Category Archives: St. Louis

The City Journal – March 18, 2014

The City Journal contains the minutes from the past week’s Board of Aldermen meeting as well as notices of hearings, public notices of hearings and permits, RFPs, City job openings, and other official records.  I use it to keep track of what is happening downtown and am glad to have it available online for free.

https://stlouis-mo.gov/internal-apps/city-journal/upload/city-journal/96_52_a.pdf

St. Louis declines bid for 2016 Democratic National Convention

via StlToday

ST. LOUIS • St. Louis hasn’t hosted a Democratic National Convention since Woodrow Wilson was president. And in 2016, it won’t host another.

St. Louis was one of about 30 cities to receive letters within the last week inquiring about interest in hosting the 2016 Democratic National Convention.

Jeff Rainford, chief of staff to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said late Wednesday night that the city would decline the invitation, citing the private fundraising focus for the ongoing $380 million effort to reshape the Gateway Arch grounds.

“I don’t think people realize how large that project is,” Rainford said. “And that is the focus.”

The city was a runner-up to host the 2012 convention, losing out to Charlotte, N.C.

Political parties require a certain level of private fundraising from the selected host city. In 2012, Charlotte signed a contract to raise $36.7 million in private funds. St. Louis would have been required to do something similar.

Rainford said the city expects to have widespread support to host a political convention in 2020, when the Arch project is fully completed. He said he would expect the city would put in a competitive bid at that time.

Brian Wahby, the former chairman of the city’s Democratic Party who led the 2012 effort, was in Washington on Wednesday to attend the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting. His aim was to woo party officials as part of an effort to bring the convention to St. Louis.

Rainford said the decision was part of a week-long conversation, and had to be made before Saturday.

Other cities invited include Austin, Texas; Chicago; Dallas; Kansas City; Minneapolis; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia; Phoenix; Pittsburgh; Seattle; and Tampa, Fla.

Kansas City is aggressively seeking the 2016 Republican National Convention.

St. Louis has a long history of hosting Democratic conventions. It has done it four times — but not since 1916. The Democratic Party’s decision isn’t expected to be made until the early part of 2016.

Many believed the 2012 decision came down to electoral politics. North Carolina was in play for President Barack Obama. Missouri wasn’t.

“It’s very situational from one cycle to the next,” said William A. Galston, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. “Your chances tend to be better if you’re in a swing state.”

Missouri has veered from that label in recent election cycles, reliably voting for Republican presidential candidates.

“Missouri would be a stretch for any Democratic candidate at this point,” Galston said.

Since 2000, however, convention sites haven’t been much of an advantage in tipping the electoral scales. Former President George W. Bush was nominated at Republican conventions in Philadelphia and New York. He lost both states. In 2008, Republicans nominated John McCain in Minnesota, and he lost there. Last cycle, Republicans chose Tampa. Nominee Mitt Romney narrowly lost the state. And Obama lost North Carolina in 2012.

The City Journal – Feb. 11, 2014

The City Journal contains the minutes from the past week’s Board of Aldermen meeting as well as notices of hearings, public notices of hearings and permits, RFPs, City job openings, and other official records.  I use it to keep track of what is happening downtown and am glad to have it available online for free.

https://stlouis-mo.gov/internal-apps/city-journal/upload/city-journal/96_47_a.pdf

St. Louis City Aldermanic Meetings

I’m going to start posting the schedules and agendas (if available) of the Aldermanic meetings – that way you can scan for any items of interest or let me know if you have any questions.  (click on this link for more info) I could then route your questions to the right person or attend the meeting if I am able.  Increasing participation, through the exchange of information and communication that goes back and forth between government and citizens, is an important part of democracy; something that could be improved in St. Louis.  Meeting agendas and minutes are one way to open the door or at least peek through the window.  Please let me know if you think this service is useful – thanks.

Monday, Jan 27, 2014

ERS Board of Trustees

Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees | Meeting | Free

AGENDA

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014

Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) Meeting

St. Louis Development Corporation | Meeting | Free

AGENDA

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014

LRA Commission Meeting

Land Reutilization Authority | Meeting | Free

Housing, Urban Development & Zoning Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Intergovernmental Affairs Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

Ways & Means Committee Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Review the Mid Year City Budget Reports from Paul Payne.

Streets, Traffic & Refuse Committee Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Friday, Jan 31, 2014

Aldermanic Full Board Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic General Meeting | Free

Monday, Jan 27, 2014

ERS Board of Trustees

Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees | Meeting | Free

AGENDA

Tuesday, Jan 28, 2014

Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority (LCRA) Meeting

St. Louis Development Corporation | Meeting | Free

AGENDA

Enhanced Enterprise Zone Board Month Meeting

St. Louis Development Corporation | Meeting | Free

Meeting cancelled. The next regular meeting is scheduled for February 25, 2014.

Planned Industrial Expansion Authority Monthly Board Meeting

St. Louis Development Corporation | Meeting | Free

Meeting cancelled. The next regular meeting is scheduled for February 25, 2014.

Wednesday, Jan 29, 2014

LRA Commission Meeting

Land Reutilization Authority | Meeting | Free

Housing, Urban Development & Zoning Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Intergovernmental Affairs Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Thursday, Jan 30, 2014

Ways & Means Committee Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Review the Mid Year City Budget Reports from Paul Payne.

Streets, Traffic & Refuse Committee Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic Committee Meeting | Free

Friday, Jan 31, 2014

Aldermanic Full Board Meeting

Board of Aldermen | Aldermanic General Meeting | Free

CityDems trivia night fun

I was a volunteer at last night’s City Dems trivia night – I originally was selling the 50-50 raffle tickets, but got drafted to be a judge.  (The judge position was a lot easier – haha)  It was nice to see so many politicos and so much support of the Democratic faction here.  I got mentoring advice from former Senators Maida Coleman and Robin Wright-Jones, talked child-rearing with Treasurer Tishaura Jones, discussed board bills with Alderpeople Jennifer Florida and Craig Schmidt, and asked Comptroller Darlene Green about the Veolia contract.  It was also nice to re-affirm relationships with the many other electeds and activists throughout the City.  Those ties can strengthen my efforts in the 8th ward in advocating for you and our community.  The 8th ward always purchases a table – let me know if you are interested in this event for next year!

Veolia caves to public protest

I know many of you have followed the Veolia issue for over a year – this seems like a success, right?  However, if I am reading this correctly, Veolia can become a subcontractor with MSD, who is now in charge of “analyzing” the City’s water department.  So stay tuned in!

via Stltoday

October 29, 2013 10:00 am  •  By Nicholas J.C. Pistor npistor@post-dispatch.com 314-436-2239

ST. LOUIS • A controversial contract proposal between the city’s water division and an international water consulting company died on Tuesday when the company dropped itself from consideration.

City Hall, led by Mayor Francis Slay, had said a $250,000 consulting contract with Veolia Water North America was necessary to help reduce costs and keep water rates down for city residents. But the process was colored by heated protests of the company’s environmental and business practices, with some residents worried the company would try to seize the city’s water and reduce its quality.

Slay’s staff on Tuesday told the aldermanic Ways and Means committee that the company had dropped itself from consideration for the contract.

“Veolia Water, the firm that was legitimately selected per ordinance, to help improve the Water Division’s level of efficiency, has decided our business is not worth it,” Mary Ellen Ponder, a representative of Slay, told the committee. “It is not worth the damage to their business. Veolia will not go forward with the contract they were legitimately awarded. Frankly, they can’t be blamed.”

At the time, the committee was discussing a bill by Alderman Terry Kennedy to strike the $250,000 from the Water Division’s budget in an effort to block Veolia.

Despite Veolia’s removal from consideration, the committee approved of the bill by a vote of 5-2.

“The fact of the matter is that Veolia has a terrible track record,” Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed said.

The decision was a major victory for a group called the Dump Veolia Coalition, which has protested the contract throughout the year.

“We applaud the Board of Aldermen for working to protect the public and for taking steps toward open government,” the group said in a statement. “Veolia’s interference in our political process in St. Louis is unacceptable.”

Veolia Water North America, based in Chicago, had spent considerable time and money on winning the contract, flying representatives here to appear before committee meetings and hiring local lobbyist and former Missouri Democratic Party Chairman John Temporiti, a former campaign manager to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.

Veolia didn’t respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

Slay is now asking the city to work with the Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District to analyze the aging infrastructure and find ways to reduce costs in a water system designed for St. Louis when it had a significantly higher population and demand for the resource.

MSD said in a statement on Tuesday that it had reached a verbal agreement with the city to conduct an “operational efficiency review” of the city’s water division.

Previously, Slay had directed Comptroller Darlene Green to sign off on the Veolia expenditure, bypassing explicit approval from the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment, setting off a heated dispute over executive authority and the city’s approval process.

Slay had put the issue on hold in February when he failed to find a majority for approval. Slay had brought it before the board in February because the expenditure wasn’t included in that year’s budget.

Expenditures are approved by the city’s three-person Board of Estimate and Apportionment, made up of the mayor, the comptroller and the board of aldermen president.

But Slay brought the issue directly to Green earlier this month and asked for her signature, saying that the $250,000 was a line item in the overall budget approved by the Board of Aldermen, thus not requiring the board’s approval.

Veolia update

I haven’t heard the most recent on this one, but it is VERY disturbing to me.  High quality water is a human right and doesn’t deserve to be used as a political pawn.

via stltoday

ST. LOUIS • The controversial consulting contract between the St. Louis water division and Veoilia is a signature away from approval.  The city, hoping to cut costs in its water division, had for months considered a $250,000 consulting contract with Veolia Water North America, but the process had been stymied by protests of the company’s environmental and business practices.

Now, Mayor Francis Slay, who has pushed for the contract, has directed Comptroller Darlene Green to sign it, bypassing explicit approval from the city’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

“It doesn’t have to be approved by E&A,” Slay said on Wednesday.

Slay had put the issue on hold in February when he failed to find a majority for approval.  Slay had brought it before the board in February because the expenditure wasn’t included in that year’s budget.  Expenditures are approved by the city’s three person Board of Estimate and Apportionment, made up of Slay, Comptroller Darlene Green, and Board of Aldermen President Lewis Reed.

In a letter dated October 4, 2013, City Counselor Patricia Hageman wrote to Green saying: “After reviewing the history of the appropriation and the contractor selection processes, it is my opinion that all of the requisite approvals already have been obtained and that you, as Comptroller, have a ministerial duty to sign the enclosed contract.”

Hageman argues that the board has already approved the water division’s budget, which included a $1.3 million appropriation for generic “professional services.”  She said that Director of Public Utilities Curtis B. Skouby appeared before the aldermanic Ways and Means Committee during the budget process and said part of the appropriation included the $250,000 Veolia expenditure.  The Board of Aldermen approved the budget.

“After receiving that information, the Board of Aldermen did not exercise its authority to eliminate the $250,000 appropriation for the Veolia contract from the water department’s overall appropriation,” Hageman wrote.

Hageman concludes that since the Board of Estimate and Apportionment okayed the budget, which included the expenditure, as did the Board of Aldermen, the contract can be signed without being brought back up for specific approval.

Comptroller Darlene Green made a last minute addition to Wednesday’s Board of Estimate and Apportionment agenda to discuss the issue, gaining approval to remove language of a “phase two” study beyond the contract’s $250,000 authorization.

Lewis Reed abstained, saying it was the first he has heard of the issue.

Green’s lawyer, Elaine Harris Spearman, wrote in a letter dated October 16 that the comptroller “could be required by a court to execute a particular contract.”

She advised that the contract could be signed if the “phase two” language was removed.

The company would be charged analyzing the water division and studying ways to reduce costs to help the city avoid raising rates. Protesters point to a variety of issues with the company, from environmental to its business practices, saying the company has cut water quality testing and has operated lax maintenance in other cities. Some have argued the city is attempting to outsource the entire water division, although officials state that is prevented by the city’s charter and would take a public vote.

Green didn’t say if she will sign the contract, but said it is “in the process of approval.”

Spearman said after Wednesday’s meeting that the contract will be amended, and that she expected that Green would bring it back before the Board of Estimate and Apportionment before she takes action.