The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the month “September, 2020”

Crime-Put Out the Fire

St. Louis has for several years been working on plans to address the vacancy problem in the city, most of which is on the north side. The groups meet and discuss esoteric issues but fail to want to talk about the most pressing issue, crime. St. Louis is the crime leader in the U.S, and most of it is focused on the north side. There are vacancies because hundreds of thousands of black people left the city and moved to the county. The primary reason for that was better schools and less crime. The unwillingness of civic groups and elected officials to address this issue has caused total stagnation in the city. First, stop the fire and bleeding, then deal with the other stuff. Written by Paul Dribin

City County Merger

Anyone who writes about St. Louis needs to cover this topic. It is almost a cliche, but our region cannot thrive with the present system of governance. The City of St. Louis is not part of St. Louis County which wastes resources and makes comprehensive planning more difficult. In addition, the 87 municipalities are inefficient with communities competing against each other, and many of these communities not able to provide a professional level of service. I am very pessimistic that any change can take place. The recent election of Kim Gardner as Circuit Attorney in the City of St. Louis caused many county residents I know to reaffirm their opposition to merger. Written by Paul Dribin

William Danforth

Dr. William Danforth recently died at the age of 94. He was born into privilege of the Ralston Purina company but lived a modest live devoted to service to others. His most noted accomplishment was as President of Washington University. He was extremely modest and kind and cared deeply about the students at the university. I had the privilege of meeting him once. He was as kind to me as he was to everyone. He will be missed. Written by Paul Dribin

City of Bel Ridge Flunks State Audit

State Auditor Galloway gave this community in northern St. Louis County the lowest possible rating. This is another example of why the large number of small municipalities in St. Louis County is a problem. (1200 residents). I don’t anticipate the problem ever changing. Written by Paul Dribin

Illinois Tollroad

We just recently returned from a trip to Door County Wisconsin which as always was wonderful. Unfortunately to get there we have to go through Illinois and use their tollroad system. Because of coronavirus you cannot pay tolls except by having an I pass device on your car. No cash or credit card. I have tried for 2 days now to pay online without any success. I just found out they have reduced the maximum toll to $3 per trip so I can live with that and just forget fiddling with the online system. Written by Paul Dribin

Misguided Criticism of Sam Page

I think this is hysterical. The coronavirus epidemic is higher than it should be in the St. Louis region because people are not adhering to masking and distancing guidelines, going to bars etc. County Executive Page has issued requirements limiting youth sports activities. Parents are not protesting at Page’s house to express their displeasure with Dr. Page for his policies. The real villain is not Dr. Page but the reckless behavior of many of these same parents. Written by Paul Dribin

Ending Homelessness and Improving Health Care at Once

This seems to be too good to be true but is real. Experiments around the country and most recently in St. Louis conclude the same thing, that housing and supportive services for homeless people not only improves their housing situation but their health.

An experimental program started by Barnes Jewish Christian Hospital and St. Patricks Center has demonstrated the point. The BJC staff had found that a relatively small number of homeless people were significantly overusing their facilities and running up huge unreimbursed health care bills. BJC contracted with St Patricks Center to provide affordable supportive housing and wrap around services. The results have been fantastic. The clients significantly reduced their emergency room usage, thereby showing significant drops in health care costs. Furthermore, the formerly homeless people were housed properly and affordable, and had access to good healthcare and jobs. A true win win situation. Let’s replicate it all over the country. Written by Paul Dribin(I played a leadership role in bringing the parties together and getting the program started)

Coronavirus Relief and Poverty

The coronavirus relief efforts that have expired were remarkable successful at keeping people out of poverty in the short term. The additional unemployment plus the one time tax refunds helped millions of people stabilize their lives and prevent more poverty. We should learn a lesson from this for general public policy. A comprehensive program of cash payments to poor people could end poverty and stabilize the economy. Why don’t we implement such a program? I suspect vested interests. Written by Paul Dribin

Metro to Put Sheriff’s Deputies on Trains

A good idea. Between crime and coronavirus Metrolink is really hurting

Misinformation About St Louis Public Schools

An excellent column by tony Messinger. We have to work

K hard to stop the spread of misinformation in social media. Paul Dribin

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