Creve Coeur Voter

Help Wanted

Last year Creve Coeur returned four City Council incumbents to office without a single challenger. This year three incumbents will be on the ballot- Tara Nealey (W-2), Charlotte D'Alfonso (W-3) and Scott Saunders (W-4). While these incumbents have not announced their intentions, CCV believes that all three will file for re-election and will be strongly favored to return.

Tara Nealey was unopposed in 2011 and received 388 votes. Her performance has been steady. Among other things, she took the lead in drafting the deer mitigation ordinance.

Charlotte D'Alfonso defeated incumbent Robert Haddenhorst by a 410-172 count in 2011. She stated her viewpoint and plans in a March 9, 2011 CCV Editorial. Her commitment to transparency and her sensitivity to constituents have highlighted her first term.

Scott Saunders defeated Mel Klearman by 365-218 in 2011 to fill the seat of retiring Council Member Laura Bryant. Saunders outlined his platform and goals in a March 10, 2011 CCV Editorial. He has exhibited great preparation and has made a significant contribution to Council deliberations in his first term.

Ward 1 will have an open seat, as Elizabeth Kistner will complete her five consecutive term limit. The Ward has not had a representative other than Kistner or David Kreuter since the 2006 election. This election presents an opportunity for someone new to come forward. As no potential candidate has announced an intention to seek this office, CCV editor David Caldwell, a resident of Ward 1, is considering filing the papers to be on the ballot.  Mr. Caldwell has not previously held or sought elective office. However, as CCV editor since 2007, Mr. Caldwell has worked to improve the interface between the Council and the residents of Creve Coeur. He has participated in many deliberations of the Council as a citizen spokesman. He has documented positions on many issues coming before the Council on the public record and through editorial comment. He has the following positions on current and potential issues:

-         The residential character of Ladue Road should be affirmed and protected.

-         A new zoning ordinance for the east Olive corridor should be developed which encourages development and provides greater protections for adjoining residential properties than the gradual conversion to General Commercial which is occurring.

-         A "downtown" plan should be adopted which is flexible enough to attract development but not so intense as to create additional traffic problems.

-         Standards for medians, sidewalks, lighting, and landscaping on Olive should be developed and implemented. Any widening of Olive should be for turn lanes, bus stops, and other congestion reducing improvements- not for through traffic lanes.

-         Building codes should include reasonable, common-sense regulations to improve the integration of teardown-rebuild projects into the neighborhood and minimize stormwater problems.

-         Neither new construction nor home improvement projects should be required to install expensive rain gardens; the city should encourage and support (subsidize) the use of rain barrels.

-         No changes should be made to the Comprehensive (Land Use) Plan without full vetting by residents, particularly those in affected areas.

-         The property tax should be eliminated.

-         In the event revenues continue to exceed expenditures, sales taxes or utility taxes should be reduced

-         In the unlikely event that future revenues and cost reduction efforts fall short of a balanced budget, the range of options considered for submission to the voters should include reinstating the property tax, a parks tax, and a hotel tax. Generation of tax revenue should never be used as a rationale for approving retail projects.

-         The $9 million city surplus (reserves) should be reduced by debt reduction (retiring the Millennium Park bonds) and by reducing the unfunded employee pension liability.

-         No Transportation Development Districts (TDD's) should be approved without meeting higher standards (shorter term, lower tax rate, etc.) than those allowed by state law. TDD's should provide guarantees of financing before approval. A provision for denial by voter petition should also be considered

-         Project accounting practices, including "after-action" reporting should be adopted to increase accountability and transparency.

-         Full-service (valet) trash pick-up should be continued city-wide. Leaf and limb services should not be reduced.

-         The golf course and ice rink should be maintained, but the subsidy should not exceed an amount commensurate with resident discounts provided.

-         The city should not pursue building a recreation center

-         Fountain Park should be restored or sold.

-         The landscaping of the I-270 overpass should be transitioned to native species which require much less maintenance cost, with the savings earmarked for park maintenance.

-         The red-light camera program should be discontinued. The effectiveness of recurrent radar enforcement should be reevaluated.

-         The deer mitigation program should be amended to require unanimous concurrence of all property owners within 300 feet of the sponsoring property.

-         The city should not adopt a single family home inspection program.

-         A community foundation should be established for the purpose of fund-raising for public art, historic preservation, and other cultural projects.

Mr. Caldwell welcomes feedback from readers supporting or opposing his potential candidacy, on these issues, and on any matter of interest. He also would like to hear from potential candidates for all Wards. Above all CCV's mission is to "provide timely, useful information and informed commentary about the governance of Creve Coeur."