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Candidate Questionnaire Responses from the 25th Ward

February 18, 2009 25th Ward, Politics/Policy 5 Comments

Four years ago I was a candidate for Alderman in the 25th Ward, losing with 44.1% of the vote in the 2-way race . In November 2007 I moved downtown to a loft in the City’s 6th Ward where Kacie Starr Triplett was elected earlier in the year after a 3-way race.

Dorothy Kirner, who defeated me in 2005, decided not to run again this time.  Four candidates filed as Democrats.  The winner of the March 3rd Democratic primary will potentially face Independent Chris Clark on April 4th (assuming he submitted signatures yesterday and they are verified).

This election cycle I sent out letters to candidates in contested primary races asking them to complete an online questionnaire.  The following are answers from three of the four candidates on the Democratic ballot in the 25th Ward: Shane Cohn, Travis Reems and Angie Singler.  A fourth candidate did not respond.

4. Campaign website URL is (this WILL be published). Type ‘none’ if you don’t have a website/blog.

Cohn:  www.myward25.com

Reems: http://www.WardUnited.com

Singler:   www.Ward25.com

5. List your 3 main qualifications for the position?

… Continue Reading


Singler Gets 25th Ward Endorsement

January 23, 2009 25th Ward 14 Comments

At the end of a painfully long meeting, Angie Singler received the Democratic ward endorsement in the 25th for the March 3rd Democratic primary.  This race has four candidates.  Incumbent Dorothy Kirner is not running for re-election.

Singler received the most votes with Shane Cohn coming in 2nd, Travis Reems 3rd and Debbie Kotraba in 4th. Kotraba wasn’t even present at the meeting.

My congrats to Angie for her many months of hard work already put into this race.


BPS Denies Larry Rice’s Request for a Conditional-Use Zoning Permit

IMG_4276.JPGThis afternoon St. Louis’ Board of Public Service met to hear numerous issues related to zoning. One of the items was an application from Larry Rice’s New Life Evangelistic Center to open an energy center in an old commercial building located in the middle of residential block in South city.
Numerous neighbors came out strong in opposition earlier this month. Ald. Kirner, who initially supported the project, changed her mind once her constituents began to speak out against the proposal.

Rice may appeal today’s decision to the Board of Adjustment.


Larry Rice’s Conditional-Use Zoning Request to be Decided by BPS Today

This afternoon staff of the Board of Public Service will give their recommendation to the Board of Public Service regarding the request by Larry Rice of the New Life Evangelistic Center for a conditional use permit to operate an Energy Center in an otherwise residential block.  Earlier this month a hearing was held where Rice and others spoke for or against the zoning request.  Today’s meeting is just that — a meeting.  No new testimony will be hear.  The staff will present their recommendation and a decision will be made.


Above, Rice held another fair on this past Saturday.  The public was invited to this event but at this time Rice had not secured necessary approvals to hold such events.  This image was taken in the morning as they were setting up.


Rice had reinstalled his sign, also not yet approved, for the Saturday fair.


The white “sculpture” was actually a left over from a prior owner.  But the signs leaning against them are part of Rice’s instructional materials.


Later in the day, as they were closing up, I went by again on my way home.  Numerous vehicles were parked on the grass in the area where he wants to put an 18-car parking lot (original drawings submitted by Rice showed 38 cars).


I suppose out in the boondocks, where Rice has other energy centers, parking on fields is commonplace.  But not so much in residential neighborhoods.
The meeting is to begin at 1:45pm this afternoon in room 208 of City Hall.  I suspect the staff will recommend denial of the request and the Board of Public Service will agree.  If so, Larry Rice can appeal the decision to the Board of Adjustment.  Conversely, if NLEC gets their conditional use permit an aggrieved citizen can appeal to the Board of Adjustment.  I’m sure the citizens in the area will appeal if Rice prevails today, the big question is what will Rice do if he loses?


Additional Notes from Hearing on Energy Center

Yesterday’s meeting on the conditional use application for the Energy Center to be operated by the New Life Evangelistic Center was interesting to say the least.  To clarify, it was only about the zoning for the use of the former florist shop & greenhouse.

Larry Rice spoke on behalf of his plan for the property, calling for “healing” between the white and black communities in St. Louis.  He commented that at last week’s informational meeting there was not a black person in the room (true) — implying this is some sort of white bias I guess.  Interestingly, the first person to speak against the energy center was a black homeowner that lives across the street from the property in question.

Rice, at one point, indicated the property looked better than it did a year ago.  This is certainly true, I’ve known the place since 1994 and it has never looked better.   Rice said the neighbors loved the improvements they had made, that they had cut down high weeds and fixed broken greenhouse glass that was inherited from the previous owner.  But Rice only bought the property in July of this year — after improvements had been made and grass cut.  The previous owner, Susan Jansen, is one of his supporters and she was seated in the row behind him.  His remark confirmed my suspicion — Rice bought the property last November but in Jansen’s name rather than New Life Evangelistic Center.  He views the previous owner as the one Jansen purchased it from.

A Post-Dispatch story posted yesterday following the meeting with a headline “Residents mad about Rice’ center” included this near the end:

After the hearing, Rice said he was dismayed at his opponents’ anger that’s built up over the last month.

“I’m  sensing a hostility directed at homeless people I haven’t seen in 35 years,”  said  Rice.  “I  grieve over the bitterness and fear I’m seeing in south St. Louis.”

Today the online version drops the above.  The new headline is  “Rev. Rice gets hammered by Dutchtown residents at hearing.”  New in this version is:

The property includes a former flower shop with a greenhouse and the house next door. Rice bought them over the summer for $216,000.

Rice said if he doesn’t get the permits, he’ll appeal the city’s decision. He said if his appeal fails, “we’ll use it as transitional housing or low-income housing.”

Terrell Eiland, a zoning specialist with the St. Louis department of public safety who chaired the hearing, said that Rice would need another permit to operate the property as a residence for multiple people.

Again, just to clarify the property that was under consideration for a conditional use permit yesterday was only the storefront and greenhouse — not the old frame house and open land.  Ironically Rice has said numerous times that you can’t house people in a greenhouse — it is too hot.  Certainly a logical statement.  So would he invest additional money to raze the storefront and greenhouse to build some sort of group home?  Doubtful.

Following the meeting Ald. Kirner asked me how everyone did.  I agreed that everyone, including her, did a good job.  I thanked her for withdrawing her prior support.  Still, I don’t think even Larry Rice should be subjected to our changes with the wind form of approval/non-approval from our elected officials.  This is not to say that Kirner should support the project because she earlier expressed support.  But while claiming that she must listing to constituents now, why weren’t they consulted before?  Conditional use zoning for any business that brings in large quantities of people to a residential block is something that at least the owners on that block need to be consulted on before approval is given.

A question that remains for me is if the city will allow him to operate his “energy fair” that he has already scheduled for October 27th from 10am to 2pm?  This is probably a question for our new public safety director, Charles Bryson.  Maybe it should go on — it would make an interesting backdrop for a protest along the public sidewalk in front of his property.