Thursday, January 26, 2017

Candidate Questionnaire Responses - March 7th Primary

The 15th Ward Democrats sent a questionnaire to each Democrat running in the March 7th primary election for St. Louis Mayor, St. Louis Comptroller and 15th Ward Alderman.  We present here the responses received from the candidates.  We hope that this information will assist you as you make your decision in the March 7th Primary.

The 15th Ward Dems will vote on endorsements in each of these races at an endorsement meeting of all eligible voting members.

For Mayor, City of St. Louis:
   Antonio French - Response
   Lewis Reed - Response
   Jeffrey Boyd - Response
   Tishaura O. Jones - Response
   Lyda Krewson - Response
   William [Bill] Haas - Response
   Jimmie Matthews -

For Comptroller, City of St. Louis:
   Darlene Green - Response
   Alexandra Johnson - Response

For Alderman, 15th Ward:
   Jennifer Florida - Response
   Megan Ellyia Green - Response





Response from Jennifer Florida, Candidate for 15th Ward Alderman

1. What do you view as the key role(s) and/or attributes needed for this position?

Key roles of an alderman are legislator (policy maker), advocate, representative and chief problem solver, allocator of resources, fair and equitable employer. An alderman's primary responsibility is the overall welfare of the residents they serve and then to the residents of City. An Alderman has a responsibility to improve safety, housing, foster thriving business districts, education, advocate for residents, allocate capital for infrastructure and work with the Board of Aldermen to improve the quality of life for all residents. An effective alderman is knowledgeable of the legislative process, has keen understanding of City services and how our government works and understands our budget process. Working well with others is hugely important! Working closely with neighborhood leaders, business districts, block captains in the Ward and the Aldermen, Mayor, President of BOA and the Directors and Commissioners of the Depts at City Hall is critical to success.


2. What education (schools attended, degrees attained), experience, and attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?


Bachelor of Science, Illinois State University, Criminal Justice Sciences 1983

Gamaliel Leadership Training, Advanced Training, Community Organizing Internship with Churches United for Community Action, now MCU for St. Louis, 1998, 1999.

15th Ward Alderman 2001-2014.


3. Why do you think you are the best choice for 15th Ward Alderman? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

Experience, proven track record, knowledge of government, services, tools and vast wealth of relationships differentiate me from my opponent. I served as the alderman for fourteen years, elected to four terms. I understand how important it is to work together. I worked closely with all neighborhood organizations, neighborhood leaders and the business districts and the surrounding communities as well as closely with the Board of Aldermen, City Departments and especially the St. Louis Police Department. Alderman Conway and I were forced to lead our not-for-profits - Grand Oak Hill, Shaw and Southwest Garden - to consolidate into Tower Grove Neighborhood Community Development Corp. The funding mechanism changed which required capacity and a broader service area. This huge change that we gave birth to facilitated the Tower Grove South Neighborhood Association, completed two new construction homes in vacant lots (last two housing projects I supported), acquired a drug house at Bamberger and Gravois, now affordable housing and a SLMPD Police Substation and conducted Visioning for all three neighborhoods around Tower Grove Park! It is amazing what we can do when we work together! I see the results of our 14 years of accomplishments every day!



4. Please describe your previous involvement in the ward / neighborhood.

I have lived in the neighborhood for 24 years. I became a block captain and worked to strengthen our neighborhood by attending neighborhood meetings and working with other block captains at that time in Tower Grove Heights, Grand Oak Hill, Park side Neighborhood and Fanning. I became a leader in C-4, Churches Committed to Community Concerns, now MCU for St. Louis, spearheading the Re-Development of Gravois Plaza, saving South Side National Bank from demolition, and was leader in the South Town Coalition.

I am a founding member of the 15th Ward Democrats. I served as 15th Ward Alderman from 2001-2014.


5. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

Most pressing issues are: Increased Violent Crime. I plan to work with our neighborhood leaders and the Block Captains and Business Districts to initiate and implement community based safety initiatives, support putting more police on the street and tools such as the real time crime lab and mobile cameras in hot spots.

Reverse the trend of disinvestment as identified in the 2013/14 Market Value Analysis Study with a focus on Grand and Gravois, Gravois and Bamberger Wedge and MorganFord in the way of housing and economic development. Work with the Tower Grove Neighborhood Community Development Corp, Business Districts to address vacants, develop affordable housing or promote development opportunities and strengthen the business districts. Tower Grove CDC secured a grand to do "Visioning." Let's move from visioning to a Community Based Strategic Plan.

Promote and support our educational institutions. Working together we saved Mann School from closing. It is accredited. I would like to see our educational institutions become center to community.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

Support budgeting more police, more pay for police, and more training.

Support budgeting additional money for recreational and educational programs for youth.

Support budgeting money for Anti violence, conflict-resolution initiatives

Support alternatives to prosecution and incarceration for youthful, non violent offenders. Expand the use of Drug Courts.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

I would work as I did before, with the African American Caucus at the Board of Aldermen, President of the BOA and Mayor to eliminate racial disparities in opportunities, education, resources, housing, life expectancy.


8. How would you approach representing a ward as diverse as the 15th Ward?

I represented our diverse ward from 2001-2014. I met people where they were. I was responsive and worked as an advocate. I supported the International Institute. We translated City information into whatever language required. I celebrated Pride, the Vietnamese New Year, Festival of Nations. I attended block parties, organized block units and attended town hall meetings. I hosted town hall meetings. I attended church meetings, safety meetings and neighborhood meetings, wedge meetings, community garden meetings, Save Mann School meetings, School Board meetings. I participated in the life of our neighborhood. I will be wherever needed.


9. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I will work with the neighborhood organizations, block captains and business districts, St. Louis Police Department to initiate community based safety initiatives.

I will work with the Board of Aldermen, President of the BOA and Mayor to increase funding for more police, more recreational and educational youth programs.

As I have in the past, I will work with the Tower Grove Neighborhood Community Development Corp to develop affordable housing, promote development opportunities. Engage our community and move from visioning to a Community Based Strategic Plan.

As I have in the past, I will work with the business districts, St. Louis Development Corp, Economic Development Partnership and SLATE to strengthen our business districts by attracting business and growing jobs.


10. What role should the Alderman have in working with the neighborhood business districts? What role should the Alderman have in working with resident organizations? How do/would you balance the needs of the residential and business districts of the ward so both are strong and vibrant?

I have worked closely with the business districts as an advisor and resource. I worked closely with our 15th Ward Commercial Business District Manager. The neighborhood and business districts have a symbiotic relationship. My primary role is that of representative and advocate to the people I serve. There is a balance. Together we thrive. South Grand Great Streets is an excellent example of a community based project. More than 900 residents participated in the public engagement, and as a results we have increased safety, growth, greening and placemaking. Grand and Gravois, MorganFord deserve the same attention.


11. How do/will you use the Alderman position to affect delivery of city services for the Ward?

Constituent advocacy and service is a priority. I will be your advocate. I am very familiar with all of the City Departments and will work to make sure that you get the services you deserve.


12. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

The census will be done in 2020. Redistricting will occur in 2021. The bill provides a transition and staggers the terms of even odd. A map of 14 wards will be drawn in 2021. In the last redistricting we tried to redistrict keeping neighborhoods intact. Each ward has to be roughly the same population and African-American Minority Opportunity Wards factors in as well.


13. If you could ask your opponent one question, what would it be?


Why did you not think that the Aldi's expansion was important?










Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Response from Antonio French, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

The next Mayor of St. Louis must be held accountable for the quality of life improving in every neighborhood. I’ve spent my career cutting through the clutter and getting things done, whether that has been at the Board of Alderman or as the founder of North Campus, the year-round free educational and enrichment program for kids.

St. Louis families, in every neighborhood, deserve a mayor who is more than a bunch of talking points and buzzwords. I’ve never been shy to take on the establishment and to stand up for what’s right as opposed to doing what is easy. For example, I’ve said on day one that I’ll fire the Police Chief and if the violence isn’t reduced during my term in office I won’t run again. That’s standing up and being accountable, something St. Louis has been lacking at City Hall for a long time.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?


I’ve been to many of these joint forums and debates over the course of the last several weeks and it is shocking at how out of touch some of my opponents seem to be in regards to the issues facing St. Louis. I’ve been to the crime scenes, consoled the families; I’ve spoken to the business owner in south city who wants to hire more employees and has so much red tape to cut through that she’s ready to throw her hands up in the air. I’ve visited with the veteran who finds it ridiculous that a ban on guns is going to solve our problem of gun violence. In short, I am about finding real solutions to our problems while my opponents are out of touch and using the talking points from their latest poll.

For example, I keep hearing a few of them talk about how they are going to view the issues of St. Louis through a racial equity lens. Do they plan on pulling it out of their pocket and looking through it before making a decision? No one who has ever visited for more than 5 minutes a family living in Dutchtown or Walnut Park or Bevo Mill wants to hear about how they’ll use a racial equity lens, they expect you to have that built in your DNA and not have to think twice about using it.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

      1. Reducing Violence – On day one I’ll fire the current Police Chief and then for the first time in our city’s history I will open up the search nationally to find the best person for the job. You can read more about my plan at comprehensiveplan.org.

      2. Jobs – St. Louis needs jobs, good paying jobs. We are not going to fix the economic issues with our city by focusing on one or two giant stadium projects; we are going to do it with encouraging businesses to come to our city and putting this amazing city back to work. Under employment is too high as we have men and women working two and three jobs just to make ends meet. We will focus on bringing jobs to both sides of Delmar Avenue, and not just focus on the central corridor.

      3. Improving the quality of life throughout every neighborhood – Our city can do better with making it easier and better to live here by improving things like snow removal and trash pick-up. We can improve the technology the city utilizes and make public transportation easier with real time bus schedules and improved city services. It’s time we bring St. Louis into the digital age.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

There’s a saying, you catch more flies with honey than you do vinegar. I’ve never been one to say it’s my way or the highway, I have always been one to work with people to achieve our goals. However, I’ve also been the one who has stood up to the “this is how we’ve always done it’ crowd and taken on the establishment when needed. 

I believe in the people of St. Louis; we’ve always come together when needed and I will rely on that spirit of inclusion when I go to work every day at City Hall.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

Well, this is an easy one as I am relying on grassroots contributions. Trust me, it’s not that I wouldn’t love to have the hundreds of thousands of dollars the establishment candidates have, but the $20 contribution from a family who wants to see positive change in St. Louis means the world to me.

I won’t take contributions from Paul McKee or anyone associated with him; I won’t take money from Rex Sinquefeld or anyone associated with him nor will I take campaign contributions from anyone who expects a quid-pro-quo relationship. Never have, never will and no one will ever question my ethics as to who is paying for things or who I am focused on helping.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

On day one I will instruct the Public Safety Commissioner to fire Sam Dotson and I will use the full weight and bully pulpit of the Mayor’s office to see that is done. His policies have not worked, and anyone who believes we are on the path to a safe and viable city with him at the helm has their head stuck in the sand. The very next thing I will do is open up the search for the next Chief nationwide, something that has never been done in St. Louis. It’s time we have a new perspective and approach to policing and it will be about finding the best person for the job, not just the next person for the job.

In ten years, it’s my hope that with a new Police Chief and a focus on community policing instead of the feeling of an occupying force who has a horrible relationship with the neighborhoods they serve we will look back and see the fork in the road we came to during the mayoral campaign of 2017 and be so thankful that the people of St. Louis chose positive change as opposed to more of the same.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

I hear this and think to myself, “does someone really need to tell you that in order to develop policy?” I literally am the lens that other people use, it’s sad but true.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?

Homelessness is a problem that we need to address but more from a point of compassion as opposed to the business development/economic hindrance the current establishment uses in developing the policy. Proverbs 22:0 says that whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.

I believe we as a city can do better with the issue of homelessness. We don’t need to station a police car at a shelter and intimidate volunteers from coming down to help; we don’t need to look down on people who find themselves at a shelter. Trust me, no one grows up with dreams of living in a homeless shelter.

We can do better and as Mayor, I’ll make sure we address this problem because for too long the establishment has been looking to “fix” it, and that’s part of the problem because you can’t fix homelessness but you can address it and make sure people are receiving the assistance they need from job placement to mental and physical health care.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?

Yes, I would support the alliance and my administration would step up the work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and deal with the consequences of climate impacts.

In 2015 the Post Dispatch published an article stating St. Louis was doing little to prepare for climate change. This is the establishment mentality, if we ignore the problem it doesn’t really exist. I will direct my administration to focus on solutions we know that work such as planting more trees to prepare for heat waves and cut the urban heat island effect and identifying the roads, bridges and other infrastructure that could be vulnerable to new weather patterns.


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?

St. Louis is the city of 1,000 plans. I’d stop studying the North-South line and I’d implement it but it would be a true expansion of Metrolink. I’d also make sure the expansion fits with my vision of upgrading the city’s technology as we are all connected via an ever expanding online presence, it’s time the city catch up with the times.


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

The state of Iowa has an independent commission for redrawing its electoral boundaries after each census, I believe that system would work in St. Louis for reducing the Board of Alderman to 14 members. The commission would draw the boundaries and then present it to the Board for an up or down vote, no amendments. If rejected, the commission would draw a second map and present it for an up or down vote. If that map is rejected, the commission would draw a third map and that map would be final.


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?

TIF and other incentive laws were designed to assist blighted and low income areas. They are very often manipulated to increase the profits of projects in the richest parts of our city. It’s time we used these tools in the areas they were designed to be used. Blighted neighborhoods where vacant schools, warehouses, and other buildings make it impossible to attract the kind of businesses and jobs communities need to grow.


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

Question for all of the candidates: What does Delmar Blvd mean to you?








Response from Lewis Reed, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

St. Louis’ next Mayor must make public safety, smart economic development that creates good-paying jobs and government accountability the priorities.

First as 6​th​ Ward Alderman, and now as President of the Board I have worked to ensure every St. Louisian – regardless of how they look, where they worship, or even their political view – have my open ear. As Mayor, I will continue that tradition to make this city safe and unified.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

Actions speak louder than words – and at City Hall I’ve consistently taken steps forward for our city – and I have a broad vision for our future.

I’ve invested in the future of our youth by increasing funding for STL Youth Jobs and established a Youth Crime Prevention Fund to help build our young people into citizens who can pave their own way and support a family.

And to ensure those young people have a strong city to work and live and start a business and raise a family, I’ve worked to increase regional cooperation and approved the One STL Regional Plan, which establishes sustainability goals and objectives or the region as a whole.

It’s also important that we have a government we can trust. That’s why I sponsored legislation to expand the requirements of financial disclosures by City department heads and elected officials and also co-sponsored legislation required the recording of city government meetings to increase government transparency.

No other candidate for St. Louis Mayor has a stronger record of working every day for nearly two decades as a public servant for the people of the City of St. Louis.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

Reducing crime is our top priority.

First we must tackle the problems at hand, that means providing officers with the technology and equipment they need as well as moving back to smaller police districts to ensure safety and quick response, and pay them a salary they deserve. If theses changes don’t increase response times, we would then need to look at adding more police.

Next we must continue to work through existing community groups to seek out and focus our resources on problem areas.

Then we must put programs in place to snuff crime from an economic perspective – teaching our youth skill sets that provide them what they need to become productive and successful St. Louis citizens.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.


Throughout my tenure as a public servant, I have taken an approach to not only welcome, but to seek out collaborators and most importantly, “doers”. Too often there is a lot of talk about how to address an issue, but not enough willing to take action.

In the area of reducing crime, I will specifically seek out those officers who live the day to day lives of protecting our streets. Also, working with neighborhoods to get first-hand their obstacles so we can overcome them together. Finally, we will look to see what other cities have done to reduce crime, and bring those best practices back to St. Louis. I believe it will be important to also regularly refer to the Ferguson Report, where much of this work has already been done.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?


Three largest contributors:
  • International Association of Fire Fighters, Local 73 
  • Kiel Center Partners, LP 
  • David Steward, Missouri native who is now the owner of one of the largest African-American owned businesses in the world. 
I’m honored to receive financial contributions to my campaign from anyone who shares my vision to unite St. Louis and move our city forward. My loyalty or support cannot be bought. But there are those who I would not accept a contribution from because they are actively working on policies that I am firmly against.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?


I will move to get the police department back to smaller districts. I will order a city wide review of all youth programming that we fund to determine which things are working and which things are not. I will go to each and every neighborhood and let them know that they have a mayor who cares deeply about their safety. I plan to dramatically reduce crime my first term in office.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?


Here in St. Louis, we don’t all look alike, we don’t all worship at the same church, we don’t all have the same experiences, we don’t all hold the same political views - but we do all have a dedication to making our city a better place to live, work, start a business, and raise a family – and we do all deserve equal representation and safety under the law. What helps a concept like this, more than anything, is having someone at the top who truly cares about making things fair.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?

I’ve worked with numerous organizations in the area, including the Continuum of Care committee and Rev. Rice on the issues we are having in the City of St. Louis. I believe the only way we can address the homelessness issue is by finding the root causes of the homeless in our area. As Mayor, I will launch a study to collect data on the exact problems of the homeless - drug abuse, lost jobs, mental health issues, etc. Then, I will use this data to target these issues with various programs and services. I will also add more short-term and long-term housing to the City.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?
I would take a look at each initiative or partnership opportunity individually and if we can do something here in St. Louis, like changing street lights or going to high efficiency equipment in city buildings, with no net loss of operating funds for the city,we should do it. But as we know all public private partnerships are not good ideas, because we cannot give up control to an outside corporation when it comes to some things, like the Veolia Water contract which I vehemently opposed


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?


I serve on the East-West Gateway Board. For years, I have been fighting for a Metrolink expansion. It will not only benefit the City, but it will also benefit the entire region. We need to be able to better serve residents with more transportation options so that they can have a better chance at jobs, access to more city resources and facilities.


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?


In the previous redistricting, I set up a process to make Aldermen whose wards border each other work together to change boundaries. At the end of the process, for the first time in history, we had a redistricting map with that all aldermen agreed to. In the upcoming reduction, I would suggest something similar to that process, while making sure that the outcome was a legal and fair representation


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?


When I was aldermen of the 6th ward, I created the first Neighborhood TIF. This allowed the members of the community to decide what projects would be funded by tif proceeds. As mayor, I would instruct SLDC to take a more collaborative approach. We need to do development with the community, not to the community.


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.) 

Lyda Krewson, 
Have you ever publicly disagreed with the current mayor on any major policy decisions?










Response from Jeffrey Boyd, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?





2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?


I offer St. Louis a unique set up experiences that equip me for the Mayor’s Office. . As a retired military soldier, business owner, Alderman, former non-profit executive, husband, and father I understand from each of these perspectives the challenges that our city faces. I am committed to integrity, transparency, and setting a strong long term plan for the city that ensures everyone will RISE.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)


There are three critical issues that are my top priority. Public Safety, Economic Development, and Housing Development.

Public Safety

St. Louis City needs more than 100 new officers to alleviate our current public safety challenges.

In order to ensure we have short response times, community engagement, and continuous improvement we must ensure that the department is fully staffed and well trained. In addition, we must secure sustainable resources for recruitment, professional development, and community building that will improve overall efficiency and drive all costs down.

As an advocate for community policing I would work with neighborhood leaders, the faith community, and the Police to find solutions to the deep rifts that prevent our success as a city. Recognizing that we are on the same team with the same goal of making St. Louis a great place to live for everyone is a key starting point. Should the position of Chief become vacant during my term I would support and advocate for a National Search that would provide a progressive perspective on how we can move St. Louis forward in this area.

I understand first hand the impact of gun violence. Common sense legislation that helps gets guns off the streets, improved measures to promote gun safety, and collaborative efforts to execute community policing, training, and unity are what St. Louis needs to RISE above these challenges.

Economic Development

As mayor I will do everything possible to help St. Louis RISE. I want to put St. Louis on a path to sustainable growth by supporting development that attracts visitors and corporate regional offices to our city. I will aim to balance the appeal of growth and development with requirements that we fund and sustain revenues allocated to improve public services, increase wages, and execute departmental expansion plans that align with the trajectory of the city. I am confident that with regular departmental auditing we can find savings within the budget that will positively impact the public services we offer as a city. Funds would be re-allocated to provide trash pick up across the city, fix roads, and support the increase pay of city employees.

There are three fundamental tests that will guide my economic development determinations.
  • Does the project create good paying jobs for local citizens? 
  • Does the project provide return on the investment and optimize any shared revenue\ opportunities to re-invest to the city? 
  • Does the project align with the overall strategic plan for St. Louis? If these tests are not satisfied it would be difficult for the project to have my support as Mayor. 
Housing Development
For the past 24 years I have personally developed affordable housing in St. Louis so this issue is very important to me. I think that affordable housing is just one part of a greater solution to our city’s overall challenges. I would support legislation that required developments to include a percentage of affordable or workforce housing in each project.I believe that a citywide comprehensive redevelopment approach focuses on a section of the community at a time instead of sprinkling the development in small numbers. These key areas of focus would aid in developing a multi-year comprehensive plan city-wide to address housing long-term.
  • Affordable Housing 
  • Home-Buyer’s Assistance 
  • Homelessness 
  • Mixed Income Developments 
  • The Impact of Gentrification 
  • Wages 
  • Workforce Housing 

4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

My leadership style is collaborative. I believe that everyone should have a seat at the table and have a chance to voice their ideas, strategies, and concerns. It is also important that leadership be accompanied with accountability. I expect people to hold me accountable to the commitments I make and expect no less from my peers. I have had success as an Alderman with gaining 100% support from my counterparts on a bill that offers preferential hiring points to Veterans. I have also had success with anti-crushing bills and


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

Top Three Contributors:
Crown Mart Construction, Semple Ave Corporation and Union Seventy Partnership

I will not accept money from a drug dealer.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

On day one, I would sit down with the leadership of the police department and provide direction on addressing the most challenging neighborhoods in our City.

St. Louis City needs more than 100 new officers to alleviate our current public safety challenges. In order to ensure we have short response times, community engagement, and continuous improvement we must ensure that the department is fully staffed and well trained. In addition, we must secure sustainable resources for recruitment, professional development, and community building that will improve overall efficiency and drive all costs down. As an advocate for community policing I would work with neighborhood leaders, the faith community, and the Police to find solutions to the deep rifts that prevent our success as a city. Recognizing that we are on the same team with the same goal of making St. Louis a great place to live for everyone is a key starting point. Should the position of Chief become vacant during my term I would support and advocate for a National Search that would provide a progressive perspective on how we can move St. Louis forward in this area.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

As Mayor my focus is on ensuring that the outcomes of policy provide an equitable result regardless of the race, age, gender, or socioeconomic status of the individual(s) involved.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?


I intend to support the nonprofit and faith based community in their efforts to eliminate homelessness. I am committed to supporting and expanding City resources in an effort to reduce homelessness. I will also build a strong relationship with St. Louis County to share resources and services to reduce homelessness.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?

My administration will participate in the Alliance for Sustainable Future. I will only support developments with a strong green energy plan for development.


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?

Mass transit must be included in every conversation regarding sizeable development


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

I do not support the reduction of the board of Alderman. I think this initiative effectively reduces minority representation and make it difficult for minorities to run for office. Communities will lose their neighborhood Alderman and Wards will become too large for Alderman to have a good connection with all of their constituents.


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?


I will use a scoring system developed by the St. Louis Development Corporation that use Market Valuation Analysis Data to justify the need.


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

My question to all candidate is: What have you done to enhance the quality of life of low-income residents in St. Louis that physically impacts the growth of neighbors.










Response from Tishaura Jones, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

The key roles of the mayor are to listen and to lead. The mayor needs to put people, not projects, first. As mayor, everything will be on the table. I will examine every policy through a racial equity lens, partner with the schools to improve public education, and reform our criminal justice and public safety system. My experience in various levels of government - the committee level, the State level, and the city level - also sets me apart. I’ve proven my ability to work with people of different belief systems in order to achieve the best results.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

I believe the city needs to change. I am the only person on the ballot who has experience reforming a city department. My staff and I took an office that did a lot of things poorly, and turned it around to do a lot of things well. We got rid of ghost employees, updated the parking system, brought city employees to direct deposit, and started the Office of Financial Empowerment and the College Kids Savings Program. I have relationships on the state and national level on both sides of the aisle, due to my time in the State House and participation in the New DEAL Fellowship and other programs. I spoke out against any tax money for the NFL stadium and have been vocal of my support of NARAL (by whom I was recently endorsed) and raising the minimum wage.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

There are two ways to read this question. First, what are the most pressing issues that the mayor needs to address on behalf of residents. Those issues are racial equity, education, and criminal justice reform and public safety. Regarding racial equity, I will look at every program and policy through a racial equity lens. I will expand economic opportunities to minorities, women, and immigrants. The city must ensure St. Louis is a welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, class, disability, or sexual orientation. Regarding education, while the mayor doesn’t have a direct role in the schools, I will work to be a better partner by having an open door policy with my office and the schools and by expanding programs like the College Kids Savings Program and STL Youth Jobs. Regarding criminal justice reform and public safety, please see question six. The question could also mean what are the most pressing issues that the mayor needs to address regarding the actual office of the mayor. Then, I would say that I would work to bring the office, and the rest of city government, into the 21st century. Like I did with the Treasurer’s office services, I would work to make sure city transactions can be done online, that processes are streamlined to make sure government works for, instead of against, residents, small businesses, and startups. I will also make sure that my office focuses on doing the small stuff - like trash pick up and road maintenance - right so that people are put before projects.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

My time at the State Legislature taught me to work with people of all different belief systems. Relationships and finding common ground are key. In the Treasurer’s office, I focus on public/private partnerships, and I will do the same in the mayor’s office. Through partnering with banks and financial services, the Office of Financial Empowerment is able to offer classes free of charge to the public and also facilitate the College Kids Savings Program. I also worked with the Streets Department to make it easier for people to host events in the city - so they wouldn’t have to go back and forth between the Treasurer’s Office and the Streets Department to make that process easier to navigate.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?


My largest campaign contributor is my former campaign committee for Treasurer. Besides that, my three largest donors are Dr. Suggs ($25k), Dr. Bill Jones ($25k), and Mr. Darryl Jones and TriTec ($25k). There are donors I wouldn’t accept money from. When I was in the State House, for example, I received an unsolicited check from Rex Sinquefield. I sent it back.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

On day one, I will start the process to hire a public safety director ​with a proven track record of reducing urban crime​, someone who can work across all departments to make sure public safety is the number one priority. The city needs to be smart on crime, not just "tough” on crime, by addressing the root causes of crime. I want to decriminalize mental health illnesses and substance abuse. From 1/4 to 1/3 of inmates in the Workhouse are suffering from one of these conditions - if the Workhouse was closed, the city could spend the $16 million it spends per year to keep it open on making sure the people there are getting the treatment they need. The city also spends $254 million a year repeatedly arresting, trying, and re-arresting the same people. St. Louis suffers from neighborhood disinvestment, poor mental health services, low officer morale, and strained community relations with law enforcement. My plan focuses resources on disrupting the small groups responsible for the large percentage of violent crime through programs like focused deterrence while also diverting those with mental health problems and substance abuse problems out of our jails and into treatment centers. I will ensure police officers are treated like professionals by their city, are paid well, and are held accountable when they fail to meet the city’s standards.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

A commitment to equity and inclusion goes beyond using buzzwords, and requires consistent commitment from leadership to confront uncomfortable topics. When I am mayor, every program and policy will be on the table. It starts with having knowledge of the disparities that exist, and then acting to do something about those disparities. There are several sources, such as the For Sake of All report, which detail the stark racial disparities in our region. As a snapshot, the unemployment percentage in St. Louis is 26% for blacks, 6% for whites, the higher education attainment percentage is 50% for blacks, 70% for whites, and the poverty percentage is 30% for blacks, 8% for whites. The median wealth for black families is $11,184, while for white families it is $134,008. Even today, since the city currently allows its three wealthiest wards to receive the most TIF money, it seems the leaders at the Board of Aldermen are continuing the same development patterns established after Jim Crow. I am the only candidate who has implemented recommendations of the Forward Through Ferguson report, and as mayor, I will continue to incorporate a racial equity lens in governmental decision-making. I will expand economic opportunities to minorities, women, and immigrants and make sure inclusionary zoning is part of developments. The city must ensure St. Louis is a welcoming place for everyone, regardless of race, class, disability, or sexual orientation.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?

St. Louis has a homelessness crisis on its hands. The city bears the brunt of the region’s homeless population and must recommit to the ten-year plan to end chronic homelessness and address the root causes of homelessness. As mayor, I will support a Homeless Bill of Rights that will decriminalize homelessness and keep St. Louis aligned with HUD regulations. Biddle House is an excellent resource for the homeless, and it’s something the city is doing well, but it’s not enough. The city needs good, quality shelters like Biddle House in more places, with more beds, and with more cooperation with groups like St. Patrick’s Center to end the cycle of homelessness. Specifically, we need to open a shelter for women and a shelter for families, and each needs to provide intensive services. We also need to think creatively about how to provide the best possible services for the homeless. Denver and Albuquerque, for example, are addressing homelessness with a day laborers program. Through providing a day’s work to the homeless, and the opportunity to be invited back the following day, people who would otherwise have a difficult time finding work are able to build employment histories and skills. Denver has even learned that the program reduces panhandling. Lastly, we need to do more to keep people in their homes by creating more affordable housing and providing interventions before someone becomes homeless.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?

Yes, my administration will participate in the Alliance. As mayor, I want to recommit the city to the St. Louis Sustainability Plan, specifically through MetroLink expansion, increasing the number and diversity of trees planted by strengthening partnerships with groups like Forest ReLeaf of Missouri, and through supporting neighborhood initiatives like urban gardens.


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?

Metrolink expansion is one of my main priorities. A few months ago, in my capacity as Treasurer, I directed $2,000,000 in reserve parking funds to pay for the study update needed to start the process for applying for federal funds for Metrolink expansion. The city must receive federal funding in order for this project to happen. I also outlined the ability of the city to start with what is called a “Minimum Operating Segment” (MOS) in an op-ed I wrote for the St. Louis Post Dispatch. A MOS allows the project to be completed in more bite sized chunks, and helps the city arrange necessary funding. In order to receive federal funds, the government needs to see full commitment from the city, which is why I also support the half cent sales tax that may appear on the April ballot. As mayor, I will not only make the North-South Metrolink a priority, but will also focus on transit oriented development around this proposed line.


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

The city should rely upon a non-partisan redistricting commission to help reduce the Board of Aldermen. I expect this to a transparent process led by the President of the Board of Aldermen, whoever she is at that time. The aldermen should open this process to residents, and convene a focus group that researches ways other cities have reduced the sizes of their city councils or boards, and find best practices that can work in St. Louis.


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?


Currently, the only criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs seems to be that someone has asked for one. When I am mayor, I will not be afraid to use the veto when necessary. I also believe this process starts with a city-wide plan. How do we know where our highest priority neighborhoods are for tax incentives if there isn’t a plan? My platform calls for community benefit agreements, inclusionary zoning, and equitable development. If the city gives tax breaks, it must demand developers include affordable housing and other community benefits that serve all residents of the area. I would also be in favor of creating specific criteria for TIF approval - that the proposal must achieve a certain number of these criteria before it can even be considered for a tax abatement. I would want to work with the SLDC and other planners to determine what those standards should be.


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

How much money have your votes at the Board of Aldermen for tax abatement and other subsidies diverted from the public school and city services?










Response from Lyda Krewson, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

I am a CPA and the CFO of an international design firm, and that experience is important for the chief executive of a city with a billion dollar budget. We need a mayor who is committed to the betterment of St. Louis for all St. Louisans, and that’s why I’m running.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

I have been the 28th ward alderman for 19 years. The 28th is one of the most diverse wards in the city. During my time as alderman I have overseen extensive development while balancing the needs of businesses and residents, and I will apply that diverse perspective to the entire city.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

The number one job of the next mayor is neighborhood safety. That means hiring additional officers at least up to our maximum authorized force of 1,300. We must pay our police officers more and make sure they have updated equipment. We must also train our officers in a way that helps them strengthen trust with the community. I will also focus on modernizing our government so we can offer services more cohesively with the county. Finally, I will strengthen economic development by expanding access to public transportation and empowering an educated workforce.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I believe one of the mayor’s greatest strengths is the ability to convene. I will forge strategic partnerships with the business community, education institutions and regional leaders to move our city and region forward.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

I’ve had more than 1,300 individual donors, which are publicly available online. I will not accept donations from individuals or businesses that do not put the interests of our city first.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?


As I mentioned, we must hire our law enforcement up to our maximum authorized force. But we must also double our investment in alternatives to prosecution and incarceration, youth and recreation activities and alternative dispute resolution measures.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

We must strive towards being a city where outcomes are no longer predictable by race. This starts with identifying and reforming systems and policies reinforce disparities. It means spurring commercial and residential development in our distressed neighborhoods, and it means ensuring that all St. Louis kids have access to the quality education they deserve.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?

We must have a “housing first” strategy which gets people off the street and into the network of intensive services provided through the Continuum of Care. That means incorporating them into a network of support which will empower them to get off the streets permanently. As mayor, I will not accept anything less than a comprehensive plan to address the long term needs of our homeless population across the region, and I will work closely with the nonprofit sector and religious community to accomplish this shared goal.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?

We must realize that water is the new oil and that rivers and waterways are critical to the future of St. Louis. I also believe we must reduce carbon emissions and champion the use of technology in pursuit of a more sustainable city. The 28th ward includes many natural resources and trails, including Forest Park. I am committed to fully funding the Parks, Recreation, and Forestry Department in order to keep​ our parks safe from hazards, crime, or decay. I will also work with civic organizations, including Great Rivers Greenway and Forest Park Forever, to create new bikeways, trails, stream restorations, and beautification opportunities across the city.


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?


I support the metrolink expansion. As mayor, I will work with the St. Louis County Executive and other regional leaders to provide residents with accessible transportation options across the region and make sure our transportation dollars are maximized through a smart, region-wide plan that connects people to jobs. This will include the buses and light rail.


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

The most important thing during that transition is to make sure our elected representatives reflect the diversity of our community. With the reduction of the size of the board, it is also important to encourage more “regional thinking” so we can work together to modernize our government.


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIF
s?

Incentive programs are some art and some science. We need a chief executive to exercise sound judgment when pursuing new developments for the city. Incentives must be examined on a case by case basis, and fit into a comprehensive vision for St. Louis.


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

Will you support our nominee on March 8th to ensure we move our city forward?










Response from Bill Haas, Candidate for St. Louis Mayor

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

Good leaders convince people of what is the right thing to do and inspire them to do it. Ask the community to stand and deliver. A vision of where we need to go and ideas of how to get there. Not taking no for an answer. Education is key and I’ve been on St. Louis School Board 4 terms. And chasing this office between 25-40 years. If I didn’t believe in myself, I wouldn’t have pursued this ambition all these years.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?


I have the most experience with education, a key to improving the city. I have the most experience with seeking this office and the issues it involves, 25 years. I have the best and most specific ideas, and of how to fund them. And I’m differentiated by my confidence and passion to achieve them.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)


We need to address crime by hiring and well-training more police officers, and attack the causes of crime, which is poor education, with short, medium and long-term plans: jobs and job training to youth on the street, an 8th grade initiative with the business community to insure all graduate and with good skills, and early childhood reading initiative to insure all are reading at grade-level by the third grade. And we need to fund them, of course; easier said than done.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

If we do well, they get the credit, if not, I’ll take the blame. And I’ll engage them in the process of ideas, then my responsibility to implement.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

I am self-funded so far. I refused a several hundred dollar contribution from someone who does business with the city and has having issues as I want to avoid conflict or the appearance of, both before or after the election.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

With the money for a soccer stadium, the 4% use tax, we could pay all police another $2800 a year. We need $12M/year for 200 more officers. A better sales tax proposal then the current one, and a referendum on legalizing and taxing marijuana. There are problems with marijuana. I don’t use. They’re less severe than people being shot and children not educated. I’m ok with the trade-off.

Jobs for the troubled and misguided youth (or as I like to call them, affectionately and fondly, thugs) on the streets with no options better than shooting each other and others. And conflict resolution training.

And de-escalation training for police. And better enforcement of laws, especially gun crimes, against frequent offenders. They should also have the first choice of jobs and training. It’ll be there choice. But I’m going to make them my thugs. They need a longitudinal relationship with a caring adult, and that’s going to be me if necessary, out there every day so they know I care about them, so they can care about themselves. People will live up to your expectations for them if you let them. We’re going to set our vision high and not take no for an answer. We’re going to have a “no-killing” city.

And 5 years, or 4, not 10.Ten too long.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

Laws should not fall disproportionately on one racial group over another. I’ve been against debtor’s prison enforcement of laws for 10 years, maybe 20. If jail involved, you should have a lawyer. If you cant pay, you should have alternative options.


8. The causes and effects of homelessness are serious issues in St. Louis. What are your plans for addressing each?

The best cure for homelessness is a home. Vacant schools, maybe, and our wayward youth building residences for the homeless. So they can get social services. Then we can address the causes, and the effects will not impact the community adversely as now.


9. In 2016, the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions formed the Alliance for a Sustainable Future with the goal of spurring public-private cooperation on climate action and sustainable development in cities. Will your administration participate in the alliance, and what specific local initiatives would you support to advance climate action?


Yes, and not sure. I’ll need to be educated. Might hire Lyda or Antonio or Tishaura to lead that while I concentrate on education and youth.


10. What are your plans, if any, for Metrolink expansion, particularly a North-South line?


It’s important, but not until I have enough money for more and better paid police and money for the schools, early childhood reading, 8th grade initiative, money for jobs and training for youth on the street. We need a 5 year plan for the latter, and maybe 10 year plan for North-South. If you solve crime and education, improve dramatically in 5 years, there will be more money around for North-South line.


11. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?


I’m in favor of keeping 28 good Aldermen, and always have been. There seems enough important work to go around for that many good people. I have no idea how we let that happen. And the process? I’m not sure. I know that state-wide we need independent redistricting and I will lead the fight for that by 2020 census.


12. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?


No money lost for schools! None! Zippo! Bupkus. No more than 50% abatement, so city benefits from day one with more dollars. I don’t know how to break this to you, Lyda, but the Central West End is not a blighted area! I know! I live there too! And saying if you don’t give it, they’ll go somewhere else, or everyone’s doing it is not good enough! Shame! A pox on all the houses of the Board of Aldermen who cost the city $300M over the last 10 years, $200M of it for schools! That’s where more police and better schools and teachers should have come from! 85% of tax-breaks sports teams and central corridor and downtown! Only 4% north of Delmar! That’s not good for the city. So did all those tax-breaks for Central West End reduce crime there? Exactly!


13. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)


Lewis: no money for Scott Trade without a vote! Where’s the money for police and education? Make the sports teams guarantee the city wont lose one dollar from day one on any assistance. If they wont take the risk, why should we? Otherwise, no deal. No money for sports without a vote, that guarantee, and an equal amount of money for police and the St. Louis Public Schools.

All candidates: If you win and don’t hire me as your education advisor, you’re missing a good bet. On the other hand, I hope to win, and you can be my advisors. Since most of the good ideas in the race are mine, shouldn’t I be the one to implement them. We all should take good ideas from others, and work together whoever wins.










Response from Darlene Green, Candidate for St. Louis Comptroller

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

The key role for the Comptroller is to safeguard the credit of the city and to protect taxpayer dollars. I have 21yrs of strong fiscal management experience as Comptroller with integrity, accountability and transparency, Prior to becoming Comptroller, I worked as the Budget Director for the city for 2yrs, and Finance Director for the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for 8yrs..


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

I am the best person for the Comptroller position because I am the only candidate with financial experience and I have a proven track record with positive results. Just last year I saved taxpayers $10 million dollars and overall since taking office I have saved taxpayers $100 million dollars through refinancing debt. I have worked to help the city achieve and maintain an A+ credit rating with Standard and Poors. I protected taxpayers from a football stadium plan that didn’t make financial common sense.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

The most pressing issues currently facing the office of Comptroller: 1) safeguarding the credit of the city by finding ways to increase the flexibility of revenues and reduce debt, 2) streamline economic incentives to developers in order to increase revenues and realize revenue sooner from the development project. I have outlined a financial framework which protects the city’s credit and current budgeted revenues for developer to adhere to when considering financing plans for the their project. As a public servant with a purpose and a vision, I have commissioned a 10-year financial strategic plan for the city’s future (approved by the Board of Estimate and Apportionment September, 2015) that will help the city implement policy to achieve goals for improving revenue flexibility and reducing debt,


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.

I work very well with city leaders seeking consensus on ways to work together to make a project, for example. better and to protect taxpayers dollars.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?

My 3 largest campaign contributors so far would be Thompson Coburn Law, Hardwick Law, and St. Louis Cardinals.


6. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

Specifically, the city must be willing to develop policies throughout city government that can create an environment where its citizens do not have barriers of any kind that exist to interfere with a citizen’s life and liberty.


7. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?

Both tax abatements and TIFs should follow a strict approval process, The large number of development TIF proposals creates a need to streamline the request in order to see a more consistent flow of revenues into the city coffers. The number of years of tax abatement for all development proposals should be limited to no more than 5 to 10 years.


8. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

What is your experience to be Comptroller of the city of St. Louis?










Response from Alexandra Johnson, Candidate for St. Louis Comptroller

1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position? What experience/attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

In the City of St. Louis, the Comptroller wears many hats but in particular, two: The fiscal and the visionary. On the one hand, our comptroller’s office is in the news too often with problems (e.g., city-owned vehicles). This needs to be rectified, making sure any known issues, such as those brought to light by the 2010 audit, are rectified with transparency, integrity and efficiency.

Secondly, the Comptroller must have an inclusionary vision of St. Louis, one that informs all votes made on the Estimate and Apportionment Board. What the Ferguson Commission told us, is what our leaders should already have been doing.

I am a life-long St. Louisan, dedicated to diversity and inclusion in my personal and professional life. I have my own practice now and have previously worked in public service as well, and have a master’s in business in addition to my law degree.


2. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?


I will show up to work, every day, to fight for every St. Louisan, north and south, east and west. St. Louis has a great deal to offer but, in collaboration with a new mayor – if we pick a good one, who will truly share the vision of an inclusionary St. Louis – we can work together to effect real change for some of the real problems our community still confronts.


3. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)
  1. We’re highly leveraged 
  2. Our credit rating has been lowered 
  3. Our rainy day fund is at about 10 days, if we’re lucky 
    These phases may be pursued individually or simultaneously, as needed:

     Phase 1: Internal Audit, which includes a Sustainability Factor. Immediately implement savings where possible. Reward employee ideas/input re: efficiencies and savings.

     Phase 2: Determine how to increase revenue – residential and commercial development in the north will increase our tax base, stabilize the community, and benefit all of St. Louis.

    Phase 3: Make cuts, if needed. Evaluate office and its efforts using standards of success, to determine the best use of the money. Community input from leaders is vital to this process. 

    Phase 4: Increase our rainy day fund to a minimum of 60 days.


4. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.


St. Louis has so much strength and is rich in untapped potential but our problems are too big for one person to solve alone – only by setting aside at least some of our differences will we be able to work together to develop the best solutions possible for our priorities. Extreme partisanship has hurt our country. I will listen to any viable idea that will benefit the community.


5. Who are your 3 largest campaign contributors? Are there donors from whom you will not accept campaign contributions?


My support is coming in relatively small amounts, from individual members of the community. Many people are offering to knock on doors and volunteer for the campaign, for example.

I will not accept campaign contributions from hate groups.


6. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?

No public money – not a single public dollar – should be spent without looking at the project through the racial equity lens, the social justice lens, the sustainability lens… Literally, every lens we can think of. No public money should be spent, without it benefiting the public. This is no-brainer to me. It is our money to spend; it should help us overcome the issues we are facing, and all solutions should seek to meet the needs of all St. Louisans.


7. What are your criteria for approving tax abatements and TIFs?

  1. Is the project fiscally sound? 
  2. Does the project make fiscal sense for all of St. Louis, given our overall financial state of affairs? 
  3. How does it benefit the community? 
  4. Are there any negative effects in the community, and to what extent can they be mitigated? 
  5. Historically, how has this group of citizens or this area in the city been positively or negatively impacted before? 
  6. Does the project represent a coalition of citizen interests, or benefit only a few? 
  7. What urgency level of need does the project address? 

8. If you could ask each of your opponents one question, what would it be? (You may specify a different question for each opponent or the same question for all.)

An audit was done in 2010, mentioning the improper use of tax-paid vehicles. Why was this not addressed until the media reported it 6 years later in 2016?










Response from Megan Green, Candidate for 15th Ward Alderman

1. What do you view as the key role(s) and/or attributes needed for this position?

As the legislative branch of government for the City of St. Louis, the Board of Aldermen is responsible for passing ordinances geared towards improving the economic and social outcomes in neighborhoods and advancing the quality of life for all residents. To be effective in this capacity, the role of an Alderman must go beyond the day-to-day administrative duties. Our families deserve visionary leaders that views policy from various levels: the ward, the City, and the region. Although an Alderman is elected to represent the people of a specific community, absolutely no Ward exists in a vacuum. It is critical for an Alderman to work with others at the Board to make policies that will not only benefit families across the City and throughout the region. Moreover, an Alderman must be a quick learner and problem solver who can think strategically, provide timely response to constituent concerns, and make the best use of limited discretionary funds to meet the needs of the community.


2. What education (schools attended, degrees attained), experience, and attributes do you have that qualify you for this position?

I earned a BA in Political Science from Penn State University and was selected as a St. Louis Coro Fellow in Public Affairs shortly after graduation. As a Coro Fellow, I gained a wealth of experience working in different sectors and learning how each helps move a community forward. Moreover, I was able to find ways to improve collaboration between each sector. After Coro, I taught in the St. Louis Public Schools and worked for a variety of education and social service based non-profits. During my tenure, I was able to see how non-profits depend on government to exist, yet government oftentimes does not support these organizations in ways that best serve the St. Louis community. This perspective was one of the initial reasons that I ran for office.

I have a MA in Educational Leadership from St. Louis University and am currently a PhD Candidate in Education Policy at St. Louis University. I received both the Hershel Walker Peace and Justice Award and the Martin Luther King Jr. Human Rights Award for my work on advancing racial and social justice issues. In 2016, I was elected to represent Missouri on the Democratic National Committee for the next four years and serve as an ex-offico member of the Executive Committee for the Missouri Democratic Party. And I was recently named one of St. Louis Magazine’s 100 People Shaping St. Louis for my work on racial justice issues.


3. Why do you think you are the best choice for 15th Ward Alderman? What differentiates you from your opponent(s)?

#NotMeUs was a popular hashtag during the Bernie Sander’s campaign and a phrase that truly describes my leadership as 15th Ward Alderman. Before I was elected, most of the ward lacked the representation of a neighborhood organization. Many residents, especially in Tower Grove South, felt their voices and concerns were going ignored. So when I was elected in 2014, I partnered with the Tower Grove Neighborhoods Community Development Corporation and SLACO to engage residents in creating a Tower Grove South Neighborhood Association. This effort was truly resident driven, providing a sounding board for me to bring to Board meetings. Additionally, to ensure residents who are unable to attend neighborhood meetings still feel engaged, I have implemented a weekly e-newsletter to keep constituents informed about all that I am working on both in the ward and at City Hall.

I brought this same energy into bringing Participatory Budgeting into the 15th Ward to give residents a real say in how their ward capital tax dollars are spent. Participatory budgeting is only successful if residents are empowered to drive the process. Through my leadership, we have successfully implemented Participatory Budgeting twice. And in the most current voting cycle, the 15th Ward had one of the best percentage of turnouts in the Country.

As 15th Ward Alderman, I have made a conscious effort to revolutionize my role to better serve people in the community. We talk a lot about fragmentation in St. Louis, however this is often examined through the lens of the city-county divide. What we fail to highlight is that the City of St. Louis is just as fragmented as St. Louis County if we only make policy on a ward by ward basis. Traffic planning, crime fighting strategies, and development decisions impact the entire city, not just the wards in which they occur.

In efforts to look at the bigger picture, I have also been successful in helping St. Louis replicate good public policy decisions taking place in other cities. I have partnered with organizations like Local Progress and various non-profit organizations to introduce legislation to provide greater protections to victims of domestic violence, protect private reproductive health decisions of women, and change the conversation around how we review and approve tax incentives.


4. Please describe your previous involvement in the ward/neighborhood.

I have represented the 15th Ward as its Alderwoman for the over two years. During this time, I have helped to facilitate the development of the Tower Grove South Neighborhood Association and attend all other neighborhood meetings. Prior to running for office, I had been the Vice-President of the 15th Ward Democrats, and spent three years working with parents in our ward to develop a school. I was also the Tower Grove Volunteer/Communications Coordinator for the Obama for America Campaign.


5. What do you feel are the most pressing issues currently facing this office and what plans do you have to address these issues? (please be specific)

The financial stability of the City is the most pressing issue facing the Board of Aldermen. Over the last few years, St. Louis had its credit rating downgraded, making it more expensive for us to borrow money. Additionally, St. Louis was ranked 42 in fiscal solvency out of the 50 largest cities in the country. Our financial situation makes it harder to provide quality services and fund our public schools. A major cause of our financial instability is the cities tax incentive system which does very little to stimulate our local economy. A recent study by Washington University in St. Louis and commissioned by the City of St. Louis shows that the city had $700 million in foregone tax revenue over the last 15 years, and that over 70% of incentives have been allocated in the three wards in the Central corridor which houses three of the most affluent wards. During that same period of time, those three affluent wards saw an over 50% decrease in their African American population. The current system has created greater concentrations of poverty and wealth within the City of St. Louis without actually increasing our population.

When I was elected in 2014, Aldermen were simply presented with a board bill to pass to support a tax abatement or TIF without any financial analysis. Over the past year, I led a coalition of Aldermen in a push for real financial analysis and transparency. Despite our progress, we still tend to see an overwhelming majority of tax incentives allocated in the most stable wards.

I am working tirelessly to ensure that development decisions that we make at the ward level are of the caliber that we would like to see in all development projects. I have worked with a group of 15th Ward residents to develop a system for evaluating development decisions at the Ward level. Additionally, we are working to implement Community Benefit Agreements – an agreement between the neighborhood, the developer, and the City -- to ensure that large development projects produce net benefits for the Ward and City. Even with the establishment of this system, I still believe we need a comprehensive city-wide development plan as these incentives have city-wide implications, especially when it comes to providing daily services such as police and fire fighters.


6. Public safety is a concern for our neighborhood and the entire city. What can you do on day one and what can you hope to achieve on day one plus ten years?

Addressing crime requires both ward level and city-wide strategies. Through Participatory Budgeting, it was identified that over half of the people who voted in the first round wanted increased lighting. As such, we piloted LED lighting in the areas of the Ward with the highest crime rates and the most night-time foot traffic. Research indicates that enhanced lighting generally decreases crime rates from 7-9% and is one of the most cost-effective ways to decrease crime. The pilot was well received, and when I had money left over in my ward capital budget at the end of the year we allocated funds to expand the project. We are now in the process of enhancing the lighting across the entire ward. Additionally, at the ward level, addressing crime requires having strong, inclusive, neighborhood organizations who promote knowing your neighbors, can create neighborhood impact statements, and support victims of crimes.

Crime does not stop and start at ward boundaries. As such we must have a City-wide comprehensive plan for addressing crime that focuses on the root causes of crime, not just policing. The City of St. Louis spending nearly a third of its budget on public safety, has one of the highest per capita rates of police, yet has very little results to show. What St. Louis has largely lacked is a strategy. As a member of the Public Safety Committee of the Board of Aldermen, I have advocated for using Focus Deterrence. In partnership with the former Circuit Attorney, Probation and Parole, law enforcement, and a variety of social service/community organizations to pilot this program in St. Louis. I am hopeful that under the new Circuit Attorney, this program will be expanded and made a permanent part of how we address crime.

One of the largest drivers of crime in St. Louis is cheap heroin. Unfortunately, our City invests very little in drug treatment. As City we mostly arrest people for drug usage and release them without addressing the addiction. Nearly a third of the people housed in the City Workhouse are drug addicts who would be better served in a treatment facility that focused on stopping the cycle of addiction. Other cities that invested in treatment rather than incarceration have seen decreases in their crime levels.


7. The Ferguson Commission Report asks government to look through a "racial equity lens" in developing policies. Specifically, what does that mean to you?


The police-involved shootings of Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, VonDerrit Myers, and Antonio Martin have indeed focused attention on racial inequality, economic disparity, and policing practices in the St. Louis region. Although national attention to these issues is new, the issues themselves are not. We have learned that there are significant gaps in our community. We have witnessed the effects that 200 years of institutionalized racism disguised as zoning and housing policy has had on creating concentrations of poverty and fragmentation across our region. We have learned that there are segments of our population who do not feel safe and protected by our police. We have learned how a poverty-stricken person’s inability to pay a speeding ticket can land him/her in jail for weeks. We have seen, at times, a militarized use of force against people exercising their First Amendment Rights. We have a new awareness of the long-term effects of unequal access to quality education, jobs, health care, and housing can have on people of color. Now that we have learned and witnessed so much, we have a responsibility to change our ward, our City, and our region in order to ensure equal opportunity and access for all. This means being aware that these disparities exist and continually evaluating our public policy decisions to ensure that we are not making these disparities worse.

Seeing the need to follow the Ferguson Commission’s call to action, last year I attended a conference with several other Aldermen which specifically taught us how to develop and apply a racial equity framework. As a result of the relationships formed at that conference, we were able to bring national experts to St. Louis to train the Board and City Departments on how to implement a racial equity framework. To apply a racial equity lens in making decision it is necessary to ask a series of questions about the policy proposals that are before us at the Board of Aldermen when we are reading, writing, debating, and voting on legislation. These questions include:
  • What is the policy, program, practice or budget decision under consideration? What are the desired results and outcomes? 
  • What’s the data? What does the data tell us? 
  • How have communities been engaged? Are there opportunities to expand engagement? 
  • Who will benefit from or be burdened by your proposal? What are your strategies for advancing racial equity or mitigating unintended consequences? 
  • What is your plan for implementation? 
  • How will you ensure accountability, communicate, and evaluate results?
Using the answers to these questions in decision making helps the Board of Aldermen to see if the policies we are passing hurt or help people of color, immigrants, or low-income families.


8. How would you approach representing a ward as diverse as the 15th Ward?


The 15th Ward is one of the most diverse Wards – socio-economically and racially – in the City of St. Louis. We have renters and homeowners, students and professors, and fast-food workers and corporate executives that live in our neighborhoods. Yet, that diversity is not often represented in our neighborhood institutions. In order to ensure broad participation in our Ward, it is necessary to implement non-traditional ways of engaging and supporting all residents. We must recognize that not all people have the ability to come to monthly neighborhood meetings, yet their voice still matters. To mitigate this, I started Participatory Budgeting in the 15th Ward to engage a diverse cross section of residents as it requires going to the people to discover their needs. Additionally, if a segment of our population is not having their needs met, I work to develop ways to rectify their issues. For example, last year the International Institute approached me with the concern that rising values of the rents in our Ward has made it difficult for them to continue to house immigrants and refugees in the 15th Ward. So I worked with the Institute to assemble a taskforce of property owners and developers to develop short and long-term plans for how we can ensure affordable housing options for such an integral part of our community.

Being accessible as Alderman is also essential to representing the diversity of our Ward. I hand out my personal cell phone on all literature, am available regularly on social media, and routinely work out of various coffee shops in the Ward to make myself available to constituents who want to talk. Making myself available in a myriad of ways assists me in engaging the diverse perspectives of those all across our Ward, while supporting the growth of strong and vibrant neighborhood associations, helps to reach a board cross-section of the ward.


9. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.


Making decisions to further the priorities of the 15th Ward involves collaboration. Whether it is implementing participatory budgeting to allow residents to vote on how to use their tax dollars at a ward level, or soliciting resident feedback as the groundwork for conducting a traffic study, involving residents in the decision-making process shapes my agenda as a leader.

Finding common ground with those of whom you do not agree is also important. For example, it took nearly a year of some really intense and difficult conversations with the Mayor’s Office, the City Counselor’s office, and Domestic Violence Advocates to amend our nuisance property ordinance to exempt victims of Domestic Violence. We all wanted to ensure that the City was doing all it could do to prevent domestic violence victims from being evicted from housing. Through a series of difficult conversations, a commitment to help victims, and an understanding that we could disagree on policy without making it personal, we were able to develop and pass legislation that satisfied all of the different stakeholder views.

I also believe in informed decision making and bringing those to the table with the most expertise to engage in dialogue before making decisions. I formed local, state and national relationships with public policy leaders, non-profit leaders, and Elected Officials, to ensure I am making informed decisions for the 15th Ward and City. For example, the St. Louis Board of Aldermen does not have a financial analyst so we are not able to know the real cost to the City of a lot of tax incentive deals. So during the debate of a new NFL stadium, I had to personally reach out and form relationships with national experts on sports financing. Through collaboration, we were able to analyze the deal and determine that it would have catastrophic consequences on the City budget if it were passed. This information was then disseminated to others at the Board of Aldermen which helped them to make decisions about the proposal as well.


10. What role should the Alderman have in working with the neighborhood business districts? What role should the Alderman have in working with resident organizations? How do/would you balance the needs of the residential and business districts of the ward so both are strong and vibrant?


I believe the interests of businesses and residents complement each other. Residents want to live in a walkable neighborhoods comprised with vibrant businesses, and business districts rely on local residents as patrons. As Alderman, I have been actively involved with resident and business organizations and will continue to do so. I am also working on expanding the historical districts to include all of Tower Grove South in an effort to spur business and residential redevelopment throughout the entire ward.


11. How do/will you use the Alderman position to affect delivery of city services for the Ward?

The Alderman is the citizen’s ambassador to city government. When people have complaints, it is my job to make sure that the complaints are relayed to the executive branch of government that controls the delivery of services. For example, I have been approached with a variety of traffic concerns ranging from the placement of one-way streets, to the need for stop signs, to motorists cutting through the neighborhood at high speeds. I worked with the Streets Department to address these concerns and determine how we could create the safest streets for motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians.

Additionally, it is important for Aldermen to be advocates for effectively using tax-dollars so city services can be delivered appropriately. This means reforming our tax incentive system. It is hard to tell residents that we are okay at forgiving $53 million in tax revenue for Ball Park Village, but we cannot afford to purchase the 40 trash trucks we need to ensure trash is collected on time. As Aldermen, we must work on issues focused on the 15th Ward without losing site of the big picture policy making decisions that impact delivery of services. As more needs are brought to my attention, I will continue to work with each City Department to ensure that we are efficiently delivering services to St. Louis residents. I will also continue to push for sound big picture policy that will assist with the service delivery.


12. What process do you believe should be used to reduce the Board of Aldermen to 14 members following the 2020 census?

The reduction in the number of members of the Board of Aldermen is going to bring forth many challenges. Most notably, the level of direct constituent service that residents receive from their Aldermen will likely decrease. With two times the area to represent, Aldermen will be thinly stretched when trying to address the overflowing dumpsters, dead trees, and traffic concerns. These functions are important therefore we must strengthen CSB, add support staff to the Board of Aldermen and find ways to make our city departments more efficient. To this end, there are some functions of the Board of Aldermen that I think should also change. For example, currently an Alderman must pass an ordinance to put in a stop sign. I think that duties such as this should be delegated back to the appropriate City Department whose expertise it is to make those decisions based on good data. I also support having tax abatements delegated to the Executive Branch to make such decisions as part of a City wide strategic development efforts, rather than having development done on a ward-by-ward basis. By transferring these administrative functions to City departments, Aldermen will be free to focus on big picture legislation that moves our city forward.

Additionally, there needs to be a citizen led process for redistricting. I have been working with other Aldermen and the Brennan Center out of New York on analyzing best practices from other cities to redistrict accounting to public needs. A citizen led redistricting commission should be assembled and tasked with surveying the community to provide insight on drawing lines in fair and just ways that will not create concentrations of poverty and wealth.


13. If you could ask your opponent one question, what would it be?

Given your previous record on Aldermanic Courtesy, in what circumstances, if any, do you think this undemocratic tradition should be bucked?