Shane Cohn | St. Louis Public Radio

Shane Cohn

A man crosses the street in Dutchtown on November 22, 2019.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

The Dutchtown neighborhood, in southeast St. Louis, has seen anti-violence initiatives come and go over the years.

Now it’s one of three neighborhoods selected for a nationally known program called Cure Violence. As its name suggests, Cure Violence treats violent crime such as shootings and homicides as a disease that can be cured with the right intervention.

In Dutchtown, there’s a sense of cautious hope that the latest initiative might make a difference in a neighborhood that’s seen 13 people killed and more than 130 shot this year alone.

The Board of Aldermen chambers on July 7, 2017.
File photo | Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

In a change that lawmakers acknowledged was a long time coming, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen has voted to ban lobbyists from the floor of the chamber.

The ban was part of the board’s operating rules adopted Friday by a 22-2 vote, with one alderman voting present.

St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward, in a picture taken June 27, 2018
Rachel Lippmann | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, Rachel Lippmann and Jo Mannies talked with St. Louis Alderman Shane Cohn, D-25th Ward.

Cohn, who grew up in Clayton, represents the Dutchtown, Mount Pleasant and Carondelet neighborhoods in south St. Louis. He was first elected to the Board of Aldermen in 2009 and is in his third term in office.

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

A measure that would boost the minimum wage in the city of St. Louis for most workers got back on track Friday, following a contentious Board of Aldermen debate that lasted nearly an hour.

The bill appeared dead two weeks ago when the chairman of the Ways and Means committee, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, abruptly canceled all future meetings. He told reporters at the time he saw no way for anyone to achieve a "reasonable compromise" before aldermen went on summer break.

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.

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.

Supporters of a city minimum wage hike sit through a hearing of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen Ways and Means Committee.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ efforts to raise the minimum wage of $7.65 have sparked a host of questions. One of the biggest is whether St. Louis County would follow suit. It's a pressing concern because some businesses have said they would move to the county if the city approves Alderman Shane Cohn's bill to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020.

St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger has now provided a definitive answer to that question: No.

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.

St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wants to raise the city's minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. But the big could run into legal problems if Gov. Jay Nixon doesn't sign a bill authorizing increases before August 28.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis’ political leadership will make a quick attempt to raise the city’s minimum wage, a public policy initiative they contend is economically and morally just.

But whether the city possesses the authority to raise its minimum wage is something of a moving target – and could depend on whether a bill that many Democrats despise is enacted into law.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon. - More than a week after an aldermanic committee made funding changes, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen gave initial approval to legislation divvying up $16.7 million in federal block grants. The measure passed 17 to 8, with one abstention.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

Possession of small amounts of marijuana would, under some circumstances be handled by city prosecutors under legislation sent to Mayor Francis Slay today.

Under Ald. Shane Cohn's legislation, first and second-time offenders carrying less than 35 grams of pot would automatically receive a citation and face a maximum $500 fine. It would not apply to those with recent felony convictions, with two or more misdemeanor possession convictions, or if the marijuana possession is part of another crime.

(via Flickr/Roomic Cube)

It'll take another week for supporters of a bill reducing some marijuana possession penalties in St. Louis to get first-round approval for the legislation.

The city's Health and Human Services committee today delayed a vote on the measure, which allows police officers to issue citations to individuals with small amounts of marijuana.

STL Alderman To Propose Reducing Penalties For Pot

Jan 10, 2013
peter.a_photography | Flickr

A St. Louis alderman wants the city to reduce the penalties for possessing a small amount of marijuana. Alderman Shane Cohn plans to introduce a bill Friday that would allow St. Louis police to send people with a small amount of marijuana to municipal court. Currently, marijuana offenders are charged under state laws.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the municipal violation would bring a fine of $100 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail. The proposal also would exempt anyone from another state who has a prescription for medical marijuana.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 14, 2010 - June 28 -- that was the day St. Louis contractors were supposed to begin work on a section of South Grand Blvd., between Arsenal and McDonald. The seven-block stretch was chosen as a "Great Street" by the East-West Gateway Council, allowing for federally funded alterations to make the street more pleasant for pedestrians and local businesses.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, July 27, 2009 - Somewhat encouraged, a bit disappointed and definitely not complacent.

That, in essence, is the mood that local gay-rights leaders are expecting next week when more than 100 activists from around the country gather in Clayton for the summer meeting of the Equality Federation.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 3, 2009 - St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay glided to victory in Tuesday’s Democratic primary, placing himself in a strong position for next month’s quest to become only the fourth mayor in the city’s history to win a third term.

Slay snagged close to 62 percent of Tuesday’s low-turnout vote, handily overwhelming his two Democratic opponents: Irene Smith, a former city judge and alderman, and Denise Watson-Wesley Coleman, a local lawyer.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 24, 2009 - Competition is vigorous between some candidates competing in the March 3 primary elections in St. Louis' odd-numbered aldermanic wards. In three races, candidates find themselves responding to allegations of wrongdoing either by opponents or the media.