2017 St. Louis Elections | St. Louis Public Radio

2017 St. Louis Elections

Credit Graphic by David Kovaluk / St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles takes the oath of office at Ferguson City Hall Tuesday night.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles and Councilwoman Ella Jones made something perfectly clear Tuesday night: The city’s mayoral election is over, and there’s no schism between the two elected officials.

Judge Jimmie Edwards swears in members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The ceremony had to be moved outside after a bomb scare at City Hall.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth I St. Louis Public Radio

In a region as fragmented as St. Louis, there’s one commonality uniting scores of towns and cities: high sales taxes.

Lyda Krewson dances with relatives, supporters and campaign staff after delivering her acceptance speech.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The demise of a publicly funded soccer stadium could mean the St. Louis Police Department sees more taxpayer money.

 

When voters approved a half-cent sales tax Tuesday for things like light rail expansion and neighborhood development programs, it automatically raised the use tax that businesses pay on out-of-state purchases.

Hunter Maret of University City watches Proposition 2 election results at Union Station at a pro-soccer stadium gathering Tuesday night.
Ryan Delaney I St. Louis Public Radio

Once St. Louis voters dashed his hopes of bringing Major League Soccer to the city, Dave Peacock didn’t make much of an attempt to modulate his tone.

 

Rachel Lippmann, Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies discuss the results of the April 4 general municipal elections across the region.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday, April 4, marked the day of the general municipal elections in the St. Louis region. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, we discussed the outcome of the elections around the area, including the St. Louis mayoral race, police funding in St. Louis County and proposed funding for a soccer stadium in the city. 

Vacant buildings owned by the Land Reutilization Authority in the 4000 block of Evans Avenue. February 2017.
File Photo | Marie Schwarz | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis won't receive more money to take care of city-owned vacant buildings, and won't sync its election dates with statewide elections.

Proposition NS, which needed two-thirds approval, received 58.57 percent of the vote.

The proposition would have given the city the ability to sell up to $40 million in bonds to go toward stabilizing the more than 3,5000 vacant buildings it owns. That money is equivalent to a one-cent property tax increase per $100 of a property’s assessed value.

St. Louis Metro Police officers use bicycles to push back protesters at an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis will keep its Recorder of Deeds office, voters decided Tuesday. That means the city’s police department will have to find another way to help purchase for body cameras.

The measure, which moves the Recorder of Deeds office’s duties to the city assessor, would have needed to pass with 60 percent or more of the vote because it is considered a “county office.” It received 51.58 percent of the vote.

Lauren Rapp, from St. Louis, watches Proposition 2 election results with Bo Thomas. A bid to publicly fund a soccer stadium failed to pass on Tuesday.
Ryan Delaney I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Major League Soccer hopes likely died Tuesday. City residents voted for sales tax and use tax increases that’ll go toward city services, but turned down Proposition 2, which would have funneled the use tax toward a new stadium.

Lyda Krewson thanks supporters at the Probstein Golf Course Clubhouse in Forest Park on Tuesday night. (April 4, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

A woman will take over the St. Louis mayor’s office — a first in the city’s more than 250-year history.

Democrat Lyda Krewson, the 28th Ward alderman since 1997, beat Republican Andrew Jones and four other candidates in Tuesday’s general election.

Voters cast electronic ballots at Central Baptist Church in St. Louis on Nov. 8, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s Election Day in the St. Louis region, where voters will decide on a number of high-stakes issues.

Polls are open in Missouri and Illinois from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Election officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County said no problems had been reported at polling stations by midday, and that turnout was light.

Clockwise from left: Incumbents Rob Chabot and Donna Thurman, along with first-time candidates Jessica Ponder, Donna Dameron and Roger Hines, are running for the Ferguson-Florissant school board on April 4, 2017.
Ferguson-Florissant School District

The Ferguson-Florissant school board election Tuesday will use a voting system a federal judge ruled unconstitutional last year.

The judge ruled that method unfair to African-Americans and ordered the district to implement cumulative voting, which allows for as many votes to be cast as there are seats up for election. Those votes may all be cast for the same candidate or may be spread around as a voter sees fit.

But because the district appealed, this year’s election is still operating under the old, at-large system. That means, with five candidates running for three open board seats, residents will cast one vote for each of the three candidates they like.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth / St. Louis Public Radio

School districts across the St. Louis area are asking voters Tuesday to consider various funding measures.

Two Metro East counties are hoping to join more than 40 others in Illinois that have started using sales tax increases to bolster school funding in the face of less state support due to a nearly two-year budget crisis.

And in St. Louis County, there are a half-dozen funding measures. Kirkwood would raise property taxes, while the rest are bonding measures, all of which need to pass with about 57 percent of the vote. The largest bonding measure, in the Rockwood district, seeks to spend $95.5 million on a new elementary school in Eureka and expand other buildings.

Johnathan McFarland, the Green Party candidate for St. Louis mayor, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday, March 31.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Johnathan McFarland, the Green Party candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

McFarland, a community organizer, has previously tried to get elected to the U.S. Senate and the 6th Ward aldermanic seat.

Robb Cunningham, the Libertarian candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday, March 31.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Robb Cunningham, the Libertarian candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Cunningham makes his living as a saxophonist and considers himself a "rock n' roll Libertarian."

We spoke with Republican candidate Andrew Jones on March 27 and with Democratic candidate Lyda Krewson on March 22. In addition to our conversation with Cunningham on Friday, we’ll also hear from the Green candidate for mayor and two independent candidates for mayor.

Larry Rice, an independent candidate for Mayor of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Larry Rice, an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Tyrone Austin, an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday, March 31.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Tyrone Austin, an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Austin, a businessman, is making his second run for mayor. His first was in 2013. 

Soccer supporter Stuart Hultgren at an event on Feb. 28, 2017  with the coach of U.S. men’s national team at the Amsterdam Tavern, a popular soccer bar in south St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, in 1907, formed the first professional soccer league in the U.S., had several hometown players on the 1950 U.S. World Cup team, and over the years has fostered dominant college teams. The Major League Soccer commissioner said the city has always been in the league’s sights.

There are very few current MLS clubs with a history already built in, former MLS player (and St. Louis native) Taylor Twellman said, before a pro-stadium rally this week. “The only thing this city needs is a professional team, playing at the highest level, with a soccer-specific stadium.”

Investment group SC STL is trying to land a MLS team, partially with help of of St. Louis taxpayers. And that’s where some city residents lose interest.

Sharon Carpenter, St. Louis recorder of deeds,  spent several decades as a Democratic committeewoman for the 23rd Ward.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Recorder of Deeds office is in the crosshairs in Tuesday’s election, when voters will have to decide whether to eliminate the agency, which maintains public records, and put any money saved toward body cameras for police.

Ferguson police officers record protesters on W. Florissant Avenue on Aug. 9, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, the department’s on-duty officers started wearing body cameras while on duty. And the federal government’s consent decree, which came in response to Brown’s death, mandated Ferguson officers wear them.

But a group of Ferguson residents wants to put the use of cameras into the city charter as a means of ensuring it continues long after federal oversight is over.

Fans watch Taylor Twellman, a St. Louis native and former U.S. men’s national team player-turned-ESPN commentator, speak Monday, at a rally supporting a soccer stadium. March 27, 2017
File | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8:40 p.m. March 27 with details from rally — St. Louis always has been a location in Major League Soccer’s sights for growth, the league’s commissioner said Monday, but taxpayers will have to bear some of the cost to make that a reality.

A vacant building at 4030 Evans Ave. owned by the city's Land Reutilization Authority. Prop NS would allow the city to issue up to $40 million in bonds to help stabilize such buildings.
FILE PHOTO | MARIE SCHWARZ | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a conversation about Proposition NS, one of the ballot measures that St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.  The proposition seeks to raise funds through a bond issue to stabilize and market vacant buildings.

There is no organized opposition to the ballot measure though Andrew Jones, the Republican candidate for mayor, has criticized the measure because of what he says is a lack of specificity.

Andrew Jones, February 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, business executive Andrew Jones emerged from a field of three candidates to become the Republican candidate for mayor of St. Louis. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Jones joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

We spoke with the Democratic candidate for mayor, Lyda Krewson, on March 22 and will speak with third party/independent candidates on Friday. 

Fans eagerly asked questions after listening to Bruce Arena speak.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Recovering from the slow-motion heartbreak of losing its NFL team (and, to a greater extent, watching the Rams grossly underperform for a decade), St. Louis is jostling with 11 other cities for a Major League Soccer expansion team. Building a stadium is critical to that effort, and an ownership group known as SC STL is trying to secure city taxpayer dollars for the facility.

But with St. Louis facing a raft of economic and public safety issues, opponents believe subsidizing professional sports is a misplaced priority. They also question whether a soccer team is going to provide much benefit to residents in struggling neighborhoods.

The St. Louis Public Schools elected board discusses business during its June meeting as state board of education member Vic Lenz looks on.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Public Schools’ elected board hasn’t had direct control of the district for a decade. Regaining that control from the state may hinge on the April 4 election, when voters will choose from among seven candidates for three open seats.

Board member Bill Monroe is seeking a second term. But the president of the SLPS board and some state-level education officials see his continued presence as a possible disruption in getting back local control.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition P, one of the ballot measures that St. Louis County voters will decide on during the April 4 election. On Friday's program, we also heard a discussion of Proposition 1, a St. Louis city ballot measure, which you can find here

The text of the proposition reads as follows:

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition 1, one of the ballot measures that City of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated, yet lively, conversation about Proposition A, one of the ballot measures that City of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition 2, one of the ballot measures that city of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election. Also on Thursday, we heard about Proposition A, which you can listen to here.

Residents and activists pressure Ferguson's City Council members to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree during a public forum on the decree in March of 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Numerous challenges await Ferguson’s next mayor, including a tight budget, frayed race relations and an understaffed police department. But the winner of April 4 contest will also face a less tangible quandary: repairing the city’s tattered image.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is up for re-election for the first time since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, an event that placed the north St. Louis County municipality in the international spotlight.

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