Charter Amendments On General Election Ballot

 

 A week from tomorrow is the general election in St. Louis.  I already posted about the School Board & Junior College Board races. We all know about the mayor’s race, and some of us live in a ward electing an alderman to a 4-year term. All of us have the following six …

Sunday Poll: Should Municipal Bans On Pit Bulls Remain?

 

 Two weeks ago one local municipality voted to repeal a prior ban on pit bulls: The Florissant City Council voted Monday night to end the city’s ban on pit bulls and pit bull mixes. The new ordinance that passed states it “allows pit bull dogs in the city with mandatory spaying …

April 4th Ballot: School Board & Junior College Board

 

 In a little over a week St. Louis voters will return to the polls for the general election — mostly a rubber-stamp of the Democratic nominees selected earlier this month. In addition to propositions that I’ll cover next week, there are two often overlooked nonpartisan races on our ballot (sample): …

Opinion: Loop Trolley Will Surprise Naysayers

 

 I’m not a huge fan of vintage/heritage streetcar/trolley lines — I much prefer modern streetcar lines using 21st century low-floor vehicles (see Kansas City’s streetcar). I have ridden vintage/heritage lines in San Francisco, Little Rock, New Orleans, and Memphis. I wanted to ride the one in Dallas after becoming disabled, …

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Opinion: Missouri Should Reject ‘Right to Work’

January 18, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri Should Reject ‘Right to Work’
 
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009
Labor Day Parade in downtown St. Louis, 2009

Even though my parents were both blue collar workers they both were anti-union. In 1979 General Motors opened a new plant in Oklahoma City to build the new X-Body cars (Chevy Citation). Briefly my father considered trying to get a job there, but he didn’t want to be forced to join a union.

Then why did he even consider applying?  Simple: union wages, hours, benefits, etc. My dad remained a self-employed carpenter the rest of his life. Growing up in their house I too was anti-union but moving to St. Louis at age 23 allowed me to learn about the history & importance of organized labor…including the long-standing resistance from some business interests.

I do think ‘right to work’ could bring more jobs to Missouri — more low-paying jobs.

One scene from an old episode of Roseanne sums up the issue:

We will see action on the subject quickly.

According to St. Louis Public Radio political reporter Jo Mannies, the question is not if ‘right to work’ will become a reality in Missouri but how quickly and how big?

Missouri’s General Assembly will convene in early January, and Mannies said this issue is probably one of the first they’ll take up as a “show of strength” and “to unify the Republican base and bring Greitens into the fold.” Mannies expects that right-to-work will be a decided reality in Missouri by early February 2017.

“The only question is how expansive it will be,” Mannies said. “In some states, police and fire are exempted because Republicans have always been trying to reach out to police and fire groups and they don’t want to tick them off. Some of the bills that are introduced may be blanket, including every union or association. Other bills might just do private sector. Some may do everything but police and fire. Some may be police, fire and teachers.” [St. Louis Public Radio]

Good question, will this apple to every union or will some be exempted? My guess is more conservative-leaning unions like police unions will be exempted.

Based on the non-scientific Sunday Poll, I’m preaching to the choir:

Q: Agree or disagree: A right-to-work law will bring more jobs & higher wages to Missouri.

  • Strongly agree 5 [9.09%]
  • Agree 2 [3.64%]
  • Somewhat agree 1 [1.82%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 2 [3.64%]
  • Somewhat disagree 0 [0%]
  • Disagree 14 [25.45%]
  • Strongly disagree 29 [52.73%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 2 [3.64%]

Missouri is about to get very red.

— Steve Patterson

 

Annual Look At Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive

January 16, 2017 Featured, MLK Jr. Drive, North City Comments Off on Annual Look At Changes Along St. Louis’ Dr Martin Luther King Drive
 

Today is the 13th year I’m posting about St. Louis’ Dr. Martin Luther King Drive — formerly Franklin & Easton Avenues.  These streets were official renamed almost 45 years ago, on February 17, 1972.

As in the past dozen years, there are some bright spots:

The former medical office ion the NW corner of MLK & 14th has been vacant the last few years but it looks like someone is preparing to reuse the building which was built in 2001.
The former medical office ion the NW corner of MLK & 14th has been vacant the last few years but it looks like someone is preparing to reuse the building which was built in 2001.
Just West of Jefferson I noticed on-street parking spaces are in front of a bus stop for the #94. Parking cars between a bus stop and the bus means the bus drover must find another place to pickup/drop off wheelchair passengers such as myself.
Just West of Jefferson I noticed on-street parking spaces are in front of a bus stop for the #94. Parking cars between a bus stop and the bus means the bus drover must find another place to pickup/drop off wheelchair passengers such as myself.
Across the street a former bar & restaurant that had burned is now gone.
Across the street a former bar & restaurant that had burned is now gone.
In September the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) opened a museum at the location where the union was founded 125 years before. Click image for news story on the opening.
In September the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) opened a museum at the location where the union was founded 125 years before. Click image for news story on the opening.
 Another view of IBEW's Henry Miller Museum -- click the image for the official website. Haven't visited yet -- couldn't find hours, admission price, or accessibility information online.
Another view of IBEW’s Henry Miller Museum — click the image for the official website. Haven’t visited yet — couldn’t find hours, admission price, or accessibility information online.
A year ago, January 2016, the building was barely a shell.
A year ago, January 2016, the building was barely a shell.
New senior housing called Vandeventer Place, at 4232 Dr. Martin Luther King. A decade ago the St. Louis chapter of the AIA wanted to build a farmers;' market on this cite, but that project never got pff the drawing boards.
New senior housing called Vandeventer Place, at 4232 Dr. Martin Luther King. A decade ago the St. Louis chapter of the AIA wanted to build a farmers;’ market on this cite, but that project never got pff the drawing boards.
The corner storefront on the SW corner with Taylor is now gone.
The corner storefront on the SW corner with Taylor is now gone.
mlk201708Just West of Union is what's left pf a 3-story house I've watched slow;y deteriorate
Just West of Union is what’s left pf a 3-story house I’ve watched slow;y deteriorate
How the building above looked 4 years ago
How the building above looked 4 years ago
This building had a big fire a few years ago...but it holds on.
This building had a big fire a few years ago…but it holds on.
Friendly Temple Baptist Church is a major land owner in the area. though mostly surface parking. One building at Belt is being remodeled to open a bank branch.
Friendly Temple Baptist Church is a major land owner in the area. though mostly surface parking. One building at Belt is being remodeled to open a bank branch.
The banner reads "Coming Summer 2016", click image for February 2016 news story.
The banner reads “Coming Summer 2016”, click image for February 2016 news story.
One of my favorite buildings in St. Louis survived another year.
One of my favorite buildings in St. Louis survived another year.
The Wellston Loop trolley building is also a survivor, though it is looking rather sad
The Wellston Loop trolley building is also a survivor, though it is looking rather sad
The building was fenced off in August 2016, click image for history
The building was fenced off in August 2016, click image for history

The abandonment in the neighborhoods on either side of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive make the task of revitalizing this corridor all but impossible.

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Is ‘Right-To-Work’ Right For Missouri?

January 15, 2017 Missouri, Politics/Policy, Sunday Poll Comments Off on Sunday Poll: Is ‘Right-To-Work’ Right For Missouri?
 
Please vote below
Please vote below

Eric Greitens was sworn in as Missouri’s governor on Monday. One of his campaign promises is a top priority for the legislature.

When Greitens takes office, Monday, Republicans for the first time in history will hold supermajorities in both chambers of the Legislature and control of the governor’s mansion. That likely will mean top GOP priorities vetoed by Nixon will become law, including a right-to-work bill barring mandatory union fees that Greitens said he supports. (KMOX)

Right-to-work is the subject of today’s poll.

The poll will close at 8pm — earlier if there’s evidence of a campaign to significantly alter the non-scientific results. Results and my thoughts on Wednesday.

— Steve Patterson

 

St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/13/2017 (247-274)

January 13, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured Comments Off on St. Louis Board of Aldermen: New Board Bills 1/13/2017 (247-274)
 
St. Louis City Hall
St. Louis City Hall

Almost to the end of the session, so 28 new Board Bills will be introduced at today’s meeting of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. Review the agenda here.

  • B.B.#247 – Conway –An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation to issue and sell the Corporation’s City Justice Center Leasehold Revenue Refunding Bonds, Series 2017 (Direct Purchase) in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $7,000,000 in order to refund or redeem, if desirable, all or a portion of the Corporation’s City Justice Center Leasehold Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2005.
  • B.B.#248 – Conway – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment of The City authorizing and directing the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation to issue and sell its Leasehold Revenue Refunding Bonds in order to refund all or a portion of its outstanding Refunded Bonds and its Leasehold Revenue Improvement Bonds to fund the construction, repair, improvement and renovation of the Cervantes Convention Center (collectively, the “Leasehold Revenue Bonds”) in one or more series in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $30,000,000; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#249 – Conway  –An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the St. Louis Municipal Finance Corporation to issue and sell, in one or more series, its Police Capital Improvement Sales Tax Leasehold Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2017A, in order to, refund all or a portion of the outstanding Police Capital Improvement Sales Tax Leasehold Revenue Bonds, Series 2007 and the Juvenile Detention Center Leasehold Refunding Revenue Bonds Series 2017B, in order to, refund all or a portion of the outstanding Tax?Exempt Juvenile Detention Center Leasehold Revenue Bonds Series 2008B.
  • B.B.#250 – Villa  –An Ordinance relating to the I?55/Loughborough Redevelopment Project authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller to execute a First Supplemental Financing Agreement, which supplements and amends that certain Financing Agreement, by and among the City, the Industrial Development Authority of the City and the Loughborough Commons Community Improvement District, in connection with the Authority’s Tax Increment and Community Improvement Refunding Revenue Bonds, Series 2017 (Loughborough Commons Redevelopment Project) (the “Series 2017 Bonds”), pursuant to which certain TIF Revenues and CID Revenues will be assigned for the benefit of said Series 2017 Bonds; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#251 – Coatar – An ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission to change the zoning of property in City Block 483.03 (1322?32 Dolman Street) from “C” Multiple?Family Dwelling District and “F” Neighborhood Commercial District to the “E” Multiple?Family Dwelling District; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#252 – Spencer – An ordinance recommended by the Planning Commission to change the zoning of property from “B “ Two? Family Dwelling District and “J” Industrial District to the “B” Two?Family Dwelling District in City Block 1648 3627 & 3635 S. Jefferson); and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#253 – Krewson  –An ordinance recommended by the Airport Commission, the Board of Public Service, and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller to enter into and execute an Agreement and Contract of Sale for the Sale of Property, between St. Louis, the owner and operator of Lambert?St. Louis International Airport, and the City of Kinloch, providing for the sale of approximately .674 acres of property owned by St. Louis and located in St. Louis County, for the sum of Twenty Two Thousand, Two Hundred and Twenty Dollars ($22,220.00); and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#254 – Krewson  –An ordinance recommended by the Airport Commission, the Board of Public Service, and the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller to enter into and execute an Agreement and Contract of Sale for the Sale of Property, between St. Louis, the owner and operator of Lambert?St. Louis International Airport, which is located in St. Louis County, Missouri, and Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church of South Kinloch, providing for the sale of approximately 1.076 acres of property owned by St. Louis and located in St. Louis County, for the sum of Forty Three Thousand, One Hundred Eighty Two Dollars ($43,182.00); and containing a severability clause and an emergency clause
  • B.B.#255 – Krewson  – An Ordinance recommended and approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment authorizing and directing the Director of Airports and the Comptroller to enter into and execute the “Second Amendment to Lease Agreement AL?226” to the Lambert?St. Louis International Airport® Lease Agreement AL?226, between the City and Jet Linx St. Louis, LLC, dated March 7, 2013 and authorized by City Ordinance No. 69384, approved February 6, 2013, as amended by the First Amendment to Lease Agreement AL?226, dated August 20, 2013, which was authorized by City Ordinance No. 69497, approved July 10, 2013, granting to the Lessee; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#256 – Krewson  –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 Lambert?St. Louis International Airport to enter into and execute the Assignment and Assumption of Interest in Dual Customs Agreement and Consent of The City agreement whereby the City consents to the assignment by Brownsville International Air Cargo, Inc. to Bi?National Gateway Terminal, all of Assignor’s right, title and interest in the Dual Customs Agreement AL?353, between the City and Assignor; containing a severability clause; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#257 – Hubbard  –An ordinance, recommended by the Board of Estimate & Apportionment, authorizing and directing the Mayor and Comptroller, to enter into and execute an agreement or agreements with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for the receipt of Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Funding; appropriating the sum of Twenty?Nine Million, Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($29,500,000) which the City has been awarded as a Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant for the Near North Side; and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#258 – Coatar  – An Ordinance Approving The Petition Of An Owner Of Certain Real Property To Establish A Community Improvement District, Establishing The 501 Olive Community Improvement District, And Containing An Emergency Clause And Containing A Severability Clause.
  • B.B.#259 – Kennedy  – An ordinance authorizing and directing the Fire Commissioner, on behalf of the Mayor and the City of Saint Louis, to enter into and execute a Grant agreement with the U.S. Department of homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Assistance to Firefighters Grant, to fund the 2015 Fire Operation and Safety Grant, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#260 – Kennedy  – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, authorizing a supplemental appropriation; amending Ordinance #70272, commonly referred to as the budget ordinance for Fiscal Year 2016?17; appropriating and setting apart revenues to address the expenditure required and set forth herein for the current fiscal year, in the amount of $95,000, to be apportioned to the Division of Corrections for the purpose of establishing a charity bail fund to assist certain non?violent defendants in posting bail as allowed by the Court, and to alleviate the cost of housing such persons, and to save public funds currently allocated for the incarceration of such persons, and containing an
    Emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#261 – Green/Spencer/Howard/Arnowitz  – An ordinance requiring employers to provide unpaid leave for victims of domestic violence, sexual violence, and stalking; containing definitions; violations; a penalty clause; and a severability clause.
  • B.B.#262 – Hubbard – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate travel in alley in City Block 527 as bounded by Delmar, 14th, Lucas and 15th.
  • B.B.#263 – Roddy  – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate travel in alley in City Block 2342 as bounded by North Market Street, 19th Street, Maiden Lane and 20th Street.
  • B.B.#264 – Davis  – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to vacate travel in remaining 188.07 feet of the 20 foot wide east/west alley in City Block 940 beginning at 21st Street and extending eastwardly to a point, same bounded by Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, 20th St., Delmar Blvd. and 21st.
  • B.B.#265 – Ogilvie  – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to conditionally vacate travel in the northern 5 feet of the 15 foot wide east/west alley in City Block 5066 beginning at Kraft St. and being bounded by Wise Ave., Louisville Ave., West Park Ave. and Kraft.
  • B.B.#266 – Bosley  – An ordinance recommended by the Board of Public Service to vacate travel in several streets and alleys bounded by St. Louis Ave. on the north, 22nd St. on the east, Cass Ave. on the south and Jefferson Ave./Parnell St. on the west.
  • B.B.#267 – Coatar  – An Ordinance pertaining to a City Housing Conservation Program; amending, Ordinance 67914, adopted on April 11, 2008, containing an Emergency Clause.
  • B.B.#268 – Roddy  – An ordinance pertaining to parking within the “Chouteau?Newstead Parking District” and the “Taylor? Chouteau?Tower Grove Parking District”; which establishes the location and restrictions for curb parking in the restricted parking zone in the two districts created by this ordinance; containing definitions, a penalty clause and an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#269 – Davis  – An ordinance approving the petition for the addition of certain real property to the Forsyth Associates Community Improvement District; establishing the expanded Forsyth Associates Community Improvement District; and containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#270 – Bosley  – An ordinance, relating to the Solid Waste Services Fee established under Ordinance No. 68698, authorizing an increase to said fee of two dollars ($2.00) per month per dwelling unit commencing with the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017, and containing an emergency clause.
  • B.B.#271 – Coatar  – An Ordinance Approving Amendments to the Blighting Study and Plan for the Eleventh/Clark/Eighth/Poplar Area.
  • B.B.#272 – Krewson  – An ordinance approving a blighting study and redevelopment plan for 6201 Delmar; containing a severability clause.
  • B.B.#273 – Vollmer  – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 5217 Botanical Ave.
  • B.B.#274 – Vollmer  – An ordinance approving a Redevelopment Plan for the 5214 Wilson Avenue.

The meeting begins at 10am, it can be watched online here.

— Steve Patterson

Opinion: Missouri Needs To Increase Fuel Taxes, Index For Future Adjustments

January 11, 2017 Featured, Missouri, Politics/Policy, Taxes Comments Off on Opinion: Missouri Needs To Increase Fuel Taxes, Index For Future Adjustments
 
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011
Missouri Capital, Jefferson City, MO, April 2011

The last time Missouri’s fuel tax rate increased was 1996 — from a 1993 law that increased it a little for 3 years. Meanwhile, Missouri has built more miles of infrastructure to maintain and maintenance/construction costs have increased. There are many ways to raise money for roads & bridges but the most direct is fuel taxes.

Our legislators in Jefferson City need to address this issue — but I don’t see it happening. Even if they managed to pass a small increase our new governor would likely veto it.

The results of the recent Sunday Poll:

Q: Agree or disagree: Missouri should index fuel taxes so they automatically adjust up or down.

  • Strongly agree 11 [40.74%]
  • Agree 8 [29.63%]
  • Somewhat agree 4 [14.81%]
  • Neither agree or disagreeii 1 [3.7%]
  • Somewhat disagree 2 [7.41%]
  • Disagree 0 [0%]
  • Strongly disagree 1 [3.7%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

In addition to increasing the fuel tax, there needs to be an index to automatically adjust it going forward. Not exactly sure the basis for the indexing, but we can’t go decades without a change since deterioration & increased costs never stop.

— Steve Patterson

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