We've Moved

Ecology of Absence now resides at www.preservationresearch.com. Please change your links and feeds.

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Another chance to get cheap stuff

From the Rehabbers' Club listserv:

I will be holding a public sale of the contents of the Truman
Restorative nursing home (5700 Arsenal) on Feb 16-19. Everything
in the building or attached to it will be for sale from toilets,
sinks, marble dividers, chairs, desks, faucets, computers, doors,
lights, hospital beds, kitchen equipment. I'll even pay you to take
away some items (lights & doors)!!

Everything in the building must go as it will be demolished in
preparation for building new homes on the site.

Hope you can attend!
Mark Benckendorf

Friday, January 21, 2005

Steve Patterson launches campaign website

Steve Patterson has launched a website for his campaign for 25th Ward alderman in St. Louis.

St. Louis needs him on the Board of Aldermen. Without his victory, expect four more years of status quo: one step forward, two steps back.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Things you miss when you're out of town.

Saint Louis replaced AmShack! That's right: on December 20, 2004, a new temporary AmTrak stration opened alongside the old corrugated-metal sheds that have served as St. Louis's passenger station since 1978. The new temporary station is made of brick and siding and, while not palatial, seems to be a major upgrade.

The boggling question is why was this not done sooner?

According to the city of St. Louis, a new multimodal transit building will open in 2006 at 14th and Spruce to include AmTrak train, MetroLink light rail, Metro bus and Greyhound bus services. That this project will come to fruition is uncertain. We all hope for the best. If the new building does not work out, I humbly suggest converting some of the Union Station parking lot into space for transit services.

I also suggest that Greyhound stay put in its wonderfully ornate building at 13th and Cass, which was the headquarters of the defunct Cass Bank for many years.

But I cannot wait to use the new temporary station. We're inching toward the future, folks!

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Salvaging Our Lady of Sorrows Convent

Our Lady of Sorrows Convent (built 1927) will soon be emptied out so that
demolition can begin.

Momentos, furniture, house wares, interior wood trim, doors, hardwood
floors, bathroom fixtures and more will be sold

General Public Sale
Saturday, January 29, 2005
9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

The OLS Convent is a bit west up the street from Rhodes and Kingshighway.

All proceeds will go to the Our Lady of Sorrows Building With Faith Capital

Joe Daus

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Road kill

This is definitely a 'blog that I will be reading every day:

Urban Road Kill: A Journal of day-to-day life on the mean streets of St. Louis from the perspective of a city worker.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

Save William Stage

From Eric Seelig:

Did you ever like Street Talk, the man-on-the-street section in the Riverfront Times? Did you ever like William Stage's old running column in the days when the RFT had editorials? Now might be a good time to write to the RFT. As you may have read in last week's issue, William gave a goodbye message at the end of the "Best of Street Talk 2004," but as I found out last night, this is not his choice, and if possible, he'd like to keep his job with the RFT. The only real reason given for replacing the column is because the higher-ups wanted a new column, and saw getting rid of one that's been running for 22 years as the only way to accomplish it. I don't know about you, but I always liked Street Talk, and I don't see any point to eliminating it except possibly "eliminate personality from the newspaper." If you'd like to see Street Talk continued in the RFT, or would at least like to see William keeps his job instead of being dropped just because the RFT could, NOTIFY THEM, and tell other people who might be unhappy about this to do likewise:


Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Saint Louis, 2005 = Moscow, 1945?

Saint Louis may be gearing up for the worst election in its history. It seems that only one party will be on the ballot in the April general election, unless there's a surprise filing by a Republican, Green or independent before this Friday's filing deadline. Up for election this time around are the offices of Mayor, Comptroller and Alderpersons in the the odd-numbered wards.

I can't remember a time when the Republicans didn't have a symbolic mayoral candidate. They have had two bright candidates in the last two elections, Michael Chance in 2001 and Jay Dearing in 1997. I wonder what happened this year? They should be gaining ground as newcomers to the city with affluence and independent minds flow in.

Alas, these newcomers seem to shun involvement in municipal politics. Perhaps they are used to the suburban tendency to not know much about the workings of your burg. Perhaps they are living in private space, and are accustomed to casting their votes with their consumer choices, not at the ballot box. The public sphere is waning as it is, and as long as the roads get paved and the police respond in a few minutes, most people don't notice who is in office.

That's a big shame, because the Slay machine is more vulnerable than people think. Look at the failure of the charter reform jihad. In 2003, Bud Deraps ran as a green for the 24th Ward aldermanic seat against incumbent Tom Bauer and received 29.4% of the vote without yard signs, billboards or any serious coverage from the Post-Dispatch. Not to mention the fact that Ward 24 is still very conservative, as its choice of Bauer shows. Bud had a few hundred dollars and eager volunteers. With a little more effort, he may have won.

In 2005, people could challenge many of the alderpeople on bad development plans they have pushed: Joe Roddy (17th), who won't rest until every poor person is pushed out of his ward, and Matt Villa (11th), champion of the anti-urban strip mall at Loughborough, come to mind. Phyllis Young (7th) helped destroy the Century Building -- shouldn't preservationists be lining up to challenge her, if not to win then at least to make her show more respect to their political power?

And there ought to be a multi-faceted challenge to Francis Slay that included the primary and general elections. I'm not sure that Bill Haas, who has filed in the Democratic primary for mayor, has much of a base or a strategy. Irene Smith, another Democratic challenger, should raise some good points and is African-American like most of St. Louis is. She could make a dent in Slay, but I'd be surprisd if she wins the primary.

What is needed is a challenger in the general election who doesn't have to work through the Democratic Party -- which is firmly behind Slay's re-election.

The left in St. Louis is too fragmented to find an opposition candidate. For one thing, the black left -- which will support Smith -- has no real ties to the white left, despite some claims by patriarchal white leaders that they are forging alliances with black St. Louis. And the Bosnian and Latino voters, who have legitimate issues to raise against the Slayers, don't fit in with either dominant group in polarized St. Louis. The Bosnians could be a huge political force in "white" parts of south city, but so far they have not broken into the system.

If St. Louis is to restore its vibrance and continue to attract smart young people, it needs a better political structure than this one. Young people are liberal, but they aren't going to be interested in machine-style mono-party politics. They may show reluctance to get involved at first, but sooner or later they'll realize the importance of the municipal election. They will want competition and choices -- exactly what won't happen in 2005.

Ah, well. Scan the Election Filings -- if you wish.

At lest the non-partisan school board race gives some hope. More about that later.