The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Sanctuary Cities

St. Louis and many other like minded cities in the United States have deemed themselves to be Sanctuary Cities. What this means to my mind is these cities will not cooperate with federal officials to arrest and deport undocumented immigrants. This is certainly a morally popular position to take and on the face of it makes sense. After all, immigration policy is in a shambles and many undocumented folks are key people in their communities.

I have two problems with Sanctuary Cities, both practical and philosophical. From a practical point of view, cities should not be harboring dangerous criminals. The Trump administration has seriously exaggerated the seriousness of this problem, but it exists. Second, I have a problem with any city disobeying federal law. I am a big believer in law and society will become unmanageable if everybody only followed laws they liked. What if some cities decided to not enforce civil rights laws or gay marriage. We can’t pick and choose what we obey.

The answer to the problem of Sanctuary Cities is to pass a sane immigration law. I am not optimistic this will happen in the near future. Written by Paul Dribin


Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity is of course the international organization that does a great job of providing affordable housing for working poor families. The vehicle is a sweat equity program in which members of the community and the ultimate purchasers of the home work together. The loan is at 0% rate of interest.

An friend of mine had a constructive criticism of the program with which I agree. Groups now have to pay significant sums of money for the privilege of working on a house. This leaves out small groups and well intentioned individuals who cannot pay these fees. I am sure this program has raised huge sums of money for Habitat, but it has lost a little of its charitable purpose. The corporate world has taken over this program just like it has everything else. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Peter’s MO

St. Peter’s was mentioned by Money Magazine as one of the 10 best cities in the United States in which to start a career. Amazon must have known what they were doing when they located a warehouse here.

Loop Follies Again

Does anyone know the status of the Loop Trolley? The website contains no information about a start date.

Charter Schools

Betsy Devos has taken a deserved hit due to her ignorance of education policy. She and others, of course, have touted charter schools as a solution to the education problems facing our country. Recent research has again shown that overall the performance of charter schools is not superior to public schools and charter schools do not inspire public schools to do better. This has important lessons for St. Louis. I know of some superior charter schools that are a benefit to the community and some superior public schools. It just depends. Written by Paul Dribin

Quality of Life in St. Louis

A recent study by the Federal Reserve in St. Louis concluded that we have a high and affordable quality of life here. I have always felt that way. Cultural amenities, restaurants, architecture, etc. are top notch. The cost of living is great, housing is generally affordable, and traffic is minimal. I would think as housing gets more out of sight in the “trendy” cities, that places like St. Louis should be able to effectively market themselves. If only we could do something about crime and our archaic governmental system. Written by Paul Dribin

A Tale About Metrolink

I have a retired friend who has an interesting job. He gets paid to ride Metrolink and report his findings to Metro. Here is what he has found:

1. In hundreds of rides no one has asked him for tickets.

2. Security personnel did not challenge dangerous passengers

3. All stations and routes were dangerous.

4. Police would load criminals onto trains to offload them to another location.

He does not have a very good image of the whole program. Yet we want to expand it. Written by Paul Dribin

Amazon in St. Peter’s

Amazon is going to open a warehouse in St. Peter’s which will employ 2000 people. This is great news. Written by Paul


City of St. Louis Affordable Housing Trust Fund

I have written previously about the City of St. Louis Affordable Housing Trust Fund. It is a fund that is derived from out of state taxes paid in St. Louis and supposed to be used for affordable housing efforts. For years money has been siphoned for other purposes.

The city has passed a sales tax for metro link expansion(which is an ill conceived idea). Half of the funds are to be used for other community based needs. Housing advocates are lobbying the city to use the funds to expand affordable housing efforts. I strongly agree with this effort and urge readers to lobby city officials in this regard. Written by Paul Dribin

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