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Politically Speaking: Alderman Krewson says city can't arrest our way out of crime problem and more

Alderman Lyda Krewson
File photo | Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On the latest edition of Politically Speaking, St. Louis Public Radio’s Jason Rosenbaum and Rachel Lippmann welcome St. Louis Alderman Lyda Krewson to the show.

The Moberly native has represented the city’s 28th Ward since 1997. Her ward includes some of the city’s most popular attractions, such as Forest Park, the St. Louis Zoo, part of ‘The Loop’ and the Central West End business districts.

Two years before her election, she was thrust into the spotlight when her husband was killed as the family (including two young children) sat in their car outside their condo. When discussing the spike in violent crime during the podcast, Krewson said St. Louis “can’t arrest ourselves out of this situation.”

Krewson has often been at the forefront of hot-button issues. She was the primary sponsor of a citywide smoking ban and played a key role in amending legislation that raises the city’s minimum wage. She also recently helped introduce legislation aimed at streamlining the city’s business license practices.

Earlier this year, Krewson easily won re-election after defeating St. Louis School Board member Bill Haas in the Democratic primary. She’s often been mentioned for other electoral posts, including the state legislature and citywide offices.

Here’s what Krewson said during the show:

  • Krewson thinks it will be good for the city when the Board of Aldermen shrinks from 28 to 14 members after the 2020 census. “It will be very challenging to go through that transition,” she said. “But it’s something that the voters and the Board of Aldermen jointly decided should happen.”
  • She expects that legislation to lower the cost of a one-person business license will soon get a hearing from the Board of Aldermen’s Ways and Means Committee. The measure has faced pushback from License Collector Mavis Thompson.
  • Krewson hasn’t decided how she’ll vote on an impending measure to provide city funds for a new riverfront stadium.“I think it’s a really tough situation that we’re in,” she said. “On one hand as a city it would be very tough on us to lose the Rams. … On the other hand, it’s really tough to subsidize a billionaire. So I do think it’s a tough vote.”
  • She doesn’t feel that raising the city’s minimum wage to $9 an hour next year will put St. Louis at a competitive disadvantage. “A lot of businesses that I spoke with are already paying $9 or very close to it,” she said. “So I think it’s one of these things that we’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out. Certainly there are some concerns about paying more than the surrounding areas. But there are also some plusses to that. Maybe the best employees will be wanting to work here.”
  • She said there needs to be a greater focus on the root causes of crime, including a lack of early childhood education, inadequate mental health services and “a flood of guns into our state and surrounding areas as well.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaum

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Lyda Krewson on Twitter: @lydakrewson

Music: “Maps” by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Jason is the politics correspondent for St. Louis Public Radio.
Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.