When it comes to stem cell research, President Bush and Governor Blunt have found themselves on opposite sides of the same coin. A coin they may hope eventually lands in their coffer.
Nationally, the President has been applauded by his base for his 2001 decision limiting government funding for embryonic stem cell research to a few cell lines, despite continued pressure to offer greater support. Last week the director of the National Institutes of Health, Elias Zerhouni, told a Senate committee that the nation's science would be better served if more research was allowed.
In Missouri, Governor Blunt has found himself on the wrong-end of the Pro-Life call list. Blunt's unfettered support for life science and technology education extended to support for last years' constitutional amendment protecting all forms of stem cell research, while at the same time prohibiting state funds for research on embryonic stem cells. That same push prompted his MOHELA-funded Discovery Initiative.
That support has led Missouri's pro-life community, which adamantly opposes embryonic stem cell funding, to decertify Blunt's pro-life status. The groups refuse to support any program where even a single state-funded test tube could potentially play a part in the research.
Despite language in the legislation that would set up a wall between biotech research funded by the Discovery Initiative and any embryonic stem cell research, the groups (perhaps wisely) expect politicians to eventually knock out a brick or two.Continue reading "Threading the Test Tube"
Internal BJC letter here.
In response to flyers handed out at City Hall this morning warning of plans to "Bulldoze the Ghetto", Alderman Freeman Bosley, Jr., 3rd ward, said the concerns were overblown.
The anti-eminent domain groups are going, "off the chain," said Bosley. He said their actions were instigating fear among residents.
Bosley said no action to blight the land can happen without aldermanic approval and neither he, nor the other aldermen in the area have been asked.
"They are just wrong," said Bosley.
The flyers were passed out by members of Citizens for the Near Northside. Topped by the headline "Plans to 'Bulldoze the Ghetto'", the flyer includes a map sketching out a rough trapezoidal area bounded by Delmar to the south, Natural Bridge to the North, Interstate 70 to the East and North Grand to the west. The area at risk includes Bosley's 3rd ward, April Ford-Griffin's 5th Ward and the currently vacant 19th ward (soon to be occupied by Committeewoman Marlene Davis who is running unopposed).
The organization says the Blairmont Group–made up of a dizzying array of small real estate companies–is poised to reap the benefits of future development in the near north side. Northside urbanist and dedicated observer of developement, Michael Allen, has mapped out the numerous properties attributed to the group and written a history of his search on his blog.
The alleged linchpin in the effort is the future of the Pruitt-Igoe site. The 34-acre, city-owned property, is slated for future development and the St. Louis Development Corporation is expected to request proposals later this year.
The discomfort was palpable in the silence following Mayor Slay's motion that the Board of Estimate and Apportionment sign off on legislation approving the BJC-Forest Park deal.
Neither Aldermanic Board President James Shrewsbury or Comptroller Darlene Green, Slay's two colleagues on the city's top board, moved or uttered a sound. Slay's request hung there until Slay, clearing his throat, continued on with a short statement acknowledging the sincerity and hard work of all the groups involved, for and against.
Slay thanked Green for her and her office's efforts in negotiating a deal with BJC, even if she didn't support it in the end.
"Thanks to you and your office, this bill is much better than it was," said Slay.
Though gracious in defeat, the Mayor couldn't hide his wish the deal had passed.
"I can't tell you how disappointed I am," said Slay. He noted it was ironic the decision would come on the same day the New York Times ran an article recognizing St. Louis' efforts to foster the biotech industry in the Cortex district. BJC is a major partner in the district.
"I was unaware of the Comptroller's position when she walked into the room," said Slay when asked after the meeting if he was surprised at the Comptroller's decision.
That said, Slay seemed a bit ruffled at the outcome of the meeting.
On the flip side, opponents of the deal were ecstatic.
"We did it!" said Carla Scissors-Cohen of Citizens to Protect Forest Park, who called her husband to tell him the news. "This is a victory for the citizens of St. Louis."
"You can fight city hall," said Scissors-Cohen. "You can fight city hall if you feel the city is doing something not in the interest of the city."
Green said during the meeting that her decision not to support the deal was influenced by Protect Forest Park's successful petition initiative. In April voters will decide whether the sale of park land should be put to a city-wide vote, or be left in the hands of elected officials.
"I believe in the democratic process," said Green. "I don't believe it is the time to vote in lieu of the petition."
Afterward, Green said she would continue working with both parties to find a compromise position saying there must be "give and take on both sides."
Scissors-Cohen, however, said there would be no sale of any park land. City leaders, she said, would have to find another way to fund park maintenance.
Proponents of the BJC-Forest Park deal say it is an effort to help BJC expand its patient facilities and offices and that the millions given annually to the park by BJc were part of the price, funding park maintenance did not drive the deal. The section of park south of the main building–which BJC currently has a lease on and is home to an underground parking garage–was the most convenient place to add more hospital rooms and offices.
Given the orthodox position of the Protect Forest Park supporters, its is unlikely that Green's "middle ground" exists for them and they will put the pressure on anyone who supports any expansion onto the parcel.
Alderman Joe Roddy, 17th ward, was disappointed the deal failed. BJC is in his ward and he has talked at length about the enormous positive impact they have had in his ward which, not long ago, teetered on the brink.
"I hope we can salvage some of the construction projects," said Roddy, on his way into the Board Chambers. "I hope we can salvage some of the jobs."
BJC Statement From Alderman Lewis Reed, 6th Ward and Candidate for
Aldermanic President, City of St. Louis
"Residents all across the city, including myself are very discouraged by aldermanic president Jim Shrewsbury's inability to work with BJC, one of the region's largest employers. These employers put money into the city's financial coffers that go to pay for much needed services including our public safety systems. Jim has shown a lack of leadership on this very important issue. It is inconsistent of him to push for using park land to build a dog pound in a city park while opposing the BJC lease extension plan directed at health priorities for human residents, his priorities are in the wrong place. Shrewsbury's actions have also eliminated funding for important education scholarships for kids K thru 12, future opportunity for trauma center north of Delmar and funding for parks all across the city."
The mayor just brought a motion before the Board of E&A and instead of a second, there was silence.
The mayor then graciously thanked the Comptroller's Office for helping to make the deal better, said he didn't question the motives of the opponents and reiterated that there is strong support for the deal.
UPDATE: Emotions run high. An alderman just passed me in the hall saying, "We need to find a candidate for comptroller."
Mayorslay.com has this news up.
Matt Villa (11) is introducing a bill this morning at the Board of Aldermen.
The build-out, which has an estimated cost of $7 million, would start this year, beginning in Downtown heading west to St. Louis University and Harris Stowe, extending north and south in the second year and eventually covering the entire city by 2010.
ATT is bearing the entire cost of the project; the city is contributing no funds. According to the arrangement - the first 20 hours per month of access would be free, beyond that users would have to pay. ATT is betting that people paying for more hours will cover their cost for providing the rest of the city's free wireless.
This is not an exculsive arrangement, and doesn't proclude another service provider from entering the market.
From State Rep. Jeanette Mott Oxford:
Tax Reform: It’s Time for Missouri to “Wake Up and Smell the Coffee”
A friend who attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings told me that AA groups define insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results each time. Having been a public policy advocate in Missouri for 20 years now and an elected official for two Legislative Sessions, it is easy to label Missouri’s budget process as “insane.”
Year after year our appropriations and budget committees hear heart-wrenching testimonies from Missourians of every description: veterans, senior citizens, people with disabilities, teachers and early childhood education advocates, healthcare professionals, law enforcement personnel, veterans, community task force members, and on and on. Citizens describe the disastrous consequences of Missouri’s underfunding of essential services and inadequate response to pain and suffering.
Legislators often reply: “I wish we could do something about that, but we don’t have the money. Who do you want us to cut in order to serve your group better?”
Surely it is time for Missouri to “Wake up and smell the coffee.” We can no longer afford to continue this insanity. Nor can we count on the one time or short-term fixes that have bailed us out in the past.
Friends and caring relatives sometimes stage an “intervention” in an effort to help an alcoholic or addict face reality and enter treatment. That is my intent in filing tax reform legislation designed to make Missouri’s outdated tax system more fair, adequate, and sustainable.
The bill that I am introducing would reduce taxes paid for the 60% of Missourians with the lowest incomes. It includes a refundable sliding scale tax credit of $150 per person that phases out between $30,000-50,000 for single people and at $60,000-80,000 for married couples. It asks those in the top 40% of income to pay increased taxes. Within these top brackets, there are adjustments as income increases so that those most able to pay bear the heaviest load.
This tax reform plan will produce slightly more than $1 billion in new state revenue and must be approved by a vote of the people. Let me describe the plan more thoroughly:
Fairness: Missouri’s present tax system treats middle and low-income taxpayers unfairly. The tax burden of those who have the least is nearly twice that of the wealthiest Missourians. The starting place for the top bracket has remained at $9,000 since 1931 even though that equates to more than $550,000 in current dollars. By updating the brackets to reflect today’s economic realities, we take a major step toward fairness.
Adequacy - Every year the Legislature faces a crisis about how to fund essential services that provide for the common good. 327 school districts are suing the state for failure to meet constitutional funding obligations for elementary and secondary schools. We have a higher smoking rate than 47 other states and are dead last in spending on tobacco use prevention and cessation. We offer less support for quality childcare than any other state, and only three states have more citizens lacking reasonable access to primary healthcare. It’s time to admit that we can’t fix these problems by budgeting more carefully - we must have more dollars to meet Missourians’ needs.
Sustainability – Elected officials keep searching for one-time answers and short-term solutions for our funding crises — for example, cutting more than 100,000 Missourians off Medicaid or selling assets from the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA). But isn’t it likely that these fixes do more harm than good? Medicaid cuts shift costs onto local healthcare providers and charities and increase sickness and death. Underfunding higher education causes tuition increases, and underfunding our public schools cheats our children and hamstrings our future economic progress. We need sustainable solutions that will not leave us in the same broken down boat year after year.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful for Missouri to no longer be known as “The Forty-Something State,” a nickname that indicates its abysmal ratings in practically every measure of social well-being? With this income tax revision plan, we can obtain the dollars we need to pay for essential services and make our tax system more fair at the same time. We must have the courage to face reality and put an end to our budget insanity.
While Democrats are certainly wary of having "Hillarycare" hung around their necks again, it seems that the debate over the form of a universal-style healthcare system has moved from inter-party to intra-party.
Republican Governors Mitt Romney and Arnold Schwarzenegger have unveiled new programs that propose to provide health care for every citizen of their state through a mix of mandates and subsidies. They are not the single-payer systems that conservatives are loath to see created, but they may represent its early stirrings.
Not surprisingly the two Governors–both from states with a distinctly moderate-to-left leanings–have come under fire from conservatives who see it as an attack on the "free market" system that insures us all; minus the roughly 47 million who go without.Continue reading "Universal Coverage: not-so socialized medicine?"
More than 120 people turned out at the University of Missouri-St. Louis' student center this morning to voice their concerns to the Missouri Public Service Commission over AmerenUE's request for a 17.7% rate increase, approximately $360.7 million.
AmerenUE says the average residential customer would see an increase of six dollars a month, based on 1,000 killowat-hour usage per month.
The PSC's hearing brought out residents and elected officials alike.
Sen. Joan Bray (D-University City) was the first to speak. Bray commented that she always said, "AmerenUE was a well run company," when it came to ensuring a, "return to its investors."
Bray also warned those present that AmerenUE was not only asking for a rate increase, but to be allowed to include a fuel surcharge and environmental cost recovery in future billing. Even if the general rate increase is rejected, she said, the surcharges, which are permitted by a bill passed by the Missouri Legislature in 2005 (SB 179), may still be applied.
Approximately 45 people signed up to give sworn testimony before the committee. The board also noted that customers could submit statements by mail or through the PSC's website.
Two of the PSC Commissioners, Steve Gaw and Linward "Lin" Appling, asked questions of those testifying. Doug Healy, assistant to the chairman, also appeared as a representative of PSC Chair Jeff Davis.
The complaints were detailed. James Strawhun of Florrisant has kept an record of outages in his neighborhood since 1992. He submitted his log saying the number of incidents has increased since AmerenUE took over service.
University City Councilman Byron Price, 3rd ward, cited his own records of outages. He said opposed the increase because of service issues which he said, "Cause tremendous financial hardship, medical issues and potential loss of life."
Price criticized AmerenUE spokespeople who claimed that this year was different because the storm had been one of the "worst in history". Noting that he worked as a forecaster for Southwestern Bell in his younger days, Price received loud applause saying, "This is not the greatest storm in the history of St. Louis."
One woman wanted the PSC to consider the effect of a rate increase on the elderly and others on fixed incomes.
PSC commissioner Steve Gaw asked staff to drive out after the meeting to photograph evidence of neglected maintenance behind the home of Bethany Porter of Ferguson, who has experienced 12 outages in the past four years.
The staff of the PSC has already recommended against a rate increase saying that based on an audit of AmerenUE's books, the utility is over-earning by $136-168 million.
The PSC will continue to hold hearings and take testimony in the coming months.
AmerenUE is having three public comment sessions in St. Louis this week (Post-Dispatch via John Combest).
— 11:30 a.m. Monday at the University of Missouri at St. Louis, the Century Room in the Millennium Student Center, 1 University Boulevard, Normandy.
— 5:30 p.m. Monday at the St. Louis Community College at Forest Park, Highlander Lounge of the Student Center, 5600 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis.
— 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Wentzville School District central office board room, 1 Campus Drive, Wentzville.
gets nice write up in NY Times.
The Board of Aldermen received a briefing on the East West Gateway Council's Great Streets Symposium held earlier in October following their regular meeting Friday.
Les Sterman, Executive Director of East West Gateway, and Donna Day, leader of the transportation corridor improvement group, presented a summary of the symposium.
The symposium was designed to bring together planners, engineers, elected officials and others to discuss ways to create "great streets." Examples of streets on their way to becoming "great" are the Loop stretch of Delmar and South Grand Blvd just south of Tower Grove Park.
"Great Streets" would be those avenues that, through their design, foster community and encourage pedestrian activity. Elements such as buffering the traffic, slowing-down traffic, narrowing the streets and creating more pedestrian friendly sidewalks can create those urban environments.
E-W Gateway hopes to get three demonstration projects under way to help illustrate their efforts. They pointed to a development project on Manchester Ave. at Sarah St. that, though it is not their project, is a good example that puts those ideas in practice.
Alderman Donna Baringer, 16th Ward, brought up the key point, money. She said she had been through all the steps and she had all the plans she needed, but where would the financing come from?
E-W Gateway plans to set aside $2 to 3 million of the federal funds it receives as seed money. Though, as Alderman Gregory Carter, 27th Ward, pointed out, "that's not a lot of money."
Sterman said they plan on being the guide to getting the aldermen the finances they need, not the central source. Much of the Gateway's effort is focused on education.
There will be a workshop in February bringing together these same groups to address the issues. In addition they will introduce an online design guide; a clearinghouse of information available to residents, planners and elected officials.
Sterman admitted that there were projects done in the past that they would not approve now. He said much of the recent development had been driven by engineering rather than planning.
"There's a bit more flexibility in the standards that we've been told over the years," said Sturman.
The presentations given at the October symposium are available here.
From Sean Thomas (yesterday):
As of this morning, the Old North St. Louis Restoration Group officially owns one of the most historically and architecturally significant buildings in the City of St. Louis! Thanks to the hard work and expertise of our board member John Young (an attorney at Bryan Cave), the closing for the Mullanphy Emigrant Home happened this morning and was fairly painless and uneventful. I wish I could say that the hard part is over and that we can sit back and enjoy the benefits of property ownership, but that's not quite the case. It took us seven months to get here; I have no idea how many months of fundraising and stabilization work lay ahead of us.
More info is here.
regarding Ballpark Village will be announced at 1pm.
Let's hope it's not - We agree to give you whatever you want. Again.
Caption is wrong. Kramer is the Democratic nominee.
Observers say Kramer's run a great campaign in a very strongly Republican district. It's a long-shot Dem pick-up, but there is a shot she could be an election night surprise.
Steve Patterson gets into an argument with a downtown business, and films it for the world to see... Yes, there's too much space reserved for valet parking, but I'm not sure his approach is... um... constructive.
It's painful to watch.
The poor businessman looks like he's had a long week already and some guy with a video camera is moving his cones and telling him his wine bar is ruining the street-life, property values will go down because his valet is creating a vacant sidewalk, and, oh yeah, he's going to bring people with signs to protest...
on BJC-FP deal, over at his site.
From our South County tipster:
For those following the development saga near Grant's Farm, apparently the sale (of the 94-acre tract across Gravois from Grantwood Village) has fallen
through. Because the sale is now off, a related sale of 3 1/2 acres of that tract to Cor Jesu has also been canceled.
There is, of course, nothing preventing the owner of this tract from bringing the same parties, or others, into negotiations toward a new sale of the same property, and we should expect this.
Letter to Waterhouse notes 250 signatures in favor of their plan, but also opposition from neighborhood association. QuikTrip in the "business to make friends, not engage in acrimonious debate." Says they're withdrawing plan so "neighborhood might pursue alternatives upon which they might ultimately reach consensus."
From StL a La Mode.
The next St. Louis County Council meeting has been moved up to 5:30, Tuesday, May 16. There will only be a one hour regular meeting. And it is expected that the Council will address the Gravois Creek Development.
Grantwood Villagers blogging.
Council meeting tomorrow night. 6:30 PM, St. Louis County Government Center 41 S. Central Clayton.
Conway, Krewson, Bosley and Wessels will offer their opinion.
Royale will celebrate 1st birthday on Saturday.
Michael Allen at Ecology of Absence worries about the agenda item O at the next Preservation Board meeting.
Around 60 people demonstrated against a proposal to relocate the South Grand McDonald's to the corner of Winnebago and Grand.
Rita Ford, head of the Gravois Park Neighborhood Association, said the plan went against assurances they received from Alderwoman Jennifer Florida.
Ford said Florida quashed rumors of the plan at a meeting held last year.
The protesters chanted reals of "Not lovin it," a play on a McDonald's tagline and "Florida take a stand".
The proposed development, opponents say, would violate previous assurances that the land would be used for residential and urban-friendly development.
Ford says the issue has little to do with the presence of a McDonald's (the existing franchise lies less than 300 feet from the proposed location), they feel their concerns were given a deaf ear.
Gravois Park Neighborhood Association plans to appeal a zoning decision that could make the deal a fait accompli. The hearing will be held on Wednesday, April 19th, 1:30 p.m., Room 208 of City Hall.
does 36 hours in St. Louis
Steve Patterson has done an excellent job covering the debate over a proposed McDonalds on South Grand that would lie almost right across the street from the existing establishment.
Patterson has been highly critical of the role played by 15th Ward Alderman Jennifer Florida, in whose ward the McDonald's falls. She has been a staunch advocate of the project even in the face of unprecedented opposition from neighboring Alderman Craig Schmid (20th Ward). Now he says there may be more to Florida's interest in the deal than just politics.
Pyramid Construction has plans for a project that would use the land the existing fast-food joint sits on. Patterson pulled Florida's quarterly reports from 2004. He believe that the numerous Pyramid-related donations to her campaign were designed to curry favor.
Encouraging favorable attention through donations is an age-old practice, but Patterson believes it is related to this project, specifically. That's a serious charge, but Paterson is one serious urbanist.
The Downtown Dutchtown Business Association, has been successful in wooing well-known artist Cbabi Bayoc, of Bayoc Studio, to lease space at Meramec & Virginia, 3301 Meramec.
Bayoc Studio will have a small retail gallery with select paintings and a full portfolio to browse. In addition, the artist will have private space on site to work and train select students.
St. Louis #1 on their "least appreciation" list.
1. St. Louis, Mo.
ZIP Code: 63143
Neighborhood: Maplewood/Richmond Heights
2005 Median Sales Price: $133,100
Total Price Appreciation 2003 to 2005: -28.1%
Appreciation for New Homes: -5.3%
Appreciation for Existing Homes: -28.6%
Charming single-family homes, some dating back to the early 20th century, dot this community. Though some have deemed the area "hot," prices are apparently not.
There's an important vote tomorrow morning in the Senate Ways & Means Committee on the future of the MO Historic Tax Credit program.
Sen. Chuck Gross (R-St. Charles) has tried for several sessions to destroy the credit for budgetary reasons. He has reduced the scope of his bill to barring the credit's use on residential projects and barring its 3-year carryback feature (that makes the HTC so appealing to businesses for purchase and drives its market). Either of these changes would be disastrous for the program and for the City of St. Louis.
This could be a disaster. The legislators may think they are making an adjustment or a small change to the program for budget reasons, but it will cripple the program. A comparable "adjustment" was made by the Iowa legislature in 2004. Their "small change" to their tax credit law brought a halt to historic rehab statewide and created a waiting list for tax credits to 2018!
"In cooperation with the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission and the Missouri Division of Tourism."
I've been wondering about the recent commercials calling for the liberation of television providers in Missouri. I hadn't realized the industry was so repressed.
I caught one of the recent commercials on Sunday. It pointed the curious towards a website, FreedomWorks.org. As it turns out, FreedomWorks is a conservative group based in D.C. and headed by former Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX). The group is supporting similar actions in Kansas, Indiana and three other states. The telecom biz may be a new area given that the majority of their energy is directed towards issues such as TaBOR, flat taxes and school vouchers.
The ads support legislation sponsored by State Sen. John Griesheimer (R-26) and co-sponsored by Sen. Maida Coleman (D-5). Rather than require providers like Charter Communications to obtain franchises from each city served, the bill would create a single, statewide franchise for video service providers. The argument is that the effort in obtaining multiple franchises discourages providers from entering the markets.
Certainly multiple contracts are a headache, but do real barriers to market entry exist?Continue reading "Sunday TV and cable regulation"
Edwards to build hotel.
Shrewsbury asks the question the study don't answer: If not this tax, what tax, or what cuts?
Here's the study.
Things are heating up in the Clayton Board of Aldermen race which will be decided April 4. Two candidates, Bret Rich and Cynthia Holmes are running on a platform opposing the Centene retail development that will surround the proposed Centene Towers. Rich and Holmes say it's an abuse of eminent domain to oust small businesses on Forsyth to make room for other retail establishments with no guarantee of job creation. Word is that Mayor Ben Uchitelle actively recruited a write-in candidate to oppose Rich and has sent out a letter to city residents promoting the Centene developments and listing Holmes' incumbent opponent, Judy Goodman, who faces re-election in four weeks.
Coming to 7374 Manchester (Sutton and Manchester) in the old Best Value Furniture location.
Owner Barry Cohen sold the mall to Pyramid Construction. Martin Van Der Werf gives a brief rundown in the online version of the Post-Dispatch with more to follow tomorrow.
Cohen told the ACC's Brian Werner in December that he would announce his plans to redevelop the mall in the first quarter of this year (Vol. 4, No. 5). The tentative plans involved a mixed-use development. No mention was made of a potential sale.
The sky-bridge is coming down as well.
Joining the Danforth wing?
Finally the former Comp & Soft location at 3121 S Grand looks to be used!
It appears the occupancy permit has passed the zoning board after the hearing on January 12 and now goes before the Board of Public Service at the date, time, and location below. The capacity of the proposed banquet center will be limited to 60 people.
Tuesday, February 7 at 1:45pm
Board of Public Service
City Hall, Room 208
To start a Missouri No-Call List for cell phones.
I'd sign a petition to stop spam. Anyone?
Last week the Appellate Court ruled against the Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums by a vote of 3-0. This is news that disappoints and angers, but we always assumed that the Missouri Supreme Court is our greatest hope for obtaining justice.
We must have financial help immediately to press forward with an appeal to the Supreme Court. We appreciate that our donors have given repeatedly and very generously, but this case is so important. So far we have raised $2,000 of the $10,000 that we need for hard costs anticipated in carrying out the appeal to the Supreme Court! Please read the details about the ruling below, and then immediately mail the largest check made out to “CAPFS” that you can to P. O. Box 2142, St. Louis, MO 63158.
The appellate court’s ruling says two mutually contradictory things. On one hand, it says the whole financing agreement happened in December, 2003. If this is true, the deal violates the debt-limitation provisions of the Missouri Constitution, which limits long-term debt to less than 20 years without a vote of the people. But later in the decision the court rules that the County really had only a moral obligation to request appropriations, so did not incur any “unconditional indebtedness.” If that is the case, then the argument that the financial assistance occurred in 2003 obviously cannot be true. Why did the prospectus on the bonds warn of the petition drive and possible future votes and/or litigation if this was not understood by the bondholder and the County?
Courts have no right to invalidate a legally carried out citizens’ petition initiative process that was validated by the County as having enough signatures and then passed by a 72% Yes vote in November ’04.
The court failed to rule on our contention that the lawsuit was a SLAPP suit against Fred Lindecke and me. (SLAPP stands for Strategic Litigation Against Public Participation, and it’s the term for illegal lawsuits meant to silence critics of injustices carried out by politicians &/or wealthy and powerful corporate interests.)
We can’t let the issue die here with the appellate court loss. The people have spoken through Prop A. We must stand together and demand justice from the Supreme Court. If you can't send a check immediately, then at least please call me at 314-8882 with a pledge and the date that you'll be able to send a check.
Jeanette Mott Oxford
2006 Kickoff event to Protect: Historic Tax Credits and Rebuilding Communities Tax Credits
Thursday, January 26,
5:30pm - 7:30pm
The Tap Room
Celebrate our great success and help make sure it continues.
The tax credit has its first threat of the 2006 session. Sen. Chuch Gross has refiled his bill to cap most of the state's tax credits at 3% of general revenue. This would cap the historic credit and destroy the program. The bill is SB 927.
Fred Hessel was named Edw. L. Bakewell, Inc.’s rookie of the year for 2005. Since joining the company Fred has racked up over $2 million in real estate sales.
Stephanie Noecker and Dan Keller have joined the Board of Shaw neighborhood's St. Margaret of Scotland housing Corporation.
For the sake of the restaurants, keep 40 open.
Espresso Mod recently opened at the Paul Brown Building. The owner is Paul Charsley. They feature Chauvia coffee as well as pastries and sandwiches. They are also the only place in downtown to offer gelato.
Espresso Mod is located at 210 North 9th Street. Their hours are 6:30 a.m.
to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. to noon on Saturday.
Over at ecology of absence.
Alarm Clock cites Business Journal.
Last night. Shaw's loss.
If they couldn't make it work, it's doubtful anyone else will.
Via Fired Up, poorly poured concrete.
A story on National Public Radio's Talk of the Nation program about one man's search for the "most-average" American and his eventual arrival in his own home-town started a few things bumping around in my alleged mind. Is there a "most-average" St. Louisan?
It's possible to dig through the reams of figures from the U.S. Census Bureau collected during the 2000 census. The Regional Commerce and Growth Association provides a more recent snapshot of the city, but it is geared more towards the fiscal side of the scales.
The numbers are interesting, but unsatisfying. It's reasonably accurate to say the average St. Louisan is likely to be black (51.2%, U.S. Census 2000), but the odds are almost as good that they would be white (43.8%), of course they could also be Asian (2.0%); hispanic (2.0%); Bosnian, Croation, Tai, Nigerian, etc. (0.8%) or multi-ethnic (1.9%, though I suspect many more people could fall under this category than gets reported).
What do those numbers mean if you hang around the Julia Davis Branch of the St. Louis Public Library versus the Buder Branch; or you happen to grab a Wednesday lunch at St. Raymond's or a bite at one of the Mexican joints on Cherokee.
It's a hard picture to put together if you only have the outlines the figures provide. We want to help fill in between the lines. The story of St. Louis is written in its people and its one we want to tell, its one of the reasons it's listed first in our tag-line. Our new Urban Almanac section will spend a bit more time exploring the communities of St. Louis and provide a view into what is likely the not-so "average" life of the "average" St. Louisan.
Do you consider yourself an "average" St. Louisan?
Amendment to HUD appropriations bill.
May be old news to some, but a couple of happenings in the CWE:
Left Bank Books has expanded into the old Marty's.
Silk Road is closing at the end of the month due to a substantial increase in rent. They hope to re-open elsewhere on Euclid at some as-yet undetermined time.
The National Journal's "Hotline" reported on Friday that around a dozen cities are preparing bids for the 2008 presidential convention.
Given the city's interest in drawing more conventions to St. Louis, should they try for a presidential convention?
The last convention St. Louis held was in 1916 when the Democrats re-nominated President Woodrow Wilson. In 1998, Mayor Clarence Harmon turned down an offer to send in a bid for the 2000 convention citing cost and that the city couldn't guarantee enough rooms.
Increasingly large investment and questionable returns make the conventions potentially less attractive. The 2004 Republican and Democratic conventions were the most expensive so far and the economic impact is potentially negligible. The 2004 Democratic convention produced an estimated net benefit of $14 million. The Final Four steered many more eyeballs towards St. Louis than a convention would (convention ratings have dropped continuously in recent elections), and the economic impact, though larger ($41 million according to the St. Louis Sports Commission, but that figure is in question), did not quite match the breathless speculation that proceeded the Final Four.
Hosting a presidential convention is about more than economic impact and exposure, but in this day and age, does hosting a convention still hold the same cachet?
Given the costs, perhaps this is one kind of convention option the city shouldn't explore and let another city have the privilege to shoulder and stick with conventions that won't require passing through metal detectors just to get to the heart of downtown.
For South Granders this is unbelievable.
With its VIP openings next week, Terrene will be the hot new restaurant everyone is talking about. A gorgeous garden courtyard and a well-known chef, Dave Owens, make it a sure thing.
But more interesting to us is the prime backer, John McElwain, who name graces many a political contribution filing. Expect to see Terrene become a favorite place for political fundraisers and functions in the coming year.
St. Louis let the first northside branch library, the elegant Crunden Branch Library at 14th and Cass, be destroyed.
From the press release:
A group of local citizens has begun a petition drive to put St. Louis County's $150 million bond authorization for the Metro transit agency on the ballot for voters to decide. The referendum could hold up or cancel the planned sale of the bonds.
Public Transit Accountability Project, 35 North Central -- Suite 500 -- Clayton, Missouri 63105
CONTACT: TOM SULLIVAN (314)727-2242
Poorest American cities with a population of 250,000 or greater.
Rank City Median household income, 2004
1 Miami, FL $24,031
2 Newark, NJ $26,309
3 Cleveland, OH $27,871
4 Detroit, MI $27,871
5 Buffalo, NY $28,544
6 St. Louis, MO $30,389
7 Philadelphia, PA $30,631
8 Milwaukee, WI $31,231
9 New Orleans, LA $31,369
10 El Paso, TX $31,764
11 Tucson, AZ $31,901
12 Pittsburgh, PA $31,910
13 Cincinnati, OH $31,960
14 Memphis, TN $32,399
15 Baltimore, MD $34,055
16 Toledo, OH $35,239
17 Tulsa, OK $36,255
18 Oklahoma City, OK $36,347
19 San Antonio, TX $36,598
20 Stockton, CA $37,322
Joe Frank notes that the Missouri Task Force on Eminent Domain has set up a website.
The website looks like it could be quite helpful if it is updated regularly enough. It has the minutes from the meetings as well as forms for submitting comments and testimony.
From the latest EW Gateway e-newsletter, Local Government Briefings:
Attracting sustained private investment in distressed communities.
Weidenbaum Center's forum on Taxing Temptations.
13% below national average.
Ecology of Absence.
Matt Bauer does a comprehensive survey of retail demand and gaps in St. Louis City and County.
Fowler wants Leggett to auction Carter Carburetor plant. Enormous and abandoned.
"Missouri is by any estimation a red state."
Replaces Tucci as chairman.
Governor Matt Blunt announced the appointment of the members of his Eminent Domain Task Force. The list includes three from the St. Louis area.
- Attorney Gerard T. Carmody of Carmody, MacDonald P.C.
- Chris Goodson, president and owner of The Goodson Company and Goodco. Goodson is also a principal at Gilded Age Rennovation, LLC.
- State Senator Chuck Gross of St. Charles is vice president of Business Development
for UMB Bank.
The rest of the members include a State Representative who is also the president of his own farm company, the director of government affairs for the Missouri Farm Bureau, the state's consumer advocate for utility regulation, an attorney specializing in TIF financing and finally an attorney who practiced eminent domain law for the Missouri Highway Commission.
You can read the entire list here.
The St. Louis Board of Alderman went to the mat for boxing promoters this past week.
Despite Aldermanic President Jim Shrewsbury's opposition, a bill that would exempt boxing matches held in the city from paying the 5% entertainment tax sailed through the board.
Shrewsbury argued that the exemption opens the flood gates for other groups to demand the same treatment. He placed the source of the Board's move on noted boxing and personal promoter Don King. Shrewsbury said King lamented paying $88,000 in taxes after raking in $1.8 million in one night.
An industry that is unlikely to generate the continued draw of the Corey Spinks fight is not a good candidate for the tax break. Occasional large matches will make money, but the majority of the fights will reflect the national reality of boxing, declining numbers of fans and falling revenue.
A reduction in the tax might make sense once there is track record of successful matches that bring in enough people. The Cardinals have such an agreement and the Blues are likely to seek a similar deal.
Events that draw tens of thousands of people on a weekly basis and inject millions into the city's economy are valid candidates for tax reductions.
Promoters and anti-tax proponents may try and argue that the tax is a drag on the growth of the sport in St. Louis, but as Steven Smith's successful Hoosierweight Boxing enterprise and other local boxing events show, the tax has not driven boxing out of the city.
The Spinks fight was not successful despite the tax. Don King and Corey Spinks made it a successful event and it was a great feather for St. Louis' cap. It brought attention to St. Louis and got people talking about boxing again.
Until the industry shows a track record of success it should pay the same tax that other groups holding events in the city must pay.
It would be fantastic to see St. Louis become a center for boxing but the Aldermen who are responsible for guiding the city through its financial woes should not pin their dreams on a single success.
Correction: Corrected the fight night figures above. - Matthew
From the Business Journal, Census estimates that St. Louis' population only declined 1.4% during the last year. Boston was down 1.5%!
Sued Garden District over eminent domain valuation.
St. Louis Pizza Haus is the newest addition to the University City Loop at 6602 Delmar Boulevard.
This might not seem like it should be at the top of the list, but...
In Washington MO they're protesting the bears.
“The decision to sell the Blues is disappointing. My focus now is on working with city leaders, Savvis Center and prospective buyers to reach common ground and keep the Blues in downtown St. Louis where they belong. It’s too early to pinpoint any particular incentive, but a public/private solution will help keep the Blues at home. We just have to wait and see what the options are.”
Look for a sneak preview party for the new "Thurman Community Cafe" on June 30.
South Grand business owners are aghast at Commerce Bank's plans to sell an adjacent building and long-vacant parking lot to Krieger's which would retain the surface parking lot for its Sports Bar patrons. The back of the parking lot would be sold to developers for condos. The business district is SOL without the lot.
Residents, as they learn of the plan, are expected to be similarly distraught. Without that parking lot historic homes are more vulnerable to meet the demand for parking.
Via Biz Journal, flights to KC.
We've been advised of a poll asking City and County residents about a tax increase dedicated to Forest Park.
Soliciting views about 1/20 cent and 1/10 cent sales taxe increases as well as 4cents/$100 property tax. Or an 8 cent/$100 property tax increase dedicated to all parks.
Asked who should be responsible for managing tax receipts - Forest Park Forever, Great Rivers Greenway, City fo St. Louis, St. Louis County, or the Zoo-Museum District.
Pollster was Western Research and took about twenty minutes.
A second location will open in June in the Shaw neighborhood. It will be called "Thurman Community Cafe." and will offer the full line of coffee and foods that Hartford does.
Press release from the Bond Office:
After receiving a classified briefing on the homeland security implications of moving the 131st Fighter Wing from St. Louis, Senator Kit Bond today called on the BRAC Commission to receive the same classified briefing and demanded that the Pentagon release installation-specific data used to make the recommendations.
Today, Bond circulated a letter among the Missouri congressional delegation to send to the BRAC Commission urging the commissioners to receive the security briefing before the June 7th hearing.
From East-West Gateway's Weekly E-letter
BRAC’s Impact on Jobs in the East-West Gateway Region: Net Loss of 3,713
The Secretary of Defense announced his recommended closures and realignments of military installations May 13, 2005, the first step towards reducing the number of armed forces sites in the United States.
Overall, the net effect would be a loss of 3,716 jobs in our region. The direct loss of military and civilian jobs would be 1,905. It is estimated that an additional loss of 1,811 indirect jobs (local non-government jobs supporting installation material, service, and infrastructure needs) and induced jobs (jobs that provide goods or services to the households of direct or indirect installation employees, such as local grocery stores, retail stores, and restaurants) would occur.
Army National Guard Reserve Center, Jefferson Barracks, St. Louis County, a loss of 121 jobs;
Defense Finance and Accounting Service, 4300 Goodfellow Blvd, City of St. Louis, a loss of 611 jobs;
National Personnel Records Center, 9700 Page Ave., Overland, a loss of 4,171 jobs;
Scott Air Force Base, St. Clair County, a gain of 1,697 jobs;
and the Air National Guard (131st Fighter Wing), Lambert Field, St. Louis County, a loss of 510 jobs.
Listed for $1.68 million.
From the critical mass email list, Save the Arches.
Jake has a front page (above the fold) story in today's Post. Maybe a prelude to a bond issue (mentioned in the Mayor's State of the City speech) to fund better parks and recreation centers. Or maybe setting the stage for a city-county parks merger as mentioned in the Mayor's "mini-poll?"
Regardless there seems to be some momentum building around this issue, including a rumored CID in the 16th ward to fund a neighborhood community center.
Check out the plans for I-64. Submit your comments to MoDot.
I guess it's a dog-fight, and Scott Air Force Base is considered vulnerable. One problem: Illinois is a Blue state and it's unclear whether our Red Senators Talent and Bond are in there fighting for Scott or not.
Most people think that after a good fight the classy thing to do is move on. Just imagine the list of folks they'd have sued if they lost!
Actually the irony here is the Republican Governor's Missouri Development Finance Board is suing one of the few stalwart (and maybe the least malicious) Republicans in the city. Three years ago, Plackemier ran against Maida Coleman for State Senate.
Tom Carnahan, bro to Congressman Carnahan, and formerly of Carnahan and Garvin, has launched "The Carnahan Group" which will consist of several divisions, including development, legal, consulting and tax credit syndication.
His new digs are at 906 Olive Street.
May we all dress a little better.
Brought to you by the fine folks at the Fashion Forum StL.
Scott Air Force Base is being reviewed through the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure process (BRAC). With the Secretary of Defense set to release a list of recommended base closings on May 16, 2005, it is critical that St. Louis area residents – Missouri and Illinois – show that the community supports Scott.
Scott Air Force Base is the St. Louis region’s 4th largest employer with 13,000 employees and an annual economic impact of more than $2 billion, according to the Leadership Council Southwestern Illinois. It is home to the U.S. Transportation Command and Air Mobility Command, directing the movement of all U.S. military personnel and cargo around the world.
Scott was spared in the 1995 round of base closures when ATCOM in St. Louis was closed. Building Mid-America Airport at Scott – while not fully utilized – is important because it shows the potential for joint-use and community support for Scott.
Showing your support is easy – just go to the website www.SupportSAFB.org and join the coalition. It takes two minutes and adds your name to the growing list of residents who are concerned about Scott and the St. Louis regional economy.
in today's Post-Dispatch.
Voted yesterday to Join the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures. Not listed on their membership page yet, but will be soon.
San Francisco life science community is doing the "Family Feud huddle," looking for a steal if stem cell ban passes.
Learn more about the effort to ban stem cell research in Missouri. Two bills in the Missouri legislature would ban stem cell research and cures in Missouri. Learn about the science and inform yourself about this critical issue.
The Clayton Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free event, Wednesday, March 23 at 7:30 a.m. at the Center of Clayton, 50 Gay Avenue, in Shaw Park. Speakers are Dr. Steven Teitelbaum and Representative Jim Lembke. The event is free but you need to register and you can do it online at www.claytoncommerce.com.
Forwarded from Eric Friedman:
Please email and call all the senators on the Ways and Means committee and tell them this bill will bring all work on Historic Projects to a stop.
It Caps Approved, issued and redeemed tax credits on Historic and other tax credit programs at 3% of the net general revenue. Note redeemed is included.
SB 406 - This act limits the issuance and redemption of certain economic development tax credits in any fiscal year, beginning in fiscal year 2006, to three percent of the net general revenue of the state for the prior fiscal year. The act also provides that in any fiscal year, no tax credits shall be approved or issued or redeemed for a specific tax credit program until the tax credits for that specific program that were denied in the preceding year, due to the limitation imposed by this section, are issued.
In Iowa, I'm told, they can not redeem any tax credits until 2017.
Just posted last night, to the hearing schedule, SB 406 will have its hearing (Thursday 3/17/05) morning at 8:30 a.m. before Ways & Means in Senate Committee Room 1.
Link to the committee members and there contact information. http://www.senate.state.mo.us/05info/comm/wame.htm
Carl Vogel, 6th, Chair
Chris Koster, 31st, Vice-Chair
Norma Champion, 30th
John Cauthorn, 18th
John Griesheimer, 26th
Larry Taylor, 29th
Joan Bray, 24th
Victor Callahan, 11th
Maida Coleman, 5th
Link to the bill:
Link to the hearing schedule look under Ways and Means
If the links do not work paste them into you browser.
Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development
Joe Hodes our consultant to assist
Joe will be in Jeff city today.
Or sign on at the web site below by sending an email to the link
Missouri Coalition for Historic Preservation and Economic Development
(314) 518-1797 (cell)
The official grand opening celebration of the new Verizon Wireless Communications Store, located at 4647 Chippewa St., was yesterday. It is their first store in the city.
A city building inspector has shut down the public space at the Community Arts & Media Project (CAMP) Building at 3022 Cherokee in Gravois Park. The inspector issued a stop-work order and has threatened condemnation if CAMP has any more public events there before obtaining a legal permit. (CAMP had a public "grand opening" February 5 without a lawful permit as well as several meetings for political groups.)
Ran into the towering Chris Thomas at lunch today who informed me that there are closing signs in both Payless and OfficeMax in St. Louis Marketplace.
I think we can - as Marston would say - stick a fork in it.
Smoking would be prohibited in almost all enclosed public places in St. Louis County under legislation proposed by County Councilman Kurt Odenwald, R-Shrewsbury.
In a memo to the St. Louis County Counselor, Odenwald submitted draft language that would ban smoking throughout the County in establishments including: airports, office buildings, restaurants, bars, theaters, indoor sports venues, and all school buildings, including junior colleges and universities not presently covered by County ordinance.
The ban, if passed by the County Council, would apply throughout unincorporated St. Louis County as well as all municipalities located within the County.
As presently drafted, the ordinance would exempt from the ban private residences, a limited number of hotel rooms that are designated as “smoking,” certain restricted rooms in nursing homes and long term care facilities, retail tobacco stores and facilities operated by non-profit fraternal, athletic, military or religious organizations.
Citing the need for St. Louis County to take a leadership role in addressing the public health issue of second-hand smoke, Odenwald noted the County Council’s precedent in passing the first legislation in Missouri to prohibit smoking in schools and day care centers in the early 1990s. Odenwald also sponsored and passed legislation which prohibited tobacco sales to minors and licensed the sale of tobacco products within St. Louis County.
The first hearing on Councilman Odenwald’s draft ordinance is scheduled before the Justice and Health Committee of the County Council on Tuesday, March 22, 2005 from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. The hearing will be held in the County Council Chambers in Clayton. The first hearing will be limited to presentations from representatives of organizations, associations, groups and local governments. Priority will be given to those representatives who have pre-registered to speak. A second public hearing to take comment from the general public will be held by the Justice and Health Committee at the Council Chamber office on Tuesday, April 12, 2005 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. In addition to Councilman Odenwald, the members of the Justice and Health Committee include First District Councilwoman Hazel Erby and Third District Councilman Skip Mange. Persons wishing to pre-register to speak at the March 22, 2005 Committee hearing may contact the Council’s Administrative Director, Suzanne Pratl at 314-615-5440.
An effort to create a building museum in St. Louis.
Seems like one of those web-sites that might yield some interesting information.
St. Louis makes an appearance in the current issue of Forbes surveys the landscape of unprofitable convention centers across the country. Registration required.
ST. LOUIS – As reported in Martin Van Der Werf’s column in the Post-Dispatch today, efforts are afoot to remove the pedestrian “skybridge” from the St. Louis Centre complex, thereby forever altering the scenic streetscape along this burgeoning section of Washington Avenue. In response, a group of concerned citizens is planning a multi-pronged approach to keep the historic skybridge intact.
“Changing the dramatic exterior of the St. Louis Center skybridge would be a mistake,” says Franklin Jennings, a spokesperson for the ad-hoc “Save the Skybridge” effort. “Once torn asunder, the views in this area of eastern Downtown would never be the same. We consider the skybridge to be part-and-parcel of the robust nature and dramatic vista of this working neighborhood. It has been a part of Downtown for roughly two decades. Our contention is that it should be serviceable for at least two generations.”
With City Hall rainmakers likely favoring the demolition of this structure – which linked the old Dillard’s department store to the vibrant commercial hub of the Centre – overtures will be made to insurgent Mayoral candidates Bill Haas and Irene Smith.
“These are people who regularly trade in the ideas market,” says Jennings. “No ‘isms’ apply with them. Particularly age-ism, which is clearly in effect with this anti-preservation move. The thought that the contemporary design aesthetics of the late-‘70s and early-‘80s can be so wantonly tossed aside, shows that our civic leadership doesn’t value Generation X, the
people who grew up with the architecture so vividly brought to life by the skybridge. This seems to stand in stark contrast with ballyhooed efforts to woo young residents to the City.”
Jennings suggests that those interested become immediately involved, first by purchasing goods and services from the vendors that call St. Louis Centre home.
“Nothing speaks louder than a consumer response,” Jennings says. “And the range and scope of commercial endeavors currently taking place in the Centre will surely surprise those who’ve not shopped there in several years.”
Meanwhile, online efforts will be undertaken through the (in-construction) internet portal: savetheskybridge.org.
“We’ve seen countless Downtown buildings saved through highly-public internet campaigns, featuring sharply-designed, highly-intuitive and dynamically-interactive sites” Jennings says. “Why not here?”
Now that information of the potential demolition of the historic skybridge is becoming public, Jennings hopes to tap into the goodwill built through other, recent efforts to save important Downtown landmarks. He stresses that “outside-the-big-box thinking” might be required here.
“Take the trendy ‘windowless condo’ idea so prevalent in the American Northwest,” Jennings suggests. “It’s not necessary for Downtown lofts to have, for example, 40 windows per unit. In our research, windowless condos are increasingly popular in rain-saturated, low-light cities such as Portland and Seattle, where adaptive reuse is treasured, not mocked. To target a handful of units to those with solid incomes and light sensitivity is simply good business.”
For more information, contact Franklin Jennings through Cee Wisp Communications @ [email protected].
"17th Ward Green Party Committeewoman Kim Jayne was elected president of the Forest Park Southeast Community Council after the ouster of Dan Scott, who urged cooperation with the Washington University Medical School, Alderman Roddy and -- according to some -- President Bush. Jayne is pursuing a more activist strategy that will target derelict nuisance properties and sloppy demolition work by LRA."
Sad news again from StL A La Mode. Time to start serving up some good news for a change!
According to StL A La Mode.
That's a set-back for the re-emerging FPSE neighborhood and the Manchester strip.
St. Louis American throws it at the top of the front page and they are right on. This is a huge event - February 5, Savvis Center.
No doubt this will sell out. Helping that happen is the rumor that Nelly will be on-hand and rapping as Corey Spinks enters the ring.
The other half of the rumor is that Jay Z will be rapping the intro as Zab Judah enters the ring. Jay Z is from the Brooklyn as is Judah, creating a NYC - StL boxing/rapping rivalry.
Tickets start at $25 and if you're not married to a public health nurse who thinks that boxing should be outlawed, it should be a pretty amazing evening of entertainment.
MO State Medical Association tells its members in its January 20, 2005 Legislative Report...
"TORT REFORM -- COMING SOON TO A THEATER NEAR YOU
There's no need to pace the floor like an expectant father in a hospital waiting room. The long-awaited tort reform bill is coming. The current plan - which is subject to change - is to unveil the package sometime next week to coincide with Governor Blunt's State of the State Address. Sure, it seems to be slow in coming, but it's really not so. Last year's tort reform bill wasn't introduced until January 29, but was among the first bills to land on the Governor's desk. And, you might recall, receiving it wasn't exactly on that Governor's priority list. This year it is a very high priority for the Governor, and likewise for the leadership in both the House and Senate. The package has been drafted (you're going to like it) and it's going to receive preferential treatment. Time is not going to be an issue. The real issue is what the package will look like when the legislative process gets done with it. For that reason it is vitally important that you keep the fire lit under your legislators."
Over at Syndicate member StL A La Mode, they see Schlafly expanding into soft drinks soon.
Michael Allen's talking about the destruction of McRee Town.
Bill Kapes will soon open (really this time) "Riley's" at Arkansas and Arsenal. He's built in beautiful oak booths with marble-topped tables, restored the bar itself and the high old tin ceiling and windows. The adjacent space formerly known as "Coffey's Donuts" has additional seating, with an area reserved for darts. (Mrs. Coffey used to sell Roosevelt kids cigs there for a quarter each ("Ya need matches withat, honey?") until some cop told her it was illegal.) Bill's menu will include a variety of pizzas, salads, and sandwiches. And he plans to eventually feature outdoor seating in front of the place as well.
Also there is a proposal by a Fox Park resident planning to open a restaurant ("Pestalozzi Place") at the corner of Virginia and Pestalozzi, also in the heart of TGE. The lunch menu is simple, but dinner is pretty fancy.
Loft St. Louis
Urban St. Louis
Former American journalist Tavia Evans does a number on urban grocery shoppers today in the Post.
We shop too heavily around payday. We go too often and buy too little. We steal shopping carts. In short, we're unprofitable.
It's time someone (maybe someone with a small independent paper?) did the story about how the Schnucks in my neighborhood sucks.
I used to think all the talk about "good" Schnucks and "bad" Schnucks was paranoia. But having lived the bad Schnucks and visited the good ones. It's true. If urban stores are unprofitable, there's more to blame than the customers. How about the moldy "fresh" basil? The crappy fruit? The wilted green beans? The fortressed liquor aisle? The chronic understaffing and everyday long lines?
The American Tort Reform Association called Madison County, IL #1 Judicial Hellhole. St. Clair, IL followed at #2.
On the death penalty at least.
10th Street Italian
504 North 10th Street
St. Louis, Missouri 63101
Monday Through Friday
10:30am to 8:30pm
10:30am to 3:30pm
Congratulations to People's Coffee. They will be the new food operator at the City Hall cafeteria.
People's presently runs the dining service in the Civil Courts Building.
Additional defendants include:
St. Louis US Custom House and
Old Post Office Building Associates, LP
The DESCO Group
Missouri Development Finance Board
In the Circuit Court of Cole County
State of Missouri
Marti Frumhoff, )
Missouri Department of Natural Resources )
and Missouri Department of Economic
Petition for Declaratory Judgment
Comes Now Plaintiff Marti Frumhoff (hereinafter Frumhoff), by and through counsel, and for her Petition for Declaratory Judgment against Defendants Missouri Department of Natural Resources and Missouri Department of Economic Development (hereinafter "DED" and "DNR"), states as follows: 1. Frumhoff is, and at all times relevant herein was, a resident of the State of Missouri and St. Louis City County. Frumhoff is a taxpayer of the State of Missouri.
2. Defendants DED and DNR, at all times relevant herein, were duly organized and existing under the laws of the State of Missouri, with its offices in Jefferson City, Missouri within Cole County.
3. The Missouri Development Finance Board ("MDFB") is a governmental, non-profit entity created as a corporate body and politic by the State of Missouri.
4. The Project at issue here involves the proposed renovation of the St. Louis Custom House and Post Office (the "Old Post Office"). The Project involves the United States General Services Administration ("GSA") transferring title to the Old Post Office to the MDFB. The Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority of the City of St. Louis ("LCRA") sold the Century Building, located across the street to the west of the Old Post Office, to the MDFB. The plan calls for the MDFB to own and develop, with NSG Developers LLC, the proposed Ninth Street Garage on the site of the Century Building once it is demolished. The MDFB will own but lease back to the St. Louis' U.S. Custom House and Old Post Office Building Associates, L.P. the Old Post Office in a 99 year long-term master lease.
5. The MDFB will take title of the Old Post Office on or about September 21, 2004.
6. The MDFB will lease the Old Post Office to a Developer for 99 years. The Developer is a partnership formed by the principals of The DESCO Group Inc. and DFC Group Inc., Mark J. Schnuck and Steven J. Stogel, through the legal entities of the NSG Developers LLC, Orion 2002, LLC, the Old Post Office Developers, LLC, and the St. Louis' U.S. Custom House and Old Post Office Building Associates, L.P. (hereinafter referred to as "Developer").
7. The funding of the proposed Old Post Office renovation comes from several sources, one of which is the Missouri state historic tax credit. (See § 253.545 to § 253.559, RSMo.).
8. The Missouri state historic tax credit enabling statute requires the state historic preservation officer of the DNR to determine, among other things, whether the rehabilitation meets the standards of the Secretary of the United States Department of the Interior. The issuing of certificates of eligible credits to taxpayers shall be performed by the DED. (§ 253.559, RSMo.).
9. A real and subsisting controversy exists between the parties hereto concerning whether the issuance of Missouri state historic tax credits to the Project is lawful.
10. Plaintiff has no adequate alternative remedy.
11. Plaintiff incorporates by reference Paragraph Nos. 1 through 10.
12. The Developer will seek a certificate of eligibility from the state historic preservation officer of Defendant DNR and a certificate of eligibility from Defendant DED when the renovation of the Old Post Office is complete.
13. Pursuant to the Secretary's standards that the state historic preservation officer of Defendant DNR must use to determine eligibility, demolition of a building as a part of a rehabilitation project involving multiple buildings is grounds for denial of a certificate of rehabilitation. (See § 253.559, RSMo.; 36 C.F.R. 67.6(b)(5)).
14. The Developer here plans to demolish the Century Building as a part of the rehabilitation project.
15. The GSA has acknowledged that demolition of the Century Building is an adverse effect of the proposed project as defined under the National Historic Preservation Act ("NHPA"). The Century Building is a certified historic structure under the NHPA. The Century Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, the Century Building is not functionally related historically to serve an overall purpose of the Old Post Office.
16. The Developers' demolition of the Century Building would render the rehabilitation project ineligible for Missouri state historic tax credits. (See § 253.559, RSMo.; § 36 C.F.R. 67.6).
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that this Court enter an Order against the Defendants and declare that Defendants DNR and DED shall not issue a certificate of eligible credits to any taxpayers associated with the Old Post Office project because the demolition of the Century Building as a part of the rehabilitation project is a basis for denial of certification pursuant to 36 C.F.R. 67.6 that is warranted under the circumstances.Count II
17. Plaintiff incorporates by reference Paragraph Nos. 1 through 10.
18. Under Missouri state law, non-profit and governmental entities are ineligible for the Missouri historic tax credit. (See §253.557 RSMo.).
19. The MDFB is a non-profit, governmental agency created by the legislature of the State of Missouri to facilitate economic development projects that does not pay state income tax on property that it owns.
20. The MDFB will take title to the Old Post Office during the week of September 20, 2004.
21. The Developers will receive from the MDFB a 99-year lease on the Old Post Office for development pursuant to the terms of the rehabilitation project outlined above.
22. As a part of the rehabilitation project, the Developer plans to seek at least Five Million Dollars in Missouri historic tax credits.
23. As a non-profit, governmental entity, the MDFB is not an eligible taxpayer under the Missouri historic tax credit program. Since the MDFB is not an eligible taxpayer under the program, it has no rights to Missouri historic tax credits that could be transferred to the Developer.
WHEREFORE, Plaintiff requests that this Court enter an Order against the Defendants and declare that Defendants' DNR and DED may not issue a certificate of eligible credits to the MDFB or any other taxpayer pursuant to the Old Post Office rehabilitation project because the MDFB, as the owner of the Old Post Office and the Century Building, is an ineligible taxpayer under §253.557, RSMo. that does not have the right to receive Missouri historic tax credits that could be transferred to or applied for by any taxpayer.
Chackes, Carlson & Spritzer, LLP
Matthew J. Ghio #44799
8390 Delmar Blvd., Suite 218
St. Louis, Missouri 63124
Fax: 314-872-7017 Attorney for Plaintiff
Bond Press Release:
ST. LOUIS, MO –– U.S. Senator Kit Bond today joined Mayor Francis Slay, General Services Administration (GSA) representatives, Governor Holden and other civic leaders to celebrate the transfer of the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis. This new agreement will ensure the Post Office's recognition as an historic landmark and will bring continued economic development to downtown St. Louis.
"Not only will this redevelopment preserve the Old Post, but it will also provide another needed economic boost for Downtown St. Louis," said Senator Kit Bond. "Revitalizing downtown St. Louis has been a top priority of mine in the U.S. Senate for many years now. I have made it a point to secure Missouri’s fair share of urban federal investment dollars for projects like this one and I will continue to fight for this and other important projects across the state."
Today's event celebrates the transfer of the historic Old Post Office from the GSA to the Missouri Development Finance Board (MDFB). This transfer will allow for the historic preservation of the Old Post Office. This national historic landmark, which first opened in 1884, will provide approximately 155,000 square feet of rentable space. Bond stressed that this transfer will ensure the Old Post Office's place as a symbol of the economic and cultural vitality of downtown St. Louis well into the 21st Century.
MDFB will enter into a long term lease with St. Louis companies, the DESCO Group and DFC group, to implement a $40 million plan to revitalize the Old Post Office and several buildings in the surrounding area. This project will attract new investment in Downtown St. Louis, bringing new businesses and jobs to the area.
Bond secured $2.5 million in stop-gap funding for the Old Post Office in downtown St. Louis and worked with the National Park Service, the City of St. Louis, the State of Missouri, downtown Now!, St. Louis 2004, and local developers, to remove bureaucratic obstacles to re-development. Their combined efforts were instrumental in the goal of ridding urban blight from the heart of downtown St. Louis.
Edwardsville thinks about impact fees.
Over a recent weekend vacation we had a family discussion about Walmart with my dad and my brother on one side, my wife and I on the other, and my mother sitting on the fence.
In any event, here's something my brother just sent me from businessweek.
News from City Hall
Mayor Kay Barnes
29th Floor, City Hall
Kansas City, Missouri
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE May 12, 2004
Contact: Lara Schopp, (816) 513-3503
Mayor Barnes Announces Plans for New Downtown Arena
Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes today announced the plan for a new $250 million arena in downtown Kansas City, Missouri, nearly half of which will be privately financed through partnerships with AEG, Sprint Corporation and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The remainder of the financing will be composed of a combination of tax credit financing, hotel and car rental license fees, and user fees.
The state-of-the-art 18,000 to 20,000-seat arena will be located between 13th and 15th Streets and Grand and Oak Streets downtown, and will serve as an anchor on the eastern edge of the new Kansas City Live entertainment/retail/restaurant district currently under development by the Cordish Company. The new arena is envisioned as a 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week venue which will feature restaurants and retail activity, in addition to housing the new offices of the National Association of Basketball Coaches, and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. The NABC is expected to provide $10,000,000 in financing.
In addition, AEG, one of the world’s leading sports and entertainment presenters, will serve as a partner with the City of Kansas City in the development, operation and management of the new arena. AEG has indicated that it will make a $50 million commitment to the project if the initial phase projections are confirmed by due diligence, and will also assist the City with the attraction of an anchor tenant for the arena.
Sprint Corporation has signed a letter of intent with the City of Kansas City for the naming rights for the new arena. AEG is advising the City in further discussions with Sprint Corporation for these naming rights.
The public portion of the financing package will not require a general tax increase, but will require Kansas City voters to approve tourism and travel related fees. This includes increases in the hotel license fees of $1.50 per night, and car rental license fees of $3.50 per day plus 50 cents pr day for convention and tourism marketing. An ordinance will be introduced at Thursday’s Council legislative session to place this issue on the August 3rd, 2004 ballot. Public testimony will be taken at the Council’s Finance Committee meeting on Wednesday, May 19th, and the Council must act on the ordinance by May 20th.
“Today’s announcement is another major step forward in the revitalization of downtown Kansas City,” Barnes said. “The combination of the new arena with the H&R Block world headquarters and Kansas City Live, plus the Performing Arts Center will create a spectacular new district downtown with something for everyone, from those living here in the metropolitan area to visitors to Kansas City. I am thrilled that so many prestigious partners have come together with the City of Kansas City to make the new arena a reality.”
Timothy J. Leiweke, president and CEO of AEG, said, “As a Kansas City resident of many years and someone who has continued to follow the growth of this great city, it is my impression that, although a world-class city in nearly every aspect, Kansas City has fallen behind the rest of the country as it relates to facilities for sports and entertainment. Mayor Barnes is clearly a visionary for recognizing that the development of a state-of-the-art arena in a city's urban core has time and again proven to be a true economic juggernaut. AEG is proud to be part of this vision and this community and our entire organization looks forward to making this vision a reality for all involved.”
Gary Forsee, chairman and CEO of Sprint, said, “Having a prosperous, vibrant downtown ensures that our region will continue to attract new visitors and tourists and improve the economic viability of the area. The Sprint Center offers us a great opportunity to promote both our brand and our commitment to Greater Kansas City. We are honored to have our name on a signature entertainment venue in what we believe is one of this nation’s greatest cities.”
Barnes anticipates that a request for qualifications for the design of the new arena will be issued in mid-June, with responses expected back to the City by mid-August. The arena will be planned to be “National Hockey League and National Basketball Association-ready,” and will also be designed to accommodate concerts and other entertainment and sports events, as well as ancillary convention space.
Barnes also extended special thanks to the majority land owners in the area of the proposed site, Tom McDonnell of DST and Crosby Kemper III of UMB bank. The Mayor acknowledged McDonnell for his vision in acquiring parcels of land in the downtown loop for future development such as the arena. In addition, she thanked Kemper for his willingness to enter discussions to make his property available to the City for construction of the arena.
The location provides easy access to thousands of existing parking spaces available to the public. More than 15,000 parking spaces exist within a five-minute walk from the proposed arena site, and nearly 35,000 spaces are available within a ten-minute walk from the site.
Upon completion and opening of the new arena, which is expected in early 2007, Kemper Arena will become a premier venue for equestrian and live stock events year-round, in conjunction with the America Royal Association. The Board of the American Royal has recently commissioned a feasibility study and master plan for both Kemper Arena and Hale Arena to develop a first class facility designed specifically for a top flight livestock, equine, agriculture entertainment and festival district in the Central Industrial District. This study should be completed in 90 to 120 days.
“I also want to thank Mark Ernst of H&R Block and Blake Cordish of the Cordish Company, neither of whom could be here today,” Barnes said. “They more than anyone realize that a new arena as part of the entertainment district is one of the final pieces toward fulfilling our dream of fully revitalizing the downtown loop.”
St. Louis consultant John Hoal prescribes parking for Belleville's downtown woes.
In the Old Futon Express place, on Grand just south of Arsenal, Erato Wine Bar and Grand Market is coming soon, according to a newly placed banner!
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