The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the tag “St. Louis aldermen”

Reduction of Wards in St. Louis

The City of St. Louis is considering reducing the number of wards in the city. Voters have seemed to like this idea. Unfortunately, my colleague Glenn Burleigh is correct in being skeptical. After all, reducing the 28 wards to some smaller number will not improve things unless significant policy changes and better ways of doing things takes place. This is unlikely to happen. The city would be left with fewer aldermen who would be more powerful because there will be a smaller number of them. It is the total parochial aldermanic system that is at fault, not the number of wards. Written by Paul Dribin

The Aldermanic System in St Louis

Some of the recent controversies in the city, including support for the Blues Hockey Club and development subsidies are tied to a basic problem in St. Louis, the aldermanic system. The city has 28 wards geographically divided. These are the same number of wards for a city of about 320,000 as for when the city included 1,000,000 residents. Worse yet, the aldermen act as little dictators of their own turf and make all development decisions and pretty much approve all city spending in their fiefdoms.

HUD provides Community Development Block grant funds to the city. Every year the city takes those funds, which are intended to be used in the areas of greatest need and divides them 28 ways. Many aldermen have their own development groups rather than partnering with larger organizations.

It is no wonder so little gets accomplished in the city when you combine this system with the archaic further divisions with the Mayor and Comptroller. It is no wonder that an organization like the Blues does not get a clear signal of who is in charge. It is no wonder that St. Louis lags economically behind other cities. Written by Paul Dribin

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