Public Safety Director's Spotlight - Feb. 11, 2011

Important vote facing our city; enjoy fun activities this weekend

February 11, 2011 | 4 min reading time

For those of you who are active in your neighborhood association, you are probably aware that Mayor Francis G. Slay will be attending as many neighborhood and business association meetings as he can in the upcoming weeks to talk with you about the importance of retaining the City’s 1% earnings tax.  Just this week alone the Mayor was scheduled to meet with the Old North Restoration Group, the Lafayette Square Business Association, the Dutchtown West Neighborhood Association, and with seniors at the Bevo Area Community Improvement Corporation Senior Center, the Southside Wellness Center and the Little Sisters of the Poor Senior Center.  I encourage you to attend your neighborhood meeting to hear for yourself Mayor Slay’s presentation of the case for keeping the tax in place for at least the next five years.

However, I want to take a moment here to share my perspective on this issue from a public safety standpoint.  The 1% earnings tax brings in roughly $140 million a year, which is about one-third of the City’s annual revenue.  In round figures, the total annual budget for the Department of Public Safety is $110 million.  If you figure in the Police Department and Police Retirement System, it’s $250 million.  Eliminating the earnings tax, without a reliable and equitable substitute revenue generator in its place, would be catastrophic for our city and for the public’s safety.  A “no” vote on Prop E on Tuesday, April 5 would phase out the tax over the next 10 years, cutting it by 10% or $14 million a year.  The City would be forced to make massive cuts to public safety services.  The consequences of that would be dire.

In the weeks to come, you’ll be hearing more about this important vote facing our city.  I encourage you to make sure your voice is heard on April 5.

Moving on to a more lighthearted subject, there are a number of fun events planned for the weekend, and I’ve highlighted a few below.  These activities offer an opportunity to have fun with family or friends, to explore neighborhoods new to you, and to make new acquaintances.  See you in the neighborhood!

Board Game Fun

Have you heard about the St. Louis Board Game Meetup Group?  The group is dedicated to playing board games and card games and having fun.  Everyone is welcome to join in.  On the 2nd Friday of every month, a Board Game Meetup takes place at Urban Eats, 3301 Meramec in the Dutchtown neighborhood.  Play will begin at 6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 11, and the café will be open until Midnight.  Game choices will depend on who brings what.  If you want to play something specific, just bring it with you, or request it on the Message Board.  To RSVP, sign up at http://www.meetup.com/St-Louis-Board-Games/events/16064052/.

Black History Month Readings

Every Saturday during the month of February, Black History Month Children’s Readings will take place at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the Museum of Westward Expansion under the Gateway Arch.  For a complete schedule, visit http://www.nps.gove/jeff/planyourvisit/events.htm.

Mardi Gras in St. Louis

The Mardi Gras activity for this weekend is the U.S. Cellular Family Winter Carnival that will take place on Saturday, Feb. 12 in Soulard Market Park, 8th and Lafayette.  The family-friendly day of winter fun – Mardi Gras style – will run from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will include performances, arts & crafts and a children’s parade.  For all the details, visit http://www.stlmardigras.org/events/us-cellular-family-winter-carnival/.

Winter Farmer’s Market

Missing your regular Saturday morning visit to the Farmer’s Market?  This Saturday, Feb. 12 there is scheduled to be a Winter Farmer’s Market at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 3664 Arsenal Street, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  Approximately 15 to 23 vendors will be on hand selling everything from spinach, lettuce, figs (grown in local greenhouses), meats, cheeses, jams, breads, eggs, and more.

St. Louis Boat & Sports Show

The annual St. Louis Boat & Sports Show sails back into America’s Center from Wednesday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 13.  While many St. Louisans look forward to seeing the latest in recreational watercraft, the show also includes sporting competitions (e.g., dock dogs, bow hunting, casting, turkey calling, and owl hooting), seminars to improve your boating and outdoor skills, and on Saturday and Sunday you can stop by the Adopt-A-Dog Center and perhaps find a new canine companion.  For more information, visit http://www.stlouisboatshow.com/.

Happy Birthday, St. Louis!

The City of St. Louis will celebrate the 247th anniversary of its founding on Monday, Feb. 14.  To mark the occasion, the French Society of St. Louis will hold its annual Wreath Laying Ceremony at 11 a.m. on Monday at the statue of Pierre Laclede, just off Market Street, between City Hall and the old Municipal Courts Building.

NIXLE

Have you signed up for free Nixle service yet?  The Department of Public Safety’s City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA) provides free emergency alert service through http://www.Nixle.com/.  When you sign up, you will receive our informative and timely text messages on your cell phone and/or as e-mails on your computer.  I invite you to visit the Nixle webpage and sign up for the service today.  If you have any comments about the service, please let me know.

Having an event in your neighborhood that we can support?  Either e-mail the information about it to me at brysonc@stlouiscity.comor to Cathy Smentkowski at smentkowskic@stlouiscity.com.

And remember, if you see something in the neighborhood that just doesn’t look right, REPORT IT!

Charles Bryson
Director of Public Safety
City of St. Louis

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