Your Priorities are My Priorities
Greetings, neighbors! I hope you enjoyined the summer. I have a few updates for you regarding 6th Ward. St. LouisCity's first participatory budgeting (PB) project wrapped up with weeklong voting at roving polling places this April. The three winning projects were neighborhood trash cans, a pilot pedestrian friendly lighting project and money towards a mobile security camera. They will be implemented during the city's 2015 fiscal year which began July 1st. I'm thrilled to report that, at 4% turnout, our project had the highest voter turnout of any other location undertaking PB in the U.S. so far. 58% of our voters were people of color. Anecdotally, I know many of the individuals who participated throughout the process were not those typically involved and I am currently working with WashingtonUniversity and Southern Illinois at Carbondale to formally evaluate our process to determine whether we are on track to meet our goals of inclusion and engagement.
In May, I was honored to be invited to Washington, D.C. for a day to work alongside White House staffers, PB practitioners, community organizers, foundation funders and academics to outline best practices and identify next steps for expanding PB. Having Obama's administration validate the work we've been tackling on the ground by bringing all key players to the table at one place was a huge step forward for determining whether participatory budgeting continues to deliver on its promise of an inclusive government, rebuilt trust and increased civic engagement. I'm proud St. Louis is a part of this very important national conversation.
The TNR (trap, neuter, return) legislation I drafted passed out of the Board of Aldermen and became law in July. The former catch and kill policy was expensive, ineffective and inhumane. The St. Louis City Health Department was educated by volunteer TNR advocates and a pilot partnership was formed. Over the past few years cat euthanasia has been reduced by 83%. Having an ordinance on the books opens up funding opportunities for volunteer groups, makes those caring for cat colonies more likely to come forward and provides an effective means to control the community cat population.
I've been working closely with the police officers charged with supporting the Neighborhood Ownership Model, residents, the City Counselor's Office and our Neighborhood Improvement Specialist to come up with some new strategies to resolve issues at problem and nuisance properties. Please continue to keep me informed of locations in your neighborhood I may need to be made aware of.
The board is recessed until mid-September, but I am around to handle any constituent issues or requests. Please reach out to me if I can be of assistance to you in any way: firstname.lastname@example.org or 314.622.3287.