knock over grave markers.

Monday I’ll celebrate the last day of my 40s, I wish Marti was still here so we could celebrate her 60th.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: St. Louis Needs Ranked Choice Voting

February 22, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: St. Louis Needs Ranked Choice Voting
 

 

In St. Louis, with the occasional exception, elects the Democratic nominee in the April general election — the real race happens a month earlier in the March Democratic primary. Incumbents pride themselves on getting reelected every 4 years by having no challenger in the primary or general election.

When an incumbent decides not to run again everyone jumps into the race. The mayoral race in two weeks is a perfect example: 7 candidates are seeking to be the Democratic nominee…who will win the general held a month later.

Seven!

The winner in the primary will be whomever receives the most votes — but it’s highly unlikely to be more than 50%. Some of you may not vote for your first choice because you might think s/he isn’t likely to win.  Ranked choice voting allows voters to rank their top choice first without fear of spoiling the results or throwing away their vote.

The following two videos explain:

More than half of those vote voted un the non-scientific Sunday Poll agree:

Q: Agree or disagree: St. Louis needs ranked-choice voting for races with 3 or more candidates

  • Strongly agree 9 [31.03%]
  • Agree 5 [17.24%]
  • Somewhat agree 3 [10.34%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [6.9%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [6.9%]
  • Disagree 0 [0%]
  • Strongly disagree 7 [24.14%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 1 [3.45%]

I don’t expect St. Louis to change how we vote…or much else for that matter.

— Steve Patterson

 

New Arch To Riverfront Ramps Are A Great Improvement

February 20, 2017 Downtown, Featured, Parks Comments Off on 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 a pain. I recall one time, in the early 90s visiting the Arch grounds with my parents & grandfather — in their early 60s & mid-90s, respectively, The steps were a huge problem.

Visitors to the Arch grounds yesterday enjoy the sun on the grand stairs

This weekend I visited the Arch grounds twice — along on Saturday and with my husband on Sunday. Both days I did all four of the new ramps connecting the upper Arch grounds to Lenore K Sullivan Blvd on the riverfront.

Looking South from the North outlook area,a new ramp on the right and the North steps on the left. The steps are closed currently because they’re in poor condition.
At the bottom of that ramp
Moving toward the river you can begin to see how much longer the ramp is vs the steps
The North steps, mirrored to the South
The two South ramps each feature a longer flat section with s bench. — excellent for those who may need to sit and rest
Looking North from the South lookout area

I saw many people using the new ramps both days, but nobody else in a wheelchair. Users were all ages, some were biking, others walking their dogs, some pushing baby strollers, most just out with family and/or friends.

The Arch & grounds were designed at a time when the disabled were institutionalized — not independent members of the community. Ramps just weren’t done back then.  Today, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, those of us who are disabled are better able to live independent lives.

These four ramps, plus the connection next to the Eads Bridge, make getting to/from the riverfront a pleasure.

— Steve Patterson

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

February 19, 2017 Featured, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Should St. Louis Consider Ranked-Choice Voting?
 
Please vote below

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 for alderman in my ward — it’s highly unlikely the winner of either race will get more than 35% of the vote. In other cities, this would require a runoff vote among the top candidates until one receives a majority of the votes.

In lieu of holding runoff  elections some cities use instant runoff voting — candidates are ranked by voters to pick a winner with a majority of votes. This voting method has pros & cons:

Pros

  1. No need for expensive runoff elections.
  2. Politicians tend to adopt a more civil tone in campaigns.
  3. Enough with the strategy games.
  4. Majority wins.

Cons

  1. Many cities do not have the proper equipment to count the ballots.
  2. It’s confusing.
  3. Elections for multiple positions become complex.
  4. Voters need to know their stuff.

What do you think, should we try it? Vote in the poll below.

The poll will close at 8pm.

— Steve Patterson

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