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The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the tag “St. Louis blues”

The Blues Again

Word is out that the Blues are now one of the most profitable teams in the National Hockey League. More reason they don’t need public subsidies. Also, Darlene Green, the Comptroller has been forced to sign the agreement by the court. It is time for this issue to be resolved and everyone move on. Written by Paul Dribin

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Blues Practice Facility Again

Tony Messenger wrote today in the Post that the Blues practice in Creve Coeur Park is not a dead deal. What is going on? The feds will never allow this to happen. Does anyone agree with me that the Economic Development leadership in St. Louis County should be fired. They have been totally dishonest about the whole transaction. When will this nonsense end? 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

Blues Blues

The St. Louis Blues Hockey Club has been off to one of the best starts in hockey. Off the ice, things have not gone as well. Two recent additions to their ongoing saga:

1. The club’s practice facility will be built in a location other than Creve Coeur Park which has environmental issues. The location has not been revealed but will be in Maryland Heights.

2. More turmoil about paying for renovations to their arena. Alderman Cara Spencer has raised objections to the City of St. Louis deferring Payment in Lieu of Taxes by the Blues. Spencer complained this change was made without the knowledge of the Board of Aldermen. The whole issue will apparently be decided in an ongoing lawsuit which has raised legal objections to the city funding the arena renovations.

Side note- Tom Stillman who is the Principal Owner of the Blues did something incredibly kind for a friend of mine in recent months. Tom was a total stranger to this individual and really brightened his life. Written by Paul Dribin“`

Scottrade Center Again

The proposed rehab of the building for the Blues is crazier than ever. It is now apparent to me at least that the City of St. Louis does own the building and presumably is responsible for the rehab to that building. Comptroller Darlene Green states that selling the bonds to pay for the rehab out of general funds will seriously hurt the city’s credit rating. Who is suggested to save the day, but Tishaura Jones, City Treasurer who sits on a big pot of money.

Politics of course enters into the equation. Ms. Jones ran unsuccessfully against Mayor Lydia Krewsen in the last election. She may be reluctant to bail Ms. Krewsen out. There also seems to be some question as to whether the Treasurer’s funds may be used for this purpose. Written by Paul Dribin

Sometimes the Good Guys Win

Several stories in St. Louis indicated the good guys can at least win some of the battles if not the wars. Here are the cases:

1. Chesterfield MO- The council stood up to a well funded developer group who wanted to put a soccer park in Chesterfield with a huge investment of public funds. The council said no.

2. Chesterfield MO- I have written before about a mobile home park in Chesterfield which largely houses low income people who rent their spots. It has been in that location for years. A developer had a plan to build 290 apartment units on the site which required re zoning. The Planning Commission this week reject the re zoning request. Advocates for the residents of the park, led by my friend Jim Moore, are working on a plan for a land trust on the site.

3. St. Louis County-A hairbrained scheme led by the St. Louis Blues Hockey Club was trying to build a hockey facility on an ecologically fragile site in Creve Coeur Park. Once again, free land is involved. County Executive Stengel and his people tried to ramrod this proposal through. The County Council has at least temporarily put the proposal on hold.

4. St. Louis City- A plan for the public to pay for renovations to the Scottrade Center where the Blues play has been put on hold due to a lawsuit by my friend Jeanette Mott Oxford and the courageous work of City Comptroller Darlene Greene.

Written by Paul Dribin

The Blues and Creve Coeur Park

As most of you know the hockey Blues have proposed putting a practice rink and ice skating facility in Creve Coeur Park, a gem of a location, which is environmentally fragile. Environmental groups are massively organizing in opposition. Well now we hear that construction has started on the facility without approvals. Tony Messenger wrote about this issue today in the Post. The county denies that the construction is for the arena even though the city of Maryland Heights gave a building permit for construction of an ice arena.

I don’t know why the arrogance and greed have dominated this issue. My take on the issue is that public support for this endeavor may be ok if the public gets use of the facility, but it can easily be located someplace else. Engineers say the park location is prone to flooding. Written by Paul Dribin

The Right Way to Fund Sports Stadiums

I am opposed to public funding of professional sports facilities because it is immoral and does not provide a good rate of return. Sometimes there need to be improvements to infrastructure and other areas that only the public sector can provide. In this case the funding should be through a Regional Sports Authority. The City of St. Louis should not alone pay for upgrades to Scottrade Center or any place else, because most of the attendees at events there are from outside the city. The county should pay its’ fair share. This is exactly the proposal of Alderman Cara Spencer of St. Louis. Kudos to her. Written by Paul Dribin

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