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Readers Overwhelmingly Support Public Vote On Funding A New NFL Stadium

The current home of the St. Louis Rams
The current home of the St. Louis Rams

After controversial funding of our current MLB stadium (Busch III) an ordinance was passed to give voters a say at the ballot box.  At the time few probably thought about funding for the next NFL stadium — the Rams weren’t quite 10 years into a 30-year lease. Now they’re at 20 years and, because the Edward Jones dome isn’t top-tier, they’re now annual tenants.

Proponents could make the argument that we’ve elected people to represent us, let them do what we elected them to do. That’s the only argument I can think of to oppose a vote. In this case that isn’t even a very good argument. This involves huge sums of money over the coming decades — not something we should let others handle. If we’re going to fund & build another NFL stadium a decade before our current one is paid for then voters should be involved.

Results from the Sunday Poll:

Q:  Should St. Louis tax payers get to vote on funding a new NFL stadium?

  1. Yes 35 [83.33%]
  2. No 6 [14.29%]
  3. Unsure/No Opinion 1 [2.38%]
  4. Maybe 0 [0%]

The leaders pushing for a new stadium deal don’t want a public vote because they know an affirmative vote would be a tough sell, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Left Turn On Red Not Allowed In Missouri

People do it daily in downtown St. Louis — make a left turn on red from one one-way street onto another one-way street.

Driver makes a left onto 10th from Locust despite having a red light.
Driver makes a left onto 10th from Locust despite having a red light.

Missouri is actually one of a handful of states that doesn’t allow a left turn on red!  From Wikipedia:

In the U.S., 38 states and Puerto Rico allow left turns on red only if both the origin and destination streets are one way. (See South Carolina law Section 56-5-970 C3,[20] for example.)

Five other states, namely Alaska, Idaho, Michigan, Oregon and Washington, allow left turns on red onto a one-way street even from a two-way street.[21][22][23][24][25]

The following states and territories ban left turns on red: South Dakota (unless permitted by local ordinance), Connecticut, Maine, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Carolina, the District of Columbia, and Guam.[citation needed] New York City also prohibits left turn on red lights, unless a sign indicates otherwise.[citation needed]

In Canada, left turn on red light from a one-way road into a one-way road is permitted except in some areas of Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island. Left turn on red light from a two-way road into a one-way road is permitted in British Columbia[26] but only if the driver turns onto the closest lane and yields to pedestrians and cross traffic.

Missouri law doesn’t ban the left turn on red — it just isn’t allowed the way a right turn is:

(3) Steady red indication 

(a) Vehicular traffic facing a steady red signal alone shall stop before entering the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then before entering the intersection and shall remain standing until a green indication is shown except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subdivision; 

(b) The driver of a vehicle which is stopped as close as practicable at the entrance to the crosswalk on the near side of the intersection or, if none, then at the entrance to the intersection in obedience to a red signal, may cautiously enter the intersection to make a right turn but shall yield the right-of-way to pedestrians and other traffic proceeding as directed by the signal at the intersection, except that the state highways and transportation commission with reference to an intersection involving a state highway, and local authorities with reference to an intersection involving other highways under their jurisdiction, may prohibit any such right turn against a red signal at any intersection where safety conditions so require, said prohibition shall be effective when a sign is erected at such intersection giving notice thereof; 

(c) Unless otherwise directed by a pedestrian control signal as provided in section 300.160, pedestrians facing a steady red signal alone shall not enter the roadway. 

(4) In the event an official traffic control signal is erected and maintained at a place other than an intersection, the provisions of this section shall be applicable except as to those provisions which by their nature can have no application. Any stop required shall be made at a sign or marking on the pavement indicating where the stop shall be made, but in the absence of any such sign or marking the stop shall be made at the signal. (Missouri Revised Statutes)

No mention of a left turn, only right turns are allowed under current Missouri law.

Twenty minutes later, at the same intersection as above, I see another driver turn left on red:

leftonred03I’m not suggesting we begin enforcing the law and give these drivers citations. No, I think we need to amend our state statutes to allow it. Even better, return these streets to two-way traffic.

— Steve Patterson

 

Readers: Missouri Should Follow Nebraska In Repealing The Death Penalty

St. Louis Police Headquarters, 2011 Photo
St. Louis Police Headquarters, 2011 Photo

When I posted the Sunday Poll I wasn’t sure what the final tally would be, I was pleasantly surprised by the results:

Q: Should Missouri follow Nebraska and abolish the death penalty?

  1. Yes 24 [70.59%]
  2. No 8 [23.53%]
  3. TIE 1 [2.94%]
    1. Maybe
    2. Unsure/No Opinion

It seems unlikely we’ll follow Nebraska given our history:

Missouri has executed 56 men since 1997, including 10 in 2014 alone. That tied Missouri with Texas, which has 20 million more people, for the year’s most. (Editorial: Nebraska’s enlightened conservatives abolish the death penalty)

Tied with a state with a substantially greater population for the most executions last year — what an honor.

Interestingly, the debate isn’t over in Nebraska:

Nebraska Republican Gov. Pete Ricketts says lawmakers’ repeal of the death penalty won’t stop his administration from proceeding with executions of 10 people already sentenced to death.

Ricketts said Friday that he doesn’t plan to cancel a shipment of lethal injection drugs that the state bought earlier this month. (Nebraska’s Governor Vows To Proceed With Executions Despite Death Penalty Repeal)

One thing is certain, there’s no shortage of information online saying the death penalty does or does not deter crime. Still, many of us just don’t think it’s a deterrent:

Wyoming attorney Traci Lacock said she has seen the deterrence question both as an academic, working with Boulder’s Radelet, and as a public defender. For her, deterrence issues became much simpler over time.

Her clients accused of violent crimes were coping with grinding poverty, mental-health issues and other challenges, Lacock said. 

“Are you really going to be asking the question, ‘Does my state have the death penalty or not?’ when you are doing something horrific to another person,” Lacock said. “Just basic common sense says no.” (No credible evidence on whether death penalty deters, experts say)

What about as a form of punishment?  It’s uncivilized, we also know that many have been wrongly convicted of crimes they didn’t commit. If we find out the truth they can be released from prison — we can’t bring someone back to life!

The rate of erroneous conviction of innocent criminal defendants is often described as not merely unknown but unknowable. We use survival analysis to model this effect, and estimate that if all death-sentenced defendants remained under sentence of death indefinitely at least 4.1% would be exonerated. We conclude that this is a conservative estimate of the proportion of false conviction among death sentences in the United States. (National Academy of Sciences: Rate of false conviction of criminal defendants who are sentenced to death)

Four precent would be exonerated! Missouri should follow Nebraska and repeal the death penalty!

— Steve Patterson

Sunday Poll: Should Missouri follow Nebraska and abolish the death penalty?

Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar
Please vote in the poll, located in the right sidebar

Last week the conservative legislature in neighboring Nebraska voted to override their governor’s veto of a bill to repeal their death penalty:

Lawmakers in Nebraska overrode Gov. Pete Ricketts’ veto of their vote to repeal the death penalty, making it the first Republican-controlled state in the U.S. to repeal the death penalty since North Dakota in 1973. The vote was 30-19.

As we reported Tuesday, Ricketts, a Republican, vetoed the legislation flanked by law enforcement personnel, murder victims’ family members and state lawmakers who support capital punishment. Opposition to the death penalty in the conservative state came from Republicans who were against it for religious or fiscal reasons, as well as from Democrats and independents. (NPR)

Of course, just because a neighboring state does something it doesn’t mean we should follow them. Still, this is a good public policy subject for a Sunday Poll.  The poll is at the top of the right sidebar of the desktop layout, it’ll close at 8pm tonight.

— Steve Patterson

 

 

Four Years Since Joplin Tornado, New Hospital Opened in March

May 22, 2015 Featured No Comments

Last Sunday St. Louis’ new Shriner’s Hospital for Children was dedicated, it’ll open for patients on June 1st. In March another hospital opened in Missouri. I didn’t get a tour but I did drive by the day after it opened.

Almost four years after the Joplin tornado destroyed St. Johns Medical Center, Mercy Hospital Joplin is opening its doors.
Early Sunday morning, personnel began transferring dozens of patients from its temporary facilities. 

Mercy Hospital moved dozens of patients more than two miles, from the old temporary facility to the new facility. They say it was an incredible undertaking, but one that means so much to this Joplin community”
For the last three years, Mercy has operated out of a smaller temporary hospital after St. John’s Medical Center was destroyed by the Joplin Tornado in 2011.
Dozens of volunteers, doctors and nurses who had the day off, and the Joplin Police Department all pitched in to help get the hospital ready and move all of the patients. (Source)

The tornado was on May 22, 2011 — four years ago today. Here are a few photos I took on November 8, 2011.

Many neighborhoods were completely wiped clean, the hospital can be seen on the left horizon
Many neighborhoods were completely wiped clean, the hospital can be seen on the left horizon
The hospital, though still standing, was devastated.
The hospital, though still standing, was devastated.
By the time I visited 6 months later they'd set up portable buildings across the street for a temporary hospital.
By the time I visited 6 months later they’d set up portable buildings across the street for a temporary hospital.

In the years since I didn’t have to even exit I-44 to see the new hospital being built — they picked a new site on the opposite side of the highway. I think this was an unfortunate decision — it’ll make Joplin sprawl out even more — making public transit, walking, & bicycling more difficult.

The new hospital in Joplin MO as seen from the shoulder of I-44. Most of the town is on the opposite side of the highway
The new hospital in Joplin MO as seen from the shoulder of I-44. Most of the town is on the opposite side of the highway on March 23rd

I’m glad Joplin has a new hospital, I just feel for the low-wage workers who need a car to get to their jobs.

— Steve Patterson

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