Wednesday, October 22, 2003

Although a lot can happen between now and November 2004, Missouri Democrat women appear poised to take a number of high-level positions.

Robin Carnahan is running for Secretary of State. The name certainly can't hurt, and she's arguably the most visible and talented of the Carnahan children. The family of course is from Rolla, but the children now live in St. Louis, Russ a state representative and Tom a real estate developer.

In the wake of a citizen draft campaign, State Auditor Claire McCaskill has announced her candidacy for Governor. Although some might argue that this is a foolish challenge to fellow Democrat, Governor Bob Holden, the reality is that the distinctly uncharismatic Holden is very vulnerable to any challenger. Claire would be way more effective in taking on the Republican candidate, Matt Blunt, the current Secretary of State and son of Roy Blunt, US Representative from the GOP stronghold of Missouri, the Bible-belt southwest region including Springfield and Branson.

Claire McCaskill has been very politically astute, in running for (and winning) offices that tend to be popular with the citizenry. She was Jackson County prosecutor, then State Auditor. Both are positions that most people see as fighting to protect their interests, whether it's fighting crime or fighting government waste. She is from a political family as well, primarily based in the Columbia, MO area.

And State Treasurer Nancy Farmer, one-time state representative, and executive director of the Skinker-DeBaliviere Community Council, is making a bid for U.S. Senate, running against Kit Bond.

Interesting times, with the potential to greatly raise the profile of women in Missouri's Democratic Party.

So, maybe we can get a better candidate for the 3rd District US Representative seat?

Tuesday, October 07, 2003

What a day -

California Recall election - I won't predict the results, but it's scary to think Arnold Schwarzenegger might just win - assuming Gray Davis is recalled. Quite an interesting ride ahead for that state, whatever happens.

Meanwhile, there was also a vote to strike by UFCW Local 655 in St. Louis. This means dramatically reduced hours at Schnucks, Shop N Save and Dierbergs markets.

UFCW Local 655 has a list of other union grocers in St. Louis where you can shop. They include Straub's and Foodland Warehouse Foods, at Jefferson and Lafayette and 6155 S. Grand at Iron St.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

Some fast facts about the City of Saint Louis, MO.


Census 2000 Population: 348,189

American Community Survey 2002 Estimated Population: 327,820.
(estimate excludes "institutions, college dormitories, and other group quarters". Those groups accounted for 10,632 St. Louisans in Census 2000).

So, to compare apples to apples:

Census 2000 Population in Households: 337,557

ACS 2002 Estimated Population: 327,820 (repeated for clarity)

That suggests a decline of about 10 thousand people living in households, or just under 3%.

This is only an estimate, and estimates are often way off. But it does remind us that the City population is probably still declining.

More data about the City (this again from Census 2000):

Racial composition:

51% African-American
44% Caucasian
2% Hispanic-Latino (although not a 'race' in Census terms)
2% Asian-American
2% Two-or-more races


25% of the population lives in poverty.

According to the 2002 ACS, the percent of the population could now be between 20% and 28%. Of course, this is a crude calculation I made, based on the 'high' and 'low' estimates of total population and total population in poverty.

But to be sure, there are at least 60,000, and perhaps as many as 90,000, St. Louisans living in poverty by Census estimates. Other sources may be more exact.


Census 2000 also shows a large number of City residents live with disabilities.

25% of the population lives with at least one disabling condition.
In the population aged 65-and-up, that proportion jumps to 49%.


83% of all housing units are occupied.

80% of all housing units were built prior to 1960.

49% of all housing units were built prior to 1940.

While many of us think of historic housing as our greatest asset, it may be distressing to realize that 31% of the City's housing units, nearly 54,000 units, were built in the 1940s and 1950s. These are the same kinds of houses that are slowly decaying in many inner-ring suburbs; is the same true here? Unquestionably, we need to preserve as much of our historic fabric as possible. But one must wonder what we will do about aging housing stock that doesn't qualify as historic, such as those tiny bungalows spread around South St. Louis. They are to the point they need new roofs, plumbing, electrical, etc.

40% of all housing units are single-family, detached houses.

47% of all housing units are owner-occupied. (So, there are still at least

63% of owner-occupied houses have mortgages.

21% of those mortgaged, owner-occupied houses have 'owner costs' (mainly the mortgage payment) of over 30% of monthly income.

We tend to think of City housing as affordable, but this data suggests that at least 10,000 homeowners pay more than they should (by HUD standards) on a monthly basis for their homes.

Of course, this is not as bad as renters' situations, where 40%, more than 40,000 households, pay more than 30% of their monthly income in rent. Nevertheless, it does show that even in a comparatively affordable housing market like the City of St. Louis, some homeowners will struggle to pay for other needs in addition to housing.