Lewis Reed

Antonio French January 2015
File photo | Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s been a violent couple of years in the city of St. Louis, one measure being the 188 homicides in 2015 and 2016.

A decrease in property crime drove the overall crime number down between 2015 and 2016, but violent crime was up more than four percent in 2016 compared to 2015.

All of the Democratic candidates for mayor know addressing crime will be a top priority if they’re elected. Most of them have very similar plans. Not all of them have faith in current Police Chief Sam Dotson to implement those plans.

Mayor Francis Slay signs legislation that will ask voters to approve a sales tax increase to fund a Major League Soccer stadium and a north-south MetroLink line. (Feb. 3, 2017)
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

If there’s one issue that’s provoked more fiery passions among St. Louis politicians, it’s using their constituents’ dollars to fund sports stadiums.

From the unsuccessful venture to keep Rams football in St. Louis to a pending proposal to nab a Major League Soccer team, there’s little question that opponents and proponents of the funding method have strong opinions — including the Democratic candidates seeking to become St. Louis’ next mayor.

Lewis Reed January 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

It’s an odd-numbered year after a presidential election. And you know what that means? It’s time for a rough and tumble race for St. Louis mayor.

This isn’t any ordinary election. Because Mayor Francis Slay isn’t running for a fifth term, a big field of candidates have signed up to succeed him.

We’ve invited mayoral candidates to visit the Politically Speaking podcasts so they can give a lengthier view of their opinions on major city issues.

A boutique apartment tower going up at Euclid and West Pine avenues received tax increment financing in 2015. It sits across from a Whole Foods, which is housed on the lower level of another apartment building that received TIF. (Feb. 21, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

There’s been a statistic tossed around frequently in the Democratic race for St. Louis mayor: The city has given away more than $700 million worth of tax increment financing and tax abatements over 15 years.

And those tools have become a big issue in the races for aldermen, and the mayoral primary.

St. Charles County executive Steve Ehlmann, Mayor Francis Slay, and St. Clair County executive Mark Kern (right) at the State of the Region breakfast on January 12, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

In what turned out to be his final inauguration speech in 2013, St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay described St. Louis County as a place that “we confidently expect to re-enter in this decade.”

The Democrat might have been a bit overconfident, as it’s 2017 and there’s still strong opposition to the idea of a merger throughout St. Louis County. No one really knows what an actual merger would look like, either: Would St. Louis become a county municipality? Or would St. Louis and St. Louis County coalesce into one big city like Indianapolis did in the 1970s?

Still, the lack of headway hasn’t kept the topic from being a prime talking point in the St. Louis mayoral race. Proponents of a merger believe that combining jurisdictions creates some cost savings — and makes it easier to bring in big-ticket development projects.

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

It looks increasingly likely that St. Louis voters will see two tax-related measures on the April ballot.

In a rare Monday meeting, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave initial approval to a proposed half-cent increase in the sales tax. The second measure would direct the resulting increase in the use tax to a proposed Major League Soccer stadium near Union Station.

a rolling dollar bill
dleafy | sxc.hu

St. Louis mayoral candidate Lyda Krewson appears to be heading into the final stretch of the primary contest with a huge financial edge over her Democratic rivals.

Krewson’s latest report, filed Thursday, shows the 28th Ward alderman with $576,199.41 in the bank.  She began running TV ads on Wednesday. A spokesman says she will be running the ads until the March 7 primary. About a quarter of Krewson's money was raised during the last three weeks.

Gov.-elect Eric Greitens' opposition to publicly funding a St. Louis soccer stadium may be placing the city's Major League Soccer bid in jeopardy.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When those who are working to bring Major League Soccer to St. Louis rolled out their stadium proposal, it seemed as though everything was in its right place.

The ownership group known as SC STL included people with experience with top-flight sports franchises. Many of the region’s top leaders were on board with the proposal. And in stark contrast to the failed bid to keep the St. Louis Rams, this group promised a public vote before any taxpayer funds were expended in St. Louis.

What soccer stadium proponents apparently didn’t foresee was what Gov.-elect Eric Greitens had to say.

Aldermen President Lewis Reed
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Public funding for a proposed Major League Soccer stadium near Union Station is already facing opposition from Gov.-elect Eric Greitens. And St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed isn't making things easier for supporters at the local level.

city hall with flowers
File photo | St. Louis Public Radio

Though it's been underway for months, the race to replace Francis Slay as the mayor of St. Louis has officially begun.

Three of the top candidates for mayor were at the doors of the city's Board of Election Commissioners at 8 a.m., Monday — the start of filing for the March Democratic primary.

Antonio French 2016 photo
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The race to be the next St. Louis mayor is getting more crowded.

A day after St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson jumped in the contest and St. Louis Treasurer Tishaura Jones announced that she had filed paperwork to race money for a mayoral bid, St. Louis Alderman Antonio French revealed he too would seek to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay.

Chief Sam Dotson stl police 1.27.15
Katelyn Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio intern | 2015 photo

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson has filed papers with the Missouri Ethics Commission to explore a possible bid for mayor, he confirmed to The American. Incumbent Mayor Francis Slay is not seeking reelection.

Dotson initially told The American there would be no announcement or social media campaign, and that he intends to quietly raise funds to conduct polls to see how competitive he would be. Then he released an announcement.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed announced on Tuesday he's making another bid for mayor.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is hoping the second time is the charm.

Reed announced on Tuesday morning that he would join the wide-open scramble to be St. Louis’ mayor. The three-term Democratic citywide officeholder ran for the post in 2013 and lost to Mayor Francis Slay.

Blues musician Bobby Rush, museum leaders and Mayor Francis Slay celebrate the opening of the National Blues Museum on Saturday, April 2, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

It was just a couple of weeks ago that St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay unequivocally told this reporter that he would run for a historic fifth term.

Now, the Democratic official has changed course and won’t be running for another four years in office. And that means next year’s mayoral contest could be a free-for-all of epic proportions.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As the St. Louis Rams prepare to depart from St. Louis, the second team to do so in a generation, city leaders are scrambling to fill the Edward Jones Dome-sized gap they will leave in the city’s economy. The president of St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed, has been tweeting about the loss and how to make up for it in the coming year.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, left, talks with Aldermen Sam Moore, center, and Antonio French about a stadium funding deal. All three voted in favor of the proposal aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:15 Friday -- Plans for a $1 billion riverfront stadium cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a financing proposal passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. And the measure passed with a big assist from one of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s biggest detractors. The full board will consider this bill next week.

A member of the St. Louis stadium task force places signage in the room before the announcement that National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million over 20 years for naming rights for the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis on October 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | October 2015

Updated with committee vote - The aldermanic Ways and Means Committee has sent the NFL stadium plan to the full board for consideration. The 7-2 approval means the aldermen could take an initial vote on the measure tomorrow.

Most observers agree that Reed doesn't have a majority of the Board of Aldermen aligned with him. That means he's sometimes at the losing end of some big-ticket issues -- or he ends up supporting initiatives from Slay or other aldermen.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee expected to vote on a stadium financing package on Thursday, Alderman Chris Carter is getting pressure from unusual sources – like the general manager of his gym.

Art by Susannah Lohr, Rendering Courtesy of HOK

From the moment a proposal for a riverfront stadium was unveiled nearly a year ago, the roughly $1 billion facility provoked probing questions about the future of professional football in St. Louis. Some of the queries revolved around the intangible benefits of remaining a NFL city. Others asked whether voters or legislative bodies should approve public commitments to the facility. 

As those debates continue to play out,  the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is wrestling with something more tangible: How much is it going to cost the city to build the facility and how much will a stadium bring into city coffers?

A member of the St. Louis stadium task force places signage in the room before the announcement that National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million over 20 years for naming rights for the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis on October 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | October 2015

After weeks of anticipation, members of the Board of Aldermen finally have legislation spelling out how the city will pay for a proposed riverfront stadium.

Aldermen Tammika Hubbard and Jack Coatar’s legislation is a critical portion of a multi-part financing plan for a stadium aimed at keeping the NFL in St. Louis. St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke is planning to build a new stadium in Inglewood, Calif., which has prompted rampant speculation that the team’s days in St. Louis are numbered.

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.

Ways and Means Committee Chairman Steven Conway, D-8th Ward, expects a number of hearings on a stadium funding bill. Conway is a CPA and plans to analyze the financial costs of the legislation.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s fair to say last week produced plenty of copy about St. Louis’ proposed riverfront football stadium.

Organizer Leon Braxton at the site of the Transgender Memorial Park.
Nancy Fowler | St. Louis Public Radio

A sliver of land in St. Louis’ Grove neighborhood is getting a makeover to become what may the country’s first Transgender Memorial Park.

It’s a cooperative effort between the city and community members. Leon Braxton got the idea when he heard about the city’s “Plant4Peace” project, a program that gives out free trees for local gathering spaces.

“I thought about this would be a great opportunity for something in the LGBT community,” Braxton said.

A rendering of the proposed riverfront stadium
Courtesy of HOK

Members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen may soon get a chance to do something that’s eluded lawmakers in Jefferson City: Vote on funding a proposed football stadium on the city’s riverfront.

While Gov. Jay Nixon's administration may very well issue state bonds for the project without legislative or statewide approval, city aldermen are expected to take up legislation soon that would authorize the city’s funding share of the roughly $1 billion project.

St. Louis County Executive-elect Steve Stenger said his transition into his new office is going much more smoothly than last week.
File photo by Rebecca Smith | St. Louis Public Radio

When St. Louis last week started the process to raise its minimum wage to $11 an hour by 2018, some policymakers and activists hoped the move would spur St. Louis County to follow suit.

“It would be great if the county came along with us,” said St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed. “I think that is one of the major issues with the bill. We need to have this on a much broader spectrum than just the city.”

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With the clock ticking, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen was scheduled to tackle legislation on Tuesday morning that would raise the city’s minimum wage. 

This bill stokes passion on both sides of the issue, and is likely being monitored around the region and across the state.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Amid an increasing tide of gun violence throughout St. Louis, the president of the Board of Aldermen is trying to organize a gun buyback program.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed told St. Louis Public Radio earlier this week that he’s setting up a gun buyback program through a crowd-funded site known as Gun by Gun. While the site isn’t operational yet, the idea is to get St. Louis residents to trade in their guns for money received from crowd-funding.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the push for increasing minimum wage in St. Louis resumed, two of the city’s top Democratic leaders

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed in a letter released to the media rejected the latest proposal on minimum wage, stating that it “falls way short of providing relief to working families” while at the same time “institutes new system of inequalities, disincentives for students, and loopholes.”

Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, is sponsoring a big overhaul of the city's business regulations.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are trying to streamline how the city licenses and regulates businesses.

But the St. Louis’ license collector is strongly opposing some aspects of the legislation, contending it will drain the city’s coffers.

Mayor Francis Slay signs the bill authorizing a vote on new capital-improvement bonds.
Provided by the mayor's office.

After nearly 14 months of political gridlock, a $180 million bond issue is on its way to St. Louis voter in an August election.

The Board of Aldermen approved, and Mayor Francis Slay signed the authorizing bill Tuesday. The bonds would help pay for major capital needs like road and bridge projects, new equipment for the fire department and upgrades to the security system at one of the city's two jails. 

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