St. Louis Board of Aldermen

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.
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.

Tuesday's elections will decide who will fill 17 out of 28 seats in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis lawyer Jack Coatar will be the new alderman for the city’s 7th District, which takes in much of downtown, after winning Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

“I’m humbled by the margin,’’ said Coatar, who snagged just over 57 percent of the vote in a three-way contest.

But Coatar’s sizable victory is arguably overshadowed by the surprise defeat of veteran 20th Ward Alderman Craig Schmid, who lost to Cara Spencer by 90 votes out of 749 votes cast ward-wide.

Tuesday's elections will decide who will fill 17 out of 28 seats in the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

On Tuesday, St. Louis voters will head to the polls for the municipal primary election. Besides a spirited race for an open aldermanic seat encompassing most of downtown, several incumbent aldermen are facing particularly vibrant challenges. When all the ballots are counted by Tuesday night, the 28-person board could look different.

In the marquee race, St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is expected to coast to a victory over former Alderman Jimmie Matthews, a perennial candidate who’s vied unsuccessfully for various offices.

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

On a special edition of the Politically Speaking podcast, St. Louis Public Radio reporters Jason Rosenbaum, Jo Mannies and Rachel Lippmann preview Tuesday’s election in St. Louis.

Seventeen out of the Board of Aldermen's 28 seats are up for election on Tuesday.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Being an incumbent St. Louis alderman is no longer a safe bet.

For various reasons, 17 of the city’s 28 members of the Board of Aldermen – all Democrats – will be on the ballot next Tuesday in the city’s March 3 primaries.

And all but a couple of the incumbents have opposition from fellow Democrats.

After his unsuccessful mayoral bid in 2013, aldermanic president Lewis Reed rebounded in 2014 when he backed several winning candidates for city offices. He's expected to win a third term as aldermanic president.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed was expecting a competitive 2015 re-election bid – at least that’s what he thought at the end of 2013.

Alderman Antonio French said regular updates from St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson would increase police accountability.
Joseph Michael Leahy

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee wants monthly updates from Police Chief Sam Dotson on the status of his department and crime in the city.

Committee members agreed Wednesday morning to request the updates as an interim solution while they work to establish a more permanent system of accountability. The police department has been under local control since 2013 after the city gained oversight from a state board.

State Auditor Nicole Galloway delivered a scathing audit to St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter.
File photo by Jason Rosenbaum I St. Louis Public Radio

Right before she battled back to reclaim an office she held for more than 30 years, St. Louis Recorder of Deeds Sharon Carpenter did something most longtime city employees do: She applied for her pension. 

Carpenter served as the city’s recorder of deeds from 1980 to mid-2014. After she resigned, she applied for and started receiving a monthly benefit of $4,238.76. Later that year, she defeated incumbent Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Florida in a landslide.

Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

The Politically Speaking crew welcomes St. Louis Alderwoman Christine Ingrassia, a Democrat who represents the city’s 6th Ward on the Board of Aldermen. 

Before she ran for the seat, Ingrassia was active in securing grants for the ward, which takes in nine neighborhoods, such as Fox Park and Lafayette Square, in the city’s central and southern corridors. She easily defeated Damon Jones and Michelle Witthaus in a 2013 Democratic primary for the seat – which was tantamount to election.

Joseph Leahy / St. Louis Public Radio

Phyllis Young, the city’s longest-serving alderman, resigned on Dec. 12. Young, a Democrat, represented the 7th Ward, which includes parts of downtown and Soulard, for 29 years.

Lewis Reed 2013
Provided by Lewis Reed

St. Louis Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed is spearheading an effort to establish a poet laureate position in St. Louis.

Megan Green recently won election to a Board of Aldermen seat as an independent. It may have showcased that voters in her ward were less interested in party identification and more concerned about individual candidates.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio | File photo

On paper, Megan Ellyia Green should have been the underdog in last week’s 15th Ward election.

After Missy Pinkerton-McDaniel snagged the Democratic nomination in the race to succeed Jennifer Florida in the south St. Louis ward, Green decided to run as an independent. Given recent history, she didn’t face particularly good odds of winning a city that almost reflexively elects identified Democrats.

(via Flickr/akasped)

Music festivals in downtown St. Louis on the scale of Lollapalooza are about to become a reality.

The city's Board of Aldermen on Monday approved the measure that sets aside Memorial and Labor Day  weekends for the music festivals. Mayor Francis Slay is expected to sign the bill and as soon as he does, Los Angeles-based ICM Partners can start negotiating for talent and financing.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen are off for a month-long spring break starting today. Like many a legislative body (or college students) before them, they left a lot of business until the last minute. Here's a look at some of the business they took care of today.

St. Louisan Big George Brock has performed at past Bluesweek festivals.
File Photo | Bluesweek

Interesting how the debate over mega-music festivals downtown has revealed the St. Louis region’s fault lines.

(Rachel Lippmann/St. Louis Public Radio)

Updated with comments from the hearing. Edited at 8:45 a.m. Thursday to correct typos.

After more than two days of debate, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen tourism committee approved plans for Lollapalooza-like festivals to be held in downtown St. Louis on Memorial Day and Labor Day Weekends.

(via Flickr/alaina.buzas)

St. Louis aldermen have temporarily slowed the progress of a measure that would reserve Memorial and Labor Day weekends for a new music festival in downtown St. Louis for at least the next 10 years.

The city's tourism committee heard two hours of testimony on the measure today. Chairman Joe Vollmer delayed the vote by a week to give its members time to digest the bill. A good portion of the 29-member Board of Aldermen sat in for at least part of the hearing.

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