Paul McKee’s $398,000,000 $390,000,000 TIF passed unanimously at the hearing Wednesday. Let me pause for a moment so you can pretend to be surprised.

I’m still trying to collect my thoughts on the hearing, and on the numerous egregious attempts made that evening to foil residents’ attempts to present their opinions to a TIF Commission that had long since made up its mind. I don’t think that residents even had a chance to change the minds, let alone the votes of the Commissioners. So what they were fighting for, what they were so hell bent on stopping us from doing, was simply the dignity of getting to say one’s tiny 2-minute piece. I felt like shit that I was denied the opportunity to give oral testimony (Those sign up sheets were NOT out there until the specified 7pm, I don’t care what they claim. A friend said she saw them yanked at 6:20, and this is in light of many of us being in line outside a long time after that.)…. But I felt even worse for those who were not able bodied enough to withstand the hours of bullshit we were all put through at City Hall. And for what? Not even for the opportunity to be heard and considered, just for the simple dignity of having the formality of getting to speak. Hell, for the simple dignity of having the relevant laws and procedures followed. What would be so terrifying about that, with the decks stacked so completely against any possibility of a decision in our favor? We know that you will get what you want, and you know it, so why such fervor to dehumanize hundreds of people in the process?

Tom Duda, as always, has excellent analysis: Something Doesn’t Add Up: Why $400 Million for McKee Does Not Equal A Job For Me.

In the mean time, those of you who actually receive city services should start planning for which ones you would like to give up for McKee’s giant TIF. I already do not receive trash service from the city* and my landlady had to install our sidewalk herself and let’s not even talk about the time the 911 operator told me that the street I live on doesn’t exist in the City of St. Louis…. sooo… uhhh…. I guess those of you who don’t live in the fifth ward should pick some city services you get, and we’ll try to think of any we even have and get back to you.

As for working for the city, well…. Word around town suggests that firefighter and police furloughs are likely. We are bleeding schools, with the threats of more closures ever present. I’ve also heard there were big lay-offs in the license collector’s office. And this was pre-TIF. With this massive TIF passed, well…. We’re well on our way to this.

McKee’s financial woes (last paragraph here for more detail) meant no one would lend to him unless he got this TIF, but now we have rescued him. Our public money for his private gain, since he spread himself much too thin rather than sticking to a number of properties he could manage with the money he had. This project seemed deliberately designed for a bailout from the get-go. Our city government, and in turn all of us as residents and taxpayers, are now the ones singing “Brother, can you spare a dime?”

* My block has not received trash removal from the City of St. Louis the entire time I have lived here and yes, it does suck. No dumpster, no rollaways, no nothing.


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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Owners from Benton Park to Baden have to pay 50% of the cost of new sidewalks, and the city picks up the other 50%. If your landlady did it all herself, she was saving herself money.

  2. Hey “neighbor”, you are thinking of the 50/50 sidewalk program, where the owner pays 50% of the cost of a new sidewalk. I lived on the south side for 13 years and had many neighbors who used the program. We northsiders use that program too. The point you are missing is that we aren’t replacing or repairing existing sidewalks up here… we currently don’t have *any* sidewalks on block after block.

  3. The author said that the landlady “had to” replace the sidewalk herself. That’s not true, existing sidewalk or not.

  4. Right, because it is so *nice* to live without a sidewalk! It is awesome to come home in the winter and struggle through the mud to get from the car to the front step. Give it up, everyone agrees that the north side gets less in city services, especially to renters, that is what the Conservation District “exclusion areas” are meant to do by law.


  5. What Barbara said!

    To add to that, many North Siders are so disenfranchised from the power structure so as to not know about things like this, or to assume that they’d be able to take advantage of them. I mean when the alderwoman, the neighborhood stabilization officer, and the head of the refuse department are all aware of our lack of trash service and have been for a long time, and we still don’t have a dumpster, what reason would we have to believe they’d do anything as involved as partnering with us in installing a sidewalk?

  6. Barbara on 19th, you are responding to a comment that I did not make, but I like your spunk. By the way, the African-American aldermen who fought for the exclusion areas were doing so to protect low-income residents from displacement. conservation inspections would push a lot of us out.

  7. I disagree that 1)housing conservation district (HCD)protections will push out low-income residents and 2)alderpeople voted against HCD to protect low-income residents. The occupancy inspections in the single, city-wide conservation district are the single biggest delivery service for lead abatement, and homes in the exclusion areas are denied this service. The exclusion areas map very closely with McKee’s footprint, and the timing of the exclusions maps closely with McKee’s campaign contributions. HCD & Preservation Review protections PROTECT the community. Look at Antonio French getting Pres Review on his Ward as a top priority. Is he somehow a low-income hater now?

  8. Great Blog!……There’s always something here to make me laugh…Keep doing what ya do 🙂

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