1. What do you view as the key role, and/or attributes needed for this position?
key role is to make effective decisions for our Ward and our City.
Honesty, integrity, patience, and a sense of humor go a long way to help
an alderman be a good representative. More than that, though, an
alderman must be able to reason well, build coalitions, solve problems,
and communicate effectively.
2. What education
(schools attended, degrees attained), experience, and attributes do you
have that qualify you for this position?
earned a Master’s degree from the University of Missouri – St. Louis in
English Literature. As part of the Liberal Arts, my education was
significantly focused on logic and rhetoric. Practically, what this
means is that I have been educated to use reason to develop a position
and problem solve and to effectively present my position through
language. My military education was similarly focused. As a military
officer, I was trained to identify problems, weigh risks, develop
strategies and lead people to achieve objectives.
made by individual Alderman and the Board of Alderman affect
individuals, neighborhoods, and our city. It is vital that these
decisions are made by weighing the relevant facts, balancing sometimes
conflicting priorities, and building consensus for a solution that
achieves the common good.
3. Why do you think you are the best person for this position? What differentiates you from your opponent?
experience as a leader, my experience as a business woman, and my
education strongly differentiate me from my opponent. I have a well
rounded background that provides me with the knowledge and resources to
be innovative. It will take new ideas to bring real solutions to
problems St. Louis has faced for years such as unemployment, crime and
safety, and our public school system. We have been patient with our
local politicians. We have waited for solutions, and they haven’t
come. It is time for new voices in our local politics. It is time for
real change. I bring new ideas because my experience and education is
broader than my opponent’s, and I am not entrenched in a political
system that hasn’t provided us with innovative solutions to our long
4. Please describe your previous involvement in the ward / neighborhood.
previous experience has been specific to my block. I was Treasurer of
our block association “Hearts of Hartford” for several years. My
partner and I have also hosted block meetings at our house, and early on
we attended meetings at the Grand Oak Hill Community Corporation. I
have also worked with my partner on various block committees for
“Operation Brightside” and our annual block parties. Like many people,
where I couldn’t be involved, my partner and I have donated to Grand Oak
Hill Community Corporation in the form of gift cards, furniture, and
table cloths. Additionally, we helped to develop a “phone bank” at the
suggestion of our local police to report drug trafficking and gang
activities on our block. This coordinated effort with the police was
very influential in reducing crime on our block.
strong block programs and participation are essential to strong
neighborhoods. It is vitally important that the Alderman engages with,
supports, and coordinates with neighborhood block captains. Our block
captain program has been languishing in recent years; it must be
reinvigorated block by block. This is particularly important as we
prepare for the reduction in the number of Aldermen which will increase
the number of people represented by the Alderman.
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
The 15th Ward needs a comprehensive
development/sustainment plan to ensure a unity of effort which provides a
multi-faceted approach to our issues. With a plan in place, projects
would be done not as a single effort, but part of a greater whole with a
focus on benefits to the neighborhoods, the ward, and the City.
develop this plan, I would first start with the planning experts within
City government in the Planning Department to initiate the planning
process. Based on their advice and direction, I would see the planning
process expanded to include the Ward as a whole through workshops,
petitions, polls and other forms of community involvement. It is vital
that the communities within the Ward have the opportunity to participate
in the planning process. Where this isn’t possible for the individual,
the individual at least be informed of initiatives and timelines
included in the plan.
6. Describe how you work with, or will work with, others to address your priorities.
and foremost, it is necessary to begin a comprehensive plan for the
Ward. Through this planning process, I will engage with the people of
our ward, experts in City government, and leaders in the City to set a
clear direction for our future.
Additionally, I will
work closely with the business and neighborhood associations to
facilitate their work and work with them on their priorities as well as
the ones I have suggested, and those which are developed as part of the
7. Recently the St. Louis City
voters approved reducing the number of Aldermen; how do you feel about
this change? Are there other city government changes you would like to
This is a positive change. Reducing the number of
Alderman will help to address fragmentation and competing interests and
help our government address problems with a regional perspective.
ward is not well positioned right now for reducing the number of
Aldermen because we don’t have strong systems in place such as block
programs and neighborhood watch programs to assist the Alderman in
identifying problem properties and city services needed.
8. What steps would you recommend taking to balance the City’s pension obligations and overall budget?
is no secret that our City has financial problems. The City has reduced
the number of Police. The City has reduced the number of
Firefighters. The City has reduced the number ambulance stations. The
City has reduced its own work force. All of these reductions are a
result of the City trying to reduce its financial obligations.
of us want to see reduced services especially in the area of public
safety. We do not want to see an increase in our taxes. We need to
find a solution that maintains or improves services using our current
level of revenue. The best way to do this is by finding improvements in
the way the City does business.
I will call for the
City to initiate an Efficiency Study to review City services to assess
the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the City’s operations and to
identify potential opportunities for improvement.
had a saying in the military – “Work smarter, not harder.” I think it
applies here very well. By finding where we can “work smarter” we will
be able to reduce our spending, improve City services, and grow our
9. Neighborhood safety has been a hot topic in the ward. What have / will you do to address safety in the neighborhood?
doesn’t just happen and it isn’t just a police responsibility. These
are our streets, our neighborhoods, and our community. It is a shared
We have systems in place which I would
like to continue to energize programs like Citizens on Patrol which
started in Lafayette Square. This is a great program because people get
to know their area and their neighbors better. Where people know one
another we do a better job of taking care of one another.
is also a key part of safety. Through a comprehensive plan for our
ward, we will be able to holistically work on solutions which will make
If we consider crime in the area, it’s not
enough just to patrol. We also have to look at why it occurs, so that
we can address both the effect and the cause at the same time.
factors such as lighting and landscaping can be used to deter crime.
Reducing abandoned properties and absentee landlords will also change
the environment in such a way to deter crime. Providing better or more
options for employment, education, and recreation will also work to
reduce crime in our neighborhoods.
It takes a plan to prioritize and synchronize these efforts to achieve long lasting results.
would also like to mention to other points related to safety. These
are traffic flow and disaster preparedness. When we think of traffic
flow we want to be safe driving our cars, riding our bikes, and walking
down the street. To do this, we need to plan for better traffic flow
that accommodates the need to keep traffic moving, but also provides
good pedestrian and bicycle access to our business districts and
neighborhoods. This can only be done with direct planning with traffic
flow experts who can analyze how we move and help us to balance the
needs of all how use our streets and sidewalks.
last thought about safety – we aren’t as prepared as we can be for a
disaster such as a tornado, super storm or an earthquake. I know we
don’t like to think about these things, but we know that they happen.
As a member of the military, I have been trained in disaster relief. If
I am elected, I will work to develop our disaster plan in conjunction
with city and local organizations to ensure that we are ready. Disaster
preparedness includes the need for medical assistance, power,
transportation, food services, and much more. It takes a lot to be
ready for a disaster, and we need someone who is ready and able to help
10. How do / will you use the Alderman position to effectively impact city services for the ward?
services can best be supported through sound financial planning for the
city. As an Alderman, it is my job to ask the hard questions about the
proposed budget and to balance the needs of our community with the
needs of the City. I would also like to see the City complete and
efficiency study that would find areas that we can be more effective in
providing city services while keeping the costs of these services within
our city budget.
It is also important to be
available to the citizens of our ward to assist them to find the right
services to meet their needs and to follow-up to ensure the problem or
issue has been resolved.
Finally, it is also my job to
be a good steward of the ward. This means that I must know where the
problems are and to bring city services to bear where they are needed.
What role should the Alderman have in working with the neighborhood
business districts? What have / would you do to increase economic
development in the ward?
As Alderman, I liaison with
business districts to provide information and resources to them. I
coordinate for funding. I propose Board Bills to support initiatives and
to improve the area. I work with the districts on planning and
supporting their charters.
Through the efforts of the
South Grand Community Improvement district and our current Alderman, we
have seen good development on Grand. I would like to take that same
energy to help the Morganford Business Association to achieve similar
Additionally, I would be working with current
and potential business owners to connect them with available properties
in the area which would meet their needs, as well as to find funding
sources to do more marketing for our business districts as a whole.
What role should the Alderman have in working with resident
organizations? What have / would you do to increase residential
development in the ward?
As an Alderman, I would work
as a liaison to the residential organizations to provide information and
resources available to me, and share information to other organizations
throughout the word. I also see my role to be one of facilitating
those projects which are within my authority, ability, and resources to
facilitate. Additionally, it is also my role to communicate with the
entire Ward about what is happening in the Ward and what services are
available through the residential organizations.
An alderman should be:
• an advocate for residential/neighborhood organizations –
a resource for those involved in the organizations and the
organizations -the alderman should be a liaison between the
residential/neighborhood organizations and city & state entities
(more city than state)
At the same time, the alderman
must be honest -should not use those organizations to further their
political aspirations but instead should always keep foremost that he or
she serves the ward/ward residents.
development in our Ward can be best supported through a comprehensive
plan for Ward sustainment and development. I would work with the city’s
Planning Department to begin the process of developing this plan.
How do / would you balance the needs of the residential and business
districts of the ward so both are strong and vibrant?
balance is best struck, by maximizing the use of the commercially zoned
areas, maintaining residential areas, working with business owners to
ensure they have the right location, zoning or variance, and actively
resolving disputes between business owners and residents. I would add
here that it is also very important that the types of businesses in our
ward reflect its identity and character.
This may sound
over used at this point, but planning for development which is in line
with the Strategic Land Use Plan will help to mitigate disputes between
businesses and residential districts. Planning for development would
also provide opportunities for both districts to identify initiatives to
which both agree are necessary.
14. If you could ask your opponent one question, what would it be?
I do not have any questions for my opponent.