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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Scooter Charging

I am amused and also a little upset with the new economy. The Post wrote that scooter companies pay people to pick up the scooters each night and charge them. From the tone of the article it sounds like people are a little aggressive about going after these scooters.

I have mixed feelings. These companies are valued in the billions of dollars but pay individuals(who they treat as contractors) to scrounge around and get paid a pittance doing grunt work. Is this the new economy? Is this a good thing? Written by Paul Dribin

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Deconstruction

I am not writing about the obtuse literary theory known as deconstruction. Instead, I am writing about a redevelopment tool St. Louis is experimenting with using in lieu of demolition. In the case of deconstruction, a qualified contractor takes apart and in some case refurbishes construction material from vacant houses. The idea is to have these materials reused by contractors, home builders, etc. It is a good idea that warrants attention. It is not a large scale program that will eliminate the need for demolition, but it will help. written by Paul Dribin

Soccer Stadium in St. Louis

For once the sports crowd seems to be going about developing a soccer stadium the right way. The Taylor and Kavanaugh families are putting their own money into it and relying on the city and state providing support through tax write offs. The bulk of the funding is private money.

What is interesting is that Kavanaugh was part of the previous team that sought large government handouts. It shows that voting no can work. Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Follies Redo

The Loop Trolley opened in a way today. Instead of running the whole route it turned around halfway through. The leadership of the trolley blame it on a bureaucratic snafu. Oh well!

Loop Trolley Opening Pushed Back

www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/snow-go-loop-trolley-opening-pushed-back-again/article_d07167eb-1ec5-5f91-8c2f-fb0a04a17b33.html

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth

Community activists in Queens and Long Island are protesting Amazon’s arrival in their communities. I know there can be gentrification, higher costs etc. but still this is worth billions. Hammer out community benefit agreements and insure there is an increase in affordable housing but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. ( I am big on cliches today). Written by Paul Dribin

The Real Cause of Vacancies in St. Louis

At the suggestion of Todd Swanstrom, I read a book by his colleague titled Housing Dynamics in Northeast Ohio by Thomas E. Bier. The book written about the Cleveland area is also applicable to St. Louis and many other cities.

The argument in the book backed by data is that vacancies occur when there is an oversupply of housing in the region. This oversupply of housing occurs because developers are looking to profit by building more housing, and land is cheaper in the suburbs. The author points out that when there is an oversupply the oldest, most worn out housing loses all market desirability and becomes vacant. The problem is made worse because developers can more economically build in the suburbs and the infrastructure in the suburbs is stronger.

This plays out when we look at the north side of St. Louis. There will only be a turnaround if the city figures out how to streamline its development requirements, crime is controlled, and schools turn around. In addition a marketing campaign to young people around the company would help. We could offer free housing and lots of land. Written by Paul Dribin

Loop Trolley Debacle

The Loop Trolley in test runs has twice hit autos , knocking mirrors off of cars in minor accidents. Apologists say people did not park right. That is the point, we should not require perfection for the system to work. Written by Paul Dribin

Housing in Ferguson

One of the issues surrounding the Michael Brown shooting and its’ aftermath were the poor conditions of affordable housing projects in Ferguson. In fact, the Ferguson Commission raised the issue.

Recently the owners of several of these housing developments and the St. Louis County Housing Authority have cracked down on bad tenants. Lo and behold the community is up in arms about people facing eviction. Once again no one wants to take responsibility for bad behavior. Bad tenants are bad tenants, period. Written by Paul Dribin

Dysfunctional County Government

Is this dysfunctional or what. County Executive Steve Stenger an the County Council have each appointed a different board to the Port Authority. This authority is a cash cow and the two sides will battle it out in court. I don’t know the right answer, but this is ridiculous. Written by Paul Dribin

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