Chelsea Merta Proposes Unified Downtown For Next 7th Ward: Updated With Map

UPDATED: We’ve marked this map to show the proposed boundary lines for the new 7th Ward. The new 7th Ward would include ALL of the following neighborhoods: Downtown, Downtown West, Lafayette Square, Clinton Peabody, LaSalle Park, Kosciusko, Soulard, McKinley Heights, Fox Park, Compton Heights.
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In its Candidate Survey, 7th Ward Independent Democrats asked the 7th Ward Alderman candidates to propose boundaries for the next 7th Ward.

B10) The City’s Wards will be reduced to 14 from 28 after the 2020 Census. If you are alderman during this redistricting, what current ward would you want to combine with the 7th Ward or what specific neighborhoods would you want to combine to produce the new 7th Ward. Use 2010 Census figures. In the case of combining neighborhoods, the magic number is as close to 22,700 as you can get.

John (Jack) Coatar: I would like to see Soulard, Benton Park,  McKinley Heights, Lafayette Square and LaSalle Park in the same ward. The actual boundaries of the ward will of course be affected by the census figures as well.

Chelsea Merta: The Board of Aldermen should aim to unify our neighborhoods’ micro-economies in order to best implement community programs. The new 7th Ward should include a unified Downtown St. Louis, Downtown to Downtown West; Old Frenchtown’s neighborhoods of LaSalle Park, Soulard, and Lafayette with adjacent Peabody Clinton and Kosciusko; plus Compton Heights, McKinley Heights, and Fox Park. 22,314

Samuel J. Cummings, III: I would consider the culture of the wards being merged.  In the case of the 7th ward, I would favor merging with the 6th because its culturally similar. Additionally, I would merge the 9th that is apart of Soulard Neighborhood past Sydney Ave all the way down including Anheuser Busch.

Chelsea Merta was the only candidate to mention Downtown and champion a unified Downtown in the next redistricting.

We need someone who will not only be a Full-Time Alderman but also an alderman with the vision to begin now, right now, to work on redistricting and design new wards that keep neighborhoods unified.

Elect Chelsea Merta 7th Ward Alderman
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— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Sam Cummings’ Soulard Market Tech Incubator Fail

The 2nd Floor of Soulard Market is a gym used by school children, including Lift for Life Academy.

7th Ward Candidate Sam Cummings wants to remove the gym and replace it with a tech incubator.

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He appears to be unaware that a good deal of time, effort, and money have already gone into a Master Plan for Soulard Market and that it includes renovation of the gym area into market offices and an event venue with kitchen. Or maybe he just doesn’t care.

Is Soulard Market the best location for a tech incubator? What are the costs to renovate the 2nd Floor to accommodate tech start-ups? What are the costs to keep the Market open 24/7 to accommodate entrepreneurs? When he talks about investing in Soulard Market does he mean his personal money? Where will the much-needed Soulard Market event space and kitchen go if a tech incubator gets the 2nd Floor?

Is this a well thought out idea? No.

How much time will Sam Cummings be able to put into projects like this? Not much. He doesn’t consider being alderman a “real job.” He says he’ll be a part-time alderman. His tech pursuits and making money will always come first.

Chelsea Merta is the only 7th Ward candidate who pledges to be a full-time Alderman. Whether it’s the future of Soulard Market or the future of a vacant Downtown property, Chelsea will have the time to study concerns, meet with stakeholders, develop well thought out goals, form public-private partnerships, and get the job done.

Elect Chelsea Merta 7th Ward Alderman

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–Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

 

Elect A Public Transit Advocate: Elect Chelsea Merta

In a recent letter to 7th Ward voters supporting Chelsea Merta for 7th Ward Alderman, St. Louis City Treasurer Tishaura Jones wrote:

“She is a gladiator for ensuring that every St. Louisan has the opportunities and resources needed for financial independence. Chelsea is a proponent for the North-South Metrolink Line because she understands that affordable, efficient public transportation and mobility are crucial to boosting the City’s economy and advancing our City’s culture.”

Earlier, members of the 7th Ward Independent Democrats were impressed with Chelsea Merta’s answers to our candidate survey, including her commitment to public transportation.

“I support North-South Jefferson Avenue MetroLink extension. I want to work with state legislators for a referendum vote to allow local option gas taxes. In the City, we could use this for public transit. 10 States have local option gas taxes in use. Why not Missouri? I am also concerned about bus service and pledge to regularly ride buses to be better informed on the quality of service and advocate for riders.”

Chelsea Merta is committed to public transportation.

Chelsea Merta is a creative problem-solver.

Chelsea Merta understands quality bus service is as important as expanded train service.

Elect Chelsea Merta 7th Ward Alderman.

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— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Monday, Feb. 23 7th Ward Meeting Cancelled

Sorry. There’s a scheduling conflict. Stuff happens.

This was supposed to be the City Hall Updates Meeting sponsored by 7th Ward Independent Democrats with guest speakers City Treasurer Tishaura Jones + 6th Ward Alderwoman Chryssi Ingrassia speaking on the Lafayette Square Biz District on April ballot.

We hope to have Alderwoman Ingrassia at the March 16th School Board Candidates Forum which is now an April Election Forum. And we hope to book Treasurer Jones at another meeting.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Don’t Like Red Brick? Don’t Vote For Jack Coatar. UPDATED

10985323_10153088410142930_9027419803802647958_nAfter this post was published and reposted to various social media, Red Brick published the following letter on social media and the leasing manager took to NextDoor to highlight the company’s recent efforts to maintain its properties and admit the company’s past reputation was not the best.

In reality, Red Brick has to put money into its properties for maintenance because it is the law. Red Brick’s properties were not in Conservation Districts requiring inspections and occupancy permits. Now they are thanks to 7th Ward Alderwoman Phyllis Young.  Coincidentally, Alderwoman Young’s election opponent in 2013 was a business tenant of a Red Brick company.

brianwardThe response by Jack Coatar’s campaign to all this bad publicity was to roll out already known endorsements. No attempt was made to distance him from his mentor and former employer Brian Wahby, mentioned in the post. Quite the contrary, Wahby is embraced as an important endorsement.

Most peculiar was the phrase, “Coatar has also earned the endorsements of the 7th Ward Regular Democrats,” which is a political action committee formed by Wahby the first week in January of this year and has never had a meeting or worked the polls. It is Brian Wahby under a different name.

In the end, no one has denied that Red Brick has previously been a problem or Jack Coatar’s relationship to the company.

We stand firmly behind- Don’t Like Red Brick? Don’t Vote for Jack Coatar.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Independent Democrats


In the weeks leading up to Mardi Gras Grand Parade in St Louis, one apartment management company strikes fear in many Soulard and Benton Park residents when its green, purple, and yellow Mardi Gras rental signs go up on their blocks.

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Red Brick will rent you a short term lease party palace for a small fortune.
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A group of guys, mostly young but of drinking age, will rent one of these apartments for a few days. They will lay down plastic thinking it will help prevent damage and they will get the deposit back. They will order kegs. Invest in Hurricane supplies. They will buy bales of toilet paper. They might even buy a bunch of chips, hot dogs or a cheap frozen pizza. Then they will put out word that they are open for business: all the beer, bathroom privileges, and a place to crash during Mardi Gras for $50, $100, or more per person. Under age? No problem.

The result is young drunks in unsafe numbers on porches, stairs, verandas, decks; a gauntlet of foul-mouthed creatures blocking access to neighboring apartments and homes; juvenile behavior resulting in damage to or theft of the property of others; public urination as sport; and the vomit, let’s not forget what power drinking Hurricanes without eating anything but a bag of chips produces.

It’s very hard to crack down on these illegal hotels/bars. The Red Brick Mardi Gras rentals signs are not necessarily located at the actual rental locations. They are sometimes not even located on Red Brick property.

You often do not know a party palace is next door until it is too late- Friday night before Grand Parade when you notice 50 people are going in an out of an apartment.

And that’s just Mardi Gras. Most of the Citizen Service Bureau complaints I have made over the past three years have been Red Brick related addresses.

Red Brick has chosen Jack Coatar as its candidate for 7th Ward Alderman and invested $1,000 in his campaign.

It’s not a surprise. Brian Wahby, Coatar’s mentor and former employer, worked for Red Brick, maybe still does.

And you may have noticed an impressive display of Jack Coatar signs in the 7th Ward. Most of the signs in front of apartments are Red Brick related properties. They are in the same locations used by Brian Wahby during his disastrous campaign for Treasurer. It doesn’t mean there are any voters at the address, let alone Jack Coatar voters.

Whatever Red Brick wants from Jack Coater, it can’t be good for neighbors of their apartments.

7th Ward candidate Chelsea Merta is already helping some residents with problem property complaints.

Chelsea Merta will be an alderman independent of Red Brick.

Elect Chelsea Merta 7th Ward Alderman.

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— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Help Us Draft School Board Candidates Survey

We’re looking for some help in creating a questionnaire for St. Louis City School Board Candidates and questions for a 7 pm Monday, March 16 7th Ward School Board Candidates Forum at Lafayette Park United Methodist Church, open to public.

Would appreciate your help. Please post questions here or on NextDoor thread. Thank You.

Sam Cummings Absurd Mardi Gras “Recycling Holiday”

By early evening Mardi Gras Grand Parade Day, most Soulard streets had been swept and most debris was gone. Soulard residents and businesses woke up the next day to a fairly clean neighborhood.

We like it that way. We demand it be so. We share our neighborhood with hundreds of thousands of revelers and we expect it to be as tidy after the event as it was before, or better.

But 7th Ward Candidate Sam Cummings wants to change that. He wants Grand Parade clean-up to begin the day after the parade.

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I am a recycler and composter. When I worked at the State Capitol, I helped write Missouri’s first solid waste management law with recycling programs. I consider myself knowledgeable on recycling. But I have never heard the term “recycling holiday” before Sam Cummings used it. I asked Google what it was and Google did not know either, confused it with local recycling schedules for holidays.

All we know is that he plans on forcing the Soulard Neighborhood to wake up to trash. In fact, as alderman, he “would fight” to make it so. It is ridiculous.

Sam Cummings and I have had numerous conversations about Mardi Gras recycling over the past two plus years. We talked about recycling during Mardi Gras Grand Parade Day- day of event collection of recyclables similar to Taste of St. Louis (back when it was in Downtown). In none of these conversations did we discuss waiting until the day after Grand Parade to deal with trash.

In 2013, Sam Cummings brought up Mardi Gras recycling at either a Soulard Restoration Group meeting or the post-Mardi Gras Complaint meeting in 2013. I have forgotten which meeting. He could have influenced Mardi Gras trash decisions by election as a Board Member of Soulard Restoration Group. He was asked to run by a number of members. If he had run, he would have been elected. But he didn’t. He missed an opportunity to be a leader.

Sam Cummings has put little thought into his “recycling holiday” plan for Mardi Gras. He could have made recycling a serious issue in the election. But he didn’t. Instead, his proposal is a joke. Once again, he missed an opportunity to be a leader.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

UPDATED (With GOTV Fail Photos)- Dear Sierra Club: Sam Cummings, Your Candidate, Supports GMOs

sierraclubflyerUpdated: Saturday, in a bizarre and environmentally unfriendly move, Sierra Club did a literature drop for Sam Cummings on nearly every door in the Lafayette Square Neighborhood: Homes of persons not registered to vote. Homes of voters with Chelsea Merta yard signs. Vacant Apartments. Vacant Houses. The Police Substation.

And some doors received multiple flyers from Sierra Club, including homes with no registered voters.

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Why this waste of paper by Sierra Club? Sam Cummings is a self-described authority on technology. He should have data on his supporters and undecided voters (mostly people who just don’t want to tell you who they are voting for). Literature drops the weekend before the election should be targeted, not gratuitous littering. This was a GOTV Fail.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman


How is it possible that Sierra Club endorsed a 7th Ward Alderman candidate who embraces GMOs? Sam Cummings supports GMO beet company KWS.

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How is it possible that Sam Cummings was present at the KWS opening at the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center BRDG Park in St. Louis County and did not know he was in the County and not the St. Louis City’s 7th Ward?

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

Brian Wahby, Jack Coatar And The Liquor Permitting Biz

On January 12, 2015, 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman Brian Wahby terminated St. Louis 7th Ward Democrats, his 19 year old political action committee registered with the Missouri Ethics Commission.

In a form dated February 2, 2015, Brian Wahby registered 7th Ward Regular Democrats, a new political action committee, with the Missouri Ethics Commission, which received the form on February 6.

The timing is odd. February 3 was the evening of the 7th Ward Independent Democrats Endorsement Happy Hour.

Why did he give up his old committee?

Why file a new organization before knowing the outcome of our vote?

Will this committee be accepting money from Rex Sinquefield to assist Jack Coatar’s campaign? That’s not an outrageous question. Brian Wahby is a fan of Sinquefield’s. He has experience with so-called “pass through” contributions and moving political dollars around.

But the first thing that actually caught my attention on the filing wasn’t the peculiar date. It was the committee address: 1728 S Broadway. It’s also the address for Jack Coatar’s campaign.

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According to the St Louis City Assessor’s Database, 1728 S. Broadway is owned by Hadchit Investment LLC.

According to the Missouri Secretary of State’s Business Entity Database, Hadchit Investment LLC is owned by Michael B. Hurley. That’s Brian Wahby’s cousin.

Michael B. Hurley is owner of Hurley & Hurley, the leading liquor licensing firm in the 7th Ward and also located at 1728 S. Broadway.

Personally, I live in an adult neighborhood because it is an adult neighborhood. I like bars. I support good bars. But I want my alderman to intervene against neighborhood nuisances and potential nuisances, including a bad bar, and I think that’s highly problematic when you have the sort of relationship Jack Coatar has with the major facilitator of liquor licenses.

I am even more suspicious of this alliance because Jack Coatar has failed to report to Missouri Ethics Commission any expenditure- rent or in-kind- for the office space.

The 7th Ward needs a strong, independent voice at City Hall. Elect Chelsea Merta! She’s Not Status Quo!

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman