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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “suburbs”

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

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Announcement if Better Together Plan

www.stltoday.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/metro-city-better-together-launches-a-two-year-effort-to/article_c2f6dca1-c450-5aba-b837-9802da767f88.html

more on this later

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.

St. Louis county houing trust fund

www.communitybuildersstl.org/index.php/dismantling-the-divide-st-louis-county-needs-an-affordable-housing-trust-fund/

a very eloquent article by chris Krehmeyer leader of Beyond Houding on the need for a fund such as that provided by the city. It

IT would be an important step forward in the path to improved affordable housing

Written by Paul Dribin

Zoo Tax

The voters of St. Louis County will be asked to approve a sales tax increase to support increased operations of the St. Louis Zoo. They are talking of building a new facility in north county.

I am opposed to a sales tax which is regressive. An approach fo fundraising which makes sense is to charge admission to visitors who are not residents of St. Louis City or County, or allow these county to join the Museum District, and or allow residents of outlying counties to enter the zoo for free if they buy an annual membership. The system is fair by charging users of the service for the privilege of entry. Written by Paul Dribin

A Very Good Article About Housing Policy From Brookings

www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/05/02/nine-rules-for-better-housing-policy/

I particularly like that they talk about income subsidy as well.

Segregation in St. Louis-Dismantling the Divide

A report entitled Segregation in St. Louis-Dismantling the Divide is an outstanding document that carefully, accurately, and fairly analyzes the history of housing segregation in St. Louis. The report was prepared by a group of organizations and scholars led by the Metropolitan St. Louis Equal Housing and Economic Opportunity Council. It should be required reading for everyone and hopefully will be a blueprint for action. The website for the report is forthesakeofall.org. Written by Paul Dribin

A Decline in Ticketing Fines

The St. Louis Post Dispatch published an interesting article last weekend about the decline in ticketing in all communities in the St. Louis region. Police departments are taking the position that they have better things to do with their time than ticket drivers. Revenue from tickets has declined significantly. This is mostly good, makes sense, and most important unburdens low income people and many people of color of being thrown in jail for minor offenses.

The question that puzzles me is how do we deal with people who violate the law if there are not fines. People who drive without insurance, or with cars that are unsafe can hurt other people. I do not have a solution. Written by Paul Dribin

Homeownership tougher than ever

apple.news/ArLL6FK-DRq6Tg0ze-nlylQ

The Wall Street Journal points out in this article that homeownership is tougher than ever. In most cities there is a short supply of housing, and higher interest rates. Incomes have remained fairly stagnant. The suburban areas of St. Louis fit this pattern. Written by Paul Dribin

Poverty in the Suburbs

I read an article in the Washington Post over the weekend which provided data that poverty is increasing faster in the suburbs than in central cities. I have heard reports of this nature for some time. Maybe this will make suburban voters a little more sensitive to the concerns of their counterparts in the city. Written by Paul Dribin

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