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Latest 'We Live Here' episode explores broad implications of Maplewood settlement, ordinance changes

Rosetta Watson was functionally evicted from the city after her former boyfriend attacked her.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Rosetta Watson was functionally evicted from the city after her former boyfriend attacked her.

Earlier this month, domestic violence survivor Rosetta Watson won a settlement in a lawsuit brought against the city of Maplewood, which had revoked Watson’s occupancy permit after she called the police to her home more than two times within six months. She spoke with St. Louis Public Radio’s We Live Here team in recent days and is the focus of this week’s brand-new episode of the podcast.

On Friday’s St. Louis on the Air, host Don Marsh talked with We Live Here co-host/producer Kameel Stanley, who gave listeners a quick update on Watson’s situation as well as the broader implications of the settlement in Maplewood and beyond.

“She got a chunk of money which she’s using to buy a home of her own that no one can ever kick her out of, so that’s good news,” Stanley said. “But part of her settlement also [involves] changing things a little bit in Maplewood.”

The revisions to the city’s nuisance ordinance aim to build in some protections for vulnerable residents, Stanley explained.

“The problem [was] that within its policy it was very explicit in that it talked about the number of police calls … if there were more than two calls within a six-month period [from a resident], you could be sucked into the nuisance-violation process,” she said. “And if they determined that you were a nuisance, one thing they could do is yank your occupancy permit, which means you can longer live in that town.”

In addition to drawing on the We Live Here team’s latest conversation with Watson, the new podcast episode features the voices of several other people, including a representative from the Equal Housing and Opportunity Council, which has looked at Maplewood data from the last few years.

“They were troubled by the fact that the folks who were being declared public nuisances – it fell along some familiar patterns that we see: domestic violence victims, people of color, people with mental issues, people who might just need to call the police sometimes,” Stanley said.

All of We Live Here’s episodes are available on the show’s website, at http://welivehere.show.

Support for We Live Here comes from the Hammond Institute for Free Enterprise at Lindenwood University.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Alex HeuerEvie HemphillLara Hamdan and Xandra Ellin give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.

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Evie was a producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.