Politically Speaking: St. Louis Alderman Bret Narayan On Ward Reduction Debate And Specter Of Soccer | St. Louis Public Radio

Politically Speaking: St. Louis Alderman Bret Narayan On Ward Reduction Debate And Specter Of Soccer

Aug 5, 2019

Bret Narayan is the latest guest on Politically Speaking, where he talked to St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum about his first few months on the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

The 24th Ward Democrat represents the neighborhoods that encompass Dogtown in southwest St. Louis. He won election to the seat earlier this year.

Here’s what Narayan talked about during the show:

  • Narayan says he would like to see a more cohesive strategy to deal with traffic and streets around the city. “You know, you don’t get a lot of guidance prior to getting elected,” he said. “And even once you’re elected, there’s not necessarily a great deal of guidance where speed bumps should go, where curb bump-outs should go, where other traffic-calming measures should go.”
  • He also talked about the debate within the Board of Aldermen on whether to ask voters to undo a ward reduction proposal that passed in a citywide referendum in 2012.
  • Some African American members of the board want another vote, contending that going from 28 to 14 wards could negatively impact black political power. “This is one of the most contentious things since I’ve stepped into this role,” he said. “People have strong feelings on this subject.”
  • Narayan also discussed the possibility of Major League Soccer awarding St. Louis an expansion franchise. If that happens, the board will likely have to pass an incentive package for the stadium — including the ability to levy a tax within the facility.

Narayan is an attorney who entered the race for the 24th Ward seat after incumbent Scott Ogilvie decided against running for another term.

The Democratic primary featured former Alderman Tom Bauer and both of the ward’s committeepeople. Despite never running for office before, Narayan won with more than 50% of the vote — which amounted to a landslide in a five-way race. He easily defeated two independent candidates in the April general election.

With his win, Narayan became the first Asian American member of the Board of Aldermen.

Narayan got his law degree from St. Louis University and his undergraduate degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia. (Full disclosure: Narayan and Rosenbaum were students at Mizzou in the mid-2000s. Rosenbaum and Narayan often played the seminal video game "Karaoke Revolution" with other wannabe singers.)

The podcast is sponsored by the St. Louis-based law firm of Capes Sokol

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Bret Narayan on Twitter: @24thWardSTL

Music: “Crawling in the Dark” by Hoobastank