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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “police”

Vacancies in St. Louis

As you may know, there has been a collaborative formed to address the huge vacancy problem in St. Louis. Various task forces are meeting and I participate in two of them. Most of the people at the meetings appear to be community activists with a smattering of developers.

The discussions have generally been good but rather general in nature. We do not seem to want to address the key problems which I see as:

1. Outmoded methods of management and sales by LRA.

2. The higher cost of doing business in St. Louis.

3. Historical preservation

4. Crime

5. The overall oversupply of housing and undersupply of population in the region.

6. The unwillingness of the group to accept demolition.

Written by Paul Dribin

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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.

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

Police Department Underhiring

I heard from a reliable source yesterday that the City of St. Louis is about 140 police officers short of their hiring authority. This source said the problem was that the pay was low and the work more difficult and dangerous than in the surrounding communities. Something must be done to change this situation. I also wonder what bureaucratic city policies might be getting in the way. As we are getting nearer a full employment economy, we need to figure out a way to hire more officers and cure our serious crime problem. 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

Metrolink Security

The rapid transit system in St. Louis known as Metrolink is an albatross. Mostly due to security concerns ridership is down and the operating deficit is increasing. The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article today about Metrolink which is quite disturbing. There is still no overall security plan linking St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County. The standards for policing these three jurisdictions are all different. The prosecutor in St. Louis County will not allow prosecutions for riders who do not pay fares. St. Louis City hardly provides any policing at all. Why are they talking about expanding a system that does not work now. Written by Paul Dribin

Let’s Get Priorities Right

I am constantly frustrated by the silly priorities of our region and the things we try to put effort into. The City of St. Louis is the murder capital of the country. Indeed some neighborhoods have a murder rate as high as the most dangerous third world countries. We have a huge amount of poverty, poor infrastructure, failing schools, poor public health, and a net loss of population. Our race relations are the joke of the country.

Instead of focusing on these issues we are concerned about Metrolink expansion, soccer stadiums, trolleys, and horse drawn carriages. Our government is hugely fragmented and dysfunctional. It’s no wonder we have problems. Written by Paul Dribin

Residency Requirements in St. Louis

A controversy is brewing in St. Louis about whether residency requirements should stay in place for city employees. The city is talking about easing or eliminating city occupancy requirements for employees. The reason given for this line of thinking is that positions with city government have been too difficult to fill due to the residency requirement.

Community activists are opposed to eliminating the residency requirement. I believe that the community benefits from having certain types of city workers living in town. Police officers and teachers are two professions that come to mind. On the other hand, the whole question is irrelevant if you can’t fill the job. What about a compromise that does not make residency a requirement but gives preference to city residents in hiring. Written by Paul Dribin

Havoc in Circuit Attorney’s Office

Since Kimberly Gardner has been elected as Circuit Attorney in St. Louis, havoc has reigned. Many staff attorneys have resigned and she has been accused of nepotism in appointments. Not much has been written about the situation. Now we here that a judge has ordered the Circuit Attorney’s office not to be involved with the investigation of a police officer. Why? Under previous administrations such investigations took place with procedures carved out to eliminate conflicts of interest. Something is not right. We need all available resources to fight crime. Written by Paul Dribin

Violence Prevention in St. Louis

I am happy to see attention paid to the violence in St. Louis. Some of our medical centers are providing special interventions for victims of violence in an effort to cure the problem. Hospitals have hired extra social workers to provide support and assistance to victims of violence and their families. Good effort. Written by Paul Dribin

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