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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”

`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

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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

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 Ferguson Effect?

The so called Ferguson effect is the premise that crime has increased in St. Louis and other large cities because police are not aggressively going after criminals; fearful that aggressive action will get them in trouble. This theory was promoted by former FBI Director Corey and denied by former President Obama.

I have two pieces of information, one data driven and the other anecdotal that supports the Ferguson effect as valid. First the data. I know an attorney who has made his living defending down and out criminals. He received his clients by buying a list of people arrested in St. Louis County and sending letters of inquiry to these individuals. After Ferguson, the names on the list of arrestees dropped significantly from a long list to a short list. His business is hurting to the extent he is seeking other types of employment.

The second piece of evidence concerns by conversations with two female African American St. Louis City cops. I had counseled both of them in a SCORE mentoring session in which they were trying to start a new business. After the conversation I asked them if Ferguson had an effect on policing. Their answer was that it most certainly did, and that cops would now only go by the book and not be aggressive. They also said that aggressive policing is what captures major criminals.

So I believe I have two good pieces of evidence to show that the quality and quantity of policing has diminished since the Michael Brown death. 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

Student Mentoring

Much of course has been written about poverty, racism, etc. Nothing has worked very well in addressing these problems. Let me propose a very simple idea, mentoring of students.

I have been a mentor at various times in my life and found it a great experience. More important, the young person being mentored and their families seemed to appreciate it.

I am proposing a mentoring program that would address the needs of all the at risk students in the St. Louis metro area. Volunteers need to be sought and programs established. The cost if huge but on a per student basis, quite inexpensive. Furthermore data shows it works.

I am working on starting a program at one school. Anyone else interested?

Metrolink Policing in the St. Louis Area

The Post Dispatch led by Tony Messenger has written a number of articles which focus on the problems of adequate policing on Metrolink. The gist of the story is that police officer assigned to patrol trains and platform were sitting in an office, texting, sleeping, etc. This is of course terrible.

What is worse however is the lack of cooperation shown by the county to Metrolink, Bi-State, the parent company, and to other units of policing. They came up with a silly ruling that the Metrolink police personnel could not collect fines because they were not official police. Consequently fines are not collected and thugs are having their way on the trains.

This lack of cooperation is the more major problem and again points to the fundamental problem in the St. Louis area; the proliferation and lack of cooperation of the various units of government. Let’s hope this can be a teaching moment for moving things forward. Written by Paul
Dribin

More Metrolink Problems

More shootings drug dealings etc in and around Metrolink. People are afraid to ride it. I was correct in predicting Metrolink would be an albatross for the region. When are the leaders going to do something?

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