There has been quite a lot of talk recently about merging governments in the St. Louis region. There is a proposal led by Better Together to have a statewide vote on the issue, putting all the communities in St. Louis County into one government. This has fostered a statement by local government leaders to develop their own plan.
I believe the fragmented governmental structure of the region is so poisonous to our development that something needs to be done. I don’t know if one government is the answer but we need to eliminate all the small inefficient units of government. Written by Paul Dribin
Mr Bell won a surprising election to become Circuit Attorney. The public wanted a change relative to prosecution and policing relative to the racial problems coming out of Ferguson
So far Mr Bell has a rocky start. He is firing three prosecutors, one of whom prosecuted the Michael Brown case. Is this retribution? He is recommending lessening the prosecution of unpaid child support. He is hiring a controversial prosecutor who was a divisive figure for Kim Gardner, Circuit Attorney in St Louis. On the positive side he is ending cash bail for non violent crime. (This may not be a change). Stay tuned!
This has been one of my favorite topics, one that unfortunately I have been correct about. Sheila Sweeney who made the ridiculous salary of $500,000 a year.(I could have run the organization into the ground for a lot less), resigned under pressure last week.
As I have previously written, the agency involved itself in many shady if not illegal transactions tied to friends of County Executive Stenger. Furthermore, the staff is bloated and the salaries of these individuals is quite high, with many making in the six figures.
I hope the county now gets a handle on the situation and that criminal proceedings occur. A bigger question is what do these Economic Development Agencies accomplish for the money spent on them? Written by Paul Dribin
The Business Journal published an important but superficial article this week on the plethora of development agencies in the St. Louis area, the large amount of dollars they spend, and the poor results they achieve. Sounds like a recipe for madness, but we go on our merry way. I give the Economic Development Council of St. Charles County some high marks, but that is the only agency I would give that mark to. The St. Louis County group is especially suspect. In the end, development agencies don’t bring business, overall government policies and the desire of business owners is what matters. Written by Paul Dribin
The trolley situation is still a mess. KWMU had a story which documented the large number of businesses which have gone out of business, at least partly due to the trolley construction. Also, The Riverfront Times published an article about the fact that the automatic ticket machines for the trolley are in before the trolley itself and these machines do not make change. An individual who needed change would need to send in the receipt through the mail and wait for change from the Trolley Association by mail. Overall, the whole thing still seems like a fiasco. One piece of good news, the Loop Business Association has hired Rachelle L’Ecuyer as Executive Director. She is top notch and has done a great job as Economic Development Director in Maplewood. I wonder how long it will take her to clash with Joe Edwards. Written by Paul Dribin
The powers that be including the mayor and county executive are announcing a plan to expand the convention center. I have mixed feelings. There is no question the convention center is too small and out of date. On the other hand, I am not sure how much difference is makes in the overall scheme of things. Improving the convention center is a must, just don’t expect miracles from it. Written by Paul Dribin