Just days before the municipal election, candidates for the City Council appeared at the to answer questions from constituents.
The event, held at the , featured the four candidates running in the city's 1st and 2nd Wards.
The candidates for a four-year term on the city council are:
- , Ward 1, incumbent
- , Ward 1, challenger
- , Ward 2
- , Ward 2
The event moderator took questions from the audience and addressed them to the candidates. The questions ranged from questions of policy to those regarding current events in city hall.
Candidates were asked when they first learned of the and what role, if any, they played in it.
Wofsey and Crow both said they had no part in the investigation and didn't learn of it until late February. Adams told the crowd that as a lawyer in private practice she wouldn't speak of cases that she may or may not have been involved with prior to her decision to run for council.
"I found out on the Patch," Carr told the audience. "I just know what I've read but I don't think it is an ethical violation for Ms. Adams to say whether she represented the city manager or not."
Adams responded by telling the crowd that the emails in question and the documents have been available for months.
"I don't think it is ethical to bring this up on the eve of an election," she said.
Other topics included:
New Police Station
All of the candidates said they weren't sure how this question arose, because there is no push from within the police department for a new station. Construction of a will free up more space for police in city hall.
Business and Economic Development
Improving the tax base in University City by maintaining existing businesses and attracting new ones was the subject of several questions.
Carr spoke of what she called the "Maplewood plan" which would involve actively pursuing businesses to relocate or expand into University City.
Wofsey said the city needed to improve its reputation — deserved or perceived — that it is difficult to work with for developers.
"Four out of our top 10 largest tax producers are senior centers," Crow told the crowd. "Two others are apartment buildings — we need to help the expansion of these businesses while balancing the needs of the neighborhoods."
All four candidates agreed that free parking in and around the Delmar Loop is good for the businesses in the area. The lot behind Cicero's is scheduled for repaving which will disrupt parking temporarily.
The city is owed nearly $1.5 million in back fees for trash service. A collection agency, working on a contingency basis, is trying to recoup some of the money.
All four candidates agreed that using a collection agent was the city's best bet for attempting to get money back, but the candidates also acknowledged that the city isn't likely to get most of the money back.
"This is a decades old problem," Crow told the audience. "We have liens on properties, but the question is what do we do with the uncollectables?"
Carr said she was in favor of asking St. Louis County to require payment for garbage services with property taxes. Crow said the idea has been floated and St. Louis County "isn't biting right now."
Sunshine Law Violations
A question on whether the city is violating Missouri's Sunshine Law for open records sparked varying responses.
Wofsey noted the failures found in the state audit regarding how executive sessions were called.
"Changes have been made from what I understand," she said. "Anything else I've heard is just allegations — I have no proof."
Crow acknowledged that there seems to be a continuing challenge with Sunshine requests being answered in a timely manner.
Adams cited her experience working with the Sunshine Law.
"I have reviewed the lawsuits and found two minor clerical errors," she said. "You have to prove intent to violate the law."
Carr rebutted Adams review of the lawsuit, saying she might be a lawyer but she wasn't a judge.
"Her opinion in this case weighs as heavily as mine," she said.
The municipal election is Tuesday, April 3.