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What Will California’s 2035 Ban of Internal Combustion Engine Cars Mean to the St. Louis Region, If Anything?

September 8, 2022 Electric Vehicles (EVs/BEVs), Featured, Politics/Policy, Transportation Comments Off on What Will California’s 2035 Ban of Internal Combustion Engine Cars Mean to the St. Louis Region, If Anything?
A friend’s Tesla Model 3 on South Grand, October 2019

Last month the California Air Resourses Board (CARB) voted to approve new statewide regulations that will gradually reduce the number of passenger vehicles powered solely by gasoline or diesel in their state. They drafted these regulations after California Gov. Gavin Newsome issued an executive order a year ago to make this happen.

”California regulators voted Thursday to ban the sale of all new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035 as the state looks to aggressively tackle the climate crisis.” (NBC News)

So what will this mean for the St. Louis region? In the short term, very little. In the long term, however, it will greatly impact St. Louis and the rest of North America. Possibly the world. 

First we must understand it’s the federal government, through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that sets nationwide standards for emissions and such. However, unlike the other 49 states and the District of Columbia, our most populous state is allowed to set standards that are stricter than federal policy. The EPA must first issue a waiver for California’s new regulation. It’s highly unlikely the Biden administration will attempt to block it. Still, a GOP lawsuit is challenging California’s right to set a stricter emissions standard. 

As the most populous state California is also the biggest car market in the nation, its population is more than double Missouri & Illinois combined!  In the past the following states have opted to follow California’s stricter standards: Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington state and Washington D.C. So far two stated, Massachusetts and Washington, have already indicated they will follow California’s lead. The combined vehicle sales in this states is huge! Combined with future ICE vehicle bans in Europe and the world’s largest car market (China) that is pushing EVs it’s clear new internal combustion engines will be rare before 2035 arrives.

It will be very challenging, but auto manufacturer’s line ups will meet these higher standards…for everyone, essentially becoming a national standard. Some have suggested by 2035 there will be nearly zero consumer demand for ICE vehicles. This new rule will rapidly accelerate the transition to electric vehicles.

Let’s look closer at California’s 2035 ban on fossil fuel vehicles. First, it doesn’t mean they’re banning existing gas powered vehicles — they can be driven, and used models can be bought & sold.

“Starting with 2026 models, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota would increase each year and is expected to reach 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The quotas also would allow 20% of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids.” (CNN)

While 2035 model year vehicles are still a dozen years away,  2026 models are will be here in just 3 years! To scale up production manufacturers will need to sell EVs beyond states with an EV mandate, though if supplies are limited the inventory will go to those states so they meet the requirements.

 By 2025 plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) must achieve 50 miles in pure electric mode — a substantial increase from the 18-25 miles seen in current PHEVs. In the last decade a lot of PHEVs were only available in California, going forward expect more to be nationwide. Motorcycles and large trucks will be regulated separately, with a longer time frame.

Dealerships in the St. Louis region will offer more EVs, and fewer fuel burning vehicles. They’ll also need to renovate their facilities to be able to charge & service the electric cars they’ll be selling. The selection of EVs will rapidly increase, just as the selection of new gas vehicles will decline. Municipalities like St. Louis with many residents parking on city streets will need a way to charge their vehicles. 

Businesses that depend on gas vehicles will need to reinvent themselves. For example, places that do oil changes, radiator flushes, and transmission work will consolidate — fewer will be necessary. Something else will occupy that real estate in the future.

QuikTrip in Granite City, IL. February 2011.

Gas stations make very little money from fuel, their profit comes from the convenience store portion of the business model.  Many are owned by individuals living in our region, not corporations in other states.  Those located near interstates can add high speed charging points to lure travelers to stop and spend money while replenishing their batteries.

Some gas stations will close. Eventually we’ll see gas deserts with few options for filing up that classic 2020 Toyota Corolla you’re driving until it dies. Auto parts stores will still be around for a long time, but they can’t survive on selling wiper blades.

At the start of the 20th century a major restructuring happened as the change from horse & buggy to cars took place. Jobs building carriages, caring for horses, etc went away. Such a restructuring is beginning now, with this mandate.

Those of you alive in 2040, 2050 will be part of a different St. Louis. It’s impossible to predict how it will all play out, but rest assured things won’t be static. The combination of vehicles going electric and the temperatures getting hotter will necessitate physical changes.

I hope the region will occupy less total land in the future, with considerably less impervious surfaces per capita. Hopefully the entire region will see a much higher use of public transit.  And yes, our electrical grid will need to improve.  Users will also need to learn to minimize using electricity during periods of peak demand.

Exciting times.

– Steve Patterson

 

Missouri Primary Four Weeks Away on August 2, 2022

July 5, 2022 Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Missouri Primary Four Weeks Away on August 2, 2022

Seven states, including Missouri, will hold primary elections on Tuesday August 2, 2022 — just four weeks from today. My goal in this post is to make you aware  of all items on your ballot, not just the high-profile U.S. Senate race.

St. Louis City (election website):

First, with redistricting and ward reduction from 28 to 14 it’s very likely you’re ward and precinct numbers are different than they were on the previous election. I’ve been in the 5th for a decade, now it’s the 14th!

City voters have two propositions on their ballots:

PROPOSITION S
Shall The Board of Education of the City of St. Louis borrow money in the amount of One Hundred Sixty Million Dollars ($160,000,000) for the purpose of acquiring, constructing, renovating, repairing, improving, furnishing and equipping school sites, buildings and related facilities in the District, including but not limited to (1) removing lead paint, fencing and other hazardous materials at affected schools, (2) upgrading mechanical systems to include replacement of outdated or obsolete equipment, temperature controls, and duct cleaning to increase ventilation, (3) upgrading building infrastructure by replacing roofs, tuck-pointing, waterproofing and window replacements, (4) improving security systems to increase student safety by installing fire alarm systems and replacing interior and exterior doors, (5) upgrading technology to modernize classrooms and improve academic performance, (6) improving building conditions by renovating restrooms and other ADA improvements, and (7) increasing learning opportunities by creating outdoor learning spaces and making improvements to playgrounds and athletic fields and facilities, and issue general obligation bonds for the payment thereof?

If this proposition is approved, the adjusted debt service levy of the school district is estimated to remain unchanged at the current rate of $0.6211 per one hundred dollars assessed valuation of real and personal property.

YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION 

And…

PROPOSITION F
Shall Section 24 of Article IV of the City’s Charter be changed to increase the maximum fine for violations of City ordinances regarding preservation and protection of environmental conditions for preventing harm to the health, safety, and comfort of City residents or harm to private or public property such as unauthorized dumping of waste or debris on private or public property, prohibited refuse, waste tire disposal, and the like from $500.00 to $1,000.00?

YES – FOR THE PROPOSITION
NO – AGAINST THE PROPOSITION

The only contested citywide county office in the primary is two candidates running for Recorder of Deeds on the Green Party. Republican, Democratic, and Libertarian ballots all have only one candidate each for Collector of Revenue, License Collector, and Recorder of Deeds.

However, voters in the current 21st ward will also vote to select an alderperson to fill the vacant seat. Four candidates are running: Laura Keys (D), Joann Dyson Williams (I),  Melinda L. Long (I), and Ebony Moore (I). See official list of candidates here.

St. Louis County (election website)

St. Louis County has three propositions on their ballots: A, M, and V  — see the full language linked on the county ballot page, here. You can also enter your address for your specific ballot.

Missouri (Secretary of State election website)

There are no statewide propositions on our August primary ballot, but there will be quite a few on our general election ballot in November.

Elections for the state house and state Auditor are pretty boring, most in the St. Louis area unchallenged. Republican voters will need to select one of two candidates for state auditor.

In Missouri’s first congressional district it’s more interesting. Three republicans want the GOP nomination. On the democratic ballot incumbent Cori Bush has four primary opponents! (Cori has my vote)

The big race in Missouri this year is to fill the U.S. Senate seat held by retiring senator Roy Blunt (R). Anytime you have an open seat with no incumbent a lot of candidates toss their hats into the ring.

The republican ballot has 21 candidates, yes 21! Many of dropped out or been disqualified, but still. Former governor Eric “RINO hunter” Greitens is currently leading in the polls.

The democratic ballot has 11 hopefuls that want to flip the seat from red to blue. I’m actually Facebook friends with one of the 11, but I’m not sure how I’ll vote — I’ve got to decide before my absentee ballot arrives. Lucas Kunce is the most likely democratic nominee.

It’s very likely the Republican and Democratic nominees will face at least one independent challenger in November. One potential outcome is a conservative-minded independent splitting the vote, helping the democratic nominee get elected.

Further reading:

Ballotpedia.org

League of Women Voters of St. Louis

The primary is Tuesday August 2, 2022.

— Steve Patterson

 

Glad the Illinois Primary is Tuesday, June 28th

June 23, 2022 Featured, Metro East, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Glad the Illinois Primary is Tuesday, June 28th
The old Illinois capital building in downtown Springfield IL

I’ve lived in two states my entire life, Illinois isn’t one of them. But as a St. Louis Missouri resident for nearly 32 years I’ve seen plenty of Illinois campaign television advertisements. Of course, Illinois residents in the St. Louis metro area have seen more than their share of Missouri political ads.

The Illinois primary is Tuesday, June 28, 2022.

While there are many races on ballots in Illinois it is ads for two that are the ones we’ve all been seeing. A lot. Governor & 15th congressional district.

Let’s begin with the race for congress, both GOP candidates are incumbents!

U.S. Reps. Rodney Davis and Mary Miller are running in the Republican primary for Illinois’ 15th Congressional District on June 28, 2022. This race is one of six U.S. House incumbent-vs.-incumbent primaries occurring in 2022 as a result of congressional redistricting after the 2020 census. (Ballotpedia)

Illinois lost one seat in congress as a result of population loss in the 2020 census, so two Republican colleagues are now in a bitter campaign against each other. Each is trying to paint themselves as the most pro-Trump and the other as being less conservative than themselves.

The head-to-head contest is an offshoot of new congressional boundaries drawn by state lawmakers in Springfield following the federal census and Illinois’ loss of one of its current 18 U.S. House seats. Miller’s home was narrowly drawn into a district with another Republican, U.S. Rep. Mike Bost of Murphysboro, but she opted instead to challenge Davis. Members of Congress do not have to live in the district they represent. (Chicago Tribune)

The 15th is the most conservative district in Illinois, which means the democratic nominee won’t stand a chance. Either Davis or Miller will be out of office in January 2023, a week from now we should know who will be sworn in again and who will pack up their D.C. apartment.

In the Illinois race for governor the situation is very different. Democrat J. B. Pritzker is seeking a second term, he’ll easily win his primary. Half a dozen Republicans are running to become the GOP nominee to challenge Prizker in November.

Six candidates are running in the Republican primary for governor of Illinois on June 28, 2022. Darren Bailey and Richard Irvin have led the field in fundraising and media coverage.

Bailey is a farmer who serves in the Illinois State Senate. He was first elected to office in 2020. In his campaign ads, Bailey has highlighted his support for reducing taxes and government spending while serving in the state senate, his support for law enforcement, his support for Donald Trump (R), and his opposition to Governor J.B. Pritzker (D). A campaign ad said, “In Springfield, Darren stood up for working families and fought against every single tax increase. When Governor Pritzker tried to close Illinois, Darren sued him and won to keep our state open. Now, Darren is running for governor with a plan to cut our taxes, fund our police, and impose term limits on politicians.”[4]

Irvin is an attorney who has served as mayor of Aurora, Illinois since he was elected in 2017. Irvin’s campaign ads have highlighted his work as a prosecutor and his support for increasing police department budgets, his experience as a veteran, his opposition to J.B. Pritzker, and his economic record as mayor of Aurora. A campaign ad said, “Running our second-largest city, crime’s come down because the police budget has gone up. I hired more cops each year. We’ve recruited new companies […] and we’ve controlled spending, balanced budgets, so residents got property tax relief. My city is now stronger, safer, and full of opportunity. I want that for Illinois.” (Ballotpedia)

I’ve seen ads for only [two] three of the six. Like the 15th congressional district ads, the spots from the top two challengers have been vicious. I’ve also seen a few ads for Paul Schimpf. Nothing from the other three candidates. If Bailey loses either the primary or general he’ll no longer be in public office because his term as state senator ends. However, Irvin was just re-elected to a second term as Aurora’s mayor last year. If he doesn’t become governor he’ll still be mayor.

Past Illinois Democratic governors have been vulnerable at election time, but Prizker appears to be in a better position than his predecessors.

Illinois U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth is seeking another 6-year term. I’ve not seen a single ad for the seven (7) Republicans on Tuesday’s primary ballot who want to go against her in November.

It’ll just be nice having a break from divisive political ads for a bit, though I know Missouri’s primary is only 5 weeks later, on August 2, 2022.

— Steve Patterson

 

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Lewis Reed’s 25-Year Political Career (1997-2022)

June 8, 2022 Featured, History/Preservation, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Lewis Reed’s 25-Year Political Career (1997-2022)

Former 21st ward alderman John Collin-Muhammad resigned two weeks prior to a federal indictment against him and two others was unsealed. Jeffery Boyd resigned his long held seat as 22nd ward alderman the day after the indictment became public.

The third indicted was board president Lewis Reed, who resigned yesterday.

All three may avoid guilty verdicts in court, but politically they’re finished.

I never trusted Lewis Reed, I never could get a direct answer from him. He’d always just laugh and change the subject. Huge red flag in my book. Yuge!

Thankfully I can proudly say I’ve never voted for Lewis Reed. Not when he first ran for the citywide office in 2007, or re-election three times since. I never voted for him when he ran for Mayor.

Here’s a brief outline of Reed’s political career in St. Louis.

Reed was the campaign manager for 6th ward alderwoman Marit Clark’s 1997 independent run for mayor against Democratic nominee Clarance Harmon. Reed’s day job was as a computer network manager for a hospital group.

Harmon won the race but Reed got himself appointed to the St. Louis Port Authority, quickly becoming the chair. By 1999 Clark decided to retire from the Board of Aldernen, Reed was one of three candidates to become Alderman in the 6th ward. The other two were Patrick Cacchione and Brian Ireland.

Lewis Reed won his first election in St. Louis.

In the Spring of 2001 board president Francis Slay was elected mayor, alderman Jim Shrewsbury elected board president.

It was as 6th ward alderman that Reed came to my attention in 2006, over a planned police substation in the Tower Grove East neighborhood. It was known in the Fall of 2006 that Reed would be challenging board president Jim Shrewsbury in the Spring of 2007, causing people to begin planning to replace him on the board, representing the 6th ward.

From Reed’s 2007 campaign website running for board president. Saved on 3/6/2007 — knew it would eventually be useful.

Reed won his first citywide election in the March 2007 partisan primary by defeating 2-term president Shrewsbury, becoming president of the board the following month.

In March 2013 Reed ran for mayor for the first time, losing to incumbent Francis Slay. He remained president of the board since it was elected two years off from the mayoral race.

In Spring 2017 Reed again ran for mayor, but this time incumbent Slay wasn’t seeking a 4th term. The Democratic primary was packed with people wanting to become mayor. Others on the ballot included then 21st ward alderman Antonio French, Treasurer Tishaura Jones, 22nd ward alderman Jeffrey Boyd, and 28th ward alderwoman Lyda Krewson. Krewson became the city’s first female mayor. Every other candidate kept their existing elected sears that year, except Antonio French. John Collins-Muhammad was elected 21st ward alderman, succeeding French.

There’s a lot more detail I probably could’ve researched/included, but I think you get the overall picture of Reed’s 25 year political career in St. Louis.

— Steve Patterson

 

My Maternal Ancestors Farmed In Ukraine, Russia For A Couple Of Centuries

June 2, 2022 Featured, Politics/Policy, Religion Comments Off on My Maternal Ancestors Farmed In Ukraine, Russia For A Couple Of Centuries

Few living today have seen war between European nations, until the last few months. Russia President Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine is horrific. The whole world is watching, especially neighboring countries. Eventually this may become World War 3.

When Russia invaded Ukraine I began looking at cities on Google’s Streetview, beautiful. Google has since removed this feature, at least from Mariupol. Satellite views are still available — I love how you have a dense city up to a point then rural farmland — none of the auto-centric sprawl visible in every region in the U.S.

But this post isn’t about present cities in Ukraine, or the war. It’s about my familial connection to Ukraine, Crimea, Poland, Russia, other European nations mentioned nightly on the evening news for months. It’s also about religious freedom.

As the headline states, numerous generations of my ancestors lived in Ukraine and South Russia. However, I’m not Ukrainian or Russian. All eight of my maternal great-grandparents were Mennonites living in settlements in Russia & Ukraine before immigrating to the U.S. and Canada in the late 19th century.

Mennonites are members of certain Christian groups belonging to the church communities of Anabaptist denominations named after Menno Simons (1496–1561) of Friesland. Through his writings, Simons articulated and formalized the teachings of earlier Swiss founders, with the early teachings of the Mennonites founded on the belief in both the mission and ministry of Jesus, which the original Anabaptist followers held with great conviction, despite persecution by various Roman Catholic and Protestant states. An early set of Mennonite beliefs was codified in the Dordrecht Confession of Faith in 1632, but the various groups do not hold to a common confession or creed.

Rather than fight, the majority of the early Mennonite followers survived by fleeing to neighboring states where ruling families were tolerant of their belief in believer’s baptism. Over the years, Mennonites have become known as one of the historic peace churches, due to their commitment to pacifism. (Wikipedia)

In short, Mennonites and other anabaptists don’t believe in baptizing a baby. They believe baptism is something a person should decide for themselves.  This distinction from other Christian religions subjected anabaptists (Mennonite, Amish, etc) to religious intolerance.

All my mom’s ancestors for hundreds of years were Mennonite, but that ended when she married my father, who wasn’t a Mennonite.

My maternal ancestors moved every few generations, trying to find a place to farm and follow their religious beliefs.

Vistula delta Mennonites were a historic Mennonite community, established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland. It originated from the Netherlands and present-day northern Germany. The Mennonite community played an important role in the drainage and cultivation of the Vistula delta and the trade relations with the Netherlands. In the late 18th century a significant number of Mennonites emigrated further and formed the nucleus of the Mennonite settlements in Russia, while many remained in the region after the annexation of the region by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland. With the end of World War II and the flight and expulsion of Germans (incl. Germanized Dutch settlers) the Mennonite settlements in the Vistula delta ceased to exist.

The Plautdietsch language, a mixture of Dutch and the local Low German dialect, originates from the Vistula delta and is still used by Mennonite communities worldwide. (Wikipedia)

This is the context that prompted my ancestors in the late 1700s and early 1800s to move to Russia, Ukraine, and Crimea — the hope of farming and being left alone. They didn’t attempt to assimilate, they set up rural isolated Mennonite villages in settlements.

The Molochna River, Ukraine. Photo from internet, by ??????? ???????. June 2017

My recent research has found my ancestors lived in at least 16 different settlements, but the one with the most was the Molotschna Colony.

Molotschna Colony or Molochna Colony was a Russian Mennonite settlement in what is now Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine. Today, the central village, known as Molochansk, has a population less than 10,000. The settlement is named after the Molochna River which forms its western boundary. The land falls mostly within the Tokmatskyi and Chernihivskyi Raions. The nearest large city is Melitopol, southwest of Molochansk.

Initially called Halbstadt (Half-city), Molotschna was founded in 1804 by Mennonite settlers from West Prussiaand consisted of 57 villages. Known as the New Colony, it was the second and largest Mennonite settlement in the Russian Empire. In the late 19th century, hundreds of people left this colony to settle in North America. Colonies there had groups that later relocated to Latin America, where Mennonites settled in several countries. After many Mennonites left or were deported during and after the last days of World War II, this area became populated largely by Ukrainians. (Wikipedia)

Some of their surnames included: Klassen, Neufield, Weins, Zacharies, Wall, Kruger, Kroeker, Fast, Thiessen, Bornn, Toews, Loepp, and Loewen. My maternal ancestors all immigrated to the U.S. and Canada in the late 19th century. It’s still unclear to me the proximity of their villages to the Pale of Settlement:

A western region of the Russian Empire with varying borders that existed from 1791 to 1917 in which permanent residency by Jews was allowed and beyond which Jewish residency, permanent or temporary, was mostly forbidden. Most Jews were still excluded from residency in a number of cities within the Pale as well. A few Jews were allowed to live outside the area, including those with university education, the ennobled, members of the most affluent of the merchant guilds and particular artisans, some military personnel and some services associated with them, including their families, and sometimes their servants. The archaic English term pale is derived from the Latin word palus, a stake, extended to mean the area enclosed by a fence or boundary. (Wikipedia)

This coincides with the time frame my maternal ancestors were in that part of Europe. My understanding is Jewish people weren’t allowed to farm, they were in cities doing trades. My ancestors, on the other hand, were farmers in small self-sustained rural villages. Recent pictures (before this war) of these areas were simply gorgeous, very beautiful.

Political changes & religious intolerance is why many Mennonites immigrated to North America in the late 19th century. Many Jewish people also left the Pale in the same period.

It’s weird that prior to this war I had little interest in Ukraine and my familial connection. Now I see news reports of fighting in certain regions so I look to see if my ancestors lived there, or nearby. The answer is usually they did.

It has been nearly 150 years since my ancestors lived there, but I feel a connection. The loss of life, disruption of families, destruction of cities, etc is all very upsetting.

— Steve Patterson

 

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