Q&A with Lyda Krewson, the Democratic candidate for mayor of St. Louis
On March 7, St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson pushed past Treasurer Tishaura Jones and a crowded field of Democratic mayoral candidates to become the Democratic candidate for mayor of the City of St. Louis. On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Krewson joined host Don Marsh to discuss her platform ahead of the general municipal election on April 4.
We’ll also speak with the Republican candidate for mayor, Andrew Jones, on Monday, March 27, and with third party/independent candidates on Friday, March 31.
Krewson is heavily favored to win as the Democratic candidate in the race, but she said that hasn’t halted the work of her campaign.
“My campaign, we are out knocking on doors, doing mail and trying to get the vote out on April 4,” Krewson said. “I don’t take this as a slam-dunk at all. There are some very credible and possible candidates on the ballot.”
Listen to the full interview with Krewson here, with major points from the interview noted below:
On Proposition 1, a half-cent sales tax in the City of St. Louis:
“I am certainly in favor of expanding MetroLink, but I worry this won’t be enough money to deliver on that promise,” Krewson said. “We need to start. It is a bit like building a savings account for some bigger purchase that you want. I’m in favor a half-cent sales tax because I think we do need to expand MetroLink.”
On Proposition 2, a use tax that would be used to fund a soccer stadium among other initiatives in the City of St. Louis
“I think I will vote for Proposition 2, but I hope to get into conversations with leaders of MLS soccer to see if I can figure out a bit of a different structure,” Krewson said.
“I love soccer; I think most St. Louisans love soccer,” Krewson said. “I hope that we are able to get a soccer team here. I think soccer is a sport that is on the rise and it is also something aspirational for St. Louis, to have a soccer team. On the other hand, I would prefer that the City of St. Louis not own the stadium. I am willing to help with that effort but I’d like to see the stadium be privately-owned.”
On bridging divides between Democratic constituents, after only winning 32 percent of the vote in the Democratic primary:
“I got 32 percent of the vote in a field of seven candidates,” Krewson said. “I think it was pretty unlikely that any candidate in the field of seven would get over 50 percent of the vote. I’m not unhappy with receiving 32 percent of the vote. I certainly do realize I need to reach out to folks.”
Krewson then referenced this weekend’s “unity breakfast,” which brought about 70 people together to discuss moving forward. None of Krewson’s rivals from the primary attended.
“I did text or talk to all of them,” Krewson said. “Some were out of town. Campaigns are tough, everybody worked hard and everybody was out there night after night, day after day campaigning. Some of this may take a lot of time. … We’ll come together. We all want what is best for the City of St. Louis, I have no doubt about that. We did close to 25 forums or debates so we got to know one another and our ideas pretty well. There were good ideas there and we’ll work together.
On plans for public safety initiatives:
“We want to prevent and deter crime,” Krewson said. “That means more money for recreation programs, more money for after school jobs and summer jobs, it means alternative dispute resolution, it means alternative sentencing. All of those things are so important, but we do need law enforcement.
“The City of St. Louis is 100-plus officers short of our budgeted strength. We have to figure out how to hire additional officers, train additional officers and train them in more modern ways, with less use of force, nonlethal weapons and alternative methods of policing. We have a frayed relationship between many parts of our community and law enforcement. That’s to our community’s detriment. We have to take steps to mend our relationship.”
On criticism of her past development focus on the central corridor:
“I’ve heard that sentiment expressed but your job as an alderman is to represent your area and the folks that elected you,” Krewson said. “… Fifteen, 17 years ago there was no Pageant, no Moonrise, no Pin-Up Bowl. They’re all in the city, none of that existed 15 years ago. Fifteen to 17 years ago, the Chase Park Plaza was closed for 9 years. When that occurred, there were not viable businesses on Maryland; the heart of the Central West End that we think about at Maryland and Euclid, there was no Scape, Lululemon, those homes were vacant.
“There’s been a lot of work done in the 28th Ward, the area I was elected to represent. A lot of that is done now and there is still more to do. … Yes, we absolutely worked on redeveloping those areas, and I think that is to the plus for all St. Louis.”
On her plans to expand those development opportunities:
“I see so many opportunities. During the campaign, I was all over this city. I don’t know if I have been on every block, but I’ve been on darn near every block. We have to bring developers to those areas, when you look north of Delmar, the Academy neighborhood, Fountain Park, North Sarah. We need to build off of those strengths and bring development to all areas in the City of St. Louis. Vacant buildings, we need to get them in the hands of those who can redevelop them. There is nothing good that happens in a vacant building.”
On development and inclusion:
“When we give incentives, first of all, there should be much more in incentives in more disadvantaged areas of our city rather than those that are doing very well,” Krewson said. “Most projects should include community benefit agreements.”
On charter schools in the City of St. Louis:
“Today, there are 10 or 11,000 kids being educated in charter schools,” Krewson said. “They are like any other group of schools: some are better than others. Just like St. Louis Public Schools has some of the best schools in our state, there are also some not-so-good schools. There is room in our educational system for public, charter and frankly parochial schools. I continue to support charter schools as a choice.”
On socioeconomic disparities and security cameras, in reference to this St. Louis Post-Dispatch article:
“The Central West End and 28th Ward does have quite a few security cameras, which were paid for by the taxpayers of the 28th Ward,” Krewson said. “I don’t think that’s a great model. That was the only model and the only way to get there for CWE and the Delmar Loop. I think we need a city-wide plan for cameras and a city-wide plan for development.
“There are, if you look closely, there are many more cameras in the central corridor and north St. Louis than in south St. louis. They are a controversial subject, but I happen to believe they are a good tool. They don’t replace police officers or good folks walking their dogs with their eyes and ears on the streets. They ought to be more widely available.”
On the recent fatal shooting at the MetroLink station near Busch Stadium:
“Metro knows I think this: Metro should have a turnstile system,” Krewson said. “I think it is a tool, I know it costs money, but it would be a tool to having a more secure Metro. We should expand it but we have to have a more secure Metro system.”
On principal differences between Krewson and her Republican opponent, Andrew Jones:
“My policies are much more progressive than Mr. Jones,” Krewson said. “Frankly, I have a lot more experience in actually getting things done. I have a history of getting things done and executing decisions. I was the sponsor of the smoking ban, the prescription drug monitoring program and I have a long history of fighting for common-sense gun laws.”
While we're at it, Curious Louis is looking for the questions you have for St. Louis' next mayor. Share them here:
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.