Face-Off for Mayor

The candidates in STL’s Democratic mayoral primary go head-to-head on the citys toughest issues.

 

MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY

“I like what I do, and I think I’m good at it. The job plays to my strengths: I work with partners, I build great teams, I store favors against the day I need them, I work hard every day, my word is good, my temperament is even and I pay attention to the details.”

STL’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE
“We need to focus—and we need to measure our success,” says Slay of key issues such as quality of education and crime. According to Slay, measureable progress has been made in making neighborhoods safer during his time in government. FBI reports show that crime has gone down, and initiatives such as hotspot policing resulted in a 50 percent crime reduction. But, he says, the rest of city government still has work to do. Slay believes St. Louis needs more ideas, more funding, more partners and more successes like his Mayor’s Commission on Children, Youth and Families. “We convene advocates to prioritize initiatives to improve the lives of children,” he says. “The agencies, nonprofits and partners in the Mayor’s Commission have reduced the number of children forced into foster care. Child abuse rates have also gone down.”

A BRIGHTER FUTURE
Slay cites the Great Rivers Greenway, a local trail development organization. “More than 100 miles of greenways have already been built and many more are in various stages of planning,” he says. Also, the CityArchRiver (CAR): “CAR will reconnect our city to the river and, maybe for the first time since the fur trade left, give us a real riverfront,” he says.

ATTRACTING & RETAINING YOUNG PEOPLE
Slay says that St. Louis has one of the fastest growing young college-educated populations in the country, but he still feels that “we need less smoke, less trash, less red tape, and fewer municipalities and wards. We need better school choices, more good jobs, more good places to live, more curb cuts and accessible public spaces. We need to be more tolerant of differences than any other part of our state. We need to treat litterers, alley dumpers, animal abusers, vandals and bad absentee landlords to swifter justice.”

BEST OUTSIDE-THE-BOX SOLUTION
No matter how novel the idea may be, Slay believes that government alone cannot solve all the issues a city faces. “What solves complex problems are partnerships,” he says. His examples include working with the St. Patrick Center, Salvation Army and Peter & Paul, which provide housing and services to address mental illness, addiction and developmental disabilities. For more info on Slay’s stance on the issues, visit mayorslay.com

ALDERMAN LEWIS REED

“I decided to run for mayor of St. Louis because I had to. It’s time to start moving forward. This mayor has had 12 years to see his programs through. We need a change in leadership.”

STL’S BIGGEST CHALLENGE
Reed first answers public safety, then education. He considers his answer and flips the order. Programs and initiatives around education, he believes, preclude concerns with public safety. “A lot of the issues with our crime rate are due, in part, to a shrinking population,” he says. “In the last census, we lost 29,000 people. We need a more robust school system, or we will lose more population.” Reed says he intends to address community services that focus on issues like transportation, health care and career support. He believes that many community-supported initiatives exist and can be better organized and wrapped around schools to strengthen free education. He is not as excited about charter schools, and instead would like to see more investment in the public school system. Reed would also like to see an initiative to make preschool mandatory. “Studies have shown that kids who go to preschool have a better chance of graduating,” he says.

A BRIGHTER FUTURE
“Although the city of St. Louis has all of the natural tools to make it one of the great cities in America, such as history, architecture, parks, universities, a river and great people, for the last 12 years, our city has languished due to poor direction and leadership at the CEO level. I anticipate that changing March 5, 2013,” says Reed.

ATTRACTING & RETAINING YOUNG PEOPLE
“We are simply not doing enough to keep our highly educated young people here,” says Reed, who believes St. Louis needs to do more to promote itself. He cites Bike St. Louis, an initiative he had a hand in creating, as an example of something that young, urban-minded people would be attracted to. “We need to make sure that our city is doing everything we can to retain green and tech jobs also,” Reed says. “That means investing in broadband and other infrastructure. We have to compete for the jobs of the future.”

BEST OUTSIDE-THE-BOX SOLUTION
Reed says that what needs to happen for novelty is new leadership. “The current administration seems to live in their little world where everything is cozy and comfortable for all of our citizens, but in reality it is not. We have released full details on our agenda, which will offer some unique approaches centered on technology,” he says. For more info on Reed’s stance on the issues, visit lewisreed.com.

REVEREND JIMMIE MATTHEWS

Jimmie Matthews has held virtually every job possible within St. Louis city government. He has been a school teacher, airport employee and an alderman of the 27th ward. “The only job I haven’t had yet is mayor and governor,” he says. Matthews is currently the reverend of Riverview Boulevard Baptist Church. His reasons for running for mayor include a promise he made to his 16-year-old grandson, who has political aspirations. “He told me that if I run for mayor of St. Louis, then he would run for governor of Texas,” he says. Matthews also feels as though too many groups, like the homeless, are marginalized in St. Louis politics. He believes his faith instructs him to stand up for those who are not represented fairly.

 

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Mayor Francis Slay

Mayor Francis Slay

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Alderman Lewis Reed

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Reverend Jimmie Matthews

Reverend Jimmie Matthews

 

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