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Saturday, February 17, 2007

Post-Dispatch Breaks Details of Kinder Proposal Through Editorial

A Kinder tax break - St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 17, 2007

Read today's editorial in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch if you want your heart broken. Decades of progress on the near north side are threatened by a proposal that does not prohibit the use of eminent domain, even in rehabbed areas like Old North St. Louis.

Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder, posing as some sort of urban hero, and Mayor Francis Slay have not once addressed letters, phone calls or emails from residents or community leaders afraid of the impending attack on the near north side's fabric. Yet they find the time to let the editorial board know they support a policy proposal designed to benefit one developer that has not been reviewed by St. Louis city planning officials, neighborhood organizations or St. Louis legislators.

Here we see that our region's lack of leadership on development issues is staggering. As painful as it is to admit, the only "leader" here is Paul J. McKee, Jr., who assembled the land on his own according to a very well-developed plan. After ignoring citizen complaints and growing media coverage of the debilitating effects of McKee's plan, Slay now quietly jumps on board for this tax credit proposal. Republican Kinder has watched his party attack the poor and urban residents of the state without helping, but now acts as if he is enacting a grand gesture that is in fact a reactionary proposal.

Meanwhile, McKee's companies are still acquiring properties at a fast pace and phony eminent domain letters are circulating in some parts of St. Louis Place, although the source is unknown. The near north side is wounded and suffering, and the leadership needed to heal those wounds is hard to find. Even if such leadership emerged, the Kinder proposal is a blueprint for unending pain and community-busting.

Here is a challenge: Lt. Gov. Kinder and Mayor Slay should come meet with residents of the near north side in a public forum to hear their concerns, fears and hopes. So far, these leaders have not countered the rhetoric of this being a "unpopulated area" nor have they responded to the citizens whose lives they affect. What we on the near north side assume as a result is that we do not matter to them as constituents, and our removal is their end goal. After all, not once has the full text of Kinder's proposal circulated around here where it will have its biggest impact. Not one letter has been answered. Not one statement has come from these men that shows respect for the largely poor, African-American near north side population.

Our assumption may be unfair, but we will never know without communication.


Unknown said...

I can't even bring myself to click on the link and read the story. I fell asleep thinking about this again, with this surreal feeling of watching a great disaster happening in slow motion and being unable to stop it. I woke up at 3 am in a horrible panic, convinced that my dog was dead. I woke poor Wookie up from a sound sleep and cried all over him. Why treat us like this? I just don't understand.

Anonymous said...

Welcome to the City and State that believes that only through more and BIGGER government can we survive and prosper. Of course we need more subsidies, more government programs, yada yada yada, to save us... we are too feeble, too dependent on the wisdom and foresight of our elected leaders to find our own way.

Oh of course the liberal rag known as the Post Disgrace loves to favor this form of BIG BROTHER intervention. When a Republican leader gets the fuse lit underneath him to favor otherwise liberal Democratic strategies, LOOK OUT!

This is another example among many of why the StL region cannot prosper rather than the foolish conclusion reached in the PD editorial. We are witnessing the region's urban strategy at work and it certainly does not favor organic growth. Perhaps it is also against freedom in its most basic forms.

It is our political leadership which should be blighted.

Anonymous said...

Barbara, I advise you to not read that editorial. It will make your head explode. The PD makes McKee and Kinder look like knights in shining armor coming to save the day. P.s.: I predict that, should there be a strong enough cahllenger, Slay will be toast. I just hope it's not McMillan(sp?). Can't abide him, either.

Unknown said...

I am certainly not a developer, nor an accomplished urban planner, but it seems to me that the neighborhood associations need to get a little more organized and vocal.

We encountered similar issues in my historic neighborhood in Florida and found that we had a much louder voice when we organized and became involved with the mayors office on a variety of levels.

Perhaps we should suggest an alternative initiative that would give owner/occupant "developers" the same tax and financing breaks that they are offering larger developers like Mr. McKee?!?!

Just a thought?!?!