Friday, April 28, 2006

Urban Review Critiques Mayor

We at the Mayor's Office are pleased that we have been featured on noted urban critic Steve Patterson's blog Urban Review. While Patterson posits that my favorable review of the new QuikTrip location on Gravois may have been "bought" with cold beverages, he is pleased with the work we are doing in Affton. Patterson usually has sharp and pointed criticism for developments in St. Louis. After reading his review of my Affton blog, I'm now sure that he is also a man of sharp wit. Keep at it Patterson & Co. You may someday receive a Proclamation of Honorary Citizenship from this office.

I'd also like to remind you, Afftonians, that Monday night is the second round of review sessions for the St. Louis County Strategic Plan. Will you get a Community Pool? Will you get Metrolink? Will you be able to afford your house? Come find out!!

I will see you at Oakville Senior High at 7PM.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Cor Jesu got 4 acres with a 99 year lease. I incorrectly reported this as 10 acres.

The Power of the Prayer Hotline

My run for office began AFTER the biggest land coup in recent Affton history was underway...that of the sale of 94 acres of rolling farm land owned by Andrew Busch (yes, Busch like "Anheuser") next to Grant's Farm and Cor Jesu Academy. You can catch up on the story in the Post or the Journal.

Anyway, after several all-school assemblies, mass demonstrations at the St. Louis County Council meeting and countless hours emailing the Prayer Hotline, I'm pleased to announce (before it's in the Journal) that Cor Jesu has reached a deal with the developers. The unflappable Sr. Sheila has apparently been able to purchase 10 acres next to the school for future development. I have not seen this published anywhere yet, but the First Lady of Affton is an alumna of the school and received an email with the announcement.

I'm happy they worked things out as it's likely that the Mayor will be paying for the First Daughter to go there in about 12 years.

Ditch Your Date with Ryan Seacrest and Hit the Trails!

Thank you all for your comments. Keep them coming!

The weather has been beautiful lately and your Mayor was out on the bicycle last night trying out the new bridge that crosses River Des Peres between Morganford & Loughborough. It's nice! (Pictured.) I know this is not my jurisdiction, but I need to keep tabs on our neighbors to maintain my visionary regional perspective on things.

Need I remind you, Afftonians of the hidden gem of Grant's Trail? This path is easily one of our biggest assets. It is a great 6 mile sojourn through some of our most beautiful areas on an old railroad spur. Currently, it's an island, but if Trailnet andCrestwood can get their act together, this ultimately will connect to the bike path system being implemented by the Great Rivers Greenway. Check out the link if you have never heard of it.

Trailnet and Great Rivers plan to connect the path to the riverfront trail downtown. Crestwood (currently broke) is supposed to pick up part of the completion of the trail into Kirkwood. (The plan is to extend the trail from Pardee Road, over Sappington and north over the old train bridge over Hwy. 44. (Shown in dots on the map at left.)

Regardless of Crestwood's fiscal health, YOUR health is of vital importance! Healthy bodies make active, VOTING bodies. For the love of all things holy, turn off "American Idol" and get your butt some exercise!

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Teleportation of QuikTrip

By what manner of wizardry did the QuikTrip move several blocks west from its location at Gravois and Siebert? It was before my time, but another Afftonian says that they fought very hard to get the "wedge" corner at Gravois & Siebert. Perhaps they wanted to move closer to Phil's Bar-B-Q, and who could blame them?! My source tells me that the old location ended up being a bad layout and when the new parcel became available they jumped at the chance to get more space. As you can see in the second photo, the new layout is nice and spacious such as you normally see at their other locations.

I'm happy to report that they have been good corporate neighbors and dug up their storage tanks and filled in the holes in the ground. The parcel is now for sale.

My Other Car Is a Roll-Off Dumpster

The Mayor is recovering from a long Easter holiday of manual labor. I spent the weekend tearing two huge decks off my house in preparation for a new patio design. As a result, I had an "unsightly" 20-yard dumpster in my driveway for about a week. (Similar to photo.) We got a lot of perplexed stares from the neighbors, but nobody complained. Nor should they. I think that such dumpsters should become a status symbol. Nothing says "I'm going to spend a crapload of money improving my home" like a giant trash dumpster in your yard! This is how it's been in the City for the last 8 or 10 years. I know this type of work is not for everyone, but with all the refinancing going on lately, can't we make an effort? As Mayor, I advise you to NOT take an expensive vacation with that equity! Invest in your homes and make everyday your vacation!

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

On the Subject of Immigration

There has been much talk and lots of upset people in the news lately regarding the proposed changes in immigration laws. I believe that most Afftonians support this tightening of the US borders as old people generally are A) afraid of strangers and B) afraid of foreigners.

Your Mayor takes the following stance: I support criminalizing those who enter the country illegally. By the very nature of "illegals" (being in the US without proper papers) they are in violation of law. (Duh...illegal). While most immigrants do often menial jobs that a lot of Americans won't, I don't think there's any guarantee of a job, nor do the economics of the situation make it OK. I don't sympathize with families who are broken up in the flight to the US. They made that choice.

Your Mayor traveled extensively in his life however, loves to meet people from other lands, and supports a very liberal immigration policy on the whole. To those who oppose this, I offer travel photos of places like western Kansas where there is so much damn space with nothing there but sunflowers. Clearly this land is very useable for a community. Although it is land out of my jurisdiction, I think that fans of sunflowers or sunflower seeds are the only potential opposition. In the event of a shortage of the snack, I propose that people switch to Big League Chew which also comes in a pouch and is fun to eat and involves less spitting in public. Although the gum does not yet come in Jalapeno or Ranch flavors, I'm sure we could work it out. In fact, it's probably as inevitable as Diet Coke with Bacon.

Anyway, my experiences with local immigrants have ALWAYS been positive. Affton is home to a growing population of Bosnians that are climbing the economic ladder. As a result, they are investing in local real estate, pimping their rides and spending money locally. My only complaint is that their voter turnout is very, very low. I think that if we can overcome our fear of them and welcome them to Affton, they will begin to creep out of their shells and get involved in civics, PTA meetings and the planning of the Affton Days festival.

It's Good to Be the Mayor--One Week of Progress

Well, it seems that my little cyber-Affton is catching on. Reading this column qualifies you as an astute citizen of Affton and the surrounding areas. Sure, I'm not as popular as some other St. Louis area blogs like Urban Review or Urban STL, but they are for the masses. I only want readership from my 20,000 or so closest neighbors.

I need to borrow the First Lady's camera again, but I have definitive proof that my campaign gained some attention. El Maguey, the Mexican restaurant about which I posted previously, has just installed Malibu Lights in the front garden. As you'll recall, on another previous post, I indicated how these lights show that you care enough about your property to dump $60 bucks or so on some crappy low-voltage lighting. Clearly an investment in Affton's real estate future! (I really do appreciate people putting time and investment into their yards, but lightening bugs make brighter lights than Malibu lights...I just don't see the point.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

The Multiplier Effect

Your Mayor does not have much of a sweet tooth, but I'm certainly not eating any Nestle products for awhile. At the turn of the year one of the biggest coups in Affton was the closing of the Nestle plant at Heege and New Hampshire. There were almost 300 workers in the plant. Even though the Swiss-based candy maker is the largest and the USA portion alone made about $12.5 billion in sales for 2004, they decided to move operations overseas to fatten their bottom line.

In their wake are properties lying vacant in St. Louis City and over 15 acres worth of facilities in Affton. These are being offered for sale by CB Richard Ellis. The much bigger deal is that the 2500 student Affton School District will lose out on the $300,000 in tax revenue generated by the plant per year. Here's link to the full story.

Apparently too much candy will make you sick to your stomach.

Putting the "Tower" in Tower Tee

Since I'm not originally from Affton, I really enjoy digging up the history of the area. (Or at least putting together my own version of what I THINK is the history.) Take the popular, and newly remodled attraction called Tower Tee at 6727 Heege Road (see photo.) This sits on 27+ acres of land on our western border with Marlborough. In my research, I learned that the land they are on is actually owned by KSDK (Channel 5) and has been since 1968. They also own the adjoining property to the west (former site of the Mackenzie Pool and the First Lady's girlhood swim team) for a total of over 42 acres of ownership in Affton. Although I'm fairly well aquainted with weather guru Mike Roberts from work, I'm not a big fan of Channel 5's journalism. It's a bit sensationalist for my taste...too many fires. Anyway, my "Ah-hah" moment last night was that I realized that Tower Tee MUST be named so because of the GIANT TV TOWER on the property (shown at left in the photo.) There are three such towers in the area that roughly outline Shrewsbury's borders. Would anyone care to join the Mayor at one of the many heated tees for a round next week?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

It's (un)Official!!

We've won, my Afftonians! Victory is ours! Although the office of Mayor, as some pointed out, is non-existent, I am pleased that about 200 of you have chosen to visit this site and cast your vote of support. With this in mind, I am happy to accept the position you all have helped create as Mayor of Affton. I will continue to post about issues that affect our town and my opinions on various things as they arise. Please bring your issues forth and I promise to bring them to the attention of the powers that be.

While some of our discussions may be folly, there are serious and pressing issues that we residents face. This will be your forum! I will keep you all posted as I infiltrate the ranks of Affton's glad-handers and associations on your behalf. Since there is no lame-duck period, this starts immediately. Thank you again for your support.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Welcome Respite!

Since the bulk of the election results won't be in until later, I took a break and donated some blood. The victory champagne will do the trick tonight!

Remember to vote on your way home!

Election Day Upon Us!

The Future Mayor was up early this morning and still campaigning. Even though I ate a slightly moldy bagel for breakfast and had a stomach ache, I forged ahead.

I arrived on the election scene at Rogers Middle School on Mackenzie Road about 8:30 to cast my ballot. As you can see, some of my supporters were there before me putting up signs!

The second photo is of some of Affton's fine seniors working for the Election Commission. I must report that all went very smoothly, although some of the Election Commissioners were not thrilled that I brought a camera to the polling place. Returns will be coming in this evening and I suspect that a victory will be at hand. Thank you all for your support.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Election Day Tomorrow!

Well I am on pins and needles today as the election approaches. As of yet, I'm still running unopposed, so unless there is a huge last minute write-in campaign, I think victory is assured. Good thing will be good for Affton. Remember to cast your vote tomorrow.

Today's beef is brought to you by the Affton Chamber of Commerce website. While I love the fact that you can drop by the office (behind Sam's Steakhouse on Gravois) and buy a map of Affton for only $1.00, it seems there are better ways to go about improving the area without spending much more money. The site itself looks like it came out of a Fisher-Price box for ages "3 and up".

Now clearly the Chamber's goal is to drive business to the area and improve the chances for existing local businesses to thrive. While many folks might like to do business on the phone, I'd like to know, among other things, why the database for available commercial property (developed by an independent contractor apparently in 2004) is only located "on the Chamber computer". Wasn't the Internet running in 2004? Who sold the Chamber on a database that runs on a 1.44MB floppy disk in 2004? (More importantly, who in the Chamber paid for it?) Perhaps a call to Elliott Davis is in order because YOU, AFFTONIANS, PAID FOR IT!

In fairness, there is a list of commercial properties listed but there are no clickable links, no photos and no links to development incentives for potential buyers. There is no indication as to how old the information is. Most importantly...the page counter has a measly 1061 hits since September 2004. Is this the best we can do? Can't this be database be online and made to look more..."sexy"? I know that web developers are expensive, but sites can be developed that are easily updated by simpletons. At the very least, it would make us look more legit to residents and potential visitors. As part of my myriad reform policies, I call for sweeping changes to the "official" Affton websites. I think the residents should be made aware of more than the Open Luncheons and the "Bunny Hutch" at the Oakland House.