Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Inspect, Don't Expect

That's what my friend, who's a Marine Sergeant Major, always says. There is a typo on my postcard that is going out to all registered voters. Doh! And I used to practically write for a living. I'm usually a master proof reader. So, there you go, residents of Woodson Terrace. Take a lesson from me; don't proofread from your phone. I didn't catch the spelling mistake; mea culpa.

I'm still very happy with the design! I hope you like it too.

A new Census sign

Good news! I just heard from City Hall, and a representative from the Census Bureau was there yesterday. He gave them a banner, so this new banner will now hang on the marquee. Done and done. Thanks for the great follow up!

Mail in your Census form!

Please! This is a friendly reminder. To City Hall - thank you for placing a reminder about the census on the web site. Please also post this reminder on the marquee by the Police Station. So many of our residents learn about current events that impact our community by reading it on that sign.

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:

That is all.

Every Resident is part of Neighborhood Watch

On or about Tuesday, December 30, 2008, we had the unfortunate experience of having our home burglarized. During this time, my husband and I were staying at a hotel and our dogs were at the kennel. Our call to 911 on Wednesday morning, December 31, was responded to by members of Woodson Terrace's Police Department. Their thoroughness and quick action was immediately evident and without a doubt, their work early on in the case led to the eventual identification and capture of the suspects.

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:

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:,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

Post Dispatch interview / Mayoral Candidate Ready To Take Salary Cut

As I told you on Saturday, I had an interview on Friday afternoon with the Post Dispatch. An article was published this evening, and it contains information about my plan, if I'm elected, to cut the mayor's pay by more than half. This is an effort to bring the salary in line with what other St. Louis county mayors currently earn as mayor, given consideration to it being a part-time position.

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:

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

Salary of Local Mayors - The Facts

A question for you today. Is the mayor's salary in line with surrounding municipalities? The annual salary for the Woodson Terrace Mayor = $23,520. Or $1,960 per month. I wonder how much that translates to per hour.

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
Population: 4,189
Salary: $23,520 / year

St. John Mayor: 314-427-8700
Population: 6,853
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
Population: 4,817
Salary: $9,100* approx.
*Info from St. Louis Magazine

Overland Mayor: 314 428-4321
Population: 16,838
$12,000 / year

St. Ann Mayor: 314-427-8009
Population: 13,605
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

My New Favorite Words

"We've been waiting to meet you!"

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

Three Questions

I received the following email from a resident on Bataan. With his permission, here is the exchange we had yesterday afternoon.


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

Spring 2010

It's the first day of Spring, and how I love this season. Like most people, I look forward to it every year. This morning I've been thinking a lot about my mom and dad. They too, loved Spring and all its beauty. Most of their children were born during April and May, including me. My birthday is April 6, election day!

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

When I'm Elected - Part I

The past week has been a week of transition for my campaign. We are still moving forward with our plans, and we’re gearing up for the last two weekends of the campaign. Making plans, working the plan! My fundraiser is scheduled for Friday, March 26. In the spirit of full disclosure, we are having it at one of my husband’s restaurants in downtown St. Louis. This will allow our friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances to join us, from all areas of St. Louis and Illinois. The name of the restaurant is The Stable, and it’s at the corner of Cherokee and Lemp.

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.


Phone: 314-488-5779

Monday, March 8, 2010


After discussing with my husband, I have decided to hide all comments. My intention for this blog and continuing to allow comments was to do something new and fresh, and to foster constructive discourse with residents of the community. It has gotten ugly on both sides of the fence, and I will have no part of it.

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.

Thank you,

Kathy Wheeling
Candidate for Mayor of Woodson Terrace

Coming Soon! Job Description for Mayor

Good morning! We got a lot accomplished this weekend. Yard signs are up and out! They look fantastic, and we delivered almost all of them. There are quite a few still on the list to receive their sign, so if you ordered a sign, it's on the way! I worked Saturday 1:30 pm - 5 pm and yesterday from 11 am - 10:30 pm on the campaign, and it was really worth it. During my door-to-door efforts on Saturday and Sunday, I received so much good feedback from all the Woodson Terrace residents on what a good Mayor means to them. I asked "what qualities or qualifications do you look for in your Mayor?" or "what does a good Mayor mean to you?" I will be writing up the feedback, so expect that in the next few days.

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

Former Mayors and my next Blog post

It seems that my blog posts continue to be taken out of context, which of course will happen when there are sides to be be taken and opposition coming to meet you. I have never made any derogatory comments about Mayor Brown or Mayor Ratchford. In regards to my going door-to-door, the only comparison I draw is to the current mayor, not past mayors. I promise you. I have only reported on this blog what has been told to me, by the residents I've been able to visit. If you are a resident would like to meet me, or if you have family members who are residents and want to meet me, just say so. If the phone and email methods of communication aren't your thing, then I will arrange a time to visit, face to face.

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

Community Image

Has your week been as crazy as mine? Work is going so well, in fact I'm traveling to Southern California Sunday evening. It's a great opportunity! It's just the timing with the upcoming election is less than optimal, but me and my committee with work it out. I have such great support from the friends and family!

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.