Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Mayor Interviewed By CNN Radio!

I happened to be walking downtown today and I was approached by Ed McCarthy of CNN. He was here covering the World Series, but it seems the other agenda on all reporters minds is the Talent/McCaskill/Michael J. Fox race for the Senate. I was not asked who I was voting for, but I was asked my opinions of the race. I said that the dirty campaigns sucked and really detracted from any examiniation of the issues and that dirty politics was a crappy way to win anything. I'm not sure what seat Fox is running for but he still is better looking than the quickly aging McCaskill. I would ceratinly not cast votes on looks, but I like Fox in the commercials over her.

Thank god we AREN'T voting on looks! In Affton my choices for County Council are Barbara Fraser and the venerable Kurt Odenwald. Barb is well made up in her ads, but is touching a lot of old people in them and giving me the creeps. Odenwald on the other hand sent me a postcard this week and he has the good sense to be casual in his pics. As incumbent he can afford that. He should however have the printer ramp down the cyan and magenta. On the card, Kurt's skin is as orange as Fr. Biondi's and (as former SLU employee) that also gives me the creeps.

In the interview, I was also asked what I thought the future of politics held. I explained that I foresee a large number of average-Joe citizens, so disgruntled with the current system, and so removed from the "old boys" network of candidates that become engaged. I think that the younger teachers next door or the president of a neighborhood association will start running campaigns and filling in local seats. I think there's going to be a lot more Jessie Venturas, Al Frankens and Ahhh-nold Schwartzeneggers running races and running the states. Maybe there will be more pretend Mayors too.

I also must note the ridiculous Cardinals Fever downtown. There are cameras everywhere! Tents going up, stages being built, money being made. It's great to see. I myself personally am sporting a Scott Spiezio-inspired "naturally red" goatee for the Series. Go Cards!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

We have Much To Discuss

After finally returning to the ACBA meetings, I have some good news for you, my Afftonians! The jobs are in fact returning to the former Nestle plant. 40 of them to be exact and that number is scheduled to grow with time. The Kerry Group of Ireland is moving in. Now originally, I was told that they were a candy company. When I think "Irish" and "Candy" I can only think of whiskey. Alas, they make food additives and not the sweet nectar of my people that makes one dance on tables, get in fights, and procreate. The Mayor's Office, also fellow Irish folk, would like to officially welcome the Kerry Group to town. According to my sources, they are pretty amped up about moving here and would like to employ a number of local folks.

NEW CONTACT INFO: POSTED 11-14-06--Julie Horras is the HR contact for Kerry Group. She is accepting resumes by email and fax at 773-247-4945.

In other news, I was bent on going in there actually and asking what the ACBA's purpose or mission was. Happily, I found out that the UMSL group are planning that for us. Hopefully it will spell a new beginning to the ACBA and a lot of civic action for Affton. These things take time, but I will keep you updated.

We have some volunteer crews out doing home repairs for seniors. If your business has any building materials they can donate, please contact me.

Lakewood Meeting: There was a meeting for the Lakewood neighborhood on 10/9 and attendance was huge. About 125 folks went. While the meeting was planned by the County to hear residents' issues about property and such, the purpose was never really stated to the residents, nor was it published on the County's web site. I was told at the ACBA meeting that it was not published because it was simply a neighborhood meeting and those residents also got flyers in the mail, but I don't see the harm in publishing it. Hell, I didn't know about it until a resident emailed me asking to know what it was all about! What's the worst that could happen...people from outside that neighborhood might become interested in that neighborhood? Hey Charlie Dooley! Please publish those meetings!

Sleeper School: Bayless. This is one school district you rarely hear about. It's a shame too because I wish I had the spirit and spunk of Superintendent Dr. Clancy-May running my first grade school! She seems to have a lot of pioneering programs in her district. To show it off, they are hosting an open house on Wednesday the 25th and would like your attendance. It's in the day between 8am and 1pm, so you can still catch the Cardinals' game. (You were going to blow off work anyway that day.) The High School address is 4530 Weber Road, 63123 and is located on the south west corner of the district campus. Parking is across the street at the Elementary School and along side of the High School (west side of entrance).

VOTE: Please remember to get out there and vote November 7. Wheel out your seniors, young folks, and new americans and prepare to get touchy-feely with the new voting machines.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Waking the Sleeping Dog

As if the Grant's View land deal was not wild enough for our community, I am beginning to hear qualified rumors that Andy Busch may be filing suit against the parties that halted the planned development. I think he has a great case.

The Mayor has been fully in support of the development based on the demand for new housing in the inner ring suburbs, not to mention the huge increase in tax base, economic multipliers as more shoppers shop Affton and, of course, more voters getting involved.

It seems likely to speculate that not only would the County Economic Council be sued, but Grantwood Village, or the Grassroots on Gravois organization also would be sued as they mounted the legal horse to stop the development. Boy, that would really put the Angry Villagers in a pickle! If you thought affording the last lawsuit was going to be expensive, think about this one! You have tangled with someone who has infinite amounts of time and money on his side. No doubt, there is some informal agreement with Busch and the developers to meet again once all this ugliness gets ironed out and Busch gets the land and entitlements in place.

Once this gets going, I'm going to crack a few smooth Busch beers and watch the sparks fly.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Jobs May Return to Affton

After much speculation, it appears that the County Econ. Development folks have courted a suitor for our beloved and very vacant candy plant. From the Suburban Journal:

County sweetens deal to reopen Willy Wonka factory
Steve BirminghamOf the Suburban Journals
Oakville-Mehlville Journal,South County Journal

Veruca Salt would not be pleased, but Willy Wonka's factory in Affton may crank up candy production without her.The St. Louis County Council passed a resolution last week spelling out their intention to issue $10 million in industrial development revenue bonds to help an Irish company purchase the former Nestle USA manufacturing plant at 8021 New Hampshire Ave., in Affton.The plant formerly manufactured Willy Wonka chocolate products, Sweet Tarts and other candies but was closed by Nestle USA, which also closed a factory at 100 Water Street in South St. Louis in 2003. Almost 355 employees were laid off in the closings.The bonds would be issued for Kerry Inc. of Tralee, Ireland, which would reopen the plant to also manufacture sweets. A report on the project from the St. Louis County Economic Council said Kerry would spend $3 million on real estate and $7 million on equipment within the first three years, and bring an estimated 200 new jobs to the area. Kerry also is seeking a 35-percent abatement on real estate and personal property for 10 years and a sales tax exemption on building materials for the project.
Council Chairman Kurt Odenwald, R-5th Dist., said the Affton school and fire districts have already been notified of the proposal. Odenwald said he wanted to do "everything that's necessary to get this company to invest in the plant and get the facility open."Under the plan, revenues from the bond sales would finance the costs of purchasing, constructing and equipping the plant and the bonds would be payable solely from payments, revenues and receipts from the leasing the facility to Kerry.According to the plan the bonds and the interest on them will not be a debt of the county or the state and neither will be financially liable for them.