Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

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Tyrone Austin, an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined St. Louis on the Air on Friday, March 31.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, Tyrone Austin, an independent candidate for mayor of St. Louis, joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

Austin, a businessman, is making his second run for mayor. His first was in 2013. 

Voters fill out their ballots at Central Baptist Church on Washington Avenue on March 7, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, the city of St. Louis held its primary, where voters selected Democratic and Republican candidates for mayor. It was the first election in 16 years where the current mayor, Francis Slay, wasn’t running. It was also the first election since the 2016 presidential vote — when Donald Trump’s victory sparked a lot of protests, outrage and, in some cases, celebration.

For some people, the election’s outcome sparked interest in participating in the political process. St. Louis resident Erica Gaca, said the outcome of the November election motivated her to do something she’d never done before: participate in a municipal primary.

Soccer supporter Stuart Hultgren at an event on Feb. 28, 2017  with the coach of U.S. men’s national team at the Amsterdam Tavern, a popular soccer bar in south St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo / St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis, in 1907, formed the first professional soccer league in the U.S., had several hometown players on the 1950 U.S. World Cup team, and over the years has fostered dominant college teams. The Major League Soccer commissioner said the city has always been in the league’s sights.

There are very few current MLS clubs with a history already built in, former MLS player (and St. Louis native) Taylor Twellman said, before a pro-stadium rally this week. “The only thing this city needs is a professional team, playing at the highest level, with a soccer-specific stadium.”

Investment group SC STL is trying to land a MLS team, partially with help of of St. Louis taxpayers. And that’s where some city residents lose interest.

Sen. Gina Walsh
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a day that looked like it might be a busy one for the Missouri Senate, lawmakers adjourned Thursday without taking a final vote on banning cities and counties from raising their minimum wage because of negotiations.

Meanwhile, the Missouri House sent the Senate three bills, showing their intent to get rid of prevailing wage, protect anti-abortion groups that assist pregnant women and allow for Real ID driver’s licenses.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger visited St. Louis Public Radio studios on Thursday, March 30, 2017.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Even though St. Louis County is gearing up for some major votes come April 4, the St. Louis County Executive seat, currently held by Steve Stenger, is not one of the positions up for re-election. Stenger is about two years into his tenure in the position.

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, he joined host Don Marsh to discuss his tenure in the position and current initiatives in St. Louis County.

Here’s a smattering of what Stenger discussed …

… on bringing soccer to St. Louis:

Sharon Carpenter, St. Louis recorder of deeds,  spent several decades as a Democratic committeewoman for the 23rd Ward.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ Recorder of Deeds office is in the crosshairs in Tuesday’s election, when voters will have to decide whether to eliminate the agency, which maintains public records, and put any money saved toward body cameras for police.

A hand distributing cash with a dialogue box.
Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri lawmakers are getting out ahead of the constitutionally mandated deadline to have the state budget to Gov. Eric Greitens’ desk. The first step — a House committee passing all 13 bills making up the $27.6 billion budget that starts July 1 — was completed Tuesday night.

Even though Republican leaders' priorities match up with Greitens’ for the most part, it’s a long process and there’s sure to be debate over K-12 school funding. The House budget committee is seeking a $45 million increase, far more than the $3 million Greitens asked for.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles chats with a supporter ahead of canvassing; Councilwoman Ella Jones greets people at a restaurant. On Monday, March 27, Knowles and Jones will participate in a mayoral forum ahead of the April 4 election.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

On Wednesday's St. Louis on the Air we aired highlights of the Ferguson Mayoral Forum held earlier this week at the Ferguson Community Center. Incumbent Mayor James Knowles III and Councilwoman Ella Jones are on the ballot for the April 4 nonpartisan election in Ferguson and both participated.

The event was sponsored by St. Louis on the Air and The Center for Social Empowerment.

File photos | Kelly Moffitt and Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday’s election is the first in 16 years in which St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay is not on the ballot and a Republican is running for the office.

Democrat Lyda Krewson and Republican Andrew Jones have been knocking on doors and meeting with voters for months now. Here’s a brief recap of who they are and where they stand on the big issues facing St. Louis.

Gov. Eric Greitens signs into law a bill requiring stricter standards for expert witnesses in Missouri on March 28, 2017.
Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 4:40 p.m. April 12 to correct headline — The latest bill to receive Gov. Eric Greitens’ signature is another priority for Republicans: tightening rules on who can be called as an expert witness.

He signed House Bill 153 into law Tuesday, a month and a half after he used his State of the State address to call Missouri and St. Louis in particular, a “judicial hellhole.”

Ferguson police officers record protesters on W. Florissant Avenue on Aug. 9, 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Shortly after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer in August 2014, the department’s on-duty officers started wearing body cameras while on duty. And the federal government’s consent decree, which came in response to Brown’s death, mandated Ferguson officers wear them.

But a group of Ferguson residents wants to put the use of cameras into the city charter as a means of ensuring it continues long after federal oversight is over.

Fans watch Taylor Twellman, a St. Louis native and former U.S. men’s national team player-turned-ESPN commentator, speak Monday, at a rally supporting a soccer stadium. March 27, 2017
File | Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 8:40 p.m. March 27 with details from rally — St. Louis always has been a location in Major League Soccer’s sights for growth, the league’s commissioner said Monday, but taxpayers will have to bear some of the cost to make that a reality.

A vacant building at 4030 Evans Ave. owned by the city's Land Reutilization Authority. Prop NS would allow the city to issue up to $40 million in bonds to help stabilize such buildings.
FILE PHOTO | MARIE SCHWARZ | ST. LOUIS PUBLIC RADIO

On Monday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a conversation about Proposition NS, one of the ballot measures that St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.  The proposition seeks to raise funds through a bond issue to stabilize and market vacant buildings.

There is no organized opposition to the ballot measure though Andrew Jones, the Republican candidate for mayor, has criticized the measure because of what he says is a lack of specificity.

Andrew Jones, February 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, business executive Andrew Jones emerged from a field of three candidates to become the Republican candidate for mayor of St. Louis. On Monday’s St. Louis on the Air, Jones joined host Don Marsh to discuss his platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

We spoke with the Democratic candidate for mayor, Lyda Krewson, on March 22 and will speak with third party/independent candidates on Friday. 

Sen. Jake Hummel, March 2017
Carolina Hidalgo I St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome back Missouri state Sen. Jake Hummel to the show for the fourth time.

 

The St. Louis Democrat represents the 4th District, which takes in parts of St. Louis and St. Louis County. He won a special election for the seat late last year.

Fans eagerly asked questions after listening to Bruce Arena speak.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Recovering from the slow-motion heartbreak of losing its NFL team (and, to a greater extent, watching the Rams grossly underperform for a decade), St. Louis is jostling with 11 other cities for a Major League Soccer expansion team. Building a stadium is critical to that effort, and an ownership group known as SC STL is trying to secure city taxpayer dollars for the facility.

But with St. Louis facing a raft of economic and public safety issues, opponents believe subsidizing professional sports is a misplaced priority. They also question whether a soccer team is going to provide much benefit to residents in struggling neighborhoods.

Workers with Rosenbloom Monuments Company re-set headstones at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery on Tuesday morning. (Feb. 21, 2017)
File photo |Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Except for a few broken gravestones and scattered painted pebbles, no visible signs of last month’s vandalism at a Jewish cemetery in University City remain.

Within three days, workers uprighted most of the 154 toppled monuments at Chesed Shel Emeth Cemetery and resealed them to their bases.

Governor Eric Greitens introduces Vice President Mike Pence at Fabick Cat.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated March 27 with details of governor's visit — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is returning to Missouri after spending time in Washington addressing a major conference promoting U.S.-Israel ties and talking policy with federal officials, including President Donald Trump.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition P, one of the ballot measures that St. Louis County voters will decide on during the April 4 election. On Friday's program, we also heard a discussion of Proposition 1, a St. Louis city ballot measure, which you can find here

The text of the proposition reads as follows:

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Friday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition 1, one of the ballot measures that City of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.

Peter Sortino
Provided by the Sortino family

Peter Sortino planned a 100th birthday bash for St. Louis that would go on for days and draw thousands of guests, but his name was largely unknown to most who attended.

EATS Bridge, ’04 Eve and River Splash are the enduring memories that most St. Louisans have of the 1904 World’s Fair centennial celebration. Mr. Sortino was the director of St. Louis 2004, which planned the festivities and, later, the Danforth Foundation, which launched the initiative.

New Life Evangelistic Center founder Rev. Larry Rice, left, speaks at a press conference denouncing the bill that would regulate giving to the homeless Wed. July 6, 2016 as his son Chris Rice looks on.
File photo | Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis voters will have six mayoral candidates to choose from when they go to the polls April 4.

Aside from Democrat Lyda Krewson and Republican Andrew Jones, the list includes Green Party nominee Johnathan McFarland, Libertarian Robb Cunningham and independent candidates the Rev. Larry Rice and Tyrone Austin.

The Missouri House floor in 2016.
File photo | Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Free stuff from lobbyists — anything from free meals to concert and game tickets to trips abroad — are part of the perks of being a lawmaker.

Such gifts, though, have been on the chopping block for a couple of years, with Missouri Republican legislative leaders and now Gov. Eric Greitens looking to ban them. In the face of last year’s failed efforts to ban lobbyist gifts, Greitens took quick action once in office.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated, yet lively, conversation about Proposition A, one of the ballot measures that City of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election.

Ahead of the April 4 elections in the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County, St. Louis on the Air will host several pro/con discussions about ballot measures with a proponent and opponent of the measure at hand.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday, St. Louis on the Air hosted a moderated conversation about Proposition 2, one of the ballot measures that city of St. Louis voters will decide on during the April 4 election. Also on Thursday, we heard about Proposition A, which you can listen to here.

Holly Rehder, March 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I 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 Rep. Holly Rehder for the first time.

The Sikeston Republican is serving her third term in the Missouri House representing the 148th District in southeast Missouri, including parts of Scott and Mississippi counties.

Residents and activists pressure Ferguson's City Council members to agree to the Department of Justice's proposed consent decree during a public forum on the decree in March of 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Numerous challenges await Ferguson’s next mayor, including a tight budget, frayed race relations and an understaffed police department. But the winner of April 4 contest will also face a less tangible quandary: repairing the city’s tattered image.

Ferguson Mayor James Knowles is up for re-election for the first time since then-police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed Michael Brown in August 2014, an event that placed the north St. Louis County municipality in the international spotlight.

Ferguson Police Department
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

It's been nearly a year since the U.S. Department of Justice and the city of Ferguson signed a consent decree to reform the city's police department and municipal courts. And both sides acknowledged Wednesday that they aren't as far along as they should be.

Bram Sable-Smith I KBIA

Efforts to get Missouri to comply with the 2005 federal REAL ID law will resume once state lawmakers return to the Capitol on Monday for the final seven weeks of the session.

Identical bills in the House and Senate, HB 151 and SB 37/224, would allow the state to issue  driver’s licenses that comply with REAL ID standards while continuing to issue ones that don’t. Backers say allowing both types will respect the privacy rights of a Missouri driver who doesn’t want to share any particular personal data with the federal government as a result of having a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license.

Lyda Krewson joined St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh to discuss her bid to become the next mayor of the City of St. Louis. She is the Democratic candidate for mayor.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

On March 7, St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson pushed past Treasurer Tishaura Jones and a crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates to become the Democratic candidate for mayor of the City of St. Louis. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Krewson joined host Don Marsh to discuss her platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.

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