Politics & Issues | St. Louis Public Radio

Politics & Issues

Tory Knight takes inventory at The Lost Whiskey in June. Part of the new proposal includes raising the amount of an establishment's revenue that must come from food sales to 60 percent.
Chad Davis | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Charles City Council plans to introduce an ordinance next week aimed at taming North Main Street’s late night revelers. The new plan comes after an initial proposal of an early ‘last call’ ignited an uproar from area bar owners and failed to advance.

Dave Beckering, a council member and backer of both proposed ordinances, said disturbances from people exiting bars and nightclubs on North Main Street have spun out of control in the last two years, creating late-night traffic that police can’t handle.

The John Robinson Homes opened in 1943 as a segregated apartment complex for black families in East St. Louis.
William Widmer | Special to ProPublica

The door is off its hinges in Farlon Wilson’s bathroom. Wilson said that’s an improvement from when she first moved in, when there was no bathroom door at all. She said she’s putting in work orders to fix the problems nearly every week.

“The tub won’t stop leaking and the floor is about to fall,” Wilson said while demonstrating how the floor bends under the pressure of her foot. “I have no access to my bathroom water, period. I’ve had to turn it off because it’s leaking in my kitchen.”

Downstairs in the kitchen, she motioned to a patch in the ceiling where water once leaked through and later talked about how she and her family’s breathing has been affected by mold. She pays less than $100 a month in rent.

Marshall Griffin | St. Louis Public Radio

Although Mike Parson has been a regular fixture at the Missouri State Fair for several years, the 2018 fair is his first as governor of the state.

And he spent much of Thursday preaching the need to improve infrastructure to help the state’s agriculture industry.

Mitch Margo is also the author of “Black Hearts White Minds,” a novel set in 1964.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh spoke with attorney Mitch Margo, the Missouri Valley Conference’s general counsel, about the legal aspects of employer policies regarding protests, especially by team sports players, and the racial implications of them.

Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley and Democratic U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill
Durrie Bouscaren & Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill says she has a growing list of questions as she preps for her meeting next week with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

And most of them won’t deal with his position on abortion rights, a top concern of progressive groups.

“I’m sure it will come up, but he won’t answer it,’’ McCaskill predicted.

James Clark, vice president of community outreach at Better Family Life, addresses a crowd of people who have just received amnesty vouchers. He recommends keeping the vouchers on them at all times until the warrant is dismissed. August 15, 2018.
Kae Petrin | St. Louis Public Radio

People with misdemeanor warrants in St. Louis-area municipalities have a chance to get them dismissed Wednesday and Saturday this week.

Better Family Life’s warrant-amnesty program lets people pay a $10 processing fee to receive a $100 voucher that helps dismiss warrants for nonviolent offenses such as traffic violations or child-support delinquency, and other misdemeanor crimes.

Stephanie Lummus (at left) is the veterans advocacy project attorney for St. Francis Community Services’ Catholic Legal Service Ministry, and Michael-John Voss is co-founder and special projects director of ArchCity Defenders.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

When Stephanie Lummus first entered nonprofit legal work, she didn’t expect that her efforts to represent homeless people and help them exit poverty would so often revolve around child support. But she estimates that at least three-quarters of her homeless clients are dealing with that issue – and it’s not a simple one.

“The enforcement mechanisms in place in the state of Missouri for those folks that have resources and just don’t feel like supporting their children are usually appropriate … [but] what we’re talking about is the vulnerable and the disenfranchised,” Lummus said on Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, “the folks that have run into difficulty or catastrophe in life and need modification, and they can’t get it.”

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger confers with Councilman Pat Dolan at a Dec. 19, 2017, meeting of the St. Louis County Council.
File Photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis County Council isn’t finished changing up the county’s charter.

Council members on Monday sent four charter amendments for voter approval. The measures stem from an increasingly adversarial relationship between the council and St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger. They’re slated for the Nov. 6 general election.

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Despite an income downturn in July, Missouri budget director Dan Haug says the state is starting its new fiscal year in stronger shape than it has seen in years.

That’s because the fiscal year that ended June 30 saw a last-minute surplus of $350 million that is providing an income cushion.

So unlike his recent predecessors, Gov. Mike Parson hasn’t had  to impose additional spending cuts.

Flickr Creative Commons | Mike Mozart

Updated 6:02 p.m. with plaintiffs’ announced appeal - Missouri residents will have the chance in November to vote on a gas tax increase.

Associatate Circuit Judge Robert Schollmeyer in Osage County on Tuesday tossed out a lawsuit seeking to strip Proposition D from the ballot. If approved by voters, the measure would gradually raise the fuel tax from 17 cents to 27 cents a gallon by the year 2022.

Jason Kander traveled to St. Louis on Monday to promote his new book, “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.”
Getty Images and Twelve Books

For a 37-year-old, Jason Kander’s job experience really runs the gamut – from Army captain, to Missouri secretary of state, to president of Let America Vote, an organization he founded last year to combat what he considers to be a dramatic increase in voter suppression.

Now the rising political star has logged another career accomplishment with the release of his new book, “Outside the Wire: Ten Lessons I’ve Learned in Everyday Courage.” And he’s hoping to add one more job title to his resume in the months to come as he runs for mayor of Kansas City, Missouri.

Paul Berry III
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

GOP St. Louis County executive nominee Paul Berry III joins the Politically Speaking podcast to discuss his campaign to be one of the region’s top elected officials.

Berry won a two-way GOP primary last week for the county executive’s office. He’ll square off against incumbent St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger in November, along with several third-party candidates.

Ferguson courthouse
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | file photo

Updated August 13 at 2 p.m. with comments from the city and auditor — A new report from state Auditor Nicole Galloway finds the city of Ferguson has made important changes to its municipal court.

But the audit released Monday also found city officials still have not taken action to secure and repair damaged court documents.

Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, stands near the memorial to her son on August 10, 2018 to announce that she will run for Ferguson City Council. Aug. 10, 2018
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Michael Brown’s mother says she wants to transform the pain of losing her son four years ago into political action.

Lezley McSpadden stood in front of the memorial to her son on Canfield Drive Friday, surrounded by the family’s attorney and supporters, to announce a bid for Ferguson City Council.

The dome of the Missouri Capitol, which includes a small, circular observation deck, is expected to reopen in early 2020.
Missouri Office of Administration

Today is the last day visitors to the Missouri Capitol can walk up to the top of the building’s iconic dome until the year 2020.

The top of the dome has a small, circular observation deck with panoramic views of the Jefferson City and the Missouri River. It’s also dirty and needs a lot of repair, so it’s being closed for renovation.

Wesley Bell is an attorney, municipal-court prosecutor and Ferguson city-council member – as well as a former public defender. Soon he’ll become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with Wesley Bell – just two days after his victory in the Democratic primary against longtime incumbent St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch.

As St. Louis Public Radio’s Rachel Lippmann reported earlier this week, Bell is now set to become St. Louis County’s first African-American prosecutor.

Asked what to make of his resounding win in a mostly white county, Bell said he expected to draw diverse support, but he was still “even more pleasantly surprised” by the large amount of support he received all over the county.

Forward Through Ferguson catalysts (from left) Yinka Faleti, Karishma Furtado and David Dwight discussed their organization’s newly released assessment of progress toward racial equity in the St. Louis region.
Evie Hemphill | St. Louis Public Radio

For members of the Forward Through Ferguson team, the past few years have been full of work that feels important and exciting – and also excruciatingly slow.

The organization this week unveiled its “State of the Report,” a tool that aims to quantitatively track progress toward racial equity in light of the initial Ferguson Commission, and in only five of 47 key areas does the data suggest significant change thus far.

“There’s definitely frustration in [the ongoing work] and always a hope that things can be more urgent,” David Dwight, senior strategy and partnerships catalyst, said on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air. “At the same time, I think we’ve had to find excitement in those who are implementing the calls to action from the report [and] to see the way that our region has taken on racial equity.”

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger celebrated a narrow victory over Democrat Mark Mantovani.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

At the end of a primary campaign that featured pointed attacks and biting television ads, St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger used his victory speech to emphasize a need to come together.

Stenger barely held off businessman Mark Mantovani, who has yet to concede the race after falling about 1,100 votes short in Tuesday’s Democratic primary. It was a contentious and expensive affair that put Stenger’s dismal relationship with the St. Louis County Council in greater focus. He alluded to that seemingly endless acrimony near the tail end of his address.

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon returns to Politically Speaking to discuss a multitude of issues, including the state of St. Louis’ education system and the challenges of gubernatorial leadership.

Nixon served as governor from 2009 to 2017. He is one of four men (Mel Carnahan, John Ashcroft and Warren Hearnes) to be elected to two consecutive terms as Missouri’s chief executive. He also was elected to four terms as attorney general and to a Jefferson County-based Senate seat.

Florince Harlan stands in the courtyard of the John Robinson Houses, the public housing complex where her daughter Alexis Winston was killed on Aug. 8, 2017
William Widmer | Special to ProPublica

This article was produced in partnership with The Southern Illinoisan, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

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