Thursday, May 6, 2010
I can't wait to ask which WT city official recommended the artist and what the personal relationship is with that artist. And no other bids? Seems very corrupt to me.
Come see for yourself how the Mayor and his (not your) Board of Aldermen are spending the city's dollars. Mark your calendars for the 3rd Thursday each month, 8 pm. That's when the Board has their monthly meeting. Next up, May 20th.
p.s. for those of you who've inquired, Mayor Besmer politely declined my offer to head up a special committee of which I wanted to launch a thorough budget review. I guess Brad and I will have to review the budget on our own, in hopes that what we find will save our city employees' jobs and livelihoods. I'll be updating you on this, stay tuned.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I was 100% prepared to move forward and fully support Mayor Besmer. I had high hopes of working together with him and our other elected officials, the City's Employees, and willing Residents to make Woodson Terrace the best it can be, but not now. Apparently winning the election was not good enough for the mayor; he is now retaliating against people who supported my campaign efforts. Just this morning, one city employee who supported me was terminated. The reason stated: "economic reasons," but it is clear this is retaliation for this employee not supporting him.
Let's do the math... The city has the money to spend nearly $30,000 on a bust of the previous mayor. The city has the money to build a new City Hall. Our city has the money to pay Mayor Lawrence "Butch" Besmer more than double what other mayors in the area are making. So, it is clear to me that "economic reasons" is merely a cover to punish this employee, and possibly others who did not support him.
Oh, I wasn't going to blog about this, but since we're obviously dealing with a person / Administration that has no regard for doing what's right.....you should also know that Mayor Besmer will be receiving a raise this month. Yes, residents, I said a raise, as in a raise in pay for the next four years. The percentage of total dollars and timing is not clear, but I plan to ask about it at the next Board of Aldermen meeting:
April 15, 8 pm.
Woodson Terrace City Hall
Woodson Terrace, MO 63134
During my campaign, many people across our city told me that they wanted to publicly support me but that they were afraid of retaliation by Mayor Besmer. This was told to me by City Employees and Residents alike. I found this very hard to believe, in fact I didn't believe it when I was told of their fears. But based on this morning's actions against one of my supporters, it is obviously true. I also learned during the campaign that City Employees were being told that they would be fired if he did not win. I regretfully did not believe these stories either.
Mayor Besmer, you won the election. Be a good winner and do the right thing --- reinstate the employee in question and make a promise not to retaliate against other employees or citizens. Please make a commitment today that you will do the right thing.
Unbelievable. I can't even believe that I just had to ask our newly reelected official, an employee of the citizens, to not be a bully and not take negative action against our City's Employees and our Residents??! My hands are shaking with anger right now.... is this the Wild Wild West? I mean, where does this really happen? And a bigger question in my mind.....just how long has this type of retaliation been happening? Where did Mayor Besmer learn to be so cruel to good employees and upstanding citizens?
Again I am disappointed I didn't win the election, but I was already moving on to what I can personally do over the next few years to help with progress in our city. But I assure you, I will not stand idly by and let Mayor Besmer bully our residents and public servants.
I hope to see all of you at the Board of Aldermen meeting, this month and every month.
Cc: Mayor Besmer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Woodson Terrace City Hall, c/o Marge Wilson, email@example.com
Phil Sutin, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Scott Bandle, Suburban Journals
Charles Jaco, Fox 2 News
Elliot Davis, Fox 2 News
Andy Banker, Fox 2 News
KSDK News Tips
Michelle Anselmo, KPLR
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
Second, thank you from the bottom of my heart for everyone who came out and voted today. It was certainly a top-runner for record turn-out, and I am humbled to have received 42% of the total votes.
Finally, I encourage you to check back on this blog often. Just because the election is over, that does not mean I will stop my efforts to make our community a Better Woodson Terrace.
Thanks again to everyone who supported our efforts. I am disappointed, but not discouraged.
Your fellow resident,
Monday, April 5, 2010
Well, tomorrow is the big day - Election Day. It has been exciting to meet many of you and several other residents during the past few months. I have taken a lot of notes and given sincere consideration to your likes and dislikes about our great community. I feel fortunate that I have had such overwhelming support from so many of you. I have also learned a lot: about myself, our community, and the inextinguishable human spirit!
Since I declared my candidacy, I have shared with you many ideas and details of my plan to create a Better Woodson Terrace. For our city to thrive in the future, we will need to do things differently. We can't expect to keep turning out the same endeavors and expect different results. We need to take advantage of technology to improve the lives of citizens and to attract new businesses to our community. In such a fast-paced, on-demand society, cities like ours can no longer conduct business the same as it they always have. It will take a new approach, new ideas, and new technologies for our community to prosper.
In addition to taking advantage of current technology, I also commit to rolling up my sleeves and partnering with the current elected officials, as well as the city's employees. I am a "hands-on" manager, and I pride myself on learning and doing the jobs that I'm expected to oversee. I repeat what's been said, I will spend as much time as it takes to oversee the functions of the city. But once that's done, I will get out from behind the desk and leave City Hall behind in order to get out and make a personal connection with the residents, our businessmen and women, the City Administration and employees, as well as neighboring townships. I have promised that if elected, I will continue to knock on doors and get to know our community.
I have also conveyed that I feel serving the people of our community as mayor is such a privilege that if I'm elected, I plan to reduce the mayor's salary by more than 50% ($23,520 per year to $11,000 per year). This will bring the Woodson Terrace mayor's salary in-line with what other mayors in surrounding communities are paid. I vow to work hard for you and provide you with an honest, responsive, and transparent administration.
Should you have any questions or need a ride to the polls on Tuesday, April 6 please call me at 314-488-5779.
I look forward to serving as your representative for Woodson Terrace.
Be sure to go out and vote!
Friday, April 2, 2010
If you need a "Wheeling For Mayor" sticker before Tuesday, please send me an email and I will make certain you get one. firstname.lastname@example.org
I met with a few of our Neighborhood Watch Block Captains this week. They told me that if I'm elected, I would so great for the future of Woodson Terrace. "You're just what this town needs."
So many of you have written me emails with your ideas (positive and negative) as well as offered me suggestions or support. You've told me what you think about my campaign, my past blog posts, the recent stltoday.com Political Fix article, how the city has been run (good and bad ways), and my plans to help this town become a Better Woodson Terrace. In fact, I got an email from a long time resident this week who told me "I am happy you are taking the challenge and awakening our place....it is a good place to live. But there is always room for improvement. Thank you for being so REAL!"
No, Woodson Terrace, thank YOU!
I hope to meet or see you this weekend.
If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.
~Marian Wright Edelman
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
I'm still very happy with the design! I hope you like it too.
Residents, when you fill out and mail back the census form, you’re making a statement about what resources your community needs going forward.
Read more here: http://2010.census.gov/2010census/why/community-benefits.php
That is all.
There were many outstanding efforts that members of the Woodson Terrace Police Department put forth during the investigation and eventual resolution of the crime committed against us: Captain Mike Thompson, Detective James "JW" Wethington, and Officer Hunter were the first on the scene on the morning of December 31. Subsequently we continued to work with Detective Wethington, who kept us apprised of new developments. Imagine our surprise when we learned from him that the suspects were identified and charged; a number of our stolen items were also recovered. He then met with us on Wednesday, January 28, to give us the details of how the investigation was resolved as well as return our personal belongings. We learned that less than 11% or 12% of all home burglaries are ever solved. We got lucky!
A silver lining to the unlucky incident....Detective Wethington recruited Brad and me to head up the Neighborhood Watch program. The program had long been dormant in our community. We started out small, but with very specific goals and a well-defined plan for the future. Approximately nine concerned citizens, the Chief of Police and two of the WTPD, as well as two Aldermen attended a meeting in our home on April 15, 2009. We then quickly geared up for a city-wide meeting at the park in May 2009. It was well attended; there were easily over 100 residents in attendance. You can read more about our early beginnings here: http://suburbanjournals.stltoday.com/articles/2009/06/10/north/news/0610ovl-watch20.txt
From there, we started to build our network of Block Captains and Participants. We are very fortunate to have some real go-getters as Block Captains. We went door to door with some of the Block Captains, as well as sent out flyers and letters, to garner some publicity and participation to the new program. Our official tagline: Watch and report. Last summer, we hosted a booth for all three days of Woodson Terrace Days. We have met several concerned residents who are looking to make their small piece of the world safer to live in.
I decided to take the approach of not only "crime-fighting" and raising crime awareness, but "community-building" with our efforts around Neighborhood Watch. The one aspect that directly led me to decide to run for mayor was the work we did on this program, as I got to see first hand, many opportunities to provide better communication, programs, and services for our residents. At the last Board of Aldermen meeting, we learned that some concerned residents are looking to sponsor a Children's Identification Program. They are also willing to head up the program this coming July. Great idea! A thought, we could bundle this with our plan to formalize an official Safe House program? Or we can get this to coincide with the summer parks program?
My committee and I also have an idea to request a grant and get a Children's Nutrition program started this summer, for children who won't have a healthy lunch or breakfast, given they're not in school. This could also be bundled with a day of swimming at the community pool. And bonus, they could also take advantage of the Bookmobile while it's traveling through. But this is another idea for another post, another time in the near future!
Back to Public Safety.... I have also been approached to organize a CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) program for the neighborhood, as an extension of Neighborhood Watch. FEMA will visit our community and train First Responders, who in turn will train all our volunteers. Train the Trainer sessions, an area in which I have vast experience. Apparently, the CERT was talked about a few years ago, but it never got off the ground. I'm here to commit that we *will* get this off the ground.
The following story was also suggested to me, as a means of investigating and perhaps borrowing an idea from St. Charles: http://www.fox2now.com/news/ktvi-st-charles-rapid-access-030210,0,6688182.story
These are all ideas that I have for building upon the work we've done with Neighborhood Watch. I would be remiss if I didn't thank the Woodson Terrace PD for their ongoing support, as well as sending a special thank you to the Woodson Terrace Business Association who loaned us the money for the highly visible and numerous Neighborhood Watch street signs and window decals.
Send your ideas to me or contact the Woodson Terrace PD with suggestions on how to improve our Public Safety. I've heard from some of you that we need to reevaluate our street lights. Some other residents have asked for speed bumps to slow the thru-traffic down. Others of you are concerned about the young residents' safety as they play in the streets or walk / bike home from school. I hear your concerns, and I have some ideas on how to address them. But I want to hear from you as well; I will be sure to post some intriguing and unique ideas.
I've said it before and it bears repeating, great ideas don't come from one idealogy.
Monday, March 29, 2010
The Post Dispatch also contacted the current mayor for his comments about my plan to cut the salary. Interestingly enough, the current mayor said he hasn’t thought much about his salary. That begs the question....what else has the mayor not given thought to when it comes to spending our tax dollars?
You can read the entire article here: http://interact.stltoday.com/blogzone/political-fix/political-fix/2010/03/woodson-terrace-mayoral-candidate-ready-to-take-salary-cut/
This money, $12,520, can be used to fund other programs that directly benefit the tax payers of Woodson Terrace. I promise you, I will find a way to give this money back to the residents and tax payers of Woodson Terrace.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
This figure got me thinking, as I was preparing for an interview yesterday afternoon (more on that next week!). Every elected official of Woodson Terrace needs to be very aware that the salary they make and the money they spend comes from tax payers. From the mayor to the Chief of Police, to the Aldermen, they need to be a good steward of tax payer funds. In lean times especially, the city needs to be a good trustee of the taxpayers' money. What areas within the current budget can cuts be made? I believe the mayor's salary is one area that deserves scrutiny. That's why if I'm elected I plan to cut the mayor's salary by more than half, especially since it is significantly more than what other area mayors are making, even those with larger populations and greater tax bases. Serving the people of Woodson Terrace as an elected official is a privilege, not a way to make your livelihood.
I've done some research, so you don't have to. Here are my findings:
Woodson Terrace Mayor: 314-427-2600
Salary: $23,520 / year
St. John Mayor: 314-427-8700
Salary: $150* / month or $1,800 / year
*Set by the Charter; can only be changed by a vote of residents
Breckenridge Hills Mayor: 314-427-6868
Salary: $9,100* approx.
*Info from St. Louis Magazine
Overland Mayor: 314 428-4321
$12,000 / year
St. Ann Mayor: 314-427-8009
Salary: $28,000 / year
Please keep this in mind as you go to cast your vote on Election Day, April 6th!
As always, I look forward to hearing from you. I've received numerous emails this week and even a few phone calls. Anyone who has ever contacted me can attest that I return every email and phone call, in a timely and expeditious manner.
Thank you all for your ongoing support!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Last weekend, I knocked on a total of 127 doors. I didn't have nearly the interactions Saturday that I did on Sunday. But what I did have on both days was a warm welcome at nearly every household (of those who were home) during my canvassing. I would estimate that I met over 50 residents, probably more. I also placed lots of new yard signs.
More than once, I was greeted with "We have been waiting to meet you," or "I heard about you from my friend / relative / co-worker, and I was hoping to meet you." I think there is good momentum building for my campaign. We are seeing a lot of positive activity; something in my favor seems to develop on an almost-daily basis.
Two weeks until Election Day! Mark your calendars, call and remind your neighbors, and get there early to vote. I hope to see you before then.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
I have been a Woodson Terrace resident for 11 years. Until recently, I have only considered state and federal level elections to be of any importance. I no longer feel this way. I now see the importance having a competent group of leaders right here in our own community. It's for this reason that I've begun research for the upcoming election in Woodson Terrace. I would appreciate it if you would take the time to answer the following questions to help me make a decision.
Where on the political spectrum would you consider yourself?
What is the role of municipal government in the lives of residents?
Which of the Founding Fathers of our country is your favorite and why?
Thanks in advance for your response."
Here was my response:
"I believe that all politics start local. I applaud you for doing your homework. I’m happy to answer your questions.
On the political spectrum, I’m a moderate. I have voted for candidates from both of the major political parties. Heck, I even thought about voting for Ross Perot back in 1992! Another fun fact, my husband and I voted for opposing presidential candidates back in 2000, so you can count on me to always base my vote on the facts and the platform as I see them. Great ideas don’t come from just one idealogy. And this is a non-partisan election… filling a pot hole doesn’t matter if you’re a Republican or a Democrat, somebody do it!
I’m a big fan of Cory Booker, Mayor of Newark. We’ve been following his political career since 2002. His work is an inspiration. He’s a role model for all of us. I read everything about him that I can get my hands on. What he’s done with that city is a testament to “Yes, we can.”
To answer your second question, municipal government is the closest level of government to the people. Me and you. Your family, my family, our neighbors and friends. This is where every day life happens. This is where you keep your most prized possessions, where you eat your breakfast and dinner, and this is where you lay your head at night. The role of the municipal government affects so much of our day-to-day, and we should ask these questions. Are the streets plowed when it snows so our residents can get to work? Is the trash being picked up? Do the police have a presence and are their efforts visible? Are the streets and parks well lit? Is it safe to walk to the store? Was that pot hole fixed? Did the mayor / alderman / chief of police call that concerned resident or even go by to make a home visit? Are the houses kept up to code? Is there routine communication going on between our elected officials and the residents? This is as real as it gets.
Municipal government is not going to solve the big problems that face our entire nation, like health care, the war, illegal drugs, immigration, public education, the bailout. But the things I think are most important about municipal government are accessibility, honesty, and partnership. Sometimes you win because you're honest, sometimes you lose because you're honest. The important thing is to remember to be honest.
Your last question, hands down, Benjamin Franklin! He was a rock star! The reasons why are numerous, but off the top of my head, he was an inventor, a writer, a scientist. He thought up public libraries, the Thirteen Virtues, Poor Richard’s Almanac. He was a wealthy man, and didn’t need to get involved with the government, but he did. He was the original connector, and totally influential. This is a good reminder for me to re-read his autobiography.
Thank you for the email. Any other questions, please let me know.
And here was his reply:
"Thanks for your quick response. I appreciate you taking the time to get back to me. I know this is a non-partisan election but I know many who seek public office have an "agenda" and I like to be aware up front. I also like to make sure that my local politicians aren't out to make a bunch of new laws that are "for my own good." Those who have been elected to represent me work for me and I can't respect any representative who thinks they know what's best for me and my family. Benjamin Franklin is my favorite Founder as well and for many of the same reasons you listed. Thank you again and you may repost my email if you wish."
Saturday, March 20, 2010
My mom died in 1992; I was 21 years old at the time, working on a Spanish-speaking church mission in central Florida. She was ill for some time, and lingered for a few years before she passed on. Then six years later, my dad passed away very suddenly and unexpectedly. So much has changed in my life since they were alive. I wonder if mom and dad were still around, what they would think about my endeavor to be mayor? My wish would be to have them here, to seek their advice, to feel their love and support. To ask what they would do, in any given situation. I reflect on our campaign activities during the past 3 1/2 months, and I have to admit, I am very proud of what I've done. There isn't one thing that I would be fearful to admit to my mom and dad. That's my litmus test for whether I've done the right or wrong thing. It always has been.
As I head out to hit the streets of Woodson Terrace this afternoon, I hold my head high, because I know my parents would be proud of me. I wish they were here to see it! They would love all the yard signs, all the planning and hubbub, all the people who wave and honk as they drive past our house on Keats Drive. My dad especially would love the waving. He was as Small Town as you can get - born and raised in town of about 200 people. "Blink and you'll miss it" he'd say we drove through. I think it's Small Town Law that you have to wave back to anyone who waves at you, at least that's how I was raised.
So, enough of that. I look forward to meeting you, hopefully before the election, so that we can talk what's on your mind and discuss my plans to bring a bigger spirit of Community and inclusiveness to our town.
Happy Spring to you and yours!
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I was out yesterday, going door to door and posting several new yard signs. The weather, while cold, dreary, and rainy, didn’t get my attitude or spirits down. I met several new residents, and I’m positive I gained some new votes! While I was out, I received a call from a concerned resident, who is also a good friend. He was calling to let me know that there are several misleading stories going around about me and how I’m going to run the city, if I’m elected. I’m here to set the record straight. Be sure to tell your friends and neighbors about this! Call or email me if you want to hear it from me directly.
1. Office Hours: there is a story I’m only planning to work 4 – 5 hours per week. This is completely false! I’m planning to work as much time as is necessary to do this job, and doing it well for each of you, the residents of Woodson Terrace. I fully expect it will be at least 15 – 20 hours, each week, if not more. Heck, I’ve been working 15 – 20 hours a week since I filed as a candidate, just to meet you and let you know my plan for the community! You can count that I will be there when I’m needed. What I have reported is that I’m planning 4 – 5 hours of Open Office Hours. This is true. This will be blocks of time wherein residents, local business owners, and City employees can drop in and meet with me, unannounced and unscheduled. I will be in the office at that time, with no meetings planned.
I’m planning to spend time in the office and out meeting residents, dedicating as much time is needed. But if we have the right people in the right positions, with the right management and leadership, the mayor shouldn’t have to spend 4 – 8 hours a day in City Hall. I plan to spend a few hours a day in the office throughout the week as needed, then get out from behind the desk, get out of the office, and meet my constituents! This will include evenings and weekends, when most residents are readily available.
My campaign of knocking on doors won’t end, just because the election is over. I have told several residents that I don’t want them to say in a year, “yeah, I met the mayor once.” I want them to be able to say “yes, I know the mayor, I feel comfortable calling her or visiting with her, to talk about what’s going on in the city.” I want the residents to say they “know” me not just have “met” me.
I am also planning to attend all of the city’s committee meetings and other North County community organizations. If I can secure an invitation, I will attend as a representative of Woodson Terrace.
2. Layoffs: someone is telling the story that I’m going to “clean house” when I’m elected. This is most disturbing. It feels a bit like intimidation and a fear tactic towards the current City employees. I am not planning on any layoffs or “cleaning house” of City Hall. Please know this, with a surety. The citizens deserve and require experienced City employees handling the business of the City on a day-to-day basis. In these times of economic instability, and with the job situation and growing unemployment here in St. Louis, I would never do anything to take anyone out of a job that they are doing and doing well. I do plan to spend time getting to know each employee and what he or she is responsible for doing. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to lay off people. I am planning on no lay offs.
I am not out to change the course of history. I want to make a difference locally. My father taught me that service to my fellow man and community is the biggest and most immediate way to make a difference. I am wanting to correct some problems we've seen, to bring my talents and resources to the community. It is for these reasons that I have decided to offer the voters of Woodson Terrace a real choice in the upcoming election.
As always, you can call or email me with your questions or concerns. I have returned 100% of all calls and emails, and you can count on that to be the trend for years to come.
Monday, March 8, 2010
Remember, no matter the outcome of this election, we all need to live and work in the area. We all need to work together to build a Better Woodson Terrace.
If you have questions or comments for me, you can email me. I will respond.
Candidate for Mayor of Woodson Terrace
Last night's campaign committee meeting was good too. We finalized some dates and times for the next month, as well as my Friends and Family letter and volunteer list. Election Day is just 30 days away, and we've got so much to still get done. It seems that everyday I'm getting offers to help with my campaign, and I will certainly call in the those favors when the time is right.
Right now I'm off to work, as I'm trying to get in early and leave a bit early - I need to take advantage of this great weather! This is the first year of many that I'm looking forward to Daylight Savings. By "losing" an hour I gain more time in the evening to get out and meet you and other Woodson Terrace residents. Spring has almost sprung, I am counting the days.
Remember if you'd like a sign, please let me know. Call or email me.
And remember to mark your calendars for April 6th. I ask you to remember me and would love your support when you go to vote, thanks!
Friday, March 5, 2010
My comments about the current mayor are based on my own experience, and that's not hearsay. I have never stated "the chairs of each committee, save Alderwoman Martin, are do-nothings and know-nothings." It has been suggested that I said this, by who I suspect is a current Alderman. This is a complete falsehood, and perhaps a tactic by a few current elected officials to defame me and derail my sincere efforts. Please correct me if I'm mistaken, but if by sharing my personal experience with what the Alderman who heads up the Economic Development board has done (or not done!), then that's my personal experience. I know what I know.
I do have some concern over the omission of work, not the commission of what has recently transpired. Let me repeat for emphasis..... I do have some concern over the omission of work, not the commission of what has recently transpired.
I will be glad to justify answers to questions as they are posed, in the spirit of building up this community, not tearing down of me or the good work by our current adminstration and elected officials. I see a good foundation to build upon. I hope to clear up any misunderstandings or misgivings about my intentions. If you want to know what I'm all about, just ask me. Please don't rely on what you hear from those who oppose me. How is that fair?!
Do I have all the answers.....? No. I don't. That's why, after I'm elected, I want to surround myself with the best, the brightest, the motivated people who also want to make Woodson Terrace a better place for all of us. Let's make it *better* not let's dig ourselves out of a hole. It's good to be in Woodson Terrace, now let's move forward, grow, see some additional progress and partnerships.
I have another blog in process. I will post it this weekend. And it's going to address the Job Description for Mayor of Woodson Terrace. Before I post it, let's hear your ideas!! What would you write in a Job Description for your ideal mayor, of Woodson Terrace?! No holds bound.
Let's hear it.
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
The campaign is going well. I've been out every weekend, knocking on doors and meeting residents. So many have expressed surprised when they meet me. One resident said he's lived here over 40 years and doesn't recall a mayoral candidate going door-to-door. Thank you all for such support and a warm welcome!
So, one of the ideas I'm most excited to bring to Woodson Terrace is a formalized method of tracking your visits and phone calls to City Hall. I plan to put in place a mechanism for the staff who answer the phones to fill in a short form:
- Who called?
- What was the inquiry or concern?
- Was it resolved?
- Was is referred (and to whom)?
- Do I need to follow up?
With a database like this, we'll be able to track and trend all sorts of issues reported by our citizens. And it will ensure that I'm kept apprised of all the issues. I promise to read each and every one. This idea is just the tip of iceberg when it comes to doing things different around town and City Hall, in a positive fashion. One area me and my friends have put some thought into is the aspect of Community Image. Rebranding the community will take some time, but it starts with ALL of us instilling some pride when we talk about where we live or where we're from. The T-shirts we made up for Neighborhood Watch have on the back "I'm From The Woo and I'm Proud." We have a wonderful town, and it is a duty of each of us to talk up the area. If you hear someone, your kids or neighbors, talking about living in "the hood" please correct them!
The more involved we get in our community, the more pride each of us can take in its positive change!
An immediate change we can make is to the signage around the city, in particular the sign for Woodson Plaza and at other of our businesses. It would be nice to explore a digital sign or marquee in front of City Hall.
One idea told to me by a friend and resident, is to focus on a few city blocks, one month at a time, and by using volunteers with a detailed plan, clean up the streets and houses on those blocks. Take time to help those residents who may need some extra help to get their corner of the world straightened up. Work proactively to bring those households in compliance with city ordinances.
We are planning to call this program Four Blocks of Focus. We hope this plan will address the overall goal to:
* Sustain or Improve Property Values
* Improve Code reviews and enforcement
My bullet points over the next few weeks leading up to the election will overlap, and that's intentional. One other idea for when I'm elected as mayor --- I plan to create and send out Welcome Packets. I would send a letter and packet to all new residents, and the packet would include information about our City and surrounding resources. It would also include coupons to local businesses and encourage them become a regular customer.
The overlap? Building pride in the community, fostering positive feelings about their move to Woodson Terrace, and instilling a reminder to Shop Local, keeping as many dollars as we can in our community and North County. This is the idea behind establishing a strong community we can take pride in. A strong, stable community is key to keeping families from moving away and is appealing to people looking for a place to call home.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Enough with the miscommunication that is going down around town! I remove myself from the hearsay, gossip, and over-generalizations. I'm recommitting myself to staying focused, staying on track with our plan. We've planned the work, now we need to work the plan. That includes spending my free time during the week (when it's light enough!) and weekends, going door-to-door, which I really enjoy doing. I have had a lot of success, getting out and meeting the residents. There are hundreds of more residents I still need to meet and tell my message to....and there are only 12 more weekend days to get the majority of these introductions done! Only 42 more days 'til Election Day.
Tomorrow is action packed for me. First, as a guest of Kathy Kuo, I will attend the Rotary Club breakfast in the morning. Then work and meetings, and more work. Thank God I love my job, it's sometimes hard to tear myself away. I have my appointment tomorrow after work, then there's a fundraiser I'm attending in St. Ann.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. I attended the recent Rotary luncheon, which I emailed and called requesting an invitation. During this meeting, Tim Nowak from the World Trade Center St. Louis, presented plans and timing for the Midwest China Hub. You'll appreciate that he's local, born and raised in Overland, and a dynamic speaker. This is a regional effort and commission, aligned to promote the economic ties between China and the Midwest (we hope St. Louis!) by designating a commercial hub at Lambert for China Air, here in St. Louis. An agreement was formalized in January 2009. Most recently, Gov. Nixon allocated funds to support this effort. Tim explained to us that China is moving up the value chain and as such, they will exhibit more span of control for the logistical movement of their goods. Not only imported goods, but exported goods back into China. So the China Hub commission, on which Tim is a board member, seeks to position St. Louis as the premier location to present to the Chinese government precisely why it makes sense to land freight in and around St. Louis. If you think it sounds like a big deal and immense project, that's because it is.
St. Louis region, North County, Woodson Terrace.... we have the airport and the new airport expansion, we have Metrolink and railways, the interstates, riverways, all in very close proximity. Rivers, Rails, the Roads --- North County is multi-modal. We have room for this initiative to take root and grow. Someone at the Rotary luncheon compared the acquisition of this venture as being the monetary equivalent to St. Louis hosting an MLB All-Star event, every single month. That would be the pinnacle for the economic development of our region, North County, and Woodson Terrace. This effort is so wide, and far-reaching. One immediate benefit I see is that it would assist in retaining the talent pool we already have here in St. Louis. Imagine if this took hold. The kids who are in kindergarten right now would graduate from High School, within a completely re-imagined St. Louis city and county.
And as luck would have it, I know one of the Board Members for the World Trade Center St. Louis. I will be contacting them to see about getting personally involved. I want to do my part, as a concerned citizen as well as a candidate for mayor, to make sure that Woodson Terrace is part of the implementation plan, from the ground up.
As I learn more, I will be sure to post it here for your reading. I want you to feel as involved as possible, in what's immediately affecting our community.
Good night! See you soon!
Candidate for Mayor of Woodson Terrace
May the road rise to meet you. May the wind be always at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rains fall soft upon the fields. May the light of friendship guide your paths together.
~an Irish wedding blessing
Thursday, February 18, 2010
Most surprising tonight, the alderman who heads up the committee for Economic Development even had a report. That is the first time I recall that committee having ANY activity for at least the past year. Each Board of Aldermen meeting I've attended, it's always been the same few words......"No report," or "No meeting." You may recall my previous blog wherein I called out the fact that the Woodson Terrace committee for Economic Development has not had a meeting since April 2008. That's nearly two years. I received confirmation of this from past Aldermen meeting minutes, as well as from two of the Economic Development appointed board members. And I must tell you, even tonight, there was no mention of a committee meeting. The chair for this committee attended "Tax Exempt" training class in Clayton, and he attended with the mayor's administrative assistant.
I think the mayor has the responsibility to make sure that committees are meeting, when they are supposed to be meeting. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but on the City Of Woodson Terrace website, the Mayor is a member of this board. See for yourself: http://www.woodsonterrace.net/economicdevelopment.htm I have this printed to a pdf, in case it happens to get updated overnight. The Mayor needs to lead by example or the Board Of Aldermen need to recruit a Chairman for the committee who is passionate about the committee's endeavors! Isn't this what should be happening? We need some answers from Mayor Besmer on why the Economic Development committee has not had a meeting or any apparent activity in nearly two years.
I noticed something else very interesting, most of the new ideas brought up during the Board meeting this evening are ideas that I have talked about on my platform or that new Alderman Candidate, Jim Carr, has talked about with his future constituents in Ward I. Jim and I have talked about new programs at the park for the kids. Jim has a plan to put together a Summer Program at the park, in light of the termination of other local Summer Park Programs. We've been talking about more morning hours for seniors to swim at the pool during the summer. He's talked about making improvements to the park and offering classes for all ages. And get this, brand new tonight.....the city is looking into an electronic Communication program, to alert citizens, via email, about new happenings in Woodson Terrace. Sound familiar? Sound a bit like my plan to open the doors of communication with the residents? Here is a direct line from my very first blog post: "I would like to see steady and routine communication with the citizens of Woodson Terrace....."
If the current mayor announces Open Office Hours for the residents to come and meet with him, I may just copy and paste my campaign platform for him! What's the saying, imitation is the highest form of flattery? Well, I'm very flattered that my recent activities have seemingly lit a fire under our elected officials. But as the title of this post suggests.....
Too Little. Too Late.
You must now take action that will move you towards your goals. Develop a sense of urgency in your life."
~ H. Jackson Brown
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
It was a pleasure to meet and talk with concerned Woodson Terrace residents. Many of them seemed very impressed with my idea to hold Open Office Hours at City Hall, wherein residents can stop in and meet with me, without an appointment, although I assert to be available to the community. I will take your phone calls or return your phone call. I am committed to reading your emails and letters, and responding to them. This is just the tip of the iceberg for plans that I have for when I'm elected Mayor. The outcome of the event made me even more motivated to get out the word about my message and plans. Most importantly, I took the opportunity to tell everyone that day about my platform for the campaign:
1. Build Partnerships
- With the citizens of Woodson Terrace
- With the businessmen and businesswomen
- With the City Administration
- With the committees of Woodson Terrace
- With our neighboring townships
- Continue to build upon Crime Prevention efforts
- Raise Crime Awareness with Neighborhood Watch program
- Pursue safe and educational activities for the youth
- Work to rebrand the community
- Partner with surrounding communities to rebrand North County
- Sustain or Improve Property Values
- Code review and enforcement
- Neighborhood Preservation and Beautification
- Budget review and allocation
- Sound financial planning, long-term
- Analyze budgeting and spending patterns
- Accountability & transparency, by individuals and committees
- Routine audits of the budges – surplus, shortfalls, mishandling of funds
- Revitalize the Economic Development committee - increase exposure for current businesses and recruit new businesses
I was appalled to learn that the Economic Development committee for Woodson Terrace has not had a meeting since April 2008! That alone was reason for me to run for Mayor, a decision I've been contemplating with my husband, friends, and family since last summer. I think I made up my mind during Woodson Terrace Days....we had such a positive interaction, talking with current and former residents, about our Neighborhood Watch efforts and community building ideas.
I will continue to post updates to what me the my committee are up to. I would be remiss if I did not take this time to thank my committee, Friends to Elect Wheeling.
Thanks everyone for your support! Remember to Get Out The Vote on April 6th.
Average people and the average community can change the world. You can do it just based on common sense, determination, persistence and patience."
~ Lois Gibbs
Sunday, January 31, 2010
I was most impressed with Laurie Feldman. We have a lot in common, as it relates to running for public office. There are some similarities on a personal level as well. She had never run for public office until she ran for the City Council. Laurie was a relative newcomer to St. Charles (11 year resident), but this did not diminish her desire to make it a better place to live. She wanted to be a candidate willing and capable of bringing credibility and human respect back to the St. Charles city government. That is one of the main reasons I want to be elected as well!
Much like Laurie, I would bring a multitude of professional skills to the office of Mayor, including:
- Relationship Building
- People Management
- Process Management
- Reporting and Analysis
- Conflict Resolution
I was inspired and motivated meeting her, and hearing about her story and success. So, with that, I'm off to knock on some doors this afternoon. I have a goal to talk to at least 50 residents each weekend, between now and the election. I can't wait to share my message with the residents Woodson Terrace.
By the way, Brad and I received a mailing yesterday, which gave us quite a surprise. It was a photocopy of my Localite ad on one side, and someone wrote on the other side "Are you ready for a change?" and to check out the ad just delivered. The message was "Pass this news around....." and come to my Meet and Greet on Saturday, Feb. 6, 1p - 4p. In the best manner of Get Out The Vote, this anonymous person asked for residents to place one of my yard signs, to show they want to have a change, as well as remember to vote on April 6. Outstanding! I was utterly shocked, the effort almost made me speechless! So, to that person or group of people, thank you for the support!
More later. Be sure to drop me an email with any questions or issues you would like for me to address. If I don't have the answer or knowledge, I will do the research and report back.
If you don't like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time.
~Marian Wright Edelman
Sunday, January 24, 2010
While spending time in the waiting room, I had the chance to meet other North County individuals, who are also running for office. Some of them were seasoned politicians (Lee Beel from Normandy, Carol Stroker from Hazelwood, and Bob Dody from Overland), who are either seeking reelection, changing agencies they are elected to, or throwing their hat back in the North County political ring. And some of the people I met and chatted with were new to the game, much like me. I met Donna Lewis, a new candidate for Overland City Council, Ward 3. She and I have so much in common! She's "small town" Illinois, just like me. She's determined, passionate, and seeking to make a change, just like me! We made plans to get together and see how we might work together to get each other elected. Additionally, I was invited to a Meet and Greet by Carol Stroker. Her event is this coming Thursday (Jan. 28). I will be sure to post about the experience after it's over.
Speaking of events, be sure to save the date, Saturday, Feb. 6, 1 pm until 4 pm. I'm hosting a "Souper" Bowl Kick-Off Party at the Community Center in Woodson Terrace. 9351 Guthrie, 63134. Come out and meet me, or let’s get reacquainted. My friends and family are bringing their best soups, chili, or chicken & dumplings to share with all who attend the Meet and Greet. I will be asking for the support of Woodson Terrace residents, businesses, and other local candidates. I plan to share with everyone I meet my plan for when I’m elected Mayor. I also want to hear about what’s working or not working in the city today. Keep an eye out for my ad in the February Localite.
One of my plans, if elected, is to spend at least 4 – 5 hours each week, in City Hall, holding Open Office Hours. During this time, residents, businesses, administration, or city employees can meet with me, speak candidly about their concerns or merely let me know how things are going in their corner of the world. I am prepared to work hard for the citizens of Woodson Terrace. I believe it begins and ends with the residents and their safety, prosperity, and community involvement.
I met with a few registered voters today, getting the word out about my campaign. The folks I spoke with seemed genuinely excited about the possibility. I truly believe I will win this election at the door, listening to the residents and sharing my message about the plan to make this city a Better Woodson Terrace. If you have a list of neighbors you would like for me to meet, drop me an email with their names and addresses. I will make it a point to knock on their doors. Or even better, if you would like to host a coffee for me, I will be glad to meet your neighbors and friends in this more informal setting. I will come prepared to share my message and plans for when I’m elected mayor. I will also come prepared to listen.
It’s Sunday evening everyone; let’s gear up for Monday and make this a great week!
The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Having been deeply involved with revitalizing Woodson Terrace's Neighborhood Watch program during the past year, I have worked many hours to institute positive change in our community. Now my husband and I, along with our friends and family, believe that the time has come for me to seek an elected office. I want to bring a fresh approach and new ideas to the city administration by running for Mayor.
I have been fortunate to be influenced by several positive role models of public service. I was raised to be committed to fellowship, partnership, and service, while giving back to the local community. I believe there are ample opportunities available that will enhance and grow our Community Partnership, in relation to:
1. The Citizens of Woodson Terrace
2. The men and women who conduct business within Woodson Terrace
3. The current City Administration and Board of Aldermen
4. Fellow mayors and city administrators of our neighboring communities
I would like to see steady and routine communication with the citizens of Woodson Terrace, our businessmen and businesswomen, and with the surrounding townships. In the coming weeks, I will be posting my platform here on this website. I will explain the new direction and ideas I have for when I am elected as Mayor. My platform includes, but is not limited to:
I do hope you will check back here often to read what's going on with my campaign. Feel free to send me an email with your questions or concerns. I will read and respond to every correspondence. Please help me to bring better government to the people of Woodson Terrace.
Thanks in advance for your encouragement and support! I look forward to hearing from you.
Candidate for Mayor of Woodson Terrace