Politics & Issues

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Dennis Ball-Bey, Mansur Ball-Bey's father, hugs Shonettda Ball, Mansur's cousin, on the steps outside St. Louis city court Thursday afternoon.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 5:15 p.m. with comments from the family and prosecutor Jennifer Joyce. - Two St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers will not face criminal charges for the August 2015 shooting death of a young man in the Fountain Park neighborhood.

Attorney General Chris Koster speaks a press conference Thursday in St. Louis with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri's Dan Glaizer.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster wants legislators to make an annual racial disparity data report more impactful. This comes as his latest report, covering 2015, continues to show big discrepancies in how often police stop black drivers compared to white drivers.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson takes questions from Alderman Sam Moore (in hat), D., 4th Ward, at a meeting of the Ways and Means Committee on June 1, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Aldermen in charge of St. Louis' budget heard more requests Wednesday from department officials who say they can't do the jobs they should without additional staffing.

Representatives of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, the circuit attorney's office and recorder of deeds Sharon Carpenter all asked members of the Ways and Means Committee to find the money for additional positions. The St. Louis Fire Department made a similar request last week.

Michael Lomax, president of the United Negro College Fund.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

The United Negro College Fund (UNCF) was started in 1944 by William Trent, Frederick D. Patterson and Mary McLeod Bethune. It was created to help raise funds for scholarships for 37 private historically black colleges and universities.

Now, funding has expanded for scholarships to non-HBCUs. The group predominantly provides scholarships to African American students, but also extends funding to other minorities as well.

Missouri farmers grow rice mostly in the state's Boo theel.
USDA

Gov. Jay Nixon is working to strengthen a trade agreement with Cuba to export Missouri goods. On Wednesday, Nixon returned from Cuba, where he led a delegation of the state's agriculture and business leaders.  

Dan Mehan of the Missouri Chamber testifies against the proposed constitutional amendment, saying it would have a negative economic impact on Missouri.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Legislation designed to expand the number of employee-owned businesses in Missouri is awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon's signature.

House Bill 2030 would give business owners a 50 percent tax deduction if their companies are at least 30 percent employee owned. It was sponsored by House Speaker Pro-tem Denny Hoskins, R-Warrensburg.

STL Youth Jobs will offer paid summer work to 450 young people over the next several months, but hopes to increase that number to 500.
STL Youth Jobs

STL Youth Jobs launched the first day of its 2016 summer work program Wednesday, while also announcing it has received a financial boost to fund more positions.

Originally built to house the Biddle Street Market, this city-owned building at 1211 N. Tucker Blvd. is slated to house the city's new 24-hour homeless shelter.
William Bailey | provided by the city of St. Louis

Updated on Wednesday, June 1, 2016, 2:00 p.m. to include the city's acceptance of a proposal - The city of St. Louis is one step closer to opening a homeless shelter on the near north side. Tuesday a city committee accepted St. Patrick Center’s proposal to run Biddle House with the help of Peter and Paul Community Services.

Human Services Director Eddie Roth said the next step is to negotiate a contract with the agencies.  

File photo

Death already has claimed roughly 90 percent of the nation’s military veterans who were subject to the U.S. military’s  secret mustard gas experiments during World War II.

But just because those veterans are gone, doesn’t mean their troubles should be forgotten. That’s the view of U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., who is sponsoring a bill to make it easier for the mustard gas survivors to qualify for benefits.

Flickr | alancleaver_2000

St. Louis aldermen used a meeting of the city's Public Safety Committee on Tuesday to blast the crime-fighting policies of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson.

"It is important that we make a distinction between criticism of the chief and the leadership and criticism of the officers on the streets," said Alderman Antonio French, D-21st Ward, and the vice chairman of the public safety committee. "Officers on the streets are just as frustrated. They can't say it publicly, but we hear it as aldermen."

Flickr | Chris Dlugosz

St. Louis is not unscathed by the leaked documents known as the Panama Papers. But some local legal experts say being included in the documents is not a clear indication of wrongdoing.

Mike Parson May 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio's Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome state Sen. Mike Parson to the program for the first time.

The Bolivar Republican is one of two major candidates from that party running for lieutenant governor. The other is Kansas City native Bev Randles, who was a guest on the podcast a few weeks ago. The two Democratic aspirants for the office — former U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan and state Rep. Tommie Pierson — have also appeared on the show.

Paul Sableman | Flickr | bit.ly/1sdAKc5

Domestic violence cases in Madison County will be handled a bit differently starting June 1.

The county will become the second in Illinois to establish a domestic violence accountability court, hearing all levels of cases between intimate partners. Two civil and two criminal judges will handle the docket, allowing for better coordination among criminal cases and orders of protection.

itunes gift cards
401(k)2013 | flickr | 401kcalculator.org

Beware of scammers who’ve discovered the convenience of iTunes gift cards, warns the St. Louis Better Business Bureau.

It’s just a new version of an old song: Thieves ask for iTunes entertainment cards to pay for counterfeit or nonexisting merchandise, or even to settle debt. The goods and services are bogus, and the consumer is out of luck.

Provided by family

On Memorial Day, Beth (Clover) Vincent of Warrenton, Mo., will honor the father she never knew: an Air Force pilot who went missing during the Korean War. 

But Vincent will find some solace this year in knowing that the people of South Korea appreciate the sacrifice her family made six decades ago. She was among the families of American Korean War veterans who spent last week visiting Seoul as guests of South Korea’s Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs.

Missouri Department of Transportation | Flickr

Missouri's transportation system appears to have taken one step forward and one step back in the aftermath of this year's legislative session. It didn't get any increase in the fuel tax, but a cost-sharing program was revived.

Bill Slantz of St. Charles is chair of the Missouri Libertarian Party and a delegate at the national convention.
provided by Bill Slantz

At the National Libertarian Convention this weekend in Orlando, Missouri delegate and party chair Bill Slantz said the level of excitement was palpable, especially during Sunday’s vote for the Libertarian presidential candidate.

“The numbers here are 30 percent higher than any other convention in history. We have almost a thousand delegates here this weekend and the buzz in the room is very, very exciting,” Slantz said. “The room is just electric.”

Wikimedia Commons

This St. Louis on the Air program will be re-broadcast on Monday, May 30 at noon. You can listen live online here. It was initially aired on July 22, 2015. 

During the summer and fall of 1948, President Harry S. Truman’s risky journey toward a second term turned out to be one of his greatest campaigning decisions.

After a 31,000-mile train ride across the country and 352 speeches during what’s known as his “Whistle Stop Tour,” Truman won the presidential election against then New York Governor Thomas Dewey.

Murmuration

In our weekly "Behind the Headlines" segment, St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh discussed the top news stories that caught St. Louisans’ attention this week, with the people who produced them and contributed to them.

This week, we discussed the LouFest and Murmuration festivals, Ferguson city attorney Stephanie Karr’s resignation and movement on the Bayer-Monsanto offer.

Joining us:

Yolanda Fountain Henderson has been ousted as Jenning's mayor.
Wiley Price | St. Louis American

Updated May 28 wtih Henderson's reaction: Former mayor of Jennings, Yolonda Fountain-Henderson said a “political witch hunt” has been issued against her by city officials during a Friday morning press conference outside the city hall. Just a few days earlier, on Tuesday night, Jennings city council unanimously voted to impeach Henderson. The impeachment included two votes from Jennings newest elected city council members, who have been serving for less than two months. Last year, Henderson made history by being elected as the city’s first black woman mayor.

Ferguson Police Chief Delrish Moss greets residents outside the Ferguson Police Department hours after being sworn in as chief.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Ferguson's new police chief said he and U.S. Justice Department officials are "on the same page" about moving forward with reforming the city's police department, following their first in-person meeting Wednesday.

Hedy Epstein in her St. Louis neighborhood
Humans of St. Louis | used with permission

Hedy Epstein was arrested 10 days after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer in Ferguson, in August 2014.

She didn’t like the way people who were demonstrating against the killing were being treated by police and the National Guard, so she joined a group of peaceful protesters. They marched to Gov. Jay Nixon’s office in the Wainwright Building in downtown St. Louis.

New Life attorney Todd Lubben, right, asks New Life Vice President Raymond Redlich a question during testimony May 26, 2016.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated May 26 with final testimony - By this time next month New Life Evangelistic Center could know whether St. Louis will give the downtown shelter a new occupancy permit without the approval of its neighbors. The city's Board of Building Appeals finished hearing testimony Thursday in an appeal requested by New Life. The shelter is also asking for an exemption to continue operating within 500 feet of a school.

The appeal is a follow-up to a December 2014 ruling, when another city board found New Life was a detriment to the neighborhood.

cigarette closeup
G.Arands | Flickr | Creative Commons license

Updated with MNEA decision - One of two ballot initiatives that would increase Missouri’s cigarette tax may be in trouble. A Cole County judge has said the fiscal note on a 60-cent-a-pack proposal overestimates the revenue that would be raised. He has directed the auditor to review the projection, and that would invalidate the petitions turned in by Raise Your Hand for Kids.

The organization has said it will appeal.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh was joined by Andrea Boyles, an associate professor of criminal justice at Lindenwood University – Belleville, who has recently started a research project called “How Do Blacks Police Themselves?”

Her project seeks to gain insight into how African Americans feel about neighborhood crime. On the program, we learned more about her research.

Carr Square resident Catina Wilson speaks to a panel of city officials and representatives from St. Patrick Center and Peter and Paul Wed. May 25, 2016 at the public hearing on the agencies' application to run Biddle House.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

If their reception at a community meeting Wednesday night is any indication, the agencies who submitted the only application to run a new homeless shelter in St. Louis face an uphill battle to convince nearby residents they’ll be a good neighbor.

The plan is for St. Patrick Center to oversee daytime operations at Biddle House, including intake, meals and placement in permanent housing for up to 125 men, women and children. Peter and Paul Community Services would be in charge of the 98-bed overnight shelter for men.

Wikipedia

Updated 10:25 a.m., May. 25 with winning proposal: A developer has been selected to reopen the landmark Bevo Mill in south St. Louis. The city's Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority says Pat and Carol Schuchard have been chosen for the project. They already own two event venues: the Boo Cat Club and the Majorette.

Chad Sabora of the Missouri Network for Opioid Reform and Recovery answers question from the public safety committee on May 24, 2016.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

The public safety committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved Tuesday a measure that supporters say will reduce the number of fatal heroin overdoses in the city.

The so-called "good Samaritan law" would give heroin users immunity from drug possession charges if they call 911 for someone who has overdosed. They could still be arrested for other crimes, or if a warrant has been issued against them.

Stephanie Karr uses a pen to edit a stack of Ferguson City Council press releases detailing its amendments to the DOJ's proposed consent decree.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Ferguson's city attorney has resigned from her post.

Stephanie Karr sent her letter of resignation to the city on Monday. She had served as Ferguson's city attorney since 2004 — and until recently was also the city's prosecutor.

Judy Baker May 2016
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies are pleased to welcome former state Rep. Judy Baker to the program for the first time.

With state Treasurer Clint Zweifel unable to run for another term, Baker is one of two Democrats seeking to succeed him. She’s running against Kansas City native Pat Contreras in the Democratic primary.

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