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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 county”

St Louis County Mayhem

Since Steve Stenger has been elected County Commissioner, there has been mayhem in county government. I hold Stenger primarily responsible for this. He has governed in an arrogant manner and does not seem to be able to get along with members of the council. The council itself has their own partisan agenda. County government which used to be boring, is now filled with ridiculous and childish behavior. Seems like a mini version of Trump. Written by Paul Dribin

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Concentration of Crime

The St. Louis Post Dispatch carried an interesting article this weekend about crime. It showed that crime is more than ever concentrated in smaller areas, but in those areas the amount of crime is high. The disparity between the high and low crime areas is greater than ever. This certainly seems to be the case in St. Louis, but it is important to point out that there is not a complete correlation between crime and poverty. Some low income neighborhoods have less crime than others. Most people who live in low income neighborhoods do not commit crime. We need more research on the particular causes of crime and focus our policies on those situations. Written by Paul Dribin

HUD Loans in St. Louis County

The St. Louis Post Dispatch wrote today in a critical manner that St.Louis County had not utilized some $24 million in HUD loans intended to help distressed areas. These loans commonly referred to as 108 loans from the section of the housing act they fall under are part of HUD’s Community Development Program. HUD has threatened to pull back the funding if the money is not used.

It is not quite fair to be too critical of the county in this regard. First, the interest rates on the funds are only 1% lower than market and contain much more paperwork. Second, they do not work well on small projects such as housing rehab. The county needs to come up with one or two big projects for their utilization. Third they are loans not grants and the borrowers must be creditworthy. Finally, these loans are borrowed against future block grant funding, and in fact reduce the future funding by the amount of the loan.

The county had request a waiver for use of the funds and has not received an answer from HUD despite repeated requests for a decision. This whole thing smacks of HUD covering their collective asses. Written by Paul Dribin

St. Louis and Housing

I finished reading an article in the NYT today again about the overheated housing market in the San Francisco Bay Area with a focus on Berkley. It pointed out the resistance among single family homeowners to doing anything differently to make housing a little more affordable. I also believe that people in these markets are going to be underwater if the Republican tax bill passes and they are limited on mortgage interest deductions and cannot deduct state and local taxes.

In any case it points out to me again how so many quality neighborhoods in both St. Louis city and county contain quality housing at a good price for buyers. I would think a marketing program to young people living on the coasts may be in order. What a bargain. We also have great cultural amenities and a short commute. These are all pluses. Why aren’t we marketing them? Written by Paul Dribin

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

Tower T Development

One of the iconic places of the St. Louis area will be no more. Tower T located in South St. Louis County has been a popular spot for many years. It has included many of the rather tacky aspects of life, a nine hole par 3 golf course, batting cages, and miniature golf. My son and I spent many happy hours there.

The site will be developed for 300 homes. I don’t know how the area can support the traffic that would be generated by such a project. It appears to represent the height of poor planning. Written by Paul Dribin

`Is There a Way St. Louis Can Grow Because our Cost of Living is Reasonable

I just read an article which states the obvious, high end workers will move to places such as San Francisco or Boston to take advantage of the higher paying jobs. Regular people, both professional and blue collar cannot make that move due to the extremely high cost of housing in those locations.

St. Louis needs to figure out a way to harness our pluses; an affordable cost of living and world class cultural attractions. I think that is a big deal. I would even suggest flying recent college graduates here for a weekend to show them our pluses. Pittsburgh is an example of a city I considered to be much like St. Louis that repositioned itself as a trendy place.

The big negative in St. Louis is the crime situation. Virtually everyone except civil rights activists feel it is the number one problem facing the city. Few people seem willing to acknowledge this issue. Written by Paul Dribin

Correlation Between Crime and Housing Values

An interesting article today reprinted by Next St. Louis. A comprehensive review using regression analysis shows there is very little correlation between crime and housing values. This is a little surprising to me. Part of the reason in the St. Louis area is that housing values are relatively low anyway all over the region. Another interesting part of the analysis is that when you aggregate crime statistics for the city and county, the incidents of crime are relatively low. The high crime areas in the city are as high as anywhere in the world. 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

Unified Fire District in St. Louis County

A small piece of good news. Several mid St. Louis County communities are joining together to form a unified fire district. The communities are Clayton, Richmond Heights, and Brentwood. Unfortunately Maplewood dropped out because of the initial costs. Kudos to the participants. Let’s hope this is the start of something good. Written by Paul Dribin

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