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Dramatic Changes for St. Louis’ 2023 Primary & General Elections

January 9, 2023 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy Comments Off on Dramatic Changes for St. Louis’ 2023 Primary & General Elections

The 2023 spring municipal elections in St. Louis will be very different than any of us have every experienced. There’ll still be a March primary and an April general — but the primary will be non-partisan, both will begin the change from 28 wards to 14.  The primary is 8 weeks from tomorrow.

Election headquarters
The St. Louis Board of Election Commissioners is on the first floor at 300 N. Tucker (@ Olive)

We’ve had the nonpartisan primary for one or two elections, but with 28 total wards. This being the first election downsizing to 14 there are no incumbents — all 14 seats are new and up for election. Seven will be elected to an initial 2-year term, the other 7 to a 4-year term. This will make future elections staggered, with only half the seats up for election every two odd years. 

Until changed, races with only 1-2 candidates will be the same for primary & general elections — rather silly. Races with 3+ primary candidates will have the top 2 primary finishers on our general election ballots.

Remember— nearly everyone in the city has a new ward number. The March 7th & April 4th elections are both important — at least wards with 3 or more candidates in the primary.

Okay, let’s look at each race. The number in parentheses is the number of candidates in the primary, the areas listed are some/all of the neighborhoods in this ward. The President and ward headings are all links to relevant maps.

President of the Board of Alderman (1): Citywide

Incumbent Megan Ellyia Green only recently won a challenged special election to finish the term of disgraced Lewis Reed, so it’s no surprise she’s not challenged now. I suspect this will not be the case in 2027.

Ward 1 (3): Bevo Mill, Holly Hills, Carondelet, Patch

This far south ward has three people running for the seat:
– Annie Schweitzer (current 13th ward alderman)
– Matthew Kotraba
– Tony Kirchner

All three live in the 63116 zip code.

Ward 2 (3): Bevo Mill, Boulevard Hts, Princeton Hts, St. Louis Hills

This southwest ward also has three candidates:
– Phill Menendez
– Thomas R. Oldenburg (current 16th ward alderman)
– Katie Bellis

All three live in the 63109 zip code.

Ward 3 (1): Dutchtown, Carondelet, Mount Pleasant, Gravois Park

Current 25th ward alderman Shane Cohn is the only candidate, he lives in the 63111 zip code.

Ward 4 (3): Lindenwood Park, Clifton Heights, Ellendale, Franz Park…

This southwest ward has three candidates — one of several races pitting current aldermen against each other:
– Bret Narayan, current 24th ward alderman
– Joseph (Joe) Vaccaro, current 23rd ward alderman
– Casey Otto

All three live in the 63139 zip code.

Ward 5 (2): Southampton, North Hampton, The Hill, SW Garden…

This south ward has only two candidates, so both will appear on the March & April ballots:
– Joseph (Joe) Vollmer, current 10th ward alderman
– Helen Petty

Both live in the 63110 zip code.

Ward 6 (2): Tower Grove South, Shaw, Compton Heights…

This south ward also has only two candidates, so both will be on both the primary & general ballots:
– Daniela Valezquez
– Jennifer Florida

Valezquez lives in 63110, Florida in 63116.

Ward 7 (3): Gravois Park, Benton Park West, Tower Grove East, Fox Park…

This south ward has three candidates:
– Alisha Sonnier
– J.P. Mitchom
– Cedric (C-Sharp) Redmon

They live in the 63118, 63110, 63104 zip codes, respectively.

Ward 8 (3): Marine Villa, Benton Park, Soulard, Downtown…

This south ward has three candidates:
– Shedrick (Nato Caliph) Kelley
– Cara Spencer, current 20th ward alderman
– Kenneth A. (Ken) Ortmann

Kelley lives in the 63104 zip code, Spencer and Ortmann in 63118.

Ward 9 (3): Forest Park Southeast, Central West End, Kings Oak…

This central corridor ward has three candidates, including 2 current aldermen:
– Tina (Sweet-T) Pihl, current 17th ward alderman
– Michael Browning
– Michael J. Gras, current 28th ward alderman

Pihl and Browning live in the 63110 zip code, Gras in 63108.

Ward 10 (2): Wydown Skinker, Skinker DeBaliviere, Academy, Lewis Place…

This northwest ward has only two candidates:
– Sameem Clark Hubbard, current 26th ward alderman
– Emmett L. Coleman

Both live in the 63112 zip code.

Ward 11 (2): O’Fallon, Jeff Vanderlou, Midtown…

This north central ward has only two candidates:
– Laura Keys, recently elected 21st ward alderman, finishing term of John Collins-Muhammad.
– Carla (Coffee) Wright

Both live in the 63115 zip code.

Ward 12 (5): The Ville, Baden, Mark Twain…

At five, this north ward has the most candidates of any! Seven filed, but one didn’t meet the signature obligation and the other withdrew. The remaining five on the ballot are:
– Darron M. Collins-Bey
– Tishara T. Earl
– Yolanda (Glass) Brown
– Walter Rush
– Sharon Tyus, currently the 1st ward alderman

Collins-Bey, Brown, and Rush live in the 63115 zip code, Earl in 63147, Tyus in 63113.

Ward 13 (3): Wells Goodfellow, Walnut Park (East & West), Baden…

This far north ward has three candidates — all three currently serving on the Board of Aldermen:
– Norma J. Walker, recently elected 22nd ward alderman, finishing term of Jeffrey Boyd
– Pamela Boyd, current 27th ward alderman
– Lisa Middlebrook, current 2nd ward alderman

Walker lives in the 63120 zip code, Boyd in 63136, Middlebrook in 63147.

Ward 14 (4): College Hill, Hyde Park, Old North, Columbus Square…

This north ward is my ward, I’ll have four candidates to choose from in the primary:
– James Page, currently serving as 5th ward alderman
– Brandon Bosley, currently serving as 3rd ward alderman
– Rasheen Aldridge, currently serving as 78th district state representative
– Ebony M. Washington

James Page lives in the 63103 zip code, Bosley and Aldridge in 63107, Washington in 63106.

Current aldermen not running in 2023

The following ten aldermen are not candidates (current ward):
– Dwinderlin Evans (4th)
– Christine Ingrassia (6th)
– Jack Coatar (7th)
– Annie Rice (8th)
– Dan Guenther (9th)
– James Lappe (11th)
– Bill Stephens (12th)
– Carol Howard (14th)
– Jesse Todd (18th)
– Marlene Davis (19th)

Additional thoughts

All this means at least fifteen of the current 27 (there’s one vacancy) ward Board of Aldermen will end their service in a few months. Given that 28 wards are being cut in half to 14 this isn’t a surprise. As many as 25 of the current 27 could be out of office after the general election in April — that number is shocking!

Two former aldermen, Florida & Ortmann, are hoping to return to the board. Both previously lost a reelection bid to a challenger in a democratic primary. Again, city elections are now nonpartisan. Florida will face the same person in the primary and general, Ortmann is in a 3-way race that includes a current alderman so his immediate goal is to finish in the top two in the March 7th primary so he can try to win the April 4th general.

Voter information

I want to leave you with helpful resources to help make your decision and voting easier. I’m very curious if we’ll see any significant change in voter turnout. Analysis will be a challenge since we can’t compare the 14 new apples to apples, but we can see citywide as well as compare old vs new in the same part of town.

Okay, here are some resources for you:
St Louis Board of Elections: March 7th Primary
St. Louis Board of Elections: March 7 Candidate List
St Louis Board of Elections: April 4th General (includes relevant dates)
Find your ward, poling places, etc (includes locations for no excuse voter information held the two weeks prior to election day, as well as citywide voting locations where any registered voter can cast their ballot on election day.
Current 28 wards & aldermen (likely won’t be available after primary or general election).
City’s Redistricting FAQ page (includes link to proposition voters approved way back in 2012 to reduce the number of wards from 28 to 14).
– League of Women Voters/St. Louis (hopefully they’ll conduct some debates, at least the races with 4+ candidates).

— Steve
————————————————————————
St. Louis urban planning, policy, and politics @ UrbanReviewSTL since October 31, 2004. For additional content please consider following on Facebook, Instagram, Mastodon, and/or Twitter.


 

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

 

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