As we move beyond the negatives of Ferguson, a community revitalization plan becomes essential for remarketing N. County and district 4 in particular as a good place to live, work and play. To do this, its imperative that like the City, we become a destination specific with supply-side products unique to the heritage and culture of the area and, to the people who reside in it. County government is a subdivision of the State and as such, functions from ad valorem taxes and fees for revenues to providing services and facilities to its public. Usually these taxes and fees are determined by cost in which to do so and, are distributed proportionately to the general populous of users. Thus, since District 4 and 6 consist of the larger portions of unincorporated territory, they get the larger portions of revenues spent. However, when populations decline, so do these revenues in providing services and facilities for their residents. In which case, these taxes and fees have to be increased or, new ones created dedicated for development of new marketing plans, venues to stimulate new interest and/or unique experiences that increase destination specifics for tourism revenues. Such designation and redevelopment of the Jamestown Mall properties to become an African American cultural sub-district of the Zoo Museum District (ZMD) opens tremendous opportunity for the revitalization of N. County, the sustainability of our school districts and the stabilization of our housing values.
DISTRICT 4 ISSUES
In working with the Hazelwood School District (HSD) and as a board member for the States largest district in the St. Louis Special School District, I've come to understand to provide quality schools, a district has to be fiscally solvent to hire good administrators, teachers and support staff for implementing programs and curriculums called for by the State. Despite popular thought that most funding for accomplishing this comes from state and federal revenues, the truth is it doesn't. Only 15% is the basic formula amount that can be expected with 85% being the responsibility of district residents who pay property taxes within the district. When communities as ours, experience drastic transitions in loss population and income make-up, districts suffer financially and thus, so do our school districts capability to maintain quality programing necessary for our children. Heretofore, our largest district HSD, serves some 18,000 students and, has needed roughly $200m annually in doing so adequately. State funding due to Covid-19 is in a greater flux and isn't dependable.
To restore and maintain this level of funding, new concepts for revitalizing the marketability of our State and our communities have to be employed to attract new businesses and residents as taxpayers. This requires our businesses and resident stakeholders to work together on community planning that makes economic revitalization possible. As your County Councilman, I will aid in that development, engagement and communications of a community Plan to return our school districts to needed financial solvency.
"Equality" doesn't have the same meaning as "equity", as doesn't "change" mean the same as "correction". As we enter another political cycle of emotional fanfair, protest and promises, we debate the needs and types of transformations our government system and policies should endure. Changes in policies and laws is largely the role of good representation by our elected officials. But, are we seeking to simply change so ever minimal or is "correction" of policies and practices that have historically disenfranchised people of color from access to social and economic justice? Or, have we reached a point of long term frustration that separates and polarizes our justice for all goals? Equity means, fairness and justice both practice and policies that makes right the social and economic disparities that have created more one sided dependency rather than independent partnerships.
Here in District 4 we have housing that range from $75,000 to $450.000 plus. This means we can meet housing desires for people of a broad range of lifestyles. This means with the right new revitalization and marketing plan, we can attract people of all income levels who would see our communities as good places to live work and play. But, to do this your district representative has to bring a more positive perspective to the forefront of the County Council's involvement with creation of district 4 in stabilizing housing needs and values. Needless to say, this too is the bases for the needs of our schools in providing high quality educational experiences for homeowners and resident's children.
How we raise and protect our children clearly reflects and requires a conscientious involvement of the community. Thus, the familiar phrase; "it takes a village to raise a child". In as much, a disengaged village will likely raise "disengaged" children. Likewise, a Justice System that is disengaged from a community is more likely to be more insensitive to the youth of that community in ways that disenfranchises them from opportunities to become productive adults. Our juvenile courts have become too affixed on fueling our "prison industrial complex" with young people who have limited to little financial ability to be represented properly. This has caused a new prison culture among many of our youth that disrupts and disengages families and the neighborhoods in which they dwell. North County can't afford to lose our youth and have families disenfranchised. We must create a juvenile court system that acts justly in strengthening families and neighborhoods rather than weaken them. Just as we require our youth to engage in putting in so many hours of "community service", we should require judges and prosecutors do the same. Particularly, in a system that elects them to be civil servants of fairness in justice.
In most cases, the topics of "environment" surrounds issues as Global Warming, Air Quality or Water Pollution. But, I"m going to include "Community Attitude". If its true that "a man/woman is a product of their "environment" then the one we create via our attitude about it is a most important topic. Today, too much has be done to create an environment psychology of negativity, defeat and disbelief in ourselves as individuals, as communities. This negative mind-set is dangerous and affects every aspect of growth and progress we say we seek for ourselves and our children. This has become a challenge we residents in N. County District 4 must overcome in renewing our community and its many values, which is its people. We have an opportunity to prove our greatness and unify our knowledge in ways few other communities have. We made a giant historical step as a county when we elected our first Black Prosecutor by simply adhering to three powerful words...."YES WE WILL". And, I believe in me, as much as I believe in you, that WE can do what many disbelieve, what many gave up on, in returning our N. County community. schools and neighborhoods as great places to live work and play. "YES WE WILL"