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

St. Louis Board of Aldermen

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.

Alderman Donna Baringer D-16th Ward (center) receives a resolution from her colleagues on Dec. 16, 2016, her last day at the Board of Aldermen.
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Two former St. Louis aldermen will be among the new lawmakers joining the Missouri General Assembly next year.

Fred Wessels, who was the 13th Ward alderman until he took a job in the mayor's office until 2013, ran unopposed for the 81st House District seat in southeast St. Louis. A former colleague from City Hall, Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, easily won the state House seat in the neighboring 82nd District. She officially resigns her city position on Dec. 31.

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie speaks in favor of his bill exempting sheltered workshops from the city's minimum wage law.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Before voting against an incentive package for expanding Ballpark Village, St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie delivered one of the more unusual opposition speeches in recent memory.

In an address that could only be described as dripping with sarcasm, the 24th Ward Democrat claimed he was in support of the tax inducements for the development around Busch Stadium. After expressing his concern that aldermen had “taken our eye off the ball on the essential functions of local government,” Ogilvie said he was relieved that those aforementioned issues "must not be problems that the city faces.”

Petras Gagilas | Flickr

Homeowners and businesses in the city of St. Louis could see their water rates go up by more than 20 percent over the next three years under legislation being considered by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Bills sponsored by Ald. Dionne Flowers, D-2nd Ward, would boost the age to purchase tobacco products in the city to 21
Drongowski | Flickr

Updated with first-round board approval Nov. 10 - Measures boosting the age to buy tobacco products in the city of St. Louis sailed out of the Health and Human Services committee on Thursday (Nov. 3).

The bills, sponsored by Alderman Dionne Flowers, D-2nd Ward, would bring the city in line with St. Louis County by making it illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to buy tobacco products. The new requirement applies to both traditional tobacco products like cigarettes, and newer ones like electronic cigarettes.

Police chief Sam Dotson addresses Tower Grove South residents at a community meeting on December 12, 2014.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

An attempt by the St. Louis Board of Aldermen to record its discontent with a sitting police chief running for mayor fell short on Friday.

The resolution from Alderman Joe Roddy, D-17th Ward, got just 13 of the 15 votes it needs to pass. It calls on St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson to resign if he officially files to run for mayor in November. The chief announced earlier this month he would seek the office, being vacated after 16 years by Mayor Francis Slay.

Alderman Megan Green, D-15th Ward, contended that there were better ways for the city to spend tax dollars than a new stadium.
File photo I St. Louis Public Radio

A change to St. Louis' problem properties ordinance could help people who have faced domestic violence stay in their homes.

The public safety committee of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved legislation Tuesday that says frequent 911 calls for domestic violence alone do not make a property a nuisance. Such a designation can lead to an eviction.

St. Louis Alderman Terry Kennedy leaves a committee hearing
Jenny Simeone | St. Louis Public Radio

Should the Board of Aldermen consider if its policies are fair to communities of color when making decisions?

Members of the Engrossment Rules, Resolutions, and Credentials committee think so. Today the committee approved a plan recommending that the full board apply a "racial equity lens" to city policy decisions.

But, what is a racial equity lens?

Participants in the Good Journey Development Foundation with mentors and instructors
The Good Journey Development Foundation

If you want to come up with a good idea for teen lives, why not ask a teenager?

That’s what a group called The Good Journey Development Foundation does. A group of 13-to-17-year-olds brainstormed a plan for a center offering employment and education tips, along with life-skills training.

Good Journey recently received $300 in seed money for the project from another organization called Better Billion, working to make St. Louis a better place to live.

On Monday morning, St.  Louisans can hear from the Good Journey kids and other Better Billion winners at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting.

An artist's rendering of the Green Leaf Market and ZOOM Store to be built at Tucker Boulevard and 13th Street. April 2016
courtesy Northside Regeneration

Developer Paul McKee is asking for $2.8 million in tax increment financing for a grocery store and gas station, as well as a one percent sales tax to help pay the TIF back.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee approved both proposals on 4-3 votes on Wednesday.

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, speaks on Friday about his bill to cap city-based campaign contribtions.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated on October 7: The St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave final approval to campaign donation limits for city-based offices.

The Board backed legislation that would place a $10,000 cap on donations to city offices. It would take effect next April after the city’s municipal election cycle.

The bill now goes to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's desk.

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

A three-year effort to limit the amount of money flowing into city elections took a small step forward at the St. Louis Board of Aldermen on Tuesday.

The city's Legislation committee, on a 9-0 vote, approved Alderman Scott Ogilvie's, D-24th Ward, measure capping contributions at $10,000 to each candidate every four years. A similar bill Ogilvie introduced in 2013 never received a vote.

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.

credit cards
Frankieleon | Flickr | http://bit.ly/293yef2

A St. Louis alderman wants to give the city's municipal court a way to cover the cost of processing credit card payments.

It is much more convenient to pay a fine on a credit card all at once, rather than dropping off a payment in person or going to court every week. But the convenience comes at a cost for the court, because credit card companies charge for each transaction.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take up the stadium funding plan next Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

Do not fear, lobbyists — your place on the floor of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is safe for the foreseeable future.

The city's rules committee on Wednesday voted down a piece of legislation sponsored by Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green, D-15th Ward, that would have banished lobbyists to the hall, the galleries, or the side rooms at City Hall. Just one committee member, Alderman Christine Ingrassia, D-6th Ward, voted yes.

The full Board of Aldermen is expected to take up the stadium funding plan next Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | file photo

St. Louis aldermen want to place stricter regulations on “payday loan” establishments, part of a broader movement to combat institutions that provide short-term cash to primarily low-income individuals.

Payday loan companies tend to provide small, short-term loans to people. Some critics of the institutions say that they place high interest rates on the loans, which send low-income people who use the service into a cycle of debt.

Alderman Lyda Krewson
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson jumped into the wide-open race for St. Louis mayor, promising to bring her mixture of legislative and fiscal experience to the city’s top job.

Chad Sabora of the Missouri Network for Opiate Reform & Recovery watches as the St. Louis Board of Aldermen approve the Good Samaritan bill he supported.
Liz Schlemmer | St. Louis Public Radio intern

A bill that aims to reduce fatal heroin overdoses is on its way to Mayor Francis Slay’s desk.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved the so-called Good Samaritan bill. It offers immunity from drug possession charges for those who seek medical help for someone experiencing an overdose.

Individuals could still be arrested for other crimes, or if they have outstanding warrants.

St. Louis Alderwoman Donna Baringer, D-16th Ward, is considered an ally of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. But she says voters should have a say in whether to extend bonds for the new stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A commission that would accept ethics complaints against elected officials in the city of St. Louis could have its duties expanded.

The commission is part of Alderman Scott Ogilvie's, D-24th Ward, measure capping campaign contributions $10,000 for both citywide and aldermanic races. As the bill is currently written, members of the panel would investigate complaints about financial disclosure or conflicts of interest.

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