Tuesday, November 08, 2005

TODAY: Vote YES on Proposition 1 in the City of St. Louis

TODAY: Vote YES on Proposition 1 in the City of St. Louis

My message today is simple:

Vote YES on Proposition 1 on the November 8th ballot in the City of St. Louis.

This $13 million bond issue will provide funds for major public safety capital improvement projects, including an upgrade for the police, fire and EMS radio system, and for the local match on major Federally-funded infrastructure projects, particularly upgrading the city flood wall.

See my previous post on this topic and a recent post on MayorSlay.com for more.

Alert readers will notice that, yes, between the Introduced version of the bill that proposed this bond issue, and the Truly Agreed To And Finally Passed version, the bit about the streets, bridges, and flood wall was added. Actually, it was the Committee Substitute version where this change was made.

It's a prudent change, because while the radio system would certainly seem like a good investment to most voters, $13 million sounds like a lot for that - especially given that the Feds may be helping out some, at least indirectly.

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), of course, is really pushing for changes to the spectrum licensing process that will ensure more radio bandwidth for public safety agencies. His bill is called the "Save Lives Act."

Admittedly, it does have a downside: McCain is pushing the broadcast industry to give up that same piece of the spectrum. For the average consumer, this means that our good old analog TV sets with rabbit-ears will no longer work. We'll have to buy new TVs, or at least converter boxes. While McCain's bill does include some subsidies for low-income households to buy the converter boxes, it's unclear who would administer such a subsidy program.

Meanwhile, in a recent development, Sen. John Ensign (R-NV) proposed cutting the subsidy for these boxes by 2/3rds.

About the same time, McCain pushed for a new drop-dead date for the changeover: April 7, 2008, one year earlier than previously proposed. Earlier, he had proposed April 7, 2007; so this is a compromise for him.

Anyway, whatever happens on the Fed side, the local operations will need money to upgrade the radio system to the new standards anyway. Likewise, the flood wall improvements are badly needed, as a July report by the Army Corps of Engineers suggested; it got a fair bit of play on TV in September. While the bond issue was proposed well in advance of Hurricane Katrina, the timing probably turns out to have been good for the proposition.

Now, if we could just figure out what to do about better earthquake preparation...

3 comments:

Michael Allen said...

If the McCain-proposed bill becomes law, my last year of watching TV at home will probably be 2007 or 2008. I ain't buying a new TV.

Urban Review - St. Louis said...

I voted in favor of the proposition earlier today. It sounds like the turnout is very low at least at the 25th Ward (precincts 1 & 4).

Joe said...

Where I voted - Ward 20 Precincts 2 & 5 - there were no other voters there at all. That was about 8:30 this morning.

Not surprising, given the 20th usually has the lowest turnout in the city. Probably won't even break 5% there, I suspect.