Following the surprise announcement that Alderman Joe Roddy would resign from his long-held seat, multiple candidates are running to replace Roddy in the rapidly densifying and developing Ward. Roddy, who has served for more than 30 years, is the longest-serving member of the Board and has worked with civic and business leaders alike on major projects along the city’s Central Corridor.
Three candidates are seeking Roddy’s soon-to-be former Aldermanic seat: Michelle Sherod, a CPA with 30+ years of experience and former McCaskill staffer; Tina “Sweet-T” Phil, a former head of the FPSE Neighborhood Association and social entrepreneur; and Donald De Vivo, member of the Green Party. (Unfortunately, we cannot find an active candidate website for De Vivo).
Tina “Sweet-T” Pihl
With few options for neighborhood residents to safely meet the candidates due to COVID-19, the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association is holding a candidate forum over Zoom at its next regularly scheduled meeting, on Tuesday, 1/19 at 6:45PM. To access the meeting, join the Zoom meeting at: Web: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82903905861. You can also view the event details here: https://www.facebook.com/events/3768466896544367
The winner will govern Ward 17 in an increasingly partisan political environment, both locally and nationally. While replacing Roddy could be transformative, the eventual victor will only serve a portion of their full term, assuming that Ward Reduction still reshapes the Board in 2023. The fate of Board Reduction is still uncertain, however, despite a citywide vote nearly a decade ago, with the Board voting narrowly to reintroduce the measure to city voters in April just this week. While proponents of the reduction are concerned about the Board’s actions that do not represent the will of the voters, they are cautiously optimistic that Mayor Krewson will veto the effort of the slim Board majority as she threatened to do in 2018.
They will also oversee a Ward that has been transformed over the past three decades. The Grove, now a major entertainment and dining district, is surrounded by tons of new residential infill and hundreds of new units in multifamily developments. The Cortex District, just East of the Central West End and North of Forest Park Southeast, continues to see more office-space and high paying jobs. With a new 11-story WashU Neuroscience building now under construction (the largest such facility in the country once complete), the district appears poised to maintain its momentum as the city’s premier innovation neighborhood.
Roddy’s tenure will certainly be celebrated for his consistent efforts to modernize his Ward and the city’s urban center, while critics maintain he represents interests of wealthy developers over lower-income residents in older housing stock South of Manchester Ave. Moreover, his politics is less progressive and sometimes more controversial than many of his younger peers, like Aldermen Green and Spencer.
Disclosure: The author of this article, Brian Adler, is the newly elected Vice President of the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association. This article is simultaneously the first piece of Missouri-Metro’s Politics section and an effort to ensure that voters in Ward 17 are educated on a once-in-a-generation ability to reshape their Ward’s leadership. To read more about the Forest Park Southeast Neighborhood Association, visit its website here: http://www.forestparksoutheast.com/.