Tuesday, June 17, 2014


EDIT: St. Louis Today posted this great article on Sunday, June 22nd:

I have more to say about this topic, but this is the text of the statement to our "leaders" and the leaflet I will be taking to the open hearing tomorrow at the Central Library.  (There is also a hearing today at UMSL and one on Thursday in Cottleville. http://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/modot-kicks-public-meetings-transportation-tax-list)

17 June 2014
Dear St. Louis City and County, and Missouri “leaders”:
     I find it reprehensible that this state is asking its citizens for MORE MONEY! Especially for “roads and bridges”! One thing we have quite enough of here in St. Louis is road, highway, and bridge construction. We need improved public transit, especially in the areas that use it the most. We need a metrolink that runs from north county to south county. We need high speed rail connecting Saint Louis to Jefferson City, Kansas City, and Columbia.
     These “wish lists” are just fantasy to sell this tax hike to voters. And even the fantasy allocates only $12 million of the $500 million budget to public transit. Once you get our money you will do whatever you want with it. We were told in April of 2010 that Prop A was going to save Metro. In 2013 Prop A collected $78 million in the county and $11 million in the city. Yet all that money has done is pay off the interest on Metro's outrageous debt for the Shrewbury Metrolink extension. Fares are being increased in July and Metro faces continued insolvency.
     And you didn't tell us, back in 2010, that County Executive Charlie Dooley could withhold that $78 million he collects on Prop A and allocate it instead to more roads and bridges. And let's just consider what all this construction is really about: making wealthy companies like Clayco wealthier. Which, of course, makes their contributions to your political campaign funds larger, but does absolutely nothing for the public.
     Why are we being asked to make the already wealthy contractors and developers and engineers of this city even wealthier, when by U-6 numbers we have 10% unemployment, and our schools are failing? I keep hearing about how “attracting talented young professionals” is the key to St. Louis economic growth. This is not only ridiculous, it is offensive.
     Obviously, you do not think that the youth of St. Louis have the capability to become “talented young professionals” with an “entreupreneurial spirit.” If you did you would save our schools, create jobs and internship opportunities, invest in more day care, and give the same investment incentives and tax breaks to local small businesses that you give to these big corporations (who often put the locals out of business!).
     If you believed in your citizens, you would be working to abolish right-to-work legislation, increase the state's minimum wage, and make this a better state for workers. Low wage jobs are the only part of the job sector that is growing. I don't trust a state that makes it more difficult to get unemployment so that it can use the unemployment fund to pay off its debts, and keeps milking sales tax like it is a cash cow.
     We, the people, deserve real leaders. We do not need a County Executive that gives a museum director a half a million dollar a year salary. We do not need a Mayor that governs only the southern, “white” half of the city. We do not need a Metro CEO that supports “right to work”, refuses to negotiate a new union contract with his drivers, is paid $250,000 a year, and gives $5 million a year in “contributions to outside entities.”
     Everything about this city and state's “economic development” is backward and mismanaged (and possibly corrupt). If you can't increase the well being of the people currently living here, with the vast amounts of money we are already giving you, why should we trust you with more money? Why would more people want to move here?
     What are you doing to make the quality of our lives better? For the WHOLE city, not just the middle and upper class citizens. What are you doing to close the $32,000 a year income gap, the “Delmar Divide”, where the median income in north St. Louis is just $8,000 a year, and the south is $40,000?
     The northern half of this city is treated like a reservation or concentration camp, filled with hostile natives, incarcerated by lack of job opportunity, poverty, crumbling neighborhoods, and miserable public transit options. We don't need more Ballpark Villages and Cortex communities. All this does is shift the wealth, it doesn't create more. (Cortex is especially insulting. That they were given DOT TIGER funding, when the obvious outcome of this development is gentrification. And $9 million of taxpayer money to tear down the existing CWE Metrolink station to build a new one a few blocks away? OUTRAGEOUS!)
     We don't need more roads and bridges. We don't need another sales tax increase. We need leaders that can effectively manage the money they have now, and who address the real problems facing our city and state.  


Your vote counts in local and state elections! And even if you cannot vote, you are still a sales tax paying citizen of this state! And St. Louis city and county already have the highest sales tax rates in the state!

Call your local and state representatives and tell them you are against Amendment 7. Tell them you what we need to make this city and state more economically viable! MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!

WHAT ABOUT OUR SCHOOLS?! Where is all that lottery money going? Why are they asking us for more money for highways and bridges when our kids are suffering in unaccredited and crowded school districts? Where is the funding for after-school and youth programs? Internship opportunities? Scholarships?

WHAT ABOUT PUBLIC TRANSIT AND HIGH SPEED RAIL? In 2010 voters agreed to Prop A to “save” Metro, and yet they are still insolvent! They are raising fares on July 1st and have not put in a single foot of new Metrolink track in 8 years! We need a statewide speed rail system that links St. Louis, Kansas City, Jefferson City, and Columbia. We don't need more highways!

WHAT ABOUT HOUSING? One hundred thousand homes and lots sit vacant in St. Louis city and county, many bank or city/county owned, and yet we have thousands of homeless. The problem is much larger than just 26 houses in the Ranken Technical College neighborhood! And at the least the vacant lots could be turned into urban farms or “edible” parks, and playgrounds!

WHAT ABOUT JOBS? We need more jobs, and better jobs! More job training! A higher minimum wage! More protection for workers! Stronger unions! More daycare!


Governor Jay Nixon: (573) 751-3222
Mayor Francis Slay: (314) 534-2009   mayorslay@mayorslay.com
Board of Aldermen: (314) 622-3287       
County Executive Charlie Dooley: (314) 615-7016

Learn more about Amendment 7 and the proposed projects:

Join the movement for better public transit: This leaflet was produced by Occupy Public Transportation in St. Louis (OPTINSTL). If you ride public transit, consider boycotting Metro in protest of the fare increase! 
please print and share this leaflet
optinstl.blogspot.com                      optinstl@gmail.com

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