CITY HALL – Alderman Sam Moore, Fourth Ward, wants to be mayor – of north St. Louis. And he plans to make the announcement Friday when the St. Louis Board of Aldermen returns to session from summer recess.
It sounds sentimentally symbolic, especially considering that such a bill would have a difficult time becoming law. Even if it made it to the mayor, who could veto it, it would still take a two-thirds BOA vote.
But the move is more than a pipe dream for the longtime alderman, who is working with a master developer on expansive plans in The Ville, Greater Ville and other neighborhoods in his ward.
The developer, Laura Hughes, is in favor of reauthorizing The Ville as a historic tax district, which then would require a governing body, much like St. Louis County municipalities.
“It’s actually not as far-fetched as people think,” Hughes said. “And he would make a great mayor.”
As things are now, Moore said, he would ask aldermanic board president Lewis Reed for the funding to create such an ordinance for him to run as a candidate. Then, he said, he would go the Board of Estimate and Apportionment and the Ways and Means Committee to get the money.
The alderman, nicknamed “the governor,” spoke about his idea to The NorthSider last month at a back-to-school event. He said, “There’s a mayor in the county (the county executive) and there’s a mayor in the city, so why not have a mayor of south city and north city?”
The reason he wants to be mayor of north St. Louis is because no one seems to care about the predominantly black area, north of the infamous Delmar Divide.
“We have allowed the TV media to separate us at the Delmar Divide, the Mason-Dixon Line.
“Don’t get me wrong, I love Chief [John] Hayden, he’s a friend of mine, and I love the mayor; but what’s love got to do with it?” Moore said in a subsequent telephone interview.
Concerns high on his list in north St. Louis include dismal city services, violent crime and better policing.
“They have totally neglected north St. Louis, which breaks down our character. It’s gotten out of hand,” Moore said.
He said that, like most people, he was angered by the deaths of all of the children that have been killed in the city of St. Louis. But he added that everyone, no matter their age, needed to be safe.
“All lives matter,” he said referring to anyone susceptible to gun violence in north city.
He is currently drawing up plans to have a hotline number posted on billboards for people who deem themselves in danger or provoked to commit a violent act.
The would-be mayor also said he was working with Families Advocating Safe Streets founder and CEO Jeanette Culpepper to bring back a former crime-solving measure.
Members of her organization would begin showing up on crime scenes and pass out fliers so that potential witnesses could give tips without being seen talking directly to police officers.
“How can you inform the police if they won’t protect you? You can’ t blame the citizens, there’s no protection for the citizens,” Moore said.
As for law enforcement in the north city, Moore said there would be less crime if the police were more visible.
“They’re called patrolmen, so they need to patrol,” he said. “If they’re scared, then they need to go to church and become priests, but they took the job as peace officers.
“We don’t need more police, we need the police that do have to do their job.
“When a crime occurs, we see helicopters flying, jeeps and other vehicles come from everywhere, but you can’t see them on a daily basis to prevent crime from rearing its ugly head.”
Then there’s the issues of high weeds and grass that the Land Reutilization Authority properties come to be known for.
“If you look at south of the Delmar border, you will see beautiful foliage, houses in order, no lots – they are landlocked,” he pointed out.
“It is a sin to be poor, but this disparity is done on purpose to move us out, so they can keep moving north. … We are drowning in disparity, and it’s being imposed upon us so rapidly that we don’t have a chance to come up for air,” Moore said.
In his 4th Ward, he said, there are 1,300 empty buildings and between 1,700 and 1,900 empty lots. He called it a cesspool for development.
“It was done on purpose, but we have been doing a lot, so it’s going to be hard to take over what we have done,” Moore said.
“Everything has gotten out of hand, so I’m running for mayor of north St. Louis and Lyda can be mayor of south St. Louis.”