THE VILLE—A longtime alderman, two former committeemen, and a youthful challenger make up the race for alderman in the 4th Ward, which is home to the historic Ville neighborhood.
The candidates who filed to run in the March 5 primary are incumbent and longtime alderman Samuel “Sam” Moore, former committeemen Leroy Carter and Edward McFowland, and political consultant Robert Dillard.
The holder of the position will receive a salary of $37,299.
Robert Dillard is a 36-year-old political consultant who was employed by the Office of the St. Louis City Recorder of Deeds until last month, when he was fired along with several others by the new Recorder, Michael Butler, on Butler’s first full day in office. Dillard told KMOV that he would be filing a lawsuit against Butler for the dismissal.
Dillard said he is running for alderman because he believes the 4th Ward and the surrounding community is under-served. He claims that the fact that Moore has been alderman for so long and hasn’t managed to turn the ward around is a sign that it is time for new leadership.
“We are among the lowest when it comes to voter turnout and community engagement,” he said, adding that if elected, he would work to decrease the amount of vacant properties in the ward.
He has other plans as well: He pledged to implement participatory budgeting in the ward, which would give residents a say in how approximately $300,000 in funds are spent in the ward each year. “I will also start a State of the Ward address meeting every year, and work to rebuild our sense of community,” said Dillard.
He said the primary challenges in the ward are the high levels of vacancy, high crime, and a lack of resources.
“Our community is a resource desert and we’ve not made good community benefit agreements with developers to give back to the 4th,” said Dillard.
“If I win, residents get my energy and willingness to knock on doors at City Hall and fight on behalf of my constituents. I will work closely with neighborhood leaders to strengthen communities. I will bring back ‘My Block is Beautiful’ contests and restore hope and a sense of community,” he said.
If he is elected, Dillard said residents will get a cleaner, more efficient 4th ward, “backed by an alderman who values transparency, hard work, and compassion.”
Leroy Carter, the most recent 4th Ward committeeman, said he’s running because “there’s a lot of work that needs to be done to get the ward back on its feet.”
Crime and illegal dumping are high on Carter’s lists of priorities. He said he witnessed multiple shootings on his street last summer within 24 hours of one another.
“In the summer, kids just walk around in harm’s way – we need to focus on that,” he said, pointing out what he views as reduction in crime in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
“We need to take back our streets like they did; it used to be drug-infested, but now it isn’t,” Carter said.
The alderman-hopeful also compared his ward to others that have built speedbumps to curb dangerous speeding.
“(Cars) fly down my street,” he said, continuing, “Speedbumps are popping up in almost every neighborhood but ours.”
Carter said he would also look into getting leaf-removal in the ward, “like in South City.”
He said he would also like to get an understanding of what’s going on with the closed schools in the ward and see what could be done with them, so they don’t just deteriorate.
“We have to get together and build up our community and to do so, we need block captain and precinct captains.”
For career building inspector and former 4th Ward committeeman Edward McFowland, organization is central to his platform.
“It’s not about me and my friends – it’s about everybody in the ward and we must be on the same page,” said McFowland, who served as a committeeman in the ward from 2012 to 2016.
He said he also plans to address public safety in an effective and realistic way, assisting ex-offenders in finding employment, investing in resources to aid homeless veterans, and encouraging entrepreneurs to invest in the community.
He said he is running not only to organize, but also to restructure and regenerate resources in the ward.
The 61-year-old is the son of late former 4th Ward Alderwoman Daisy McFowland. He said he learned a lot when his mother held the seat.
Should he win the seat, he said it would be a “sincere opportunity to reorganize, revitalize and redistribute the flow of wealth back to the community.”
McFowland said he believes organization can help to revive the ward.
“Where there is no order, we waste resources, time and money,” he said.
Alderman Sam Moore declined to be interviewed, referring the reporter to his board secretary.