Antonio French

The Missouri Capitol Building
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Dysfunction in government is in the eyes of the beholder.

That, in essence, was the upshot of Friday’s Third Annual Ethics Conference at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. 

What some speakers viewed as dysfunction, others saw as evidence of proper government action – or restraint.

Take, for example, the four-person panel of Republican and Democratic state lawmakers, past and present.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been nearly a year since a group called Better Together formed to look at St. Louis’ regional governance. From the outset, the organization met with optimism – and skepticism. 

Rebecca Smith/St. Louis Public Radio

A tutoring program that now serves 150 students in north St. Louis could expand to help 350 more students in the city and north St. Louis County with the help of $500,000 in federal funds awarded by the state of Missouri.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson issued on Thursday a wide-ranging apology to Michael Brown’s family — and to demonstrators who felt their constitutional right to protest was violated in the wake of Brown's death.

Pasadena Hills Mayor Geno Salvati won election to his office in 2013 without opposition. It's fairly common for mayors and city council members to get elected without opposition in St. Louis County.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Pasadena Hills Mayor Geno Salvati met with this reporter in April at the Ferguson Brewing Co., it was months before Ferguson became internationally known -- or turned into a hashtag.

Attorney General Eric Holder visited Ferguson Aug. 20.
Office of U.S. Rep. Lacy Clay

Attorney General Eric Holder said Thursday that his conversations with residents of Ferguson during his visit two weeks ago influenced his decision to investigate the city’s police department.

Holder says he heard directly from residents and listening sessions “about the deep mistrust that has taken hold between law enforcement officials and members of the community. ... People consistently expressed concerns stemming from specific alleged incidents, from general policing practices, and from the lack of diversity on Ferguson’s police force.”

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

Update: After least four says of of denial of service attacks, the main St. Louis County government website was restored on Monday, August 18. Work was still continuing on restoring auxiliary sites.

Updated at 12:30 on Friday August 15 with the latest on the St. Louis County website.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

When Antonio French noticed social media activity bubbling up about Michael Brown’s shooting death last weekend, the St. Louis alderman got in his car and drove to Ferguson. 

What he said he saw was striking: Police from neighboring municipalities had formed a “human shield” around the scene. Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, was screaming and crying over not knowing what happened to her 18-year-old son. And Brown’s body was still in the street after being shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis often uses tax incentives as a means of spurring development. But one alderman wants to change how the tax breaks are given out and assessed.  

Alderman Joe Roddy, D-17th Ward, told members of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee on Wednesday that he was forming a group to examine how tax increment financing and tax abatement is done in the city of St. Louis.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio and the Beacon

St. Louis’ streets director faced a harsh reception from aldermen for how the city responded to a January snowstorm.

During an appearance before the aldermanic  committee,  Streets Director Todd Waelterman faced a torrent of criticism for how the city responded to the January snowstorm.

St. Louis Public Radio

The 2013 crime statistics for the city of St. Louis were released last week, with mostly positive results. The city continued its five-year downward trend in both violent crime and property crime, but there was a 6 percent increase in homicides. And, a jump in the number of rapes is attributed to a change in classification of what constitutes rape.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio) / St. Louis Public Radio)

Alderman Antonio French is sponsoring legislation to require videotaping or transcribing various meetings and hearings in city government. French is one of several people seeking to use the web to make government more transparent to the public. 

St. Louis Alderman Antonio French knows something about putting a camera in the face of government. 

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed presides over the debate over tax increment financing for the NorthSide Regeneration project. Reed voted for Tammika Hubbard's bills, which need a final vote before they go to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has given initial approval to two bills giving tax increment financing to Paul McKee’s NorthSide Regeneration project. Both bills need another vote to go to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s desk.

Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed presides over the debate over tax increment financing for the NorthSide Regeneration project. Reed voted for Tammika Hubbard's bills, which need a final vote before they go to Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

Erin Williams

Being an entrepreneur takes more than just having what you think is a “good product.” It takes marketing, development, being social, and most importantly, mentorship. And, you have to be willing to build it from the ground up. But where do you start? For Sylvester Brown, you go with something that’s plain and simple: sweet potatoes.

(via Flickr/tobyotter)

A St. Louis alderwoman wants to keep people from sagging their pants in public. Marlene Davis introduced a bill Friday that would impose a fine of at least $100 for a violation. 

A violation is described as wearing pants below the waist, exposing the skin or undergarments which is quote “likely to cause affront or alarm.”

The topic may sound funny, but not all the aldermen are laughing. Alderman Antonio French says the bill inordinately targets young black men.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development told St. Louis that it had to change the way community block grants were divided, most policymakers were generally enthusiastic about the change.

For years, block grants were divided up wards, giving aldermen more power and influence on where to direct the money. Now, St. Louis is moving toward a more centralized process, where organizations and agencies that want funding will have to apply and make a case for the money.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

A new economic development agreement between St. Louis City and County is a step closer to reality.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen moved a bill forward Thursday that would create a long-talked about partnership.

The bill’s sponsor, Alderman Fred Wessels of the 13th Ward, says it will create entity to serve businesses that want to move into the region.

(Photo courtesy of Ald. Antonio French)

Mayor Francis Slay and the Aldermanic Black Caucus appear to have reached a deal on an operating contract for a new recreation complex in O'Fallon Park on the city's north side.

The deal still needs aldermanic approval and would take effect 90 days after the mayor's signature. That puts the earliest opening for the facility after the start of the new year - more than a year behind schedule.

(via Facebook/Antonio French)

Updated at 8:45 p.m. to clarify the location of mingled funds.

The Missouri Ethics Commission has fined St. Louis city Alderman Antonio French nearly $38,000 for a series of campaign finance violations that occurred during his successful 2009 campaign for the 21st Ward seat.

French, a Democrat, was charged with five violations, including failing to maintain a checking account at a chartered bank for about nine months, and failing to update campaign records to indicate the closure of the old account and the opening of a new one.

Jamala Rogers
Provided by Jamala Rogers

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - Long before most St. Louisans knew about Kwanzaa, paid close attention to gay rights, thought seriously about local control of the St. Louis Police Department or even were willing to consider putting the brakes on capital punishment, Jamala Rogers was working on these issues, mostly at the grass-roots level.

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