By. Chris Stritzel
Following the August 7th primaries in Missouri, I was let down when the candidate I was supporting, Austin Petersen lost to Josh Hawley. While I should've saw this coming, I simply ignored the fact. I supported Petersen because of how his ideas aligned closer to mine than Josh Hawley. Now that Hawley is the nominee, I can't vote for him and I certainly can't vote for Claire McCaskill. I know I am writing to a select few readers but hear me out, I am a Republican but I am open minded. Give me ideas that I support, and I can work with you. In this case, neither of the two major party candidates give me ideas that I can go ahead with to support and work with. After digging around and doing research, I have landed at a candidate that I can get behind. Craig O'Dear is a political Independent. Say what you will about him, but he donated to politicians in both political parties before saying "enough".
I've always looked towards what could be done better in this country and city but I have found that the bitter political divide is only growing and not slowing down. People are divided heavily on whether or not they are straight Democrat or straight Republican and for me, it doesn't really matter as long as you have ideas that I agree with. On a national scale, the two parties aren't helping our country at all and so I believe it is time to say goodbye to them. It's become a game of goofball men and women who can't get a grip when it comes down to agreeing to make this country right. It's all partisan. There is no "cross talk" between the parties and no "independent thinking". It's all party line bickering and ideas. This problem is only going to get worse unless voters put an end to it, and not by electing more party line goofballs.
This November, I am voting for Craig O'Dear to try to put an end to this partisan craziness. Why this is a long shot, I am going for the guy whose campaign successfully collected 22,000 signatures (10,000 required) to get on the November ballot without running any ads. 14,983 of those signatures were certified by the state of Missouri. It was all done by hard work and dedicated volunteers who want to see change and these people are on both sides of the aisle! Can you believe that? Republicans and Democrats working together for an Independent Candidate? It's crazy if you don't believe it. But what's not crazy is that there are people out there, like me, getting tired of seeing the partisan show take place In DC. It gives America a bad look to the rest of the world. We're the land where dreams come true, so why are politicians destroying this dream through bickering? One word: power.
When you think about it, when was last time that you seen a politician, on the right or left, that hasn’t used any type of scare tactics in their ads? It’s hard to think about is isn’t it? The Republicans and Democrats use scare tactics in order to gain power and to manipulate their voters votes just so political power can be gained. If we are to move forward as Americans, scare tactics are not going to help us or work out the way that the two political parties think, they will only further divide us based on ideologies. Craig O'Dear appears to be basing his campaign off of unity and the duty to do something right. Policies that have failed in both parties are left out of his plan while ones that need work are brought in and given the Independent mind treatment. Everything is thought of from a different perspective in order to create results that the other two parties can't seem to achieve.
Some examples of this are healthcare, abortion, environment, fiscal responsibility, immigration, 2nd Amendment and economic inequality. All of these issues are big for both parties in power in DC but both have radically different ideas. O'Dear sees these issues, and others, as a way to open dialogue between Democrats and Republicans in order to get progress done on these. The best ideas are kept while the less good ones are thrown away. This helps since the two big party central committees aren't breathing down your neck. Craig has to report to the people of Missouri and not these central committees which allows him to vote the way his constituents want. It's the only way policy, that puts our nation's people first, is put in effect.
I believe that if Mr. O'Dear is elected to U.S. Senate, he will be a voice for every single Missourian regardless of political party or area of the state in which they live. In a time like this where division is so high and partisanship is at an all time high, it's time to declare your independence away from the two parties and go for what your heart and mind desires. In this Senate race in Missouri, neither candidate aligns with my views more than Craig O'Dear and I think you'll also find that your views align with those that he is presenting.
I wish Craig O'Dear luck on November 6th and I hope you all give him a serious look instead of voting along party lines. We have the chance to try to fix this mess, and electing more Republicans and more Democrats isn't going to fix it.
By. Chris Stritzel
What may be the most ugly and costly St. Louis County Executive primary race is finally coming to an end. On Tuesday August 7th, the madness ends as no Republican Candidate seems to be a bit threat this year meaning whoever wins the Primary will go on to win the general in November. I live in Mehlville and am a big Republican, but that doesn't mean I don't have to vote Democrat. Mark Mantovani has made me want to vote for a Democrat, and I will. Mark's plan gives me hope for the future of the County and the region as a whole. It has the region's largest population and can directly effect which was we go in the future. Now, I am all for the City, but as I live in the County, I can't vote in the City, so I rely on other team members on this website's support for the City elections. But back to Mark Mantovani.
Steve Stenger just doesn't seem to get it. He was elected to change the county and clean up corruption, but clearly this was a mistake as more corruption is in the county now than ever before. The Missouri Ethics Committee, County Council and others have called for an investigation into his deals, especially the one revolving round St. Ann's Northwest Plaza. He just isn't helping us out any. Steve Stenger is also dividing the county in more ways than one. Here are two primary examples...
1. The attacks on the President's supporters in some recent ads. That alienates nearly half of the electorate in the County who supported the President.
2. The half assed effort to calm and repair the wounds made through the Ferguson situation.
3. Siding with his one ally on the County Council and not really working with the other members (dysfunctional).
Stenger is a mess whose first (and hopefully only term) has been plagued by scandal, dysfunction, non-transparency, corruption and just plain incompetence. That is why I am ready to get him out of office. Mark Mantovani's 6 Point Ethics plan insures that there will be no corruption or backdoor deals. This is the 6 Point plan...
1. Procurement with integrity
2. No contribution accepted form county contractors
3. Council cooperation and employee engagement
4. No contributions accepted before 2022
5. Audit cooperation
6. Full transparency
The 6 Point plan gives me confidence that Mark can lead fully without money pulling him the way that he didn't promise. Stenger would just take money and run with it whole screwing the people of the county who want change. Mark Mantovani seems more calm in his ads and interviews than Steve Stenger. Stenger's petty ads seem desperate as I believe Stenger never believed he would be primaried and if he believed so, never believed it would be this kind of a challenge. Mantovani lead a company, Ansira, and oversaw all aspects of the company as their CEO. This gives me more confidence in Mantovani than Stenger as Mark knows how to keep a business above the water and make it stable. He also has first hand experience of how the local governments deal with businesses.
Stenger hasn't owned a business so he doesn't know what to do. Stenger's smug look while sitting their next to the other Council members just shows his disdain for anyone else but himself. Mark Mantovani cares more about others based on what I have seen. I don't want Steger leading the County anymore. I don't want his dark deals running the county anymore. I don't want his dysfunctional government running the County anymore and I don't want his incompetence in the office of County Executive anymore. It is time for change in St. Louis County, and I ask for you to consider voting for Mark Mantovani on Tuesday, August 7th.
I know it is odd taking advice from someone who just got the privilege to vote and is a Republican but I've learned that their are more opinions and candidates out there that I align with while sharing my values. My views cannot be aligned with being Conservative or Socially Liberal but are instead unique to me only. That is how I got to Mantovani and prefer him over Stenger, who goes against practically everything I believe in.
I am voting Mantovani on August 7th.
By. Chris Stritzel
The day has come that we all have been waiting for, the City of St. Louis has defaulted on Paul McKee's failed Northside Regeneration. It is a spectacular take down to the man who was once heralded as the savior of the Northside. A man who was heralded by Lacy Clay (D-MO 1st) just last week about helping save the Northside, "This is not the time to change course with a developer that secured the anchor federal facility, a grocery store in a food desert and a hospital in a medical care desert. All of us, SLDC included, should be lining up behind Paul McKee, not playing a dangerous game that could derail all that he has worked so hard to build for north St. Louis".
McKee's experiment, which began in 2002 with the assembly of and on the Northside and backed by the city in 2009, was full of lies and false promises to bring the Northside back and make it a destination that was stable and safe. The idea was hard not to like but the snail's pace that the project was driven at coupled with a gross amount of incompetence took the project and derailed it ultimately. Not to mention the fact McKee took advantage of the system to get more tax breaks and money for the project that never came. It was a disgusting show of greed by a man who helped develop Winghaven. It all seemed so perfect till the effects and lack of anything being done were felt.
Over the course of 9 years, McKee presented plans for a office building on North Tucker, redevelopment of the Tucker and Cass area, hundreds of new homes by the future NGA, preservation of existing buildings, the 22nd Street Interchange, "Life Works", Bottle District (with Clayco) "Healthworks Village" on the Pruitt Igoe site, a gas station and a grocery store. Only the gas station and the grocery store have begun construction. Pruitt Igoe was cleared of trees for Healthworks Village but nothing else seems to be happening there, yet Paul McKee and Lacy Clay believe he's done a ton for the Northside and the City of St. Louis when in reality, McKee has done nothing while neighboring neighborhoods develop themselves and come back slowly (Old North). Oh, and the NGA, McKee deserves NO CREDIT on that project, just because he owned the property doesn't mean he reaps the benefits.
GALLERY: McKee's Dreams
But as troubling news came out of Paul McKee's dealings (from earlier) the City grew fed up and passed a resolution unanimously removing his tax credits in late April. It was big victory then and I wrote story titled, "Paul McKee Screwed Over St. Louis. Now What?" I smacked him down in that story and stated, "The man has been given to many chances and, at some point, the City and Paul McKee need to part ways". That time for the City to part ways has finally come. After being scammed enough, the City announced it would Default with McKee over the Northside Regeneration development. They cited the lack of progress on the development and the dark use of tax money and credits to do whatever he wanted.
Even though the Default would have to be approved in court (as this would nullify the development agreement), victory has never been so close to touch on this project t those who have opposed McKee. It puzzles me how and why the City let McKee's agreement go on like this for so long when they knew that Northside Regeneration LLC was screwing over and hurting the City and, the already vulnerable, Northside. As the sun sets on North St. Louis and the City of St. Louis, a new era is ready to rise. The post McKee era could, and I expect it too, open up the flood gates for redevelopment projects on the Northside. The over 1500 acre swatch of land divided the Northside and it will be reunited as last (maybe).
The Northside has potential and with the biggest problem pushed out of the way, or at least is on the way out, that potential will be unlocked. The story of Paul McKee's failed development stops here on the planning board, but the controversies and set backs will forever live on as the worst deal the City has ever made. Paul McKee's Northside Regeneration LLC will not be missed to those who have opposed of it and who once supported it, but now regret supporting it. And if somehow the Northside Regeneration does happen, it will have a suburban vibe to it as the urban model may not work well in a project of this size and scale. But who am I to speculate on that?
Now, Paul McKee's land will not be acquired back by the City so maybe having the City cut ties with him will allow McKee to kick development into high gear. While I am not holding my breath, there is a part of me that still has hope that McKee will do something truly significant up on the Northside, but the civic government could very well be putting McKee under stress. Either way, I have reached out to all McKee affiliated companies to have a one on one with him to discuss the future of Northside Regeneration.
Everyone who ever ran for office and won in this City has had a common goal, to have the city better off when they leave office than they came into it. The goal is and was to make St. Louis a better place to live, work, play and do whatever you want because this is home. Sometimes
I think that goal is put on the shelf when the Aldermen and politicians in general move on to agendas that benefit their own needs and wants. Sometimes the will of the voters is ignored for a politically motivated cause that will hurt our City more than it will help it. A recent showing of this is the Board of Aldermen trying to force a re-vote to lower the number of Ward from 28 to 14. It was voted on in 2012 and it has stayed in place since then but the new effort to keep the Board extremely large is not needed. The people voted on this issue 6 years ago and by wanting them to revote on it in a April Election (lowest turnout) is flat out gerrymandering.
In order to be more successful, fewer people in government would be a start. Some people in government now ignore the cause to improve our City since they are stuck up in issues like this. A prime example of trying to help this City out is targeting Paul McKee's failed Northside Regeneration and all the incentives and back door deals done to make this scheme "possible". Members of the Board taking steps to look into this deal are putting City before their own wants and needs, something this City needs more of. 90% of the time, I disagree with the actions of the Board of Aldermen and City Government in general because my political opinions are different than theirs. But like them, even though some members do not show it, we share a common goal to see St. Louis better off. Everyone who lives in the City wants to see it better off regardless of Political Ideologies, Race, Religion, where they live and more.
The Government Currently only has a handful of members who are willing to truly improve life in this City, and I applaud them for that. Meanwhile, others have their own agendas. This "own agenda" stuff has to stop for the betterment of the City. We have crime to tackle, education issues to tackle, corruption to tackle and the long standing Delmar Divide to tackle. Politicians can't brand themselves as "Progressive" and not try to fix these issues, it is false advertising to do so. Reducing the Board to 14 members could help get more Pro-St. Louis Progressives on Board but can we really trust them? Many false promises have been made and even some members of government try to go Progressive but are shot down by those who want their own agendas taken care of first before the City. That mind set has allowed us to lose over half our population since 1950, divide our City, allow crime to rise, Fragmentation to become more eminent, lose the bid for Amazon's HQ2 and even slow our post recession recovery.
What's worse is that the utter craziness in Government is preventing us from tackling the issues head on. If the Government, Board of Aldermen, Mayor and whoever else were to get their heads into the game and put personal agendas aside to start tackling the large issues, we could actually bring Amazon to St. Louis, reverse decades of loss growth and maybe even convince the County to allow us to merge. I understand the Aldermen who want to keep the Board at 28 Members because they fear losing representation in local Government, but if the primary goal was to make St. Louis thrive, I believe their worries would go away. If the City were to implement policy that would actually help the entire City and not just a Ward or two, the City would thrive and grow as well as the Metropolitan Area. However, that goal is hard to achieve when politicians have their own agendas on their mind.
To the Members of the Board of Aldermen, listen to the people of this City. They want a City that's better for everyone North to South and East to West. Put your personal agendas behind you and put the City first, it is the only way to improve life here and draw more people to move and visit here.
To Mayor Lyda Krewson and President Lewis Reed, lead the charge to make St. Louis a better place to live. You two are the "top dogs" in Government here. You both have the opportunity to steer the City toward the better and to be an example for the members of the Board of Aldermen.
To the People of St. Louis City, Elect Representatives into office that have a vision of unity for the region and a mindset to make St. Louis a better place to live, work, play, stay and whatever else. Your vote counts, so make it count. Progressives who are eager to tackle the issues here at home are the ones who can change the City for the better and lead us on.
To Every Person who lives in the City and those who once lived here, Promote your City, it is your home. Let us all promote it so that future generations of St. Louisans have opportunities that we never could even imagine.
We St. Louisans share a common goal regardless of political party, race, religion, sex or the neighborhood we live in. That goal is to see St. Louis better off than we came into it. Its a goal that unites us and we have to take it and run with it if we wish to see St. Louis succeed.
We've come a long way but very slowly. It's time to start speeding that process up, we can if we share the goal to make St. Louis thrive.
- Chris Stritzel
By. Chris Stritzel
When Paul McKee acquired over 500 acres of land on the Northside for his failed "Northside Regeneration" project, many thought it could be a savior. However, after years of gathering up land, nothing has been done but the land area has changed in size and buildings have burned down (including the Clemens Mansion). The only real big victory was the NGA West selecting Northside as its new home. However, the lack of movement on any kind of project in Paul McKee's area is shocking. So far, Pruitt Igoe has been cleared for "Healthworks Village" and a Grocery store and Gas Station on North Tucker is ready to go, but questions still swirl over what his real ambitions are.
Paul McKee received a special tax credit from the City when he set out to conduct his mega project. It was a secret tax credit and was repealed unanimously in the Board of Aldermen on the 17th. Alderwoman Cara Spencer (20th Ward) proposed the bill. Civic trust with Paul McKee is gone, and the repeal of the credit is the first step in allowing the land to be broken up and sold to other, trusted, developers. Even small organizations like Old North Restoration Group are helping bring the Northside back to life. Many places on the Northside have projects lined up or underway, except for Paul McKee's property.
At the rate of development happening in Paul McKee's property, he will be dead and I'll be in my mid-40s once anything significant happens that the North will benefit from. The NGA doesn't count as it is not open to the public. He claims to have money but I question that since all we see for Northside Regeneration are renderings and sketches of things. Those are visions of a Paul McKee who, if he had the money, would act. The entire development could've been finished by 2024 if it got started right away, but we are just now starting to see dirt being moved, and nothing built.
The City was scammed by a man who had a vision but that vision fell apart. Residents are angry. The government is angry. When are we going to hold him accountable? He wants more land and if we give it to him, we will be shooting ourselves. He is a con man who's credibility is extremely low, or non existent. The man has been given to many chances and, at some point, the City and Paul McKee need to part ways. We've lost several historic buildings because of him and we will continue to lose them if we don't act. Unless we see a large scale project with financing and a defined ground breaking date, I am skeptical and very disappointed and angry a McKee.
By. Chris Stritzel
Welcome to the first Tuesday Briefing. These briefings include honest insight and opinions into ongoing situations in St. Louis City. Lets get started with the Looming Proposition P vote and the growing Homicide Crisis in the City.
Homicide Rate Destined to be Higher.
According to the City of St. Louis Government website and local media, the city homicide count for 2017 is at 161. That is just 27 shy of last year's (and 2015's) count of 188. Already with that number, we have the highest homicide rate in the United States. This year's total so far is way over what it what at this time last year. We are on track to crack the 190 or even 200 homicide mark for 2017. If we crack this number, it will give a new number per 100,000 that will make it the highest homicide year in St. Louis history and give us the "most dangerous city" title again, this time, for the 4th year in a row.
A majority of the 161 homicides that we have had this year take place in the North Patrol (AKA, North City). The total number of homicides in the North Patrol as of toy stands at 103. That is 5 shy of last year's 108. The North Patrol is expected to crack the 115 mark, a 7 homicide increase since last year and 42 higher since 2013 when the rate was at 73. The Central Patrol is at 47, once again, 4 shy of last year's 51 homicides. The number is expected to be 55 by years end. The only part of the city that is down on the homicide side of things is South City. South City currently has 11 homicides, 17 shy from last year's numbers. The homicide rate for this side of the city will not crack 15 making it "the safest part of the City".
If St. Louis stays on the path it is going, it will experience Year on Year (Y.O.Y) homicide growth until 2020. Why 2020? By then, things could be different as crime statistics showed homicides decreasing after 2010 but rising dramatically in 2015. In other words, 2020 is when change could come, but who knows if it really will.
Proposition P Vote
On November 7th, voters will go to the polls and decide whether to pass a tax increase to add an additional $19 Million to the budget to pay for Police Officers and Fire Fighter pay increases. Currently, the city lags behind the county in terms of how officers and fire fighters are paid. This will hopefully keep police officers in the city, and gain more, instead of losing them to the county. We need this to pass, but will it?
Ever since the Stockley verdict came out, Black Lives Matter (BLM) allies, have voiced their opposition to this pay increase because, "cops are pigs" according to them. Cops are overwhelmed and need to be paid more. You people complain whenever you don't get your $15 for flipping burgers at McDonald's. Why don't you people get out of the entry level workforce and work hard like our officers? Working at McDonald's is weak and ineffective to our society. Regardless of your opinion, we need Proposition P to pass. The benefits to this could be game changing.
Increase in officer pay means more prospective officers will be hired into the police force. The same goes for an increase in Fire Fighters and medics. We benefit from this by an increased response time across the board. If black lives really do matter, then why not do what's best by voting in favor of this? There is black on black crime across the city (105 suspects and 151 victims), but a officer involved shooting from 6 years ago really matters. Look at how much is at risk!
Across this city, we need to get out and vote, Vote, VOTE! Do your duty and thank our city's finest by voting in favor of Proposition P. The city desperately needs it and it can change our future for years to come.
VOTE YES ON PROP P ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 7th, 2017.
As the day broke today, many people opened the news app on their phone to see some news about the Confederate Memorial in Forest Park. It wasn’t the kind of news to be expected however. Many would’ve thought the news would say that today the Monument comes down with no exceptions. Well, that wasn’t it instead, it was about where it will go next. Reports have said that the monument has been sold to the Civil War Museum in Jefferson Barracks Park in suburban Lemay in St. Louis County.
Besides this, news got out on Peggy Hubbard’s FaceBook page about the owners of the monument. Surprise! The owner of the monument is and was never the City of St. Louis. It was on loan to the City by no other than the Daughters of the Confederacy. Yes, believe it or not, the owners are not the City of St. Louis. Becuase of this, the city is breaking its own laws listed in the Charter (The City’s Constitution). Here they are...
Any statue or monument structure that is donated PRIVATELY by a part, CAN NOT be removed WITHOUT the sole written consent by those that donated said structure.
Any monument, statue or free standing structure CAN NOT be removed WITHOUT consent and IS the property of the donor(s).
Designation of place in owners name, statues/monuments are the SOLE property of Donor. The authority to remove donated structure in public space CAN NOT be removed with out the permission of donor(s)
FOR THOSE WHO WANT THE REAL CODES:
22.04.060 - Donations.
The Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry is authorized, with the approval of the Board of Public Service, to accept and take charge of, for and on behalf of the City, all donations made to the public parks, places or squares of the City by private individuals or societies. It is hereby made his duty to devote and apply donations strictly to the purposes for which they were made. (Ord. 49771 § 1 (2), 1960: 1960 C. § 220.040.)
City Counselor Ops.: 8629, 8891, 9307, 9631, 9796
22.04.070 - Statues.
The Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry shall be authorized with the approval of the Board of Public Service on the submission of proper plans and sketches to allot space of ground in any of the public parks, places or squares as may be required for the erection of any monument, statue or other work of art or utility in commemoration of the services of the beneficence of any person or society who may offer to provide same at their own expense. (Ord. 49971 § 1 (3), 1967: 1960 C. § 220.050.)
City Counselor Ops.: 8629, 8891, 9307, 9488, 9631
22.04.080 - Designation of places by donor's name.
The Director of Parks, Recreation and Forestry shall have authority to designate officially certain places in the public parks, places and squares which have been improved by private donations by the name of the donor, and he shall in all such cases file a copy of the articles or stipulations of donation with the register.
(Ord. 49771 § 1 (4), 1960: 1960 C. § 220.060.)
City Counselor Ops.: 8629, 8891, 9307
Therefore, what is going on with the Confederate Memorial is unlawful and the daughters of the Confederacy can legally sue the City over the unlawful removal of a piece of the memorial. But, there is a twist in it. Remember the first paragraph? The Civil War Museum owns it now. But how?
After the Deed to the monument was found by the recorder of deeds, early this week, it caused controversy and was sold yesterday to the Civil War Museum it self. So now, the monument can have two hits against it. Even the Civil War Museum has the receipts to prove that they purchased it. So now, the city has to listen to the new owners of the structure. Whatever the city does, it will be unlawful. Peggy Hubbard responded to my request about this issue with this response.
”If the Mayor continues...then Yes, a lawsuit against the city will happen. She is NOW saying they lost the monument by default? How? It was NEVER the city to begin with. The Daughter's Of The Confederation headquarters in Virginia was NEVER notified. Missouri chapter is STILL in existence and active was NEVER notified. The mayor broke the law and ignored the city ordinances”
In short, Lyda will be getting herself into a huge issue over a piece of history that isn’t even hers or the city’s. So there you have it. The Confederate Memorial is not City property, it is private property being loaned to the city. From here, I have no clue where this is going to go, but I can say, it isn’t going to be pretty whatever happens.
*Parts of this story were learned from Fox 2 News. Read their story by clicking below.