Francis Slay

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juliàn Castro announces that St. Louis was one of eight communiteis picked for his agency's "Promise Zone" program.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Juliàn Castro announced Tuesday that parts of the St. Louis region were designated by his agency as a Promise Zone.

Speaking at the MET Center in Wellston, Castro said that St. Louis was one of eight communities picked for HUD’s program. Among other things, the program gives selected cities greater access to federal money and manpower to redevelop struggling areas.

Katelyn Petrin / St. Louis Public Radio

A new ship bearing the name USS St. Louis will soon be present in American harbors.  

Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus announced the name of the ship in front of the St. Louis Soldiers’ Memorial Museum on Friday.  

The new ship, LCS 19, belongs to one of two “littoral combat ship” lines, the Freedom variant. The ship is designed to stay close to the shore and target threats like mines, submarines, and surface craft. Mabus said that the ship can do “almost anything” and that at over forty knots, the St. Louis is amongst the fastest ships in the Navy. 

Gateway 180 at 19th St. and Cole St. provides shelter to more than 100 women and families.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

The city of St. Louis is following through on its goal to open two emergency homeless shelters by mid-April, but a lot of the details are still being worked out.

The men’s shelter is temporarily being housed at the 12th and Park Recreation Center in the LaSalle Park neighborhood.

Stadium Approach from the Southeast
HOK | 360 Architecture

The supervisor of St. Louis University's civil litigation clinic is threatening legal action to force a public vote in St. Louis over a proposed nearly $1 billion riverfront football stadium.

It’s a move that reflects the growing demand for some sort of vote to approve the proposed stadium’s public financing.

Mary Ellen Ponder
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On this edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann welcome Mary Ellen Ponder to the show. 

Ponder was recently appointed chief of staff for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, replacing Jeff Rainford. She is the first woman to serve as chief of staff for a St. Louis mayor.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (center) signs into law the Veterans Preference Bill, giving veterans extra points on applications for city jobs. The bill was sponsored by 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd (right).
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

Veterans now will get preference when they apply to work for the City of St. Louis, after Mayor Francis Slay signed the measure into law Monday.

After passing a civil service exam, veterans will be given an additional five points on their applications. Disabled veterans will get another five points on top of that, for a total of 10 points.

After his unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2013, aldermanic president Lewis Reed rebounded in 2014 when he backed several winning candidates for city offices. He's expected to win a third term as aldermanic president.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed was expecting a competitive 2015 re-election bid – at least that’s what he thought at the end of 2013.

New Life Evangelistic Center, 1411 Locust St. in downtown St. Louis.
Flickr | pasa47

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced plans to fund year-round emergency shelter for 225 people Wednesday. The announcement came one day after the city’s Board of Public Service officially filed an order requiring downtown shelter New Life Evangelistic Center to reduce the number of people it helps each night to 32. New Life has until May 12 to comply or be shut down.

St. Louis Economic Development Partnership CEO Denny Coleman
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The head of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership will step down from his post in August.   

Denny Coleman was the first chief executive officer of the partnership, which is the merged economic development agency for St. Louis and St. Louis County. In a press release posted on the agency’s website, Coleman said he is planning to retire from his post on Aug. 1.

Jeff Rainford, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's chief of staff, talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 26, 2015, at St. Louis Pubilc Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum / St. Louis Public Radio

Jeff Rainford, St. Louis’ longest-serving chief of staff who has defended and helped shape St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s agenda for nearly 15 years, is leaving City Hall.

Mayor Francis Slay announces an initiative to increase the diversity of the public safety department
UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Updated at 4:30 p.m. Jan. 20 with approval of money.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved $39,000 of the proposed $50,000 for the minority recruitment program. An additional $11,000 may be available next fiscal year. The city and the Ethical Society of Police must still sign a contract outlining the details.

The grant comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department faces a federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint over its promotion policies. The St. Louis Fire Department has faced several lawsuits over the same issue.

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

(Will be updated.)

After holding the position for more than a decade, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's chief of staff will step down early next month.

Jeff Rainford took the position in 2001, making him the longest-serving chief of staff in the history of the city, according to the mayor's office.

Greendale Mayor Monica Huddleston, center, and Cool Valley Mayor Viola Murphy, right, converse during last Tuesday's St. Louis County Council meeting. Murphy and Huddleston have pushed back against the movement to disincorporate St. Louis County towns --
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Minutes before he took the oath of office, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger waded into the thorny thicket that is municipal consolidation. 

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay talks to 'St. Louis on the Air' host Don Marsh on Jan. 7, 2015, at St. Louis Public Radio in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis has an image problem that Ferguson either brought to light or didn’t help, depending on your perspective. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said addressing those image issues will take a lot of work.

via Wikimedia Commons

Amid reports that the team’s owner plans to build a stadium close to Los Angeles, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon said a plan should be revealed this week that aims to keep the Rams in St. Louis. 

KWMU

Former St. Louis Mayor Vincent C. Schoemehl Jr., who has spent the last 13 years as the chief executive of Grand Center Inc., plans to retire in the next few months.

Schoemehl, 68, said in an interview that he felt a new executive was needed to lead the next long-range capital campaign for Grand Center Inc., which has overseen the resurrection and development of the city’s Grand Center arts and entertainment district.

St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5 p.m. with comments from Mayor Slay.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said Wednesday he's found a way to fund 160 additional police officers over the next two years, plus get money for proven crime prevention programs and more training for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. 

"We can do things like look for more efficiencies, and do hiring freezes, things like that, but it's not going to raise the necessary dollars to hire that many cops," Slay said. "Cops are very expensive, but it's money well-spent."  

After 13 years, homeless advocate Bill Siedhoff stepped down in November from his post as director of the St. Louis Department of Human Services.

“It’s been a very rewarding career, I would say,” Siedhoff told “St. Louis on the Air” host Don Marsh on Wednesday. As director, Siedhoff was responsible for overseeing services for youth, the elderly, the disabled and the homeless.

IMAGE IS ONLY 200 pixels Careful.  Eddie Roth
Office of Mayor Francis Slay

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay appointed his deputy chief of staff, Eddie Roth, as the next director of the Department of Human Services.

Roth will oversee five divisions: Homeless Services, the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging, Veterans Affairs, Youth and Family Services, and the Office on the Disabled.

His predecessor, Bill Siedhoff, retired last month after serving for more than 13 years as director.

"Bill Siedhoff is a giant," Roth said in an interview. "He was a leading figure in providing social services in Missouri, so I have immensely big shoes to fill."

gavel court justice
sxc.hu

Participation in two warrant forgiveness programs has been slow, and officials in St. Louis and St. Louis County are trying to figure out why.

In October, Mayor Francis Slay announced that St. Louis' municipal court would lift arrest warrants for people who had failed to take care of a minor traffic violation. The court ran ads in local media, sent postcards to any address they had on file for individuals with a warrant, partnered with local social service organizations to spread the word, and even recorded a message on the court's phone system.

Sam Dotson and officers listen to James Clark before a hotspot patrol in the Wells-Goodfellow neighborhood.
Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to put an additional 160 officers on the streets of the city over the next two years.  

"This is basically patrolling neighborhoods," Slay said in an interview. "This is more cops on the streets. We're not talking about administrative positions; we're not talking about other things that wouldn't have a direct impact on neighborhoods."

St. Louis City Hall
Richie Diesterheft | Flickr

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay has directed the city’s Affordable Housing Commission to set aside an additional $1 million for its Home Repair Program.

The commission has already authorized more than $2.4 million from its Housing Trust Fund  to assist nearly 900 income-qualified applicants to  keep their aging homes safe and livable. 

According to a statement from the mayor’s office, the additional allotment will be prioritized for nearly 1,900 homeowners to finish needed work.

Ferguson and St. Louis residents are trying to cope with and understand a grand jury's decision not to indict police Officer Darren Wilson in the August death of Michael Brown, and the response, sometimes violent, to that decision.

Wednesday on "St. Louis on the Air," we discussed an upcoming march organized by the NAACP; protests in St. Louis; the response in Washington, D.C.; the grand jury evidence and how to talk about Ferguson and protests with children.

Guests

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay (right) and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley (left) meet the press on Friday. Slay told reporters that police and protesters are talking in advance of a grand jury decision regarding Ferguson Police officer Darren Wil
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis region on edge before a grand jury decides Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson’s fate, the leaders of St. Louis and St. Louis County are preparing for protests. 

Appearing before dozens of reporters in Clayton, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said that there have been talks between police officials and protests groups.

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay held a press conference on Wednesday to calm tensions over the runup to a grand jury decision over Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

As St. Louis residents nervously await a decision regarding Michael Brown’s shooting death, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley had a simple piece of advice.

“Take a deep breath, stand back and calm down,” Dooley said.

Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay told reporters on Wednesday that law enforcement agencies are prepared to protect lives and property – and the rights of protesters – if Wilson isn’t charged with Michael Brown’s shooting death.

Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Wednesday, Oct. 29 to include organizer participant count.

Dozens of people armed with hand guns and long guns gathered in downtown St. Louis Saturday to put new Missouri gun laws to the test. With guns slung across chests and strapped to hips, the group walked from CityGarden to the Gateway Arch.  According to event organizers, 72 open-carry supporters participated in the event.

But first, they spent about an hour talking amongst themselves and to passersby.

Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay met Thursday with youth activist leaders to address a set of demands presented to him on Monday, when protesters stormed City Hall.

The demands include a civilian review board for police and independent reviews for officer shootings resulting in fatalities. Protesters also want all city police to be equipped with body cameras, and for police to give up any military equipment acquired through the Pentagon's 1033 program.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis will no longer require job candidates to disclose previous felony convictions on their applications.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced the shift in hiring policy during a press conference at City Hall Tuesday.

“We’re really not changing our approach to who we hire. It’s just how we do it,” he said.

The change means potential employees will not have to check a box on their applications if they have a felony conviction.

Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

(Updated 11 am, Thurs., Oct 9 with links to national coverage.) When St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay meets with mayors and police chiefs from around the country this week in Little Rock, Ark., he’ll be talking about the lessons learned from the turmoil in Ferguson. 

St. Louis Metropolitan Police chief Sam Dotson listens as state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed announces her plans to introduce legislation mandating 10 years in prison for gun crimes in Missouri.
Rachel Lippmann I St. Louis Public Radio.

A state senator from the city of St. Louis wants individuals who commit gun crimes in Missouri to face what she sees as an appropriate punishment.

"Those with violent crimes and those with gun crimes - they will serve 10 years in prison if we can pass this legislation," state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed said Tuesday at a press conference with Mayor Francis Slay and police chief Sam Dotson. "What we're saying is enough is enough."

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