Political science chair Dave Robertson shares perspective on election results with KMOX

by | Apr 5, 2017

He appeared on "Total Information AM," discussing the defeat of the proposed soccer stadium as well as what new leadership could mean for regional cooperation.
Dave Robertson

Dave Robertson (Photo by August Jennewein)

Tuesday’s elections brought the city of St. Louis the first female mayor in its history, victory for a tax increase that will, among other things, help fund a north-south MetroLink line and defeat for a planned downtown stadium to lure a Major League Soccer franchise.

Dave Robertson, chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis, joined “Total Information AM” hosts Debbie Monterrey and Michael Calhoun this morning on KMOX Radio (1120 AM) to discuss the results.

The failure of Proposition 2 – which would have funded the proposed soccer stadium, in part by diverting a just-passed use-tax on some businesses – came as a surprise to some. That was particularly true because it was tied to the Proposition 1 – a half-cent sales tax increase, some of which will be put toward planning and engineering for a new MetroLink line – which succeeded.

“I think city voters wanted to help build the city,” Robertson said. “But St. Louis’ voters have been burned by the football team in the very recent past and are not in the mood to help subsidize another professional sports team.”

Issues with the city-county divide likely contributed to the stadium’s defeat with some city residents uncomfortable that county voters weren’t sharing in the cost other than through a sales tax on tickets to events held there.

Robertson was asked if the election of new leaders such as Mayor-elect Lyda Krewson, a UMSL alumna, might help bridge the divide between city and county. Calhoun noted that St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, another UMSL graduate, was on hand at her victory party.

“I think everybody should hope that that’s the case,” Robertson said. “But an election night party is pretty easy to do. Cooperation on policy is a lot harder.”

Robertson believes improved cooperation is a key issue for the entire region, which this morning also learned of the pending loss of another company headquartered here. JAB Holding Co. announced it will buy Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread Co. in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion.

“There is new construction in the city of St. Louis. It’s a great city for entrepreneurship,” Robertson said. “I think that hope for cooperation between the county and the city and the rest of the region is probably the best way to build economic development in this area.”

There were some notable results on ballot issues outside the city, including county-wide sales tax increases for schools that were defeated in St. Clair and Marion Counties in Illinois and a sales tax increase for police in St. Louis County.

“I think law enforcement is a very popular issue at this point, and it has a lot of support region-wide,” Robertson said. “The problem for Illinois is the context. There’s so much of a mess with the state budget that people are very wary of any taxes at all.”

Hear a podcast of Robertson’s “Total Information AM” interview here.

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Steve Walentik

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