Advertisements

The St Louis Contrarian

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

LRA Owns 12000 Houses in St. Louis

The Post Dispatch published an important article on Sunday showing the problems associated with foreclosed houses owned by LRA, a city agency. Future columns of mine will address the ideas I have for improving the sale of these houses and lowering vacancies in St. Louis. Written by Paul Dribin

Advertisements

Maplewood Nuisance Ordinance

Maplewood an inner suburb of St. Louis has had a nuisance ordinance which has been challenged by the ACLU. In a settlement the city agreed to change the ordinance.

The sticking point was that more than a certain number of calls to the police could get a tenant evicted. In the case of a woman suffering from domestic abuse, calling the police is usually a necessity.

I believe nuisance ordinances serve an important service. They need to be reasonable in how they are enforced.

Loufest

Loufest a big rock and roll festival slated to be held this week has been canceled. The promoter did not have the money to pay contractors and artists. Once again a sad story for our city.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Controversy

Kim Gardner, Circuit Attorney of St. Louis has been a controversial figure. Many of her attorneys have quit because of her abrasive management style. She indicted former Governor, Eric Greitens in a case which would not have stood up. Now she has said that she will not prosecute cases from a certain number of specific police officers. The implication is these officers are either corrupt, incompetent, or both. If any of that is true they should be fired. In the meantime criminals can walk free. Something is seriously wrong in this story. Written by Paul Dribin

Save a Lot and Northwest Plaza

St. Louis County had granted Save a Lot Corporation tax abatement to relocate its’ headquarters to the revamped Northwest Plaza. This deal seemed crooked on the face of it; another debacle created by County Executive Stenger and his stooge Sheila Sweeney.

The County Council has now overturned this decision. Good for them. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Safety

One of the biggest problems affecting Metrolink safety is that police in the various jurisdictions along the routes have radios with different frequencies. The county taxpayers had approved a small sales tax increase to address this issue. The money is there but the issue remains unresolved. Why? Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis Decline in Convention Business

The St. Louis Business Journal published a story today indicating that convention business in St. Louis during 2018 is down 20% from 2017. This is bad news. Two factors seem to be in effect. First the Ferguson episode discouraged many organizations from choosing St. Louis as the site of a convention. Second, the professionals in the field claim the relatively small size of the convention center. Part of the problem is the shortage of hotel rooms.

I like some real experts am skeptical of the convention size issue. While the problem is technically true, other cities are also expanding. The overall national convention business is down. Unfortunately I don’t have any answers.

Update on Paul McKee and Northside Project

Little is happening in this arena. KWMU came upon a renegotiation agreement that requires relatively little of the northside group to keep the deal going. As I have said, I know McKee and consider him an honorable purchase. I think he has been squeezed by too many parties in the city. Written by Paul Dribin

Too Much Democracy

I am getting tired of do gooders who are looking for more civic involvement, community development, etc. I just had an aborted lunch with just such a person who complained that urban development has been wrong all along and she knows a better way.

We have a representative government. That means we rely on our elected officials to make key political and administrative decisions. As citizens we should provide input to our elected officials and hold them accountable. Direct democracy does not work. The biggest problem with community based decision making is that the local community does not and cannot look out for the overall good of the larger community. They tend to be opposed to changes in governance and other large issues that do not have immediate payoffs.

St. Louis has too much democracy. It seems that everyone in town no matter how ill informed has a voice and potential veto power. The division of power among both the aldermen for the legislative branch and the mayor, comptroller, and President of the Board of Aldermen is dysfunctional. Written by Paul Dribin

Gentrification?

Professor Todd Swanstrom wrote a wonderful article that I read in Urban Observatory. In that article he very intelligently took apart much of the misinformation in St. Louis. Advocates have decried any effort at city development that does not specifically address poor people. They complain that gentrification is moving poor people out of the central corridor and the Tower Grove area. Professor Swanstrom points out the data does not support this assumption. True gentrification requires a substantial increase in housing costs that drive out poor people. This is not happening in St. Louis. The contrary problem has taken place; depopulation of many areas of the city.

You would think we would welcome development with open arms. Oh well!

Post Navigation