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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “st. louis”

Letter to editor opposing Metrolink expansion

I am writing again on one of my favorite topics, the foolishness of Metro Link expansion. I am afraid that while other local controversies such as the airport privatization and Better Together occupy our time, the Metro Link expansion will sneak through. Let us review the problems with this expansion:

First, it is paying huge sums of money for a transportation system that is obsolete. People no longer work as much in centralized fixed locations. Many more people work at home. Others travel from site to site as part of their jobs. Metro Link was made for a time when most office workers were employed downtown.

Second,, the trains almost never get you door to door. Often you need to drive to the station or connect with buses. This is inefficient and adds greatly to travel time.

Third, the Metro Link is very costly to operate. It would be far cheaper to subsidize rides for people on Uber or Lyft.

Fourth, Metro Link has proven unsafe. More people are reluctant to ride it due to safety concerns.

Fifth, it will not be possible to use trains from the old system on the new one. This is highly inefficient.

Proponents of light rail expansion point to economic development as a reason. This is a false and misleading argument. All of the economic development located anywhere near a Metro Link station would have occurred anyway. Cortex is not dependent on Metrolink. We need to stop using questionable inflated economic development claims to support a transportation system that is obsolete.

In a poll conducted some months ago, a huge majority of St. Louis Business Journal readers were opposed to Metro Link expansion. These people need to share their views with elected officials, the Metro Board, and other decision makers.

The Loop Trolley is a debacle. Metro Link expansion will dwarf that as a horrible decision.

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Crime and Vacancies

I have attended various task forces of the Vacancy Collaborative in St. Louis. What I find fascinating is that no one in the group has defined why there are a large amount of vacancies in St. Louis. The answer is really quite simple; crime, crime, crime. There are several facts which back my assertion:

1. The parts of St. Louis that have a reasonable crime rate do not have significant vacancies and tax foreclosed properties sell quickly

2. The areas that have high crime rates have a high number of vacancies.

What is troubling to me is that no one seems to want to talk about this. It would be as if a discussion about lung cancer deaths did not include the problem of smoking.

Written by Paul Dribin

Trolley Again

A friend of mine is a businessman in the Loop who supports the trolley with his taxes. He attempted to find out the ridership levels of the trolley, called the Trolley Authority, and was declined an answer. He then called the feds who oversee the program. The average daily ridership since inception is nine people a day. Pitiful

New St. Louis urban homesteading program

www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/st-louis-launches-a-new-homesteading-program-offering-homes-for/article_66f7dd73-6272-52e3-8c9b-32e4caa9303a.html

this is a great idea and needs to be expanded. Why wait for property to be in LRA inventory for five years?

Garbage Research

I continue to be appalled by some of the garbage research that gets published in the name of social science and urban development. A recent one was published by The Brookings Institution titled The Devaluation of Assets in the Black Community. This is certainly a provocative title.

The research presumed to show that single family homes in the black communities are worth less than comparable houses in white communities. This is something that is hardly a surprise. These differences can be explained by lots of reasons, most prominently crime and schools. The authors made elaborate adjustments to properties and concluded there must be other reasons than the usual real estate ones for the difference in price. That difference of course was race.

If they could have shown comparable neighborhoods where everything was the same except race they could have made a point. Of course, they didn’t do any such thing.

My real problem is the concept of devaluation which assumes there is a proper value for any piece of real estate, or anything else. I could argue my house in St. Louis is devalued compared to San Francisco. These comparisons are meaningless. In St. Louis, black families moved out of historically black neighborhoods in huge numbers for reasons I stated, safety and good schools. Hardly surprising. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities

St. Louis Chosen for ‘Healthy Housing’ Initiative | Catholic Charities
— Read on www.ccstl.org/st-louis-chosen-for-healthy-housing-initiative/

This is great news. I helped st Patricks get started with hospital-homelessness initiative

Ideas About Housing -Too Much Democracy is Bad

Urban Planners talk about the need for community involvement in neighborhood development. That is good. Similarly, public housing residents need to have their ideas included in planning for the future of their developments. Yet, in St. Louis I sometimes think democracy has gone overboard. It seems that everyone no matter how wacky their idea has an equal say in the future of our communities. I certainly see that problem in the failure of the McKee effort to redevelop north St. Louis. People get worn out and nickel and dimed.

My first job with HUD was to insure and improve tenant participation in public housing. In all, participation tended to be low. Poor people participate less in public life less than wealthier people, that is partially why they are poor. More important, they simply lack the time for civic involvement.

A concrete example. The Darst-Webbe Hope VI redevelop[ment required tenant involvement. The remaining few tenants in the failed original project refused to be supportive of a complete demolition and redevelopment. Why? They were selling drugs and didn’t want that activity disrupted. It has always puzzled me why tenants of public housing appear to have more say in the running of their project than other properties. All political theorists have agreed that direct democracy is a poor form of government. They are right. Written by Paul Dribin

More Rankings for St. Louis

There were two recent polls, one in which St. Louis was negatively mentioned, and another where St. Louis was ominously omitted. The first was a ranking by MoneyWise Magazine which ranked St. Louis as the worst place in the United States in which to retire. This ranking was largely based on crime. The second index ranked the 25 places in which young people are ready to move. St. Louis was not on the list(Kansas City was). These polls by themselves are not significant but fit an overall pattern outlining the negative aspects of St. Louis life. Written by Paul Dribin

Be Cautious About City County. Merger

www.stltoday.com/business/columns/david-nicklaus/city-county-merger-would-be-an-economic-positive-but-not/article_b23a6248-acaf-562d-848b-6576c1d4d24b.html

good article as always by David Nicklaus. I believe anything in this direction is good

Like to offer only scooters in St. Louis

www.stltoday.com/news/traffic/along-for-the-ride/lime-yanking-remaining-pedal-only-bikes-from-st-louis-sticking/article_bd1acfd0-b69c-59a5-9736-de7695452dad.html

the scooters can be dangerous to everyone but seem to be a good thing in promoting v

Community.

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