Transparency

Transparency and Accountability: Listening Twice and Speaking Once

When you walk out the door each day, local policy affects you the most. Aldermen are responsible for everything from ensuring the street light in front of your house is working, to far reaching policy decisions that impact your pocketbook.

As your Alderman, I will look to you and your needs to guide my decision making at city hall.

  • Seek public input for development projects in the ward.
  • Hold regular town hall meetings.
  • I will be available and responsive to your needs on a full time-basis.

Again, you can reach out to me, now, through this contact form, where you can also request a sign or volunteer. You can donate, if you’re able, through this link.

Public Transportation

Public Transportation: The Way Forward

For 8 years, my primary means of transportation was a bicycle. In that time I became familiar with the strengths and shortfalls of the ease of use of our bicycle lanes, pathways, their connection to light rail and buses, and the limitations of our transit system as a whole.

Simply put, our city must invest in our public transit infrastructure. Too many of our residents do not have convenient access to jobs in our region. While it may take a city dweller 30 minutes to drive to a job out in the county, our residents that rely on public transit are often faced with several hours of commute time. Without quality, easily accessed transportation, we leave our neediest at a competitive disadvantage.

city - commute in minutes - JickDN0
Also: over the course of 3 years (and logging over 12,700 miles)  I rode a bicycle down every block of every Street in St Louis, all 1,800 miles.  So….

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No joke. I rode my bike down every one of these streets. And, I was in better shape.
Education

Education: Leading The Way For A Better City

While the Board of Aldermen does not have direct control of St. Louis Public Schools, we can still be an advocate for quality education.

Our public schools can lead the way in lifting families up from poverty, reduce the risk for youth to engage in harmful, and illegal behavior, and ensure that resident’s don’t have to make the choice of leaving the community they love to seek out other educational options in our region.

city county school proficiency index - z2VDAYg

As alderman, I will advocate for:

  • Expansion of the Pre-Kindergarten option in public schools
  • Public funding for the first two years of community college for any student in public schools who maintains a C average through their junior and senior years
  • Research and implementation of the best charter school models
  • Closure of low-performing charter schools

 

Our ward has excellent options for families seeking a solid education for their children, as well as places where we can do better. As your Alderman, I’ll work with leaders in ward schools to make sure we stay on the right track, while advocating for citywide improvements that benefit everyone’s quality of life.

Racial Equity

Racial Equity and Inclusion: More Than Buzzwords

Our region is notoriously divided — by zip code, by neighborhood, by race, and socioeconomic status. I recognize people in power must answer to the overwhelming calls for change in our community. As Alderman, I will work with my fellow board members and the mayor’s office to implement recommendations of the Ferguson Report, and chief among those is evaluating policy-making decisions through a racial equity lens.

You’ve heard this from lots of leaders, and – likely – are wondering what I can bring to the table. The answer? The needed sensitivity to address the issue head on, and the working relationships on both sides of Delmar to make it happen.

I first began my deep dive into our city’s and region’s racial disparities, while producing The Pruitt-Igoe Myth. I interviewed many former residents, including Sylvester Brown Jr., former Metro columnist for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and founder of The Sweet Potato Project. And, other notable figures in Pruitt-Igoe’s history, such as Dr. Joyce Ladner, who did her Doctoral work at Pruitt-Igoe while at Washington University, and went on to serve as an activist, academic and civil servant in Washington, D.C. The film gained global critical attention, but my favorite award was from FOCUS St. Louis, in 2012.

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Awarded one year after wide release of the film.

And, I remain involved in the For The Sake Of All project – which specifically addresses improving the health and well being of African-Americans in St. Louis, and includes many of the communities still feeling the impact of a region post Pruitt-Igoe.

As 8th Ward Committeeman, I’m one of 56 members of a central committee that represents all wards in the city. I’ve made it a point to build relationships on both sides of Delmar, so I can best understand how to address the larger issues that have an impact on our ward. I’ve been committed to building a better St. Louis, long before doing so gained national attention. Inclusion benefits everyone, and, as your Alderman, I won’t take my eye off that ball.

Economic Development

Jobs and Economic Development: Solving The Root Problem

As I’ve said, my father was born to a St Louis with 850,000 people; by the time I was born we were down to 450,000.  My son was born last year to a town of 317,000 people.

If we are to provide the tens of thousands of St Louis children like my son a bright future where they can remain in our City and have the livable-wage jobs they need to prosper, we must reverse this trend of economic decline.

We’ve seen good examples in the 8th Ward of how to reverse this trend. The South Grand Business District is a model of business owners working together to create a destination within the city – and spurring further development north of the district. Thurman and Shaw, once one of the Shaw neighborhood’s most challenged intersections, is now one of its most desirable, from a small-business standpoint. And, other key corners are opening gathering places of all sorts – many of which are owned and operated by city and/or neighborhood residents. These businesses not only stimulate economic activity in the ward, but also bring in needed tax dollars and provide jobs for people in the community.

As a city, we can – and should – do better. As Alderman, I’ll work with my colleagues at the board, along with allies at the state level, to:

  • Strengthen workforce development opportunities through SLATE – the city’s agency for training and employment, funded largely through state dollars.
  • Bring needed reforms to tax incentives – ensuring small businesses have a good shot at opening doors in our city, while making sure no project gets rubber stamped.

As Alderman, I’m committed to working with potential entrepreneurs, who want to do business in the 8th Ward, with navigating the process of setting up shop – and ensuring ward residents have both the platform and power to address their concerns.