Christine Ingrassia | St. Louis Public Radio

Christine Ingrassia

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed presides over Friday's session of the Board of Aldermen.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen gave their stamp of approval Friday for two major public investments in sports-related facilities.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy, known for his oratorical abilities, didn’t make intricate speeches or engage in tough questioning as his peers on the Ways and Means Committee repeatedly discussed proposed ballot issues to help fund a Major League Soccer stadium and fix up the Scottrade Center. 

But before aldermen sent a roughly $60 million plan laying out St. Louis’ financial responsibility for the proposed soccer stadium, the 18th Ward Democrat changed his approach, saying they had the wrong priorities and there needed to be “a paradigm shift.”

Alderman Scott Ogilvie provided a pivotal vote to move a soccer stadium ballot item out of an aldermanic committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Ballot items aimed at expanding MetroLink and building a professional soccer stadium passed out of a Board of Aldermen committee on Thursday. But the stadium measure required some downright harrowing procedural maneuvers to stay alive.

MetroLink train at station
File photo | Chris McDaniel | St. Louis Public Radio

The bid for public votes on a sales tax for economic development and on public funding for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium near Union Station faces a new hurdle to make the April ballot.

The Board of Aldermen had until Tuesday to send the measures to Mayor Francis Slay for his signature to meet a state-imposed deadline for the general election.  Because the board did not do so, it will take a court order for the measures to appear on the ballot.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Updated Jan. 20 at 9:00 a.m. with comments from SC STL — Supporters of a Major League Soccer stadium in downtown St. Louis walked into the city's Ways and Means committee on Thursday, cautiously optimistic that a proposal for public funding was on track to go to the voters in April.

Six hours later, they walked out shell-shocked, as members of the committee refused to take a vote on the measure. The decision closes even further the window of opportunity available before a Jan. 24 deadline.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
HOK

Updated at 9:30 p.m. with additional comments from SC STL. —They say nothing is ever truly dead in politics, and the proposed public funding for a professional soccer stadium near Union Station is proving that adage.

Just last week, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, announced that she would not ask the Board of Aldermen to consider her bill directing extra use tax revenue to the stadium. The use tax will go up automatically if voters approve a separate measure boosting the city's sales tax by a half percent.

But on Wednesday morning, the stadium funding bill showed up on the agenda of the Ways and Means committee.

A rendering of the proposed St. Louis soccer stadium.
Courtesy of HOK

Public financing for a soccer stadium near Union Station in downtown St. Louis is unlikely to appear on the April ballot.

Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, confirmed Tuesday that she will not move forward legislation that would have asked voters to chip in $80 million in tax revenue for the stadium. The money would have come from an increase in the use tax that would be triggered by a separate measure.

Green, Ingrassia and Alderman Sam Moore, D-4th Ward, listen as the Board of Aldermen's Tuesday session continues.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 4:40 p.m. Tuesday to reflect conversations between the sponsor and city attorneys. — Two St. Louis aldermen, in partnership with NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, have launched an effort to make the city a sanctuary for reproductive rights.

“We are a board of people who are very aware of the challenges for women that are being brought forth at both the state and national level. And so it’s up to us at the local level to really ensure that women’s rights are protected," said Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, D-15th Ward.

File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Separate initiatives designed to be on the city's April ballot could fund a host of projects, including MetroLink expansion and a professional soccer stadium.

Two St. Louis Board of Aldermen bills were introduced on Wednesday. The first would have voters decide on a one-half cent sales tax increase. The proceeds, estimated at more than $20 million annually, would go toward things such as a North-South MetroLink line, infrastructure improvements and security cameras:

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks in favor of his bill exempting sheltered workshops from the city's minimum wage law.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Before voting against an incentive package for expanding Ballpark Village, St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie delivered one of the more unusual opposition speeches in recent memory.

In an address that could only be described as dripping with sarcasm, the 24th Ward Democrat claimed he was in support of the tax inducements for the development around Busch Stadium. After expressing his concern that aldermen had “taken our eye off the ball on the essential functions of local government,” Ogilvie said he was relieved that those aforementioned issues "must not be problems that the city faces.”

HOK | 360 Architecture

There are few fans in St. Louis quite like Ram Man.

Ram Man — whose real name is Karl Sides — wears a hat molded in the shape of a snarling beast with spiraling horns. His jersey is adorned with patches celebrating the St. Louis Rams' achievements. And his unique admiration was worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it will take more than extraordinary fan loyalty to keep an NFL team in St. Louis.

A rendering of National Car Rental Field, the name new for the proposed football stadium on St. Louis' riverfront.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

On the eve of a public hearing about the St. Louis Rams’ future in the Gateway City, members of the Board of Aldermen are mulling over whether they’ll pick up part of the tab for the cost of a new stadium. The NFL is hosting a meeting Tuesday night at the Peabody Opera House for the public to sound off on the Rams’ potential relocation to the Los Angeles area.

Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew welcomes St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, a Democrat who represents the city’s 6th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. 

Before she ran for the seat, Ingrassia was active in securing grants for the ward, which takes in nine neighborhoods, such as Fox Park and Lafayette Square, in the city’s central and southern corridors. She easily defeated Damon Jones and Michelle Witthaus in a 2013 Democratic primary for the seat – which was tantamount to election.

Michelle Witthaus came in third in this year's Democratic primary in St. Louis' 6th Ward. But the winner -- Alderman Christine Ingrassia -- is working with Witthaus to implement "participatory budgeting." The process -- which gives residents a direct say
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: One day after coming in third place in a battle for a St. Louis aldermanic seat, Michelle Witthaus says she received a notable text message from a former rival.

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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When the Board of Aldermen reconvenes later this year, the people who comprise the 28-member body will look awfully familiar.

That’s because St. Louis residents in 13 out of 15 wards voted to give incumbent city lawmakers another four years in office. That outcome wasn’t completely unexpected: Only seven wards had contested Democratic primaries, which in most cases are the decisive electoral contests. While several wards feature Republican or Green Party candidates, winning the Democratic primary in most instances is tantamount to election.