October 1, 2016

Dolan, Bird running for District 5

“If not now, then when? If not you, then who”, is the phrase that inspired candidate Jennifer Bird, republican, to run for St. Louis County Council member to represent District 5. This will be her first time running for a political position, but feels that her background — as parent, business owner, and former teacher — will help her in understanding the needs for the community.

“Diversity creates stability,” Bird said.

Bird is running against current St. Louis County Councilmember Patrick Dolan, Democrat. He said he is running because he enjoys doing his job and appreciates that he was elected the first time and would like to continue with that.

“We are doing good in economic development and we’re trying to stay on board with increasing startup jobs,” he said.

  He also said he would like to see certain policies implemented. One of the policies was Complete Streets. According to the National Complete Streets Coalition, “complete streets” are “designed and operated to enable safe access for all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and transit riders of all ages and abilities.”

Public Transportation and Sustainability

Dolan said he has always been a proponent of MetroLink and multi-mobile transportation. He said that’s why he sponsored a Complete Streets bill, worked with Citizens for Modern Transit MetroLink and Trailnet.

“I know the residents are concerned about it and we’d like to see multi-mobile transportation and believe we can continue on with that,” he said.

Bird is in favor of public transportation, but said she feels there needs to be a justifiable reason to spend a significant amount of money on expanding MetroLink stops.

  “I would like to see a significant and visible increase in ridership for Metro before we look at spending millions of dollars of expanding to Florissant and other areas,” Bird said

Hopkins said that during her study abroad trip in Europe, she didn’t have a car for the four and half months she was there but was able to understand and use the public transportation systems there without difficulty.

“I would love to see that type of system in St. Louis because I think it has such a potential to grow and I know there’s so many economic developments occurring here,” she said. “To even have a sustainable St. Louis, I think the MetroLink coincides with that (sustainability).”

  

Anti-corruption laws

Bird said she is not happy with the direction the county is going in and is upset with the cases of fraud and scandals in the newspapers. She said a one of her main goals would be to try and get anti-corruption laws passed.

“We should ban council members from accepting campaign donations from developers and then voting on their development,” Bird said. “Also, no commision or contracts awarded to friends in big business.”

However, Dolan said it is out of his capacity.

“As far as county council, there’s not much I can do to make a corrupter fix it if it was corrupted,” he said. “We will have, no matter what, a new county executive and that’s where some of those changes can be made.”

He said he supports Steve Stenger, who is running for County Executive, because he believes he will clean the corruption claims and make audits in all the departments. He said he agrees with Bird in that everything needs to be transparent between citizens and the county government.

“I agree in making everything transparent, so that people can see exactly where their money goes in county government,” Dolan said. “There shouldn’t be any corruption.”

Getting students involved

The Webster University College Democrats (WUCD) are trying to get Webster students, both democrat and republican, involved in the upcoming general elections that will be held on Nov. 4.

“We do want it to be bipartisan and we want people to make informed decisions,” said Jenna Hopkins, Student Government Association vice president and WUCD president.

WUCD is holding research sessions to allow students to ask questions, brainstorm and find out information on all the candidates running in the general elections. They will use club funds to pass out handouts with information on the candidates running.

“Even though we are a partisan group on campus, it’s still important that the right information is getting out and everyone is being critical and open-minded,” Hopkins said. “We’re just trying to facilitate a place for that to happen.”

Hopkins said WUCD is also in the process of coming up with a carpool to the voting polls.

One of the races WUCD will research is the St. Louis County Council District 5 elections.  District 5 includes Webster Groves, Brentwood, University City and other surrounding areas.

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