CHELTENHAM – A free-for-all has developed in the race for the Democratic nomination Ward 24 alderman, after five candidates filed.
Those running for the seat include a former alderman in the ward and both the Democratic committeewoman and committeeman. The current alderman, Scott Ogilvie, is not running for re-election.
The candidates are Loraine (Lorie) M. Cavin, 62; Bret Rajiv Narayan, 34; Democratic Committeewoman Teresa D. Powers, 71; Democratic Committeeman Daniel L. Sample; and former Alderman Thomas Bauer.
The winner of the primary will not face opposition in the April 2 general election. The salary will be $37,299 a year.
The ward includes all or part of the Cheltenham, Clayton Tamm, Clifton Heights, Ellendale, Franz Park and Hi Pointe neighborhoods.
In the order of how they filed, here is information about the candidates:
A longtime community and Democratic party leader in the 24th Ward, Cavin is a hospice caregiver. “My kids are grown. I have time,” Cavin said.
Cavin was one of the neighborhood leaders who had disputes with then-alderman Bauer in the middle of the 2000s. Those disputes ended with Bauer’s recall in 2005. Her husband formerly served as 24th Ward Democratic committeeman.
Cavin said there are various issues in the different neighborhoods, including what will happen to the site of the old Deaconess Hospital. She’d like to maintain the look of the neighborhoods, including making the new houses fit in with the old ones.
Cavin said that residents voted years ago to reduce the number of wards from 28 to 14. However, if voters approve the current proposal for a city-county merger, the transition period will be during 2021.
“Why are we doing the one thing when we’re supposed to be looking at combining with the county?” she asked.
In the large view, a city-county merger could be a good thing, but the voices of citizens should not be drowned out, Cavin said.
She wants a vote on any privatization plan. The airport is one of the city’s greatest assets, and there are many union jobs there, Cavin said.
Narayan, an attorney who lives in the Clayton-Tamm neighborhood, said he started thinking about running when he heard that Ogilvie wouldn’t run for re-election. “I knew a lot of folks who encouraged me to run,” he said. He decided to hop in the race after talking to friends, family and people in the ward.
“We’ve been out talking to people and hear a lot of the same concerns,” said Narayan, who is vice president of the Clayton-Tamm Neighborhood Association. “[People ask] what a city-county merger may look like, what ward reduction is going to look like,” Narayan said. He said people also are concerned about airport privatization, the proposed Major League Soccer team for the area, and tax increment financing.
If the Better Together plan for a city-county merger goes through, ward reduction would be irrelevant, he said. Unfortunately, the city will have to start working on ward reduction before people vote on the merger.
Narayan said he’s read the Better Together report and has some concerns about it. He doesn’t want the city’s political power to be watered down. He would have liked to see schools included in it.
He opposes privatization of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport. He said he hasn’t talked to a single resident of the ward who favors it.
Powers, 71, has been the Democratic Committeewoman in the 24th ward for eight years. She is a Franz Park neighborhood resident and a retired clinical social worker and psychotherapist. She said she has consistently attended committee meetings and regular meetings of the Board of Aldermen.
Powers said she would like to get involved with the board’s public safety committee.
“I’m already familiar with the Board of Aldermen, most of the people who are on the board,” Powers said. She said when she goes there she gets greeted with hugs and smiles.
Among her concerns about a city-county merger are that the St. Louis County police chief wants to merge the county police with the city police. She wants to know how police are going to change. “We’ve got problems in our judicial system. They’ve got problems in theirs,” she said.
Both the city and county need to do some house cleaning and straighten things out before they can merge, Powers said. “The whole idea of merger, it is so complex, it can’t be done without some bruises and bumps,” she said.
She is concerned about the possible privatization of the St. Louis Lambert International Airport because the name of conservative donor Rex Sinquefield has been associated with it.
Sample, a Franz Park resident, did not respond to repeated phone calls made to get information about his campaign. According to the website of the St. Louis City Democratic Committee, he has been a committeeman since 2017 and is an activist, a National Education Association member, a gifted education specialist and a husband. He is involved with numerous community organizations and has been a delegate for Hillary Clinton, and a Democratic Presidential Elector.
Bauer declined a request for an interview.