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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the tag “city of 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First, it is paying huge sums of money for a transportation system that is obsolete.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 We need to stop using questionable inflated economic development claims to support a transportation system that is obsolete.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

Another Update on Biddle House

I was at Biddle House today as usual on Tuesdays, to help serve lunch. The facility was vacant as the City of St. Louis is taking over and changing furniture etc. Hopefully services will not be disrupted. I do not have confidence the city can carry out this program until the permanent operator, Home Full takes over in the fall. Written by Paul Dribin

A Good Article Defending McKee

A good article from River City Ramblings with which I agree. https://stlpolitical.blog/2018/06/26/why-paul-mckee-has-unfairly-become-a-scapegoat-for-the-city-of-st-louis

Homeless Services in St. Louis

The ongoing provision of homeless services in St. Louis is very much up in the air. The story is rather complicated and has been partially described in these pages before.

New Life Evangelical Church led by Reverend Larry Rice had provided overnight homeless services to just about anyone who wanted it. He was always in trouble with the city for good reason; he housed far too many people in his facility, didn’t agree to any reporting, etc. Add to this criticism from newly arrived Yuppies who lived downtown and he was shut down.

To make up for the New Life Demise, the city bought Biddle House on the near north side and hired St Patrick’s Center and St. Peter’s and Paul to operate it. I have frequently volunteered there and consider the facility to be well run. The problem is that both agencies who operate it lost huge amounts of money and cannot sustain the operation. Neither organization nor anyone else has responded to a RFP for continuing the services. Of course where this leave homeless people is very much up in the air. Written by Paul Dribin

Privatization of Lambert Airport Revisited

My earlier post indicated I was very skeptical of this whole endeavor. My doubts are confirmed by the fact that the Board of Estimate and Review for the city cannot reach agreement on hiring a consultant for moving ahead. Certainly privatization would generate a boatload of money for the city initially, but is it in our long term best interest? Will customer service be negatively affected? Written by Paul Dribin

City of St. Louis Credit Rating

As many have predicted, most notably Comptroller, Darlene Green, the City of St. Louis has had its bond rating lowered once again. The obvious result of this action will be a higher cost of borrowing and fewer projects. Heaven help us if the interest rates go up.

Experts say a leading cause of this action was the funding of the Blues rehab to Scottrade Center. Again, Ms. Green attempted to block it but was unsuccessful.

These situations are bad enough if the money is spent for critical activities. It is horrible to spend it on helping a sports team, as much as I love hockey. Written by Paul Dribin

St Louis Budget Shortfall

The City of St. Louis will have a $10 million budget shortfall. This is a big deal and will require cuts in service. Too bad. Written by Paul Dribin

Americans moving back to suburbs

www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2018/03/26/us-population-disperses-to-suburbs-exurbs-rural-areas-and-middle-of-the-country-metros/

The above linked article is from Brookings. Despite the love hipsters have for the city people raising children do not see it the same way. In St. Louis, why should someone live in the city and put up with all the shit. Cities have to figure out how to provide a higher level of service, and deal with the race, crime, and school problems. African Americans have been one of the largest segment of people to move to the suburbs. Is that not the American dream? Written by Paul Dribin

More Bad Business in St. Louis

St. Louis should be doing everything possible to help small businesses. The population had declined and the city as a whole lacks for good businesses. Instead the city is making it worse. They have decided to make things worse. In a small minded effort to get more tax revenue, the city has decided to reclassify many small businesses from retail to manufacturing. A good example is Crown Candy, an iconic business in the Old North St. Louis area. The reason for this reclassification, they have mixing bowls. Bakeries have been reclassified in a similar manner. Crown Candy in particular deserves the keys to the city not being treated in this rude manner.

To be successful, St. Louis needs to be the easiest city for small businesses to work, not the most difficult. Written by Paul Dribin

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