On the latest episode of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Jo Mannies welcome St. Louis Alderwoman Pamela Boyd to the show for the first time.
Boyd represents the 27th Ward, which takes in five neighborhoods in the northwest part of the city. Boyd’s day job: a dietary manager at a Florissant nursing home.
Before she was elected to the board in April, Boyd served as a committeewoman for the 27th Ward. She worked closely behind the scenes with Alderman Greg Carter, who represented the 27th Ward for nearly 20 years before he was killed in August 2012 in a truck accident. She unsuccessfully ran for the 27th Ward seat in 2013.
One of Boyd’s biggest challenges as an alderwoman, she said, is what to do with the nearly 1,100 vacant properties in her ward that are owned by the city’s Land Reutilization Authority. About 375 houses and more than 700 vacant lots in the 27th Ward are more than 10 percent of the roughly 9,500 properties LRA owns.
Here’s what Boyd had to say during the show:
- She set up a housing committee aimed at reducing the number of vacant properties, adding that residents want to renovate or demolish abandoned homes — especially because the ward long had been a landing place for working-class and middle-class African-Americans. “It’s challenging,” Boyd said. “But it’s not to the point where it’s hopeless. Because they feel if we can bite this elephant one piece at a time, we can rebuild it.”
- She said crime is a big barrier to getting more people to move into her ward. According to the St. Louis Police Department, there were 18 homicides in June in three of the neighborhoods that Boyd represents.
- After she lost her 2013 race, Boyd began a years-long process of knocking on every door in her ward. She said that contact with voters prepared her for the 2017 campaign. “What I did learn was determination and persistence is what made it happen,” she said.
- Boyd joined one of the largest freshmen classes of aldermen in recent memory. So far, she said, the newcomers are working together. “I love it,” she said. “Nobody is territorial. Everyone’s real clear that we have to come together as a team.”
Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum
Follow Jo Mannies on Twitter: @jmannies
Follow Pam Boyd on Twitter: @boydstuff
Music: “Burning in the Skies” and “Waiting for the End” by Linkin Park