St. Louis Board of Aldermen | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

A half-cent sales tax increase that would generate $20 million a year for the St. Louis police and fire departments, and the circuit attorney’s office, is headed for the November ballot.

The Board of Aldermen voted 18-8 Friday to send the legislation to Mayor Lyda Krewson. She is expected to sign it soon.

Now, the work begins on selling it to the voters — something the mayor may have to do without the help of the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When members of the Board of Aldermen created St. Louis' poet laureate position, they intended to promote unity. Indeed, inaugural official poet Michael Castro was lauded for building bridges with his words.

But now the post has become a lightning rod for disagreement. 

At issue is whether the task force that recommended Castro's replacement complied with the ordinance that established the position. If not, city aldermen want to know if that invalidates the task force's choice of Jane Ellen Ibur as the city’s next poet laureate.

Heather Navarro will serve at least two years on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen for the 28th ward.
HEATHER NAVARRO VIA CAMPAIGN WEBSITE

Updated at 3:50 p.m. July 12 with details from Secretary of State's office about voter ID law — Lyda Krewson’s ascension to the mayor’s office left an open seat on St. Louis' Board of Aldermen. It was filled Tuesday by Heather Navarro, who won with 69 percent of the vote.

Navarro was one of four candidates vying to fill the 28th Ward seat for the remaining two years of Krewson’s term. It was also the first election in the St. Louis area since Missouri’s new voter ID law took effect in June, and there were differing accounts on whether there were issues at the polls.

Heather Navarro, Celeste Vossmeyer and Steve Roberts Sr. are the three major candidates for the vacant 28th Ward aldermanic seat.
Navarro, Vossmeyer and Roberts via campaign websites

Updated at 1:28 p.m. with details about voter ID law during election — Voters in the 28th Ward will choose their new representative on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.

Polls in the ward, which covers parts of the neighborhoods around Forest Park, are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. The seat has been vacant since April, when Lyda Krewson was sworn in as mayor. The winner will serve the remaining two years of her term.

Because a pending state bill doesn't pre-empt local minimum wage laws passed before August 28, Board of Aldermen members may act fast on passing a minimum wage increase.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at June 30 with final passage — The Board of Aldermen voted 23-1 on Friday to send the fiscal year 2018 budget to Mayor Lyda Krewson.

The $1 billion spending plan is mostly flat compared to last year, driven by a combination of slower revenue growth and increases in pension costs.

Gov. Eric Greitens visits Our Lady's Inn, a St. Louis pregnancy center for women experiencing homelessness, on June 8, 2017.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

One of the main reasons Gov. Eric Greitens called a second special session was because of a St. Louis anti-discrimination ordinance dealing with women’s reproductive choices. Media outlets, including St. Louis Public Radio, have stated that Republican Sen. Andrew Koenig’s bill would completely overturn that law.

But that’s not the view of Koenig, Greitens’ office or the Democratic sponsor of the city law. They all agree the bill would prevent the law from being enforced against pregnancy resource centers that discourage women from having abortions.

St. Louis city police officers attempt to block demonstrators during an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Parts of St. Louis would have the highest sales tax in Missouri under the half-cent increase the Board of Aldermen’s budget committee passed Wednesday.

Many committee members reluctantly voted for the increase, which will fund raises for police and firefighters if voters approve the measure this November. Should it pass, St. Louis’ sales tax would be at least 9.7 percent, going up to nearly 12 percent in some special taxing districts.

Alderwoman Megan Green, June 2017
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Megan Ellyia Green joins St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies for a second time on the Politically Speaking podcast.

Green has represented the city’s 15th Ward, which is just south of Tower Grove Park, since her special-election victory in 2014. She first was elected as an independent, rankling some Democrats, but now is a bona fide Democrat and holds state and national party posts.

St. Louis city police officers attempt to block demonstrators during an anti-Trump rally in downtown St. Louis in November 2016.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Two measures introduced at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Friday would ask residents or local nonprofits to pay more in taxes to boost the salaries of the city’s police officers, and stem a tide of departures for better-paying departments.

The sponsor of the measures, Alderman Steve Conway, wants his colleagues to act quickly on the measures. The current police contract expires July 1, the same day that the St. Louis County Police Department unveils its new pay rates, and city police union officials are worried that the exodus of officers will only speed up without some movement toward higher wages.

File photo: St. Louis Board of Alderman President Lewis Reed said it would be unfair to appoint a poet laureate until the controversy is settle.d
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The delay in naming a new St. Louis poet laureate may soon be over.

in December, a poet laureate task force recommended local poet and educator Jane Ellen Ibur. The next step was up the Board of Aldermen, which oversees the position. But a dispute about whether the task force followed regulations has delayed the board’s vote for five months.

Board President Lewis Reed now says he believes Ibur will be offered the position. But first, he wants a board committee to look into the way task force chair Aaron Williams handled its affairs.

St. Louis Archbishop Robert J. Carlson answers questions during a news conference following the filing of a lawsuit against the city's so-called abortion sanctuary ordinance.
Wayne Pratt | St. Louis Public Radio

The Archdiocese of St. Louis and the city are in a legal showdown over new provisions in St. Louis' anti-discrimination law regarding women's reproductive decisions. The archdiocese's schools and a private company, O'Brien Industrial Holdings, on Monday in federal court filed a lawsuit challenging a St. Louis ordinance that they say adds abortion rights supporters to a protected class, while discriminating those who are against abortions.

Illustration by Rici Hoffarth | St. Louis Public Radio

It’s the chicken or the egg argument.

Should city aldermen meet with stakeholders and then craft a bill? Or should the bill be proposed and then brought to the public for input?

St. Louis Alderwoman Megan Green, 15th Ward, prefers the first approach when it comes to developing Community Benefits Agreements legislation.

St. Louis Poet Laureate Michael Castro delivers a poem before the ceremonial swearing-in of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated with information from the Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed's office — The St. Louis poet laureate position is vacant following the resignation of Michael Castro over the city's failure to pick his successor.

Castro, the city's first poet laureate, stepped down Thursday, noting that it was unfair for him to remain in the position when another poet had been named to succeed him.  In December, a committee recommended Jane Ellen Ibur take up the mantle.

But that choice was met with pushback by some members of the public, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed has not moved forward on the recommendation.

Illustration by Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated April 26 with result of E&A voteSt. Louis aldermen will have another $2.3 million to distribute when they start looking at the city’s budget for fiscal year 2018.

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment approved changes Wednesday to the draft budget, leaving the new use tax revenue available for things like public safety and affordable housing. Previously, the entire amount had gone to closing a $17 million deficit.

Alderman Brandon Bosley, April 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 Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Brandon Bosley to the program.

 

Bosley was recently sworn in as the alderman for the 3rd Ward, which takes in seven St. Louis neighborhoods in the north part of the city. He’s one of six new aldermen to join the Board after the 2017 election cycle.

Lyda Krewson waves after taking the oath of office to become the 46th mayor of St. Louis on April 18, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Flanked by family, friends and four former mayors, Lyda Krewson became St. Louis’ 46th mayor on Tuesday — and, as she was sure to note, the first woman to do so.

Her address then took a swift, and somewhat surprising turn as she signaled that one of her main goals is to encourage an urban coalition that includes St. Louis County and Kansas City.

Basketball players take advantage of the Fox Park courts in April 2017.
Paul Sableman | Flickr

Jeffrey Perry doesn’t mind having to leave his St. Louis neighborhood to shoot some hoops with friends.

“It’s not the hoop, it’s the company,” Perry said as he and Calvin Lonzo played a little one-on-one in Fox Park recently. But he remembers when he didn’t have to go as far away from his home in Shaw to find a court in a public park.

Judge Jimmie Edwards swears in members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen. The ceremony had to be moved outside after a bomb scare at City Hall.
File photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Lyda Krewson dances with relatives, supporters and campaign staff after delivering her acceptance speech.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The demise of a publicly funded soccer stadium could mean the St. Louis Police Department sees more taxpayer money.

 

When voters approved a half-cent sales tax Tuesday for things like light rail expansion and neighborhood development programs, it automatically raised the use tax that businesses pay on out-of-state purchases.

John Collins-Muhammad, April 2017
File photo | 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 Alderman-elect John Collins-Muhammad for the first time.

 

Collins-Muhammad will soon represent the city’s 21st Ward, which takes in parts of the north St. Louis neighborhoods of College Hill, Kingsway East, North Riverfront, O’Fallon and Penrose. After Alderman Antonio French vacated his seat to run for mayor, Collins-Muhammad won a three-way Democratic primary, and then won easily in the general election.

Alderman Tammika Hubbard was the sponsor of the stadium financing package.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis politics has long been a family affair, especially when it comes to the Board of Aldermen. Outgoing Mayor Francis Slay, for example, got his start as the 23rd Ward alderman, and his father was the ward’s Democratic committeeman for 45 years. 

But the power of political families may be waning. Tuesday’s Democratic primary saw two families retain control, while two other families lost and the fourth stepped away entirely.

Campaign workers encourage passers-by to vote for 19th Ward incumbent Marlene Davis. (March 7, 2017)
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

Let the turnover at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen begin. Voters in Tuesday's primary election chose their preferred Democratic candidates for five open seats and turned out one of six incumbents up for re-election.

The evening's upset was Dan Guenther, who won the 9th Ward with 64.2 percent of the vote. He beat longtime Alderman Ken Ortmann, who had the backing of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and the St. Louis Police Officers Association.

Alderman Jeffrey Boyd votes at Laclede School Tuesday afternoon. (March 7, 2017)
Ryan Delaney | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated at 7 p.m. with polls closing — Election officials said turnout was light for Tuesday's mayoral and aldermanic primary elections.

Seven Democratic mayoral candidates and three GOP contenders are vying to move on to the April 4 general election. Blame the city’s longest-serving mayor for such a crowded field; Francis Slay chose against running for a fifth term.

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, but also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen. In addition to five open seats, incumbents could be upset in a number of wards — including aldermen who have not faced serious opposition in more than 10 years.

 

Here’s a guide to the contested wards, the candidates and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in the order they will appear on the ballot:

Courtesy of the City of St. Louis

Tuesday’s primary election isn’t just the first step in choosing a new mayor for St. Louis, it also portends the beginning of significant turnover at the Board of Aldermen, which expects its largest freshman class since 1991.

 

Five aldermanic seats are open. Here’s a look at who is running and what they’re promising. Candidates are listed in order they will appear on the ballot.

Aldermen Joe Vaccaro (rear standing) and Shane Cohn (front standing) debate the minimum wage increase on July 20, 2015.
File photo | Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio

There will be at least five new faces when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen returns in April — the largest freshman class since 1991. And depending on the results of the March primaries, as many as six others could join them.

That much turnover could change the way the Board works and the policies it passes.

Alderman Antonio French, January 2017
David Kovaluk I St. Louis Public Radio

On this episode of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum, Jenny Simeone and Rachel Lippmann welcome Alderman Antonio French to show for the first time.

The 21st Ward alderman is one of seven Democratic candidates running to succeed St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. 

A representative from HOK shows renderings of a proposed soccer stadium. (Feb. 2, 2017)
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

An aldermanic committee backed a financial plan spelling out how St. Louis would help pay for a professional soccer stadium – if it comes to fruition.

The Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee approved the financial plan on Wednesday evening. Many of the details have already been publicly laid out: If two ballot initiatives are placed on a ballot by a judge and pass, about $50 million in a use tax increase could go toward the stadium. The city would also contribute up to $10 million from 50 percent of the sales tax revenues generated in the project site.

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

Filing for the March 7 primary is over, and we've got a pretty good idea about who wants to be an officeholder in the city of St. Louis.

The seats for mayor, comptroller and odd-numbered wards are up this cycle. There will also be a special election in the 16th Ward to fill the unexpired term of Donna Baringer, who was elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in November.

This list may change. Independent candidates have until Feb. 13 to file for office, and primary candidates have until Jan. 26 to can drop out. With those caveats, here's the field.

St. Louis Blues Chairman Tom Stillman and Lewis Reed, president of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen, leave the stage after presenting their ideas for improvements to the Scottrade Center.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

Some of St. Louis’ top officials are signing onto a large-scale renovation of the Scottrade Center, a facility that’s home of the St. Louis Blues and dozens of musical and sports-related events.

The plan comes as the owner of the Blues warns that the city could start losing lucrative events without the partially taxpayer-funded proposal.

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