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.