St. Louis Board of Aldermen

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

Monday is the last day of the Board of Aldermen session that began back in April. Things start fresh again the very next day.

Aldermen introduced 324 bills in the 41 weeks they were in session. Ninety-two percent of them passed, most without fanfare or controversy. Some, however, rose to the level of national news. Here is a look back at the aldermanic session that was.

Tom Villa
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann break down St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s stunning decision not to run for a fifth term with St. Louis Alderman Tom Villa.

After he told Rosenbaum in late March that he would run for another term, Slay shocked the political world last week by effectively changing his mind. The decision sets up an unpredictable race to replace Slay, which may involve citywide officials, state lawmakers, aldermen and business leaders.

A view looking out on the rotunda from the second floor of St. Louis city hall.
File photo| St. Louis Public Radio

Starting next session it should be easier to find out how St. Louis aldermen vote on board bills. The Board of Aldermen Friday approved a bill to put a record of their votes online in a searchable database.

Right now votes can only be found online via a PDF of the city’s weekly journal.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

Updated 3 p.m. Feb. 19 with Green's statement - Alderman Megan-Ellyia Green on Friday apologized to Alderman Sam Moore in an ongoing dispute over allegations of bribery.

"I have come to understand that he felt personally attacked by my comments," Green said. "My only intent was to refer to his testimony from the Dec. 11 Ways and Means meeting. I felt that his personal experience lent credibility to some of the other things I thought were going on."

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

As the St. Louis Rams prepare to depart from St. Louis, the second team to do so in a generation, city leaders are scrambling to fill the Edward Jones Dome-sized gap they will leave in the city’s economy. The president of St. Louis’ Board of Aldermen, Lewis Reed, has been tweeting about the loss and how to make up for it in the coming year.

Cara Spencer
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On another edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderman Cara Spencer to the program for the first time.

Spencer represents the city’s 20th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. The ward includes several south St. Louis neighborhoods, including Gravois Park, Marine Villa, Mount Pleasant and Dutchtown. And it takes in part of Cherokee Street, one of St. Louis’ most eclectic business districts.

Protesters outside St. Louis County headquarters on Feb. 2, 2015 call for reforms of the municipal court system.
File photo by Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

Following the police shooting death of Michael Brown in August 2014, there was a flurry of activity surrounding police and municipal court reform, as a well as public safety. Those efforts spilled over into 2015, which saw some changes come to St. Louis and St. Louis County.

On Tuesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” we discussed the year’s biggest public safety, courts and police news with St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann, who has been covering these issues for several years.

Alderman Megan Green speaks to reporters after Friday's Board of Aldermen meeting. The 15th Ward Democrat alleged that "bribes" were offed by a proponent of a riverfront stadium.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

A St. Louis alderman is contending that debate over a proposed riverfront stadium plan took a corrupt turn when a “loved one” was offered a political favor in exchange for her dialing down her opposition to the project.

But Alderman Megan Green’s charges are getting pushback – especially from her colleagues on the Board of Aldermen.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed, left, talks with Aldermen Sam Moore, center, and Antonio French about a stadium funding deal. All three voted in favor of the proposal aimed at keeping the St. Louis Rams in town.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 11:15 Friday -- Plans for a $1 billion riverfront stadium cleared a major hurdle Thursday when a financing proposal passed out of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. And the measure passed with a big assist from one of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s biggest detractors. The full board will consider this bill next week.

A member of the St. Louis stadium task force places signage in the room before the announcement that National Car Rental has agreed to pay $158 million over 20 years for naming rights for the proposed NFL stadium in St. Louis on October 7, 2015.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI | October 2015

Updated with committee vote - The aldermanic Ways and Means Committee has sent the NFL stadium plan to the full board for consideration. The 7-2 approval means the aldermen could take an initial vote on the measure tomorrow.

Most observers agree that Reed doesn't have a majority of the Board of Aldermen aligned with him. That means he's sometimes at the losing end of some big-ticket issues -- or he ends up supporting initiatives from Slay or other aldermen.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

With the St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee expected to vote on a stadium financing package on Thursday, Alderman Chris Carter is getting pressure from unusual sources – like the general manager of his gym.

Dave Peacock of the St. Louis stadium task force testifies on Thursday before the Board of Aldermen's Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Dave Peacock didn’t mince any words about how important it is to get a stadium financing plan through the Board of Aldermen.

“We don’t have a plan if they don’t,” said Peacock, one member of Gov. Jay Nixon’s two-person stadium task force.

jack coatar
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

This week's Politically Speaking podcast with Alderman Jack Coatar includes discussion about a new football stadium on the riverfront. He is sponsoring the bill laying out the financial plan for the proposed stadium, which Mayor Francis Slay and others hope will persuade the Rams to remain in St. Louis – or attract another NFL team.

Earlier today, 15th Ward Democrats President Richard Buthod said there’s widespread public skepticism about publicly financing stadiums. His group released results from a poll showing overwhelming opposition to city taxpayer dollars going to sporting facilities.

HOK | 360 Architecture

There are few fans in St. Louis quite like Ram Man.

Ram Man — whose real name is Karl Sides — wears a hat molded in the shape of a snarling beast with spiraling horns. His jersey is adorned with patches celebrating the St. Louis Rams' achievements. And his unique admiration was worthy of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But it will take more than extraordinary fan loyalty to keep an NFL team in St. Louis.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis can start the legal process to move residents from a north side area that would instead become home to a federal spy agency.

The city's Board of Aldermen passed a resolution Friday allowing the use of eminent domain against 19 property owners. They live within a 100-acre acre that is the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The vote was 19- 5 with one abstention.

Alderman Lyda Krewson
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson to the show.

The Moberly native has represented the city’s 28th Ward since 1997. Her ward includes some of the city’s most popular attractions, such as Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo, part of ‘The Loop’ and the Central West End business districts.

Aldermen President Lewis Reed during debate
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen has given initial approval to raising the minimum wage in St. Louis to $11 an hour by 2018. The vote was 15-6.

The bill faces one more vote. Throughout the long debate, two factions formed: those who want to see a significant increase in base-line pay and those who fear that an increase will alienate businesses and drive them into St. Louis County or across the river to Illinois. Both sides say they want the best for low-wage workers.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

After the push for increasing minimum wage in St. Louis resumed, two of the city’s top Democratic leaders

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed in a letter released to the media rejected the latest proposal on minimum wage, stating that it “falls way short of providing relief to working families” while at the same time “institutes new system of inequalities, disincentives for students, and loopholes.”

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

Buy it and they will come.

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen approved a measure Friday to take a $20 million loan in order to buy land within the proposed site for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. The loan will use one--- possibly two---city buildings as collateral. The measure passed with a vote of 18-9 with one abstention.

The NGA, however, will not choose among four possible locations in the St. Louis region until next year.

Alderman Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, plunged the future of a minimum wage bill into doubt after cancelling committee hearings on the issue.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ ambitious push to raise the minimum wage may be dead after the alderman in charge of the committee examining the bill -- Alderman Joe Vaccaro -- canceled hearings.

It’s a move that caught supporters of the bill off guard and incensed staffers of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay. And with a state deadline potentially looming, it may have brought a dramatic end to deliberations over the issue.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is a step closer to getting a $20 million loan to help it buy land at the proposed National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency site on the north side.

The Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee voted for the measure 5- 4 on Friday. Yet some committee members expressed concern about paying the area’s largest land owner, developer Paul McKee, for the property.

courtesy National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency

The city of St. Louis is estimating it will cost $130 million to bring the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to the north side.

The figure was released Wednesday during a meeting of the Board of Aldermen’s Housing, Urban Development and Zoning committee. That money would come primarily from city and state sources, although those were not made public.

Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward, confers with Alderman Beth Murphy, D-13th Ward, on Tuesday. Cohn will present a revised version of his minimum wage bill on Wednesday.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis Board of Aldermen committee held off on votes on legislation raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour.

While that proposal could get a vote from the Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee next week, it may face a tough time receiving approval from that body.

Alderman Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, said he doubts that a $15 an hour minimum wage can pass out of the Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

When the St. Louis County executive put the kibosh on the county raising the minimum wage, it may have complicated St. Louis’ already challenging legislative effort.

That’s partly the view of Alderman Joe Vaccaro, the 23rd Ward Democrat who is now chairing a committee examining legislation raising the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour. He said Steve Stenger’s comments took him by surprise – and added a layer of complexity to an issue that could reach a critical turning point this week.

Supporters of raising St. Louis' minimum wage listen to testimony Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis aldermen heard from proponents — and a few critics — of a bid to raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour from its current $7.65.

The Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee  considered Alderman Shane Cohn’s bill, which would gradually raise the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. The bill would exempt businesses with 15 or fewer employees and companies with less than $500,000 of gross sales every year. 

The committee didn’t vote on Cohn’s bill but is expected to hear more testimony on the measure in the next few weeks.

Alderman Lyda Krewson, D-28th Ward, is sponsoring a big overhaul of the city's business regulations.
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are trying to streamline how the city licenses and regulates businesses.

But the St. Louis’ license collector is strongly opposing some aspects of the legislation, contending it will drain the city’s coffers.

kevindooley via Flickr

A $180 million bond issue to address the city's capital needs remains on track for an August vote.

The Ways and Means committee approved the measure Thursday by a 7-1 vote. The committee's chairman, Alderman Steve Conway, was the lone no vote.

St. Louis Aldermen Jack Coatar, D-7th Ward, and Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, pose for a picture last Tuesday. The two youngish aldermen joined the Board for the first time last week.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the Nine Network’s Stay Tuned a few weeks ago, I shared the oblong table with three members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

Stay Tuned host Casey Nolen described the trio – Aldermen Jack Coatar, D-7th Ward, Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward, and Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward – as the vanguards of a City Hall youth movement. It was the type of designation that met Spencer’s approval.

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.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When Alderman Jack Coatar entered a hotly contested Board of Aldermen contest, his end goal was being sworn into office in the middle of April.

But it’s unlikely that the 7th Ward Democrat envisioned his inauguration would transpire like it did on Tuesday.

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed won a landslide victory in the Democratic primary. His lack of real competition may have affected voter turnout throughout the city.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Tuesday's Board of Aldermen elections contained several surprises and notable takeaways.

Pages