Megan Ellyia Green’s April 6th Voter Guide
Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green’s endorsements for the April 6th General Election.
Mayor — Tishaura Jones
In 2017 I wrote about the need to chart a different direction for our City as I laid out my reasons for supporting Tishaura Jones for Mayor. In 2021, many of those reasons for supporting her still hold true today. As I detailed in my endorsement letter, I do believe that we are in a pivotal moment in the history of our City, and to create the real change that our City needs, we need to elect movement accountable politicians. It is for this reason, that in 2021, I am still advocating a vote for Tishaura Jones for Mayor.
Comptroller — Darlene Green
Comptroller Green has been the fiscal watchdog for our City. She has taken brave stances against special interests to stop the privatization of our airport, tax-breaks to sports stadiums that would have hurt our credit rating, and she has been supportive of the efforts of Close the Workhouse. Let’s re-elect Comptroller Green on April 6th.
#FlipTheBoard (Of Aldermen)
As I wrote earlier this year, a progressive Mayor is going to need a progressive Board of Aldermen to help enact a different agenda and vision for our City. We have some amazing candidates running for the Board of Aldermen this election cycle who share common commitments to working together to Close the Workhouse, to reign in the overuse and abuse of tax incentives that deprive our public schools of resources, to implement proven strategies to address the root causes of crime while decreasing mass incarceration, and to stop the privatization of our public assets. These candidates are also supported by the St. Louis Young Democrats, Action St. Louis Power Project, and the Missouri Sierra Club, to name a few.
Shedrick Kelley — 7th Ward
Shedrick “Nato Caliph” Kelley is running in the 7th ward. He is a Business Analyst at Wells Fargo and a member of the leadership council with the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS). He also volunteers with the Coalition Against Police Crimes and Repression (CAPCR) and is an active participant with the Civilian Oversight Board.
Shedrick is a family man, artist, and a St. Louis naitive who has deep roots in the community with a far-reaching dedication to serving it. A father of six children, five of whom currently attend St. Louis Public Schools, Shedrick will work to ensure our community is positively impacted by his service. His mission as 7th ward Alderman is to fight for the health, prosperity, and safety of the people and the families of the 7th ward community.
Bill Stephens — 12th Ward
Bill Stephens is running in the 12th ward. Born in St. Louis, Missouri, Bill was raised in both the Southeastern village of Marquand, Missouri and the North County streets of Hazelwood, Missouri. As the only openly gay student at his conservative Lutheran high school, Bill persevered and was the first in his immediate family to graduate. Bill didn’t stop there — he went on to a four-year university not once, but twice: Webster University and Saint Louis University, where he studied French Language and Literature and currently studies Greek & Latin Language and Literature.
Throughout his educational pursuits, Bill held active and prominent roles in the St. Louis LGBTQIA+ community, from being a member of Growing American Youth and eventually its youngest-ever board member, to becoming the Archivist and Library Coordinator for Pride St. Louis. As a public library professional, Bill saw daily the effects of unjust legal and social barriers on the lives of everyday citizens, which inspired him to run for a legislative role in St. Louis, Missouri.
Bill leads both his campaign and his life with two simple tenets: Fierce Compassion, Radical Empathy. He’s excited for the opportunity to bring both to the St. Louis Board of Alderman.
Anne Schweitzer — 13th Ward
Anne Schweitzer is running in the 13th ward. Anne was born and raised in South St. Louis City, where she is running for office. She received a Politics and Environmental Studies degree from Brandeis University in Massachusetts. When she was 20, she rode her bike across the country in support of affordable housing, as part of an organization that another #FlipTheBoard candidate, Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl, co-founded. After college, Anne worked as a community organizer at a community development corporation, mostly around tenants’ rights. In 2012, she moved back to St. Louis and began working as a publicist, writing words for candidates, companies, and nonprofits. As a candidate, her priorities are boosting St. Louis and holistically addressing safety, education, and development.
Anne volunteers as a clinic escort with NARAL. She co-founded the Young Friends of Forest ReLeaf and has planted dozens of trees in the St. Louis region. She is a member of the Friends of Carondelet Park Board, an urban homesteader (talk to her if you have thought about backyard chickens!), a foster parent and foster coordinator with Stray Haven Feline Rescue, and a member of the First Neighbor Program with St. Joseph Housing Initiative.
Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl — 17th Ward
Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl is running in 17th ward for the seat that is being vacated by the retirement of longtime Alderman Joe Roddy. Tina Pihl, who goes by Sweet-T, is an urban planner, activist, community leader, and social entrepreneur. She has an indomitable spirit and an unparalleled drive that has allowed her to be an extraordinary achiever — from working on the largest urban in-fill redevelopment projects in the U.S. to being a pioneer co-founding the Habitat Bicycle Challenge that raised roughly $2.4 million for Habitat for Humanity–New Haven to competing in the 2004 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in women’s freestyle wrestling. Tina Sweet-T graduated from Yale University, with a B.A. in Architecture and M.I.T with a M.A. in City Planning.
Tina Sweet-T works in the community and with the community. For over 15 years she has worked in housing, community and economic development; has served as Executive Director of two non-profits in underserved neighborhoods; has organized on issues such as, gun safety, equitable development, and voter registration; and is past President of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association.
As an adoptee with white parents, she has lived a unique constellation of experiences that have made her a trailblazer, connector and community builder. She is rooted in collective action and passionate about providing equal access to resources for everyone, in order for us to all have an opportunity to thrive equitably. She is currently writing a book about the intersection between belonging, identity and race from her experience growing up and her work as a planner in St. Louis, Boston, Denver, Washington, D.C. and Appalachia.
St. Louis Public Schools School Board
Three seats are up on the St. Louis Public Schools School Board April 6th. On the heels of the closure of eight St. Louis Public Schools, and the calls for a city-wide plan for education, a moratorium on new schools, and the reformation of our tax incentive system, the stakes could not be higher. This election cycle there are more good candidates than school board seats. My endorsements are not only based upon the quality of each of these candidates, but also what unique skill sets that they each will bring to the table. With that said, for school board I endorse:
I have known Alisha Sonnier since she was a student organizer with Tribe X coming out of the Ferguson Uprising, leading what would become known as OccupySLU. She was wise beyond her years then, she’s even wiser now. I have watched her grow into a fierce community advocate. When she called me last fall to say that she was considering running for the school board to bring a voice for younger people to the Board, I was elated. She is the exact type of young person we should be supporting as she embodies inside-outside organizing, combining lived experience with policy knowledge, and always puts the community at the center of her decision-making. In addition to being an activist, Alisha has a BS in Psychology and currently works as a community mental health advocate. With so many of our children growing up in trauma, I think she will bring an important trauma-informed voice, in addition to a voice for youth, to decision-making at SLPS.
Matt Davis is a parent with two children attending SLPS. He is also an attorney whose practice centers on disability, mental health, pension rights and healthcare advocacy for individuals and families, and if elected, would be the only attorney on the School Board. As both an SLPS parent and an attorney, he is uniquely positioned to understand the structural issues that exist within SLPS with regard to teacher recruitment/retention, the quality of school buildings, and the allocation of resources, as well as how we can address these issues. The next school board will need to think outside of the box for solutions that grow St. Louis Public Schools’ student population and protect public education. Matt has the vision and the knowledge to do both. Having a parent voice and a legal mind on the School Board are both needed skillsets.
Natalie Vowell is the only incumbent running for re-election to the School Board. During her tenure, Natalie was on the executive leadership team that oversaw the return of local control. Since being on the Board, she has been elected as an officer by her fellow Board Members every year. In 2019, she was appointed as St. Louis’ representative on the Board of Directors for the Missouri School Boards Association. She was instrumental is getting TIF/tax abatement reform into the legislative agenda for SLPS, drafted and passed a bylaws changed to add a student representative to the School Board, and worked with the Board of Election Commissioners to give SLPS students the opportunity to serve as paid poll workers on Election Day. Natalie has vital institutional knowledge, and should be retained as a Board member as the Board continues to develop its strategic plan and direction after regaining local control from the State Appointed Board (SAB).
Proposition E is asking voters to renew the 1% earnings tax paid by people who live or work in the City of St. Louis. This is not a tax increase, rather is a renewal of an already existing tax. Residents in the City of St. Louis are required to reauthorize the earnings tax every five years because of a statewide ballot initiative passed by Rex Sinquefield in 2010 that requires us to do so. The earnings tax is 37% of the city budget and pays for city services, such as trash and recycling, first responders, and parks and recreational services. If the earnings tax were to go away, city services would decrease and possibly be privatized, public employees would lose their jobs, and sales taxes and property taxes would be increased to make up the difference. On April 6th, continue investing in our City by voting Yes on E.
Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District
Proposition Y — Vote Yes
This funds a three-year $1.58B capital improvement program that is required to meet the requirements of the consent decree with the EPA. It will eliminate 50 wastewater sewer overflows from sewer pipes, build 60 miles of new wastewater sewers, replace the incinerators at the Bissell and Lemay treatment plants, and build a tunnel from the Fenton treatment plant to the Lower Meramec treatment plant to eliminate the Fenton Plant. A yes votes allows for the issuance of bonds to spread the costs of improvements out over time. There is a very slight rate increase with the issuance of the bonds. Not issuing the bonds will result in much higher rate increases. Even if the issuance of bonds is voted down, the work will still have to be done dueto the consent decree. Vote Yes
Propositions 1- 5 — Vote Yes
These propositions are intended to update and modernize the MSD charter.
Removes obsolete provisions, modernizes certain provisions, references and languages.
Current Charter requires yes votes from a minimum of 2 Board Members from each appointing authority, the City and County, to pass any ordinance, rule, etc. Under this new rule if at least five members are present and with unanimous consent, any four yes votes will suffice for passage.
Deals with the MSD Rate Commission. It clarifies participation, length of proceedings, and a review factor.
Changes compensation for Trustees from $300/year to $600/year.
Permits the District to engage the same independent auditing firm in excess of five consecutive years. This is only true if the District holds a competitive bid process for auditing services and the lead audit partner/concurring partner is changed. More information on all MSD ballot propositions can be found here.
Check out a sample ballot of everything on the ballot. Polls are open from 6:00am to 7:00pm on Tuesday April 6th. Find your polling place here. Thank you for voting!