In our November 2021 meeting we had President of the Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed talk about ward redistricting, and 2022 Board elections.

You can watch this meeting on YouTube and listen to it wherever you get your podcasts.

16 November 2021 / 6:45 PM / Location: ZOOM (bit.ly/FPSENAZoom)

Minute 02:50 Meeting Called to Order (Dan Doelling)

  • Reviewed Ground Rules and changes to the Agenda

Minute 04:12 Ward Redistricting Introduction (Dan Doelling)

  • 2021 is a redistricting year for the city of St. Louis, the goal of which is to ensure equal representation in our local law-making body, the Board of Alderman.  This year, St. Louis is reducing the number of wards from 28 to 14.  New ward boundaries must be drawn by December 31st.  Ideally, Wards will be “compact, contiguous, and equal in population size.”  Share your opinions at https://www.stlouis-mo.gov/aldermen/redistricting/

Minute 06:06 Ward Redistricting (President of the Board of Alderman Lewis Reed)

  • Discussed the rationale for community engagement, and the value of considering the impact of redistricting on neighbors.  
    • Regarding the example of FPSENA’s recent extension of boundaries to include Kings Oak residents, Alderman Reed acknowledged that some residents of Kings Oak may prefer to be in the same ward as FPSE
  • Discussed the relevance of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.  While redistricting is a state function, there are federal guidelines, such as “1 person 1 vote.” Redistricting must not involve gerrymandering.
  • Reviewed the current draft of the redistricting map:
    • Discussed rationale of keeping neighborhoods together, meeting federal guidelines, within a standard deviation of +/- 5%
    • Alders reviewed input from residents, elected officials, community leaders, and are seeking further input on the current draft
    • Gerrymandering can involve: 
      • “cracking” (example: breaking up minority populations to prevent them from coalescing to elect a  person of their choice)
      • “packing” or “stacking” (example: to wall off a minority group into a concentrated area so they can only affect a limited number of district in a city)
    • Redistricting of St. Louis must take into consideration the legacy of structural racism and the “Delmar Divide.”  
      • In the current draft, Ward E will include Forest Park and the neighborhoods of Skinker / Debaliviere, West End, Academy, Fountain Park, and Lewis Place. This may allow resources to be shared beyond the central corridor.  
      • Wards E, D, and A will intentionally cross the Delmar Divide.  
      • Reviewed polarity map and discussed redistricting’s impact on racial minorities and the difficulty of creating “minority preference districts.”  Current draft includes 7 minority preference districts, for the first time in the history of STL (including Wards L, H, E, and northside wards)
    • 19:13 Regarding the possibility of keeping Downtown, Downtown West, and Midtown in a single contiguous Ward, the rationale for the current draft is to prevent the “packing” of predominantly Black neighborhoods on the northside
    • 20:35 Compactness is a “soft standard.”  Ward B includes a long narrow area with low population.  Courts have found that if Wards follow natural geographic shapes, leniency regarding compactness may be justified. 
    • 26:49 Brian Adler discussed concerns about negative population deviation and the possibility of northside neighborhoods losing population, and falling out of compliance, before next census 
    • 30:38 Sarah Kogan discussed rationale for Kings Oak’s inclusion in Ward F

41:14 Community Updates (Dan Doelling)

  • Lux Living’s demolition permit was denied by Cultural Resource Office; Lux Living is expected to appeal to the Preservation Board in December.  Public comment is welcomed at the meeting.  
    • FPSENA has not received a traffic study or updated renderings.
    • FPSENA comments were passed on to Alderwoman Pihl.
  • Community engagement meeting tomorrow regarding Narwhal’s and Loaded https://www.forestparksoutheast.com/community-engagement-meeting-on-the-triangle/

44:47 FPSENA Board Elections (Dan Doelling)

  • Elections for 2022 FPSENA Board positions were conducted.  
  • Voting is limited dues-paying members (membership is pay what you can). 
  • Payment can be check, cash or CashApp: cash.app/$FPSENA
  • 54:35 FPSENA 2022 Board Election Outcome:
    • President: Dan Doelling
    • Vice President: Michael Browning
    • Secretary: Aaron Bisch
    • Treasurer: Rachel Siegel
    • Member-At-Large: JC Fick

17th Ward Updates 

56:09 Neighborhood Improvement (Ron Coleman, NI Specialist)

58:48 Safety & Security (summary by Doelling, via Officer Walker, Police Liason)  

  • Protect your catalytic converter with an anti-theft mechanism
  • Don’t leave things in your car (esp. valuables/guns) due to theft risk
  • Report abandoned vehicles to 314-444-0107 or ncwalker@slmpd.org

01:01:58 FPSENA Treasurer’s Report (Michael Browning): $1602.67 ending budget

  • Seeking assistance with fundraising for 2022

01:03:37 17th Ward Alderwoman Update (Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl)

  • Reviewed how alder salary will change with redistricting
  • Streets Traffic and Refuse Committee: 1) traffic and speed bump requests will be studied by Streets Department, 2) investigating the City Tow Lot ethics, 3) Recycling may be restored in December
  • Parks and Environment Committee: 1) investigating park security options, 2) Oakland Ave’s Turtle Park has reopened with new equipment!
  • Share feedback on November 17th 6:30 at Space Architecture, 4168 Manchester, regarding future of “The Triangle” and Narwhal’s
  • Street repaving was completed on Boyle Ave (from Papin to Vandeventer) and Newstead Ave (from Forest Parkway and Lindell) 
  • Expect a spring dedication of the new Chouteau Park basketball court
  • Lux Living is going to address concerns about the entrance/exit of the proposed Kingshighway Development and is consulting Streets Department 

01:03:37 Closing Comments (Dan Doelling)

  • No December meeting!  Next FPSENA is January 18th, 2022
  • Let us know what topics we should explore in 2022!

You can download a PDF of minutes below.

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You can listen to November’s meeting below.