From FGS

Ideas & Insights



What’s happening at Metro? It’s time to find out


Here’s what the Commission decided


The City’s population continues to grow

Growing Jobs

SLDC’s Pat Bannister is an urban gardener: he grows jobs

After Carole

Carole Moody announced her retirement. CVC will search for a replacement

CSB at 20

Broken street light? Martians living next door?

Cold News

Attach a thermometer to your good intentions

Then, Who Isn’t?

The list of partners making St. Louis lead-safe is large. It could be even bigger.

On Target

Target re-opening. South St. Louis rejoices.


Tom Sullivan is not Metro’s only critic.


A little context today.

Hearings Set

Not every project is appropriate for TIF. Some, though, are.

Don King

Boxing is a part of the City’s history.

Sunday Paper

There’s always plenty of paper on my desk. Most Sundays are good days to look through the stacks.

The Chief and the Editor

The City is undergoing a renaissance in large part because we are willing to hold ourselves accountable and make changes where necessary.

MAP to Proficiency

It is important to acknowledge progress — especially when the problem is so urgent.

Metric System

Data isn’t the whole story, but it is a very important part of it.

Winging It

Important tests, school shots, and an update on the tenant eviction law.

News, Good and Otherwise

The good news is that skyrocketing property values are attracting hundreds of millions of dollars of new investment. But, there’s bad news, too.

Reasons to Invest

Shuffling through my In Box: out-state employers, protein bowls, and other items of note.

Affordable Home Ownership

Home ownership is important. Several new developments in North St. Louis strive to make such ownership affordable.


Even though I am a recovering fast-food eater, a recent memo from Barb Geisman made me hungry.

Measuring Progress

As if the trucks, front-loaders, and cranes weren’t metrics enough, there’s plenty of other evidence that City development is still going strong.

Counting on Change

How many grocery stores are there in St. Joe or Cape? How many movie theaters are there in Joplin or Jeff City?

An Opportunity

The AHC is going to fund $5 million of new programs next year to promote City living. Start thinking.


Charles Bryson recently sent me a note about his co-workers. He noticed something important.


I was just about to autograph this picture.

Dr. Creg Williams

Superintendent Creg Williams has already accomplished what few in his position have done.

City Momentum

The HUDZ committee considered $220 million worth of new City development today. Some of these buildings had stood vacant for years.

Crisis Teams

A new grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health will help train more City police officers to identify and assist citizens with mental illnesses. As usual, I expect to hear protests from some self-described advocates . . .

Flower Power

When the Gateway Greening folks said that flowers were an important way to win new friends for our City, they were right.

Kim Tucci

Kim Tucci defies Bill McClellan’s advice never to volunteer.

Exporting Good Ideas

Five years ago, I told city voters that I wanted to make St. Louis one of the places that other cities came to for good ideas. We’re making progress.

CBD Traffic/Access Study

We will invite Downtown’s businesses, entertainment venues, residents, and other CBD stakeholders to participate in a Traffic Circulation and Access Study.

A Better Way to Do It

Groups sometimes bring food to homeless people at Lucas Park, a public park/playground adjacent to the Downtown Children’s Center. There’s a beter way.

A Riverfront That Rocks

I will be meeting with members of the St. Louis Riverfront Advisory Committee to develop a signature destination along the City’s riverfront.

Working the Phones

The average convention attendee leaves behind almost $1,000 in St. Louis. This means jobs.

Federated: The Lesson of SBC

When SBC execs decided to move their headquarters to Texas, pundits were quick to predict dire consequences for St. Louis. It’s hard now to remember what they were.

About Praxair

Over the next few weeks, I will be meeting with Praxair officials to review the events that led up to Friday’s apparent accident, the response of the emergency and public safety teams, and the future of Praxair’s City facility.

Downtown Notes

Here’s a few things you may — or may not — know about Downtown’s movers and shakers


Debbie Monterrey, Doug McElvein and I recently sat down in the CWE. Here’s what we talked about.

About the Blues

You don’t have appreciate hockey to know that news that the St. Louis Blues are for sale is no game.

Scope of Prof. Decker’s Study

Yesterday, I told you about a study I am commissioning to see if part of the justice system is working properly. Here are some details.

Let’s Find Out

City residents demand the prompt enforcement of the state’s laws. The police are making arrests — lots of them. But, arrests don’t help if the court system doesn’t do its job effectively. Are the courts working?

Union Station: Finally on Track

Over the past few years, Union Station has fallen on some hard times, notwithstanding the continuing success of the excellent Hyatt Regency Hotel there. New owners, though, have new plans.

For a Police Civilian Review Board

Not everyone in our City — or in City Hall -wants a civilian review board for the police department. I do. I believe we need the kind of review board that will improve the community’s trust and that will allow our police officers to do their jobs effectively.

FYI, Mireille Guiliano

St. Louis-based Solae is the brains behind Bioplait, a soy yogurt being sold in Paris this summer. Bringing the Solae world headquarters here is an important element in a wider strategy to make St. Louis a major international capital of agricultural and bio-tech research

Keeping the NSOs, Making Them More Effective

For the last several months, rumors have swirled through City Hall that members of the Board of Aldermen will use the budget approval process to transfer control of the City’s neighborhood stabilization program — and the NSOs — to themselves. There is an alternative.

Doing Business Is Easier, So People Do

According to a new memo on my desk, the City Building Division reports that — for the first time ever — more than 90 percent of the permits finalized last month were issued over the counter on the same day the applications were filed. What this laudable efficiency means is that doing business in the City is easier than ever before.

Rewarding Results

There are lots of ways to measure efficiency. I like to use results. That’s why I have recently promoted two of my key staffers.

The New Citywide Land Use Plan

The new Citywide Land Use Plan — the first new plan since 1947 — is finished. Development officials and aldermen have crafted a living document that reflects our intention to preserve our historic building stock, while also planning for new development.

About the Land Reutilization Authority

The City’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA) is an interesting — and necessary — entity. The LRA holds title to nearly 10,000 properties in the City of St. Louis, including more than 1,900 abandoned commercial buildings, houses, and other structures.

Thanks, Charlie

KMOX host Charlie Brennan, a platoon of volunteers from different civic groups, and employees of the Parks Department have been working hard to make Downtown brighter.

Writing a Wrong

A writer in the local daily newspaper recently characterized Downtown’s office market as “wretched.” No analysis. No context. No facts.

Some retailers brought booths, Bass Pro didn’t

SLDC director Rodney Crim and I met with developers and the representatives of some major retailers during our visit to the convention of the International Council Of Shopping Centers in Las Vegas. We saw some interesting things.

Making a Good Job a Better Job

The Citizens Service Bureau is the City’s customer service department. CSB phone operators accept complaints — and compliments, too — about city services. Most of the time, they do a good job. But, even a good job can be better. So, CSB personnel have begun accepting some service requests via the Internet on a specially designed e-form.

Alphabets: BRAC and DFAS

The Base Realignment and Closure 2005 Commission sent a member and several staffers to St. Louis today to tour the Defense Finance and Accounting Service on Goodfellow to gather facts. To be realistic, our chances of reversing BRAC’s decision are not good.

JC Corcoran . . . And A Lot of Keys

I asked the editors of how they so often find the perfect image to illustrate a Mayor’s Desk item or a News release. They showed me how to “Google search” for images. Out of curiousity, I did: for me.

Gone to the Dogs

Ever since Quentin survived, my life has gone to the dogs. And the cats. Quentin — in case you have been living on a planet without television or newspapers — is the miracle dog who emerged more or less unfazed from the City’s animal gas chamber to become the cannily publicized spokesmutt for IDA and Stray Rescue.

Our Future and Responsibility

Thousands of City kids — black and white — live in safe neighborhoods, attend good schools, and will have great futures. Others do not. They will not finish school; and they will not find good jobs. At ten years old — fifteen years old, seventeen years old — they are already disconnected from our community.

Violent Crime Initiative

It is no mere metaphor that we refer to police officers as crime fighters. Their jobs as law enforcers often put them face to face with men and women determined to break laws — too often, violently.

Budget Thoughts

It is obvious to even the most casual reader that the FY2006 budget has been cobbled together — as have been the City budgets for the past ten or so years. The FY2006 budget, like all the earlier budgets, relies far too heavily on one-time revenue sources (grants, refinancing savings, deferred decisions), and far too lightly on traditional revenue growth.

The FY 2006 Budget

The St. Louis Board of Aldermen is currently considering the FY 2006 budget sent to them by the Board of Estimate & Apportionment. By City Charter, the Board of Aldermen has the power to shift and cut line items within the budget, but not to add to the bottom line. FY2006 begins in June 2005.

Older Americans Month

By my proclamation, May is Older Americans Month in the City of St. Louis. My own parents are 73 and 78. They are reasonably healthy. My dad goes to work every day. I still worry about them. The City has approximately 59,000 residents 65 years or older. More than 7,000 of our residents are 85 years or older. We want them all to be healthy and safe. And we want to take advantage of their experience and wisdom.

Making My Schedule

Every evening before I go home, a staff member hands me a binder. In it are the materials I need for the next 24 hours — lists of calls I have to make or return; directions to places I have to go; copies of the letters I have to sign; a spreadsheet of the 10 or 15 deadlines that each day brings; and, of course, my schedule.

Development Update

Lawless Homes is preparing to begin a $25 million development in Alderman Fred Heitert’s 12th Ward on the site of the former public school nursery/greenhouse. Named "The Cascades" (after the WPA-era water feature that will be preserved and incorporated into the development), the development will include both condos and duplex townhomes.

Annie Malone Parade

Wear "summer colors" today. That’s the palate-of-choice for the 116th annual Annie Malone May Day parade. The May Day parade is the largest annual parade in the City of St. Louis — and one of the largest African American parades in the entire country.

131st Air National Guard

The 131st Air National Guard unit now based at Lambert appears on the most recent BRAC list. Members of our Congressional delegation — Senators Jim Talent and Kit Bond, and US Representative Lacy Clay — believe this decision is bad for our country’s military preparedness. We all think it is bad for the region’s economy.

People, Cars and Crime

The concentration of people, cars and merchandise means that some suburban shopping centers have crime rates that would make many urban neighborhoods blush. Too often, though, the mall’s unsuspecting customers and employees never hear about these things. Bad news is usually a big secret in the very competitive world of suburban retail.

Historic Additions

Yesterday, the City Preservation Board asked the Cultural Resources staff to prepare a recommendation for the inclusion of more than a dozen City buildings on the National Register of Historic Places. Yesterday, the City Preservation Board asked the Cultural Resources staff to prepare a recommendation for the inclusion of more than a dozen City buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Better Educational Choices

I was in Jeff City on Monday to lobby legislators on a wide variety of issues facing the City. Mostly, I spoke about education. A growing number of state lawmakers — both Democrats and Republicans — recognize that the City is on its way back. A few do not. I told all of them — fans and doubters — that the key to the City’s renaissance is to provide more and better educational choices for families.

One of the Nation’s Finest

Metro High School was recently named by Newsweek magazine as one of the top public high schools in the country. It ranked higher than every public school in the region, including Clayton, Parkway, and Ladue. Metro is, probably, the best co-educational high school — public or private — in the region.

Development Update

I pulled these updates out of a (very) long note from Barb Geisman: Multimodal Center: The bids for the terminal are in and under budget. A few details remain to be worked out with railroad authorities. The terminal should be under construction soon.

Anna May Slay

Anna May Slay is a St. Louisan to her bones: fair-minded; home-bodied; more cautious than reckless; a better listener than a speaker; and deeply in love with her family, the people, homes, and parks of her own City neighborhood.

Our City’s Employees

While I was putting away some papers, I came across the notes I had made for a recent ceremony honoring some public employees whose service I considered praiseworthy. Once a year, I give Mayor’s Service Awards to a handful of City employees and working groups whose extraordinary work has been brought to my attention by their bosses or co-workers.

IKEA - Coming Soon?

IKEA isn’t just a store — it’s a worldwide phenomenon. The closest IKEA to St. Louis is in suburban Chicago. Many of you have made the pilgrimage. Are we ever going to get one here?

Department of Health

The City’s Department of Health has not been one of the success stories. Under the past four or five mayors, the department has been plagued by bad planning, bad management, bad funding, bad outcomes, and— even— a bad building.

Boosting Travel & Tourism

Over the past several months, I have spoken with dozens of leaders in the local hospitality industry, including Charles Drury, Robert Bray, Bob O’Loughlin, and Kim Tucci. Their remarks were consistent: the St. Louis region has a lot to offer tourists and business travelers, but we can do a whole lot better at selling ourselves and providing a great experience for visitors.

Flowers for Downtown

I like Charlie Brennan’s style. He is not the kind of person to sit around and just complain about things. He acts. Charlie believes — and I agree with him — that one element missing from our downtown is . . . a little color.

A World-Class Riverfront

The directors of the Great Rivers Greenway District will meet tonight to announce the team that will spend the next year creating a Master Plan for the Downtown Riverfront. A dozen teams, composed of great firms from St. Louis and from across the nation, submitted responses to a Request for Qualifications.

Our Competition

Our competition has shifted once again. Before we had even grown comfortable competing against cities, we find ourselves competing against the "mega-regional" economies of the Southwest and Southeast.

Doctors, Teachers, Poets, Firefighters ...

United Press International photographer Bill Greenblatt captured this moment after yesterday’s State of the City speech. I see kids who could be doctors, teachers, poets, firefighters, lawyers — and mayors.

Making History

Today in history, the 1916 Easter Rising collapsed in Dublin — an event now remembered by the Irish as an important step toward their independence from Great Britain. Here in St. Louis, we observe a different sort of history. April 29, 2005, is officially USS Hazelwood Reunion Day, Bill Cordes Memorial Day, and St. Louis Community Education Day — remembrances permanently recorded in City records by my proclamation.

A Snapshot of Our Economy

In preparation for tomorrow’s State of the City speech, I asked the researchers to put together a snap-shot of our economy. Here are some interesting facts about the City of St. Louis.

Sports Commission Receives Honor

We need to share our great City with more people. Frank Viverito and St. Louis Sports Commission are certainly doing their part. The Sports Commission has been chosen as the National Association of Sports Commissions’ (NASC) 2005 Member of the Year. They deserve it.

Putting More Police on the Street

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment has agreed with my plan to put an additional 42 police officers on the streets — replacing officers who retire or resign next year. Because of its tight budget, the Police Department had not planned to replace those officers.

Past Blog Posts

Browse below to view posts from previous years.