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Politically Speaking: Scott Ogilvie on why he’s stepping away from the Board of Aldermen

Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, speaks on Friday about his bill to cap city-based campaign contribtions.
FIle photo I Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio
Alderman Scott Ogilvie, D-24th Ward, speaks on the floor of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen.

St. Louis Alderman Scott Ogilvie returns to Politically Speaking to talk about the pressing issues before the Board of Aldermen — and why he’s decided to leave after the 2019 elections.

Ogilvie represents the 24th Ward, which takes in six neighborhoods around southwestern St. Louis. That includes neighborhoods that encompass Dogtown, such as Cheltenham, Clayton Tamm, Franz Park, Hi-Pointe and Ellendale.

Ogilvie first burst onto St. Louis’ political scene in 2011 when he prevailed as an independent candidate against former Alderman Tom Bauer. For a time, he was the only member of the Board of Aldermen who wasn’t elected as a Democrat. He successfully ran for re-election in 2015 as a Democrat, once again defeating Bauer.

Throughout his tenure as an alderman, Ogilvie has been an advocate for bolstering the city’s mass transit and bicycle infrastructure. He was also the sponsor of legislation limiting donations for city candidates.

Ogilvie announced this year that he would not seek another term in 2019. He expressed frustration about how fragmented St. Louis regional government has become over the past few decades.

Here’s what Ogilvie had to say during the show:

  • In the run up to potentially campaigning and raising money for another aldermanic term, he wasn’t “feeling 100 percent and I thought that may be an indication that somebody else should have a shot. I didn’t want to start a campaign not being fully committed to it and then have to sort of fake my way through it.”
  • He’s grown frustrated with how many layers of government exist between St. Louis and St. Louis County. “It’s not good, because nobody is in charge of the region and it’s impossible for the region to create consistent policies and approaches,” he said. “So what you end having is treating people vastly different based on where they live and how much money they have.”
  • Some local governments, especially in north St. Louis County, have voluntarily decided to merge with each other — such as Vinita Terrace and Vinita Park. But Ogilvie said that approach “is tinkering around the edges of a system that is very broken.” “That’s not the big fix for the region,” he said. “If that’s our approach, I think we’ll be having the same conversation we’re having today in 60 or 70 or 80 years. Generations will go by and they’ll still be kicking this can down the road.”
  • In his last few months as alderman, Ogilvie will likely be part of a debate about a soccer stadium proposal. Some aldermen have raised objections about how the city would own the facility. But Ogilvie expects a calmer process than in years’ past, such as when aldermen debated building a professional football stadium in 2015. “I mean, I don’t think you’ll have 100 percent consensus,” he said. “But I think there are a lot fewer points to debate than other recent proposals.”

Follow Jason Rosenbaum on Twitter: @jrosenbaun

Follow Rachel Lippmann on Twitter: @rlippmann

Follow Scott Ogilvie on Twitter: @ward24stl

Music: “Party All The Time” by Eddie Murphy

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