WEST PINE LACLEDE NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATION
President Harold Karabell called the meeting to order at 7:05 pm. via Zoom.
Attending were: Harold Karabell, Karen Karabell, Terry Werner, Lea Koesterer, Diana Gualdoni, Barbara Brown, Lorraine Simpson, Marshall Michener, Sue Nauert, Paul Nauert, Terry Van Schaik, Sue Aman, Sharon Olwig, Jeff Miner, Yusef Scoggin, Tyson Pruitt, Charles Lehman, Leslye Yancy
Special guests: Comptroller Darlene Green, Aldermanic candidates Tina “Sweet T” Pihl and her staffer Kaleena Menke, Michelle Sherrod, and Don De Vivo. Also attending was Jim Whyte from the CWE Neighborhood Security Initiative.
The normal order of business was suspended in light of the number of guests attending.
Harold Karabell expressed the neighborhood’s appreciation for our long-time alderman Joe Roddy who will not be running for re-election. Mr. Roddy was unable to attend this evening.
DARLENE GREEN: Candidate for Comptroller
Ms. Green is running unopposed for re-election as Comptroller of the City of St. Louis. She explained that she serves as the Chief Fiscal Officer of the city, is a member of the executive branch of city government, serving (along with the Mayor and the chairman of the Board of Aldermen) on the Board of Estimate and Apportionment. Her office assists in the city’s daily financial operations and development strategies. She referenced the budgetary challenges presented by the pandemic, her programs for youths and her opposition to Airport privatization.
For more information on the Comptroller office see:
TINA “SWEET T” PIHL: Candidate for 17th Ward Alderwoman
Guiding principles: Accountability, Community, Equity (ACE). She sees herself as a connector or bridge with a goal to help the underserved. Has a background in ministry and community organizations such as Neighborhoods United for Change, and served as president of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association. Her priorities include accountability, community, safety and security, education, school funding and transportation.
For more information, please see her website: https://tinasweettpihl.com
MICHELLE SHERROD: Candidate for 17th Ward Alderwoman
Experience includes 30 years as CPA, 20 years as a licensed attorney, 20 years with Claire McCaskill, 8 years in Jefferson City, many years as a small business owner and a nonprofit leader.
She proposes city-wide planning for criminal justice reform, increased transparency, quality education and housing, and spurring economic development.
For more information, please see her website: https://www.michelleforstlouis.com
DON DE VIVO: Candidate for 17th Ward Alderman
Experience as a land-owner, realtor and developer. Says the city is mismanaged and needs a new plan. Favors a new Community Benefits Agreement. Believes the area needs to develop a new home improvement plan rather than the current practice of focusing on enforcement. Due to passing of Proposition D, it is important to increase voter turnout.
JIM WHYTE: Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative
Mr. Whyte provided a powerpoint presentation crafted for our district (bounded by Lindell, Taylor, Vandeventer and Forest Park Avenue) regarding crime data, incidents and approaches to address crime, a copy of which is attached at the end of the minutes.
He pointed out the challenges from the pandemic last year which has had an impact all aspects of our criminal justice system: the police, the jails and the courts.
Of particular concern to our membership is the spike in carjackings, usually by juveniles and often with guns. Missouri is in a unique position regarding this group because our state legislature has not addressed juvenile separately from adult offenders, giving all the same rights. The local Juvenile Gun Court has been dissolved because they cannot be charged. He supports finding a way to get to at-risk youth early enough to help them. Too often they are not taken to Juvenile Court which can be unfortunate because it is through the court that juveniles can be referred to the services which might help them. As a result he is seeing many offenders who are released only to repeat their crimes. He supports efforts to seek legislative fixes to existing gun laws.
He said that 2020 showed a 7.2% increase in vehicle thefts while noting that 50% of these thefts are due to cars being left running or with the key fob being left inside the car.
Video surveillance systems have helped solve many crimes in our area. Our SBD is unique in its investment in video surveillance and serves as a model for other communities. Additional cameras and improvements to existing cameras are part of 2021 NSI’s crime approach plan.
Complicating the issue is St. Louis’ shortage of police officers. Rather than hiring officers, the city is relying on overtime from existing staff. The city needs additional police officers.
Regarding the recent double homicide on Laclede near Sarah, this was not a random shooting. It was a targeted shooting. But, while the shooting itself was not random, the location itself was. It is the neighborhood’s misfortune that the events took place on the 4000 block of Laclede. Investigators continue to survey video images, follow up on tips, work with physical evidence and continue to get new leads. Also a significant reward has been offered for information leading to arrest and conviction
After some questions and discussion, it was suggested that we would benefit from a series of tips and/or discussions on how to protect ourselves and our neighborhood. Perhaps an NSI-wide recurring brief crime meeting by Zoom, could focus on one situation and how best to react/defuse and whom to contact to report it.
Due to the length of this meeting, the regular business portion of our agenda was deferred to a future meeting.
The meeting adjourned at 8:40 p.m.
Diana Gualdoni, Secretary