See her February 27, 2014 email here. On Friday we learned some of the consequences she’ll face as a result of her actions and admissions:
A once-rising star in city politics avoids possible jail time but agrees to a stiff fine in a deal with the circuit attorney’s office.
The deal between Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and Kacie Starr Triplett was signed on March 6th, but announced Friday only after Triplett made good on several payments.
In total Triplett has agreed to pay $22,000 in restitution, which that money will go to the St. Louis city public schools. (Fox2)
Jennifer Joyce, in an email reply, indicated the agreement is for 3 years, saying: “March of 2017 is when it will conclude.” Apparently she could also face a $100,000 fine from the Missouri Ethics Commission.
For the poll this week I want to know your reaction to her illegal use of campaign funds and the consequences, I’ve provided numerous answers but you can also add your own. Pick up to two.
A year’s worth of hard work by numerous volunteers paid off Saturday afternoon as 6th ward residents checked out 13 projects submitted by fellow 6th ward residents, and refined into legitimate projects by volunteers, also from the 6th ward.
This reminded me of competing in science fairs in middle & high school, standing next to our project board as each judge stopped by, asking tough questions. Zach Chasnoff & Michelle Whithaus have logged hundreds of hours bringing Participatory Budgeting to St. Louis, big thanks to both of them. Also to 6th ward alderman Christine Ingrassia for being open minded enough to begin her first term in office with this project.
Of the 27 other aldermen, only Scott Ogilvie representing the 24th ward came out to see the projects and process, he remains on the fence. If you think your alderman should adopt Participatory budgeting I urge you to contact them by phone or email (list or find your alderman). Don’t live in the city but like the idea of voting on projects in your community? Contact the elected officials where you live!
$100,000 of 6th ward funds have been set aside to build the winning projects, residents will select their top three. Votes will be tabulated and winning projects announced. Here is a list of the projects:
Neighborhood signs, $28,000
New landscaping & planters, $90,000
Trash cans, $15,000
Eads Park Improvements, $20,000
Fox Park Restroom Renovation, $30,000
Perk Up Buder Park, $15,000
Decorative Bike Racks, $17,000
Crosswalk Light Jefferson and Park, $25,000
Bike Lanes, $30,000
Median at Jefferson and Park, $80,000
Traffic Calming on Compton, $50,000
Street Lighting, $50,000
Security Cameras, $30,000
I don’t have the final descriptions of the above, I’ll update this post once I receive the text that’ll appear on the ballots. UPDATE 3/31 @ 9:50AM: SEE SAMPLE BALLOT HERE!
Voting starts tomorrow and continues everyday for over a week:
Earlier in the week I posted about the next steps for Participatory Budgeting in the 6th Ward. This is a reminder a “project expo” will be held from 3pm-5pm tomorrow, Saturday March 29, 2014. The expo will be held at the Moulin event space, 2017 Chouteau.
A year ago Participatory Budgeting in St. Louis was just an idea advanced by 6th Ward aldermanic candidate Michelle Witthaus. In a poll in March 2013, readers supported the concept of Participatory Budgeting. The idea could’ve ended with the March primary election, when Christine Ingrassia won the 3-way race. Ingrassia liked the idea, asking Witthaus to spearhead the effort. They’ve worked together on this for a year now, along with many others. I’ve had the privilege of being able to sit in on meetings, events. After months of planning & strategy meetings the 6th ward assemblies took place in October 2013, gathering ideas from residents.
I should back up and explain what Participatory Budgeting is, for those who haven’t heard of it before:
In St. Louis, each ward is allocated a yearly budget for ward improvements. The budget is spent to improve things like sidewalks, streets, lighting, parks, etc. Usually the alderperson decides what projects get funded throughout the ward each year. Through participatory budgeting residents come together to share ideas on how they think the money should be spent, they create projects, then the entire ward gets to vote on which projects get funded for the year. It is a much more inclusive way of doing democracy. Essentially it gives more power back to people and allows the community to take more control of the decision-making process than ever before. (pbstl.org)
Since ideas were gathered in October, volunteer “delegates” have been busy working with city staff to turn the ideas into real projects, with real budgets. From 3pm-5pm on Saturday March 29, 2014 a “project expo” will be held. Here residents can come see all the projects and begin to decide how they plan to vote, helping decide how their ward funds are spent. The expo will be held at the Moulin event space, 2017 Chouteau.
Hopefully 6th ward residents will come out in large numbers to vote. I look forward to seeing the projects and them seeing which were selected by residents. Hopefully other aldermen will adopt this process for at least a few of the other 27 wards. Half are up for reelection next year…
ST. LOUIS (AP) – The debate over legalization of marijuana will be the subject of an open forum in St. Louis later this month.Three members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are hosting the forum the evening of March 24 at Harris-Stowe State University. The panel discussion will address the disproportionate number of marijuana arrests for African-Americans, the safety of the drug, and whether a marijuana tax would benefit government revenues. (KSDK)
With the legalization of marijuana being such a hot topic these days, Sixth Ward Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia will address various issues surrounding the debate during an open forum at Harris-Stowe State University, Monday, March 24, 2014, 6-8 p.m. in the Emerson Performance Center’s Bank of America Theatre.Held in collaboration with Alderman Chris Carter, 27th Ward, and Alderman Shane Cohn of the 25th Ward, the panel discussion will address how marijuana arrests disproportionally affect people of color; whether marijuana is safer than alcohol; how legalization would affect black market drug sales and whether a marijuana tax would benefit declining government revenues. (St. Louis American)
The history of the drug and how it became illegal is interesting, and a reflection of our racial fears:
The political upheaval in Mexico that culminated in the Revolution of 1910 led to a wave of Mexican immigration to states throughout the American Southwest. The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: smoking marijuana. Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a “lust for blood,” and gave its users “superhuman strength.” Rumors spread that Mexicans were distributing this “killer weed” to unsuspecting American schoolchildren. Sailors and West Indian immigrants brought the practice of smoking marijuana to port cities along the Gulf of Mexico. In New Orleans newspaper articles associated the drug with African-Americans, jazz musicians, prostitutes, and underworld whites. “The Marijuana Menace,” as sketched by anti-drug campaigners, was personified by inferior races and social deviants. In 1914 El Paso, Texas, enacted perhaps the first U.S. ordinance banning the sale or possession of marijuana; by 1931 twenty-nine states had outlawed marijuana, usually with little fanfare or debate. Amid the rise of anti-immigrant sentiment fueled by the Great Depression, public officials from the Southwest and from Louisiana petitioned the Treasury Department to outlaw marijuana. Their efforts were aided by a lurid propaganda campaign. “Murder Weed Found Up and Down Coast,” one headline warned; “Deadly Marijuana Dope Plant Ready For Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children.” Harry J. Anslinger, the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, at first doubted the seriousness of the problem and the need for federal legislation, but soon he pursued the goal of a nationwide marijuana prohibition with enormous gusto. In public appearances and radio broadcasts Anslinger asserted that the use of this “evil weed” led to killings, sex crimes, and insanity. He wrote sensational magazine articles with titles like “Marijuana: Assassin of Youth.” (NPR - Reefer Madness)
Schedule ISchedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. Schedule I drugs are the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence. Some examples of Schedule I drugs are: heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD), marijuana (cannabis), 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (ecstasy), methaqualone, and peyoteSchedule IISchedule II drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a high potential for abuse, less abuse potential than Schedule I drugs, with use potentially leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. These drugs are also considered dangerous. Some examples of Schedule II drugs are: cocaine, methamphetamine, methadone, hydromorphone (Dilaudid), meperidine (Demerol), oxycodone (OxyContin), fentanyl, Dexedrine, Adderall, and RitalinSchedule IIISchedule III drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Schedule III drugs abuse potential is less than Schedule I and Schedule II drugs but more than Schedule IV. Some examples of Schedule III drugs are: Combination products with less than 15 milligrams of hydrocodone per dosage unit (Vicodin), Products containing less than 90 milligrams of codeine per dosage unit (Tylenol with codeine), ketamine, anabolic steroids, testosteroneSchedule IVSchedule IV drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with a low potential for abuse and low risk of dependence. Some examples of Schedule IV drugs are: Xanax, Soma, Darvon, Darvocet, Valium, Ativan, Talwin, AmbienSchedule VSchedule V drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with lower potential for abuse than Schedule IV and consist of preparations containing limited quantities of certain narcotics. Schedule V drugs are generally used for antidiarrheal, antitussive, and analgesic purposes. Some examples of Schedule V drugs are: cough preparations with less than 200 milligrams of codeine or per 100 milliliters (Robitussin AC), Lomotil, Motofen, Lyrica, Parepectolin
Yes, since 1970 marijuana has been listed as more dangerous than cocaine, methamphetamine, etc. For many marijuana does indeed have medical uses:
Pain is the main reason people ask for a prescription, says Barth Wilsey, MD, a pain medicine specialist at the University of California Davis Medical Center. It could be from headaches, a disease like cancer, or a long-term condition, like glaucoma or nerve pain. (webMD)
In the 1970s civic leaders were busy destroying large swaths of downtown in order to retain/attract workers/employers & residents. In 1977 the Cervantes Convention Center opened with largely blank exterior walls and occupying 4 formerly separate city blocks.
The following Spring, 36 years ago today, they continued in the same direction advocated by our first planner Harland Bartholomew decades earlier:
The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved three bills that would set the stage to develop a proposed downtown shopping mall, with the only further step being the acquisition of federal funding. The headquarters of Stx, Baer, & Fuller, which would become Dillard’s just months before the mall’s completion, and Famous-Barr existed with one block separating them between Washington and Locust at 6th Street. The goal was to create an enclosed, urban shopping mall with these two companies as anchors, and the estimated budget was nearly $150 million. St. Louis Centre opened in 1985 as the largest shopping mall in America. It had over 150 stores and 20 restaurants, and was initially a great success. Challenges appeared in the 1990s however, as the Westroads Shopping Center was redeveloped into the St. Louis Galleria and stores began closing. St. Louis Centre closed in 2006, and since then has been redeveloped into a 750-car parking garage and retail center. (STL250 on Facebook)
Seven years later the internally-focused mall opened. The pedestrian realm in St. Louis was officially dead.
In the 1970s big indoor shopping malls were all the rage. We know now in an urban setting, like a central business district, turning blank exterior walls to the sidewalk and putting all retail activity indoors out of view to people passing by is a formula for disaster. In hindsight, it’s obvious. At the time few realized the magnitude of the mistake.
When the Cervantes Convention Center was expanded a block to the south in the early 1990s it was given a new more inviting facade, controversial at the time. St. Louis Centre was converted into a large parking garage in this decade, with retail spaces facing outward to the sidewalk. Slowly we’re relearning that a CBD can’t appeal to the suburban motorist. The urban core of any region should distinguish itself from the suburbs.
Suburbia can’t match old urban neighborhoods, usually failing when it tries. Conversely, older urban areas fail when trying to be like new suburbs. Most people chose suburbia, I get that. In the St. Louis region we have plenty of suburbia for those who prefer it, we need to double-down on making the City of St. Louis the pedestrian-froendly urban environment preferred by the rest of us. These can co-exist in the same region. Unfortunately, we’ve gotten to the point of having so little good urban area that those seeking an urban life have had no other choice but to leave the region.
A few urban block here and there won’t support an urban life, we need a city 100% committed to the urban dweller.
In the poll last week readers indicated they didn’t want to change the city charter with respect to the office of President of the Board of Aldermen:
Q: Should the President of the Board of Aldermen be selected from within the BoA or continue as a citywide office?
Keep office elected citywide 39 [52%]
St. Louis needs to stop tweaking its 100 year old charter and start fresh 16 [21.33%]
Aldermen should elect presiding officer from within their ranks 14 [18.67%]
Unsure/no opinion 4 [5.33%]
Other: 2 [2.67%]
abolish the position
Term limits are more important.
I hoped a majority would’ve selected the #2 answer, to start over with a new charter. Our charter has been changed many times over the last 100 years. Until 1981, the President of the Board of Aldermen salary wasn’t much more than each of the 28 Aldermen.
Mayor Conway succeeded in getting voters to lift the $25,000 salary limit that had been contained in the city charter. Some saw the salary cap as a hindrance in recruiting and retaining highly qualified civil servants. (Wikipedia)
After the charter was changed to lift the cap, the president’s salary was given a big boost from the roughly 10-12% premium over the alderman’s compensation. Tom Zych was president for two terms (1979-1987), followed by Tom Villa, Francis Slay, Jim Shrewsbury, and now Lewis Reed. Zych’s 2nd term was the first with the higher salary.
I think our structure deserves at least being examined. Perhaps we’ve got the best possible charter, but we won’t know until we compare to alternatives.
A recent article caught my eye because of the suggestion of a major change in governance in St. Louis government:
For decades, the politicians in City Hall’s marble-columned aldermanic chamber have jostled and jockeyed for power.
Now, as they gather this morning to celebrate the city’s 250th birthday, some are contemplating changes that would fundamentally recast the municipal makeup.
One of those would hand the aldermen more power by having them choose the president of the Board of Aldermen, an office that has long been elected by a citywide popular vote.
No bill has been written or introduced, but the possibility is filled with intrigue because St. Louis’ system of government vests considerable power in the board president’s office — and Mayor Francis Slay’s chief electoral opponent from last year, Lewis Reed, holds its gavel. (stltoday)
This isn’t about Slay & Reed though, it’s about the city’s charter — it’ll be 100 years old in June.
Most legislative bodies elect their leader from within their ranks. St. Louis County Council, for example, has 7 members. They elect a chairman from within. District 2 Councilman Kathleen Kelly Burkett is currently Chairman, current Councilmen Hazel Erby (Dist 1) & Greg Quinn (Dist 7) have both served as Chairman of the council. Would any of these three be able to win a countywide election to be chairman? Probably not. But being a good leader and being able to win a wide popular vote are two separate issues.
Either citizens 100 years ago got it right, or wrong, by having our legislative leader elected citywide. In 8 years the number of wards in the city will be cut in half — from 28 to 14. I think it’s worth considering having the leader of the Board of Aldermen not be elected citywide, but chosen from within among the 14. So this is the topic of the poll question this week, you can vote in the right sidebar.
Participatory Budgeting (PB) is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Participatory Budgeting Saint Louis (PB STL) seeks to empower residents via direct participation in the allocation of public monies in order to expand civic and political participation of citizens; and increase government transparency, with a focus on inclusion of historically disenfranchised or uninvolved populations. While PB is a fairly new concept in the United States, it is already being implemented in Chicago, New York City and Vallejo. ??During St. Louis City’s 2013 municipal primary, Michelle Witthaus and I, both candidates in the 6th Ward’s Aldermanic race, learned there was an interest on the part of residents to feel more connected to the political process and to see greater governmental transparency and accountability. After a training MORE’s (Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment) Zach Chasnoff received and reported on, Michelle thought PB could address this interest. After the election, we decided to form a Steering Committee, which first met in May 2013, to bring PB to St. Louis City. I set aside $50,000 this year and will do the same next year, so that $100,000 of 6th ward capital improvement funds for fiscal year 2015 will go towards a pilot project to introduce St. Louis to this new endeavor.
From May through September the PB STL Steering Committee worked on rules for implementation, created a fundraising plan and canvassed in low voter turnout areas of the 6th ward. We are now ready to host Neighborhood Assemblies in October. Residents will learn how PB STL will work in its inaugural year and will have the opportunity to volunteer to plan projects the rest of the 6th Ward will vote on.
Trainings for budget delegates (volunteers planning projects) will occur in November and over the winter they will work with the Steering Committee and me to create project proposals. In March 2014 Project Expos will held. At these expos presentations of proposals will be made to the 6th Ward and changes can be made to them, as needed. ??Voting will occur in several different forms over the course of 1 – 2 weeks in April and will hopefully include an online option. In May 2014 winning projects will be provided to the City’s Board of Public Service to be included in the fiscal year 2015 budget. In June 2014 we will undertake evaluation of our first year’s efforts and the projects we voted on will begin to be implemented in July.
I’m hoping this project will increase community participation, act as an agent of government accountability and will spark an interest on the part of residents regarding how the budget process works.
Here is a listing of our upcoming assemblies; PB STL would love to see you at one.
Monday, October 7th Jefferson Warehouse
2501 S Jefferson Ave
Koken Art Factory (location change as of 9/29)
2500 Ohio Ave.
Participatory budgeting (PB) is a different way to manage public money, and to engage people in government. It is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. It enables taxpayers to work with government to make the budget decisions that affect their lives.
However, three candidates backing PB failed to win their primaries. Will those in office open up the decision-making process or keep it hidden behind closed doors?
Here are the results:
Q: Do you support the idea of “Participatory Budgeting” in St. Louis?
Yes 46 [56.1%]
No 12 [14.63%]
Maybe 11 [13.41%]
Unsure/no opinion 9 [10.98%]
Other: 4 [4.88%]
The four “other” answers:
have no idea what “participatory bugeting” is.
what’s the $ amount? If we’re “participating” over chump change it’s moot
Could be risky–especially if you’re living in a “developing” area!
Aldermen will still be corrupt either way, and can CDBGs be allocated that way?
I’m not going to hold my breath until our elected officials begin doing this.
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