Finally, here’s video of a powwow today of national and local political leaders announcing a $20 million TIGER grant to spruce up the Gateway Arch’s surroundings. Among the participants in the press conference were Interior Sec. Ken Salazar and Transportation Sec. Ray LaHood.
Finally, here’s a compilation video I made on Tuesday of various reactions to changes made in wide-ranging economic development legislation. Those changes included taking out a $300 million portion of a plan aimed at luring a “China Hub” to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.
Some lawmakers say other elements of the bill - such a program called Compete Missouri - can accomplish that goal. Others - like House Speaker Steve Tilley, R-Perryville - don’t approve of the idea because it provides too much power to the Department of Economic Development.
After finally finding a parking spot in the airport’s cavernous garage system, I attended a press conference at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport announcing a breakthrough in an economic development package.
The bill includes roughly $360 million of incentives aimed at fostering a “China hub” at Lambert. The so-called “Big Idea” is aimed at getting Chinese carriers to import and export goods from the beleaguered airport.
Gov. Jay Nixon is expected to call legislators back into session to consider the package.
The first video features comments from St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.
Sen. Rob Schaaf, R-St. Joseph, is a medical doctor by trade. But he seems to have something in common with a certain literary doctor.
As Rebecca Berg of the Post-Dispatch reported, Schaaf read a poem on the floor of the Missouri Senate to elaborate on his opposition to “local control” of the St. Louis Police Department. It involved a fictional conversation between St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and Kansas City Mayor-elect Sly James.
The freshman lawmaker’s prose seemed to resemble Theodore Geisel, known to the world as Dr. Seuss. Click on the audio clip to hear it.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay’s father - Francis R. Slay - died Wednesday morning.
Right before announcing $550,000 for bike and pedestrian trails in the St. Louis area, Gov. Jay Nixon said a few words about the elder Slay’s passing:
The former alderman, state legislator and recorder of deeds was 83.
Even though St. Louis City gained at least one Mid-Missouri/Illinois export in the past few years, it wasn’t enough to prevent a population decline.
That’s according to the Associated Press, which reported that the Arch City’s population declined 8 percent in past decade.
What that will mean for congressional redistricting - and especially the political future of someone like U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan, D-St. Louis City - remains to be seen. But at least a couple of STL politicos have responded.
St. Louis City Alderman Antonio French Tweeted that “I think, clearly, what has been going on for the past decade has not worked.” St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay wrote on his blog that the population decline is “absolutely bad news.”
“We had thought, given many of the other positive trends, that fifty years of population losses had finally reversed direction,” Slay wrote. “Instead, by the measure of Census to Census, they continue, though at a slower pace. Combined with the news from St. Louis County, I believe that this will require an urgent and thorough rethinking of how we do almost everything.”
Even though a House bill to establish local control of the St. Louis Police Department passed by a large margin, it may encounter some trouble in the Missouri Senate.
That’s because a Senate committee attached an amendment to Sen. Joe Keaveny’s bill that would reduce the amount of wards and aldermen in St. Louis City.
A Missouri Senate committee has approved legislation that would restore local control to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, but not before adding a provision that could also kill it.
The amendment would reduce the number of city aldermen in St. Louis to 14, and the number of wards from 28 to seven.
The move comes one day after a related bill easily passed the Missouri House.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay - a proponent of local control - opined on the development in a blog post entitled “Progress, Poison Pills, and Trojan Horses.”
“The version of the bill approved by the committee contains a provision of dubious validity that makes returning the department conditional on the size of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen being cut in half,” Slay wrote. “(There will be other poison pills and Trojan Horses: passing a bill is long-and-winding process. What is clear is that the concept of local control of the St. Louis police department enjoys of the support of many representatives and senators.)”
As noted in the STL Public Radio story, opponents of the measure - such as Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-University City - say the bill could lead to reduced benefits for police officers.