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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”

Status of Housing Reform

nlihc.org/article/senate-committee-holds-hearing-need-housing-finance-reform

Mel Watt testified before Congress on FNMA, Freddie Mac reform. The most significant part of his testimony concerned the lack of overall housing and especially affordable units. He stated that construction has not kept pace with demand and that most new construction was at the high end of the spectrum. This has a great effect on the St. Louis region and the rest of the country. Written by Paul Dribin

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The Syrian Refugees Escaped War, Only to Land in One of St. Louis’ Toughest Neighborhoods | Feature | St. Louis News and Events | Riverfront Times

At the dinner to benefit Syrian refugees, there aren’t enough seats for the Syrians. The room at the Boo Cat Club is packed, and Jessica…
— Read on www.riverfronttimes.com/stlouis/syrian-refugees-escaped-war-only-to-land-in-one-of-st-louis-toughest-neighborhoods/Content

A decent article. Syrian refugees left horrific conditions and were relocated here in St. Louis in a neighborhood which is also horrific, unsafe, bad housing. Written by Paul Dribin

More About the Board of Aldermen in St. Louis

The vote by the Board of Aldermen to vote again on lowering the number of aldermen is simply a power grab by aldermen who don’t want to give up the illusion of power and could care less about the public interest. The public voted overwhelmingly to lower the number of aldermen to 14.

Racism is not the issue either. If blacks are represented by 7 or 14 aldermen it is the same level of black power as 14 out of 28. Certain individuals are just afraid of losing their jobs. Written by Paul Dribin

St Louis and Older Industrial Cities

www.brookings.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018-04_brookings-metro_older-industrial-cities_full-report-berube_murray_-final-version_af4-18.pdf

A report from Brookings which analyzes overall strengths of older industrial cities, of which St. Louis is one. It actually gives St. Louis fairly high marks for its’ improvement and potential. Written by Paul Dribin

Police Department Underhiring

I heard from a reliable source yesterday that the City of St. Louis is about 140 police officers short of their hiring authority. This source said the problem was that the pay was low and the work more difficult and dangerous than in the surrounding communities. Something must be done to change this situation. I also wonder what bureaucratic city policies might be getting in the way. As we are getting nearer a full employment economy, we need to figure out a way to hire more officers and cure our serious crime problem. Written by Paul Dribin

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

Vacancies in St. Louis

Good news! The City of St. Louis is mobilizing efforts to deal with the vacancy situation in St. Louis which encompass 7000 vacant properties. I have worked with issue when I worked with the city and HUD. Several factors in addition to economic instability contribute to the vacancy problem. These issues I am familiar with are:

1. The aldermanic system. Many aldermen do not want vacant properties razed because of some perverted idea that it will take constituents away from their communities

2. A reluctance to demolish anything.

3. A policy by the city of letting vacant properties sit because they think there will be a demand for these properties at some time in the future.

4. Historic preservationists also do not want buildings razed. I remember when I worked at HUD being chewed out by a historic preservationists because we razed a building that was severely fire damaged.

5. The aldermanic system in St. Louis.

6. A lack of funding to deal with environmental and lead based paint issues.

I wish the people working on this project well. Written by Paul Dribin

Indirect Costs to Housing

When we talk about the lack of affordable housing we usually ponder about the lack of enough development programs, section 8 subsidy etc. These are all valid concerns. Another major problem is the artificial constraints we put on housing.

We are well aware of these constraints but usually don’t tie them into the affordability of housing. Some of these issues are zoning which does not allow for density, large minimum lot sizes, resistance to any sort of apartments, sidewalk requirements, density, and historic preservation.

A perfect storm of these barriers is the City of St. Louis. Who is not in favor of historic preservation but in St. Louis, cost knows no boundaries. The cost of developing a Low Income Housing Tax Credit unit in St. Louis is $250000. That is absurd. How many working class people are priced out of housing due to these requirements. Virtually every neighborhood in St Louis is considered historic.

Another example is Portland Oregon. About 20 years ago they issued a no growth boundary in an effort to curb sprawl. The result? The housing market became one of the least affordable in the country. Portland is now attempting all kinds of superhuman subsidy programs to stimulate housing. Ending the no growth barrier would do far more. Written by Paul Dribin

New Development Proposed on Choteau

A new mixed use development is proposed on Choteau and Jefferson. It will be quite a large project encompassing commercial, residential, and retail. The area could certainly use something like this. We wish the project well. Written by Paul Dribin

How to stop urban violence

nyti.ms/2q1AlKp

A great article from New York Times.

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