A New Approach: Sustainable Urban Development

IMG_1738Kevin McKinney supports a new approach to revitalize St. Louis: Sustainable Urban Development.

Our neighborhoods need more than just high dollar housing. There was a time when we needed to foster that kind of development. If we only keep building and incentivizing high dollar housing, our neighborhoods will lose their diversity and identity.

Now is the time to head in a different direction.

Kevin McKinney knows how to develop communities in a smart, growth oriented ways that contribute to our urban fabric. He helps non-profit organizations create these developments for seniors and disabled persons. Kevin understands the importance of and how to utilize financial incentives for historic preservation.sample dev

Sustainable Urban Developments are the antithesis of sprawl. They are diverse, compact, walkable, and transit connected. This approach uses interconnected green spaces, complete streets, and mixed-use, mixed-income development and helps unify neighborhoods as economically sustainable units.

Only building more high priced housing won’t bring our neighborhoods to the next level; Sustainable Urban Development will.

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“It Takes A Village…”

kids sitting inparkA wise politician once said, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

It starts with expanding youth opportunities around our schools, developing before and after-school activities and tutoring programs. We need to better fund summer job programs for teenagers. When the city of Chicago provided jobs to teens, crime dropped and kids learned valuable life skills at their first job.

Sherman School sits vacant in the middle of our ward. While the building is no longer used as a school, it can still be a community center where we can partner with Not-For-Profit organizations to run after-school programs for neighborhood children. Kevin will work with the St. Louis Public Schools District to make this building, which belongs to all of us, an asset to this community.
Changing our city means we all have to support community programs.

St. Louis can be that village, and Kevin McKinney will work to take us there.

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Crime is Our #1 Crisis. Now is the Time for Solutions.

We have a crisis in St. Louis. Gun violence and homicide are at levels we haven’t seen in almost 10 years. And just recently, St. Louis had 6 homicides in a just half a day. The tragedy occurring in our streets is heart-wrenching and frustrating to anyone who cares for this city. Right now there are many opinions on what to do. Citizens are frustrated, baffled on how to address this, and our leaders only offer excuses.

However, this is a problem we CAN solve.

Cities across America have implemented policing policies that target and reduce gun violence and homicide. We can do the same in St. Louis. It just takes leadership with the vision and passion to make it happen.

The City of St. Louis has an unacceptable level of crime. While some neighborhoods are safer than others, every homicide, no matter where it occurs, affects all of us.

However, cities across America when confronted with an unacceptable level of homicide and gun violence, have taken steps to focus efforts and reduce these crimes. We can implement these policies here.

This Community Policing policy has drastically reduced gun crime and homicide in Kansas City, Minneapolis and Cincinnati among many others.

These policies are designed to engage the community and rebuild trust with residents, especially in the African-American community. They focus specifically on the groups of individuals committing a majority of crime and intervene.  Each group is confronted and offered a choice to stop, to put down the guns and drugs. In return for exiting an outlaw lifestyle, these individuals are offered social services to help gain employment, a GED, or other services.

In city after city, time and time again, these criminals choose to re-enter society and end the cycle of violence. We can heal the divide in our community and reduce crime and violence. It just takes the right leadership to make it happen.

The specific policy I am advocating was devised in 1995. In the early 1990’s, the City of Boston, when confronted with an unacceptable level of homicide, decided to confront gun violence among youths directly. The policing strategy they utilized produced “a 63 percent reduction in youth homicide and a 30 percent reduction in homicide citywide, what has been called the “Boston Miracle.[1] For the sake of comparison, a 30% decrease in homicide in STL would mean 48 fewer people killed next year and hundreds more uninjured.

Since that time, cities across America participating with this group have seen dramatic results. The people who developed this policing strategy have started a non-profit group, the National Network for Safe Communities, whose sole purpose is to assist cities implement this policy correctly. This strategy doesn’t require military vehicles, cameras, drones, gun courts, changes in state law or even more police officers. Just the leadership to change policy.

Recently, news from our cross state neighbor, Kansas City, is that homicide has dropped to the lowest rate in 40 years. Kansas City works with this group to utilize this policing strategy. We can too. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has discovered this policy and agreed in a recent editorial.

The only change we need to make this happen is a change in attitude from our elected leadership. As Alderman, I won’t rest until we use a policing strategy that makes sense and our streets are safe.

More About the Strategy:

Read more at nnscommunities.org

“The Group Violence Intervention (GVI) has shown repeatedly that a city can dramatically reduce homicide and gun violence when community members and law enforcement join together to directly engage with these groups and clearly communicate 1) a credible, moral message against violence; 2) a credible law enforcement message about the consequences of further violence; and 3) a genuine offer of help for those who want it …. A real working partnership among stakeholders within law enforcement, community members and social services is the strategy’s most important element and also its greatest challenge. The explicit aim is to reduce pro-violence peer dynamics within gangs by creating collective accountability, fostering internal dynamics that deter violence, establishing community norms and standards against violence, and giving gang members who want it an “honorable exit” from the street life.”

Reference Links:

National Network for Safe Communities

STLtoday.com Editorial

STLtoday.com Editorial2

RFT News


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St. Louis Firefighters and EMT workers support Kevin McKinney.

The International Association of Firefighters Local 73 voted to support Kevin McKinney for Alderman of the 8th Ward.


The office of Alderman is an important position in which office holders must carefully weigh the agendas of a presiding mayor’s administration with that of the needs of their constituents. Additionally, that office should also consider the needs of those who make up the human infrastructure of the city; those employed in its service.

The members of International Association of Firefighters (IAFF) Local 73 provide a substantial part of the public safety net in the City of St. Louis by dutifully responding to thousands of fire, rescue, and EMS calls per year. IAFF Local 73 is, of course, concerned with the fair treatment of those members, but also with the forward progression of the City of St. Louis. This city is our city as well and for the good of all, we want it to succeed. We believe this is possible without leaving anyone behind; citizen or servant.

As we’ve officially entered the 2015 Election season, our members and executive board are paying keen attention to the aldermanic candidates. We were honored to host many of these thoughtful candidates as they put forth their visions to our membership. We believe that with these candidates there is a great opportunity to replace the tired machine politics of the past with innovative leadership reflective of a city bounding forward. 

With that said, on behalf of the International Association of Firefighters Local 73, I proudly announce the following endorsements for the office of Alderman for the City of St. Louis:

President of the Board of Aldermen: Lewis Reed

Ward 7: Chelsea Merta

Ward 8: Kevin McKinney 

Ward 12: Larry Arnowitz 

Ward 15: Megan Ellyia Green

Ward 20: Cara Spencer 

Ward 24: Scott Ogilvie

This list is by no means exhaustive and for those candidates in wards yet to receive our endorsement, we certainly continue to offer the invitation for you to present your visions as well.


Demetrius “Al” Alfred,


IAFF Local 73


Kevin is proud to have the support of so many dedicated and courageous First Responders.

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Interview by KMOV Channel 4 News

Kevin was interviewed today about his candidacy for Alderman by Diane Zoga of KMOV Newschannel 4. See the Story below:

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On Civilian Review Board and Moving Our Community Forward

In the wake of the most recent deaths of Eric Gardner in New York City, 12 year old Tamir Rice in Ohio and the unrest surrounding deaths of Michael Brown and VonDerrit Myers Jr., these events have placed us all on the front lines of an issue that has uncovered a national problem that exists in our system of justice.

While the problems and disparate viewpoints of our community have been broadcast on an international scale, it is becoming clear that these chinks in the armor of Lady Justice exist through out our country. This is a problem that must be dealt with by Congress and the President but does not absolve us of the responsibility from acting on our own.

The fact that our community is the spark that started the flames means we have a responsibility to lead. To show this country that we CAN heal, that we CAN fight injustice.

And it all starts based on a simple goal, the idea of equal protection under the law granted to all American citizens by the 14th Amendment.

In the year 2014, it’s not unreasonable to expect our police to treat black people like they treat white people.

This is simply what we need and should expect in 21st Century America.

This simple goal is achievable. It begins with accountability. Civilian review boards and body cameras are good first steps. I don’t know why my opponent has opposed Civilian Review for so long. I support a Civilian Review Board for the City of St. Louis. But, we also need to examine the policing tactics, strategy and training of our police officers. If we are treating our own communities like war zones, then sending officers out trained to escalate violent situations, is it any wonder we have this violence?

We can change, it starts with our attitudes moving forward and realizing and actively working against institutionalized prejudice.

Let’s heal our neighborhood, St. Louis and America, together.

– Kevin McKinney

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It’s Official!

I filled out the paperwork this morning to run for 8th Ward Alderman in the March 3, 2015 Democratic Primary.

I want to thank everyone for your support up to this point. Your advice, words of encouragement and your financial contributions have made this possible.

Now that campaign season has started, I want to let you know that it is time for my campaign to ramp up its efforts. I have already begun canvassing door-to-door but the more help I can get the better. I am asking you to give up a few hours over a weekend in the next few months to go door-to-door and help me get my message out.

The next few days, weeks and months will a pivotal moment for the future of our community. No matter what happens, moving forward, we will all have to work together to see real progress.

Together, we will bring progressive values to City Hall. Thank you.

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Moving Forward from the Shaw Shooting

Wednesday night, in the Shaw neighborhood an unfortunate shooting incident resulted in the death of Vonderrit Myers, Jr., an 18-year old man. Technically, he was a man, but really, he was still a kid.  He was a young black man starting on the path to discover who he is and the man he will now never become. I met him last week while volunteering at the neighborhood food pantry. My heart aches for his mother and family.

While this young man’s death is tragic, I cannot condone carrying a weapon and utterly reject attacking, shooting or threatening an officer of the law. I also reject and deplore violence and protesting that threatens the property and safety of our city and residents.  We must remember what Dr. King and the scriptures taught us, that violence only begets more violence.

I personally understand the anger and how these events make African Americans feel like second class citizens. I also believe strongly in the 1st Amendment rights of free speech and assembly, especially, to peacefully air grievances over injustice. However, destroying property and threatening the safety of people we need to convince to affect real change further distances us from achieving a more egalitarian society.

This case, the third such incident in two months, of police officers shooting young black men and the resulting community anger confronts us with questions. Why does this keep happening? How do we stop it? And, how do we bridge this racial divide these incidents have exposed in our community?

As a former Mayor of a different city and a candidate for Alderman in this one, I choose to channel my anguish and frustration towards finding real solutions to move our city forward.

I believe it is time for a community intervention. Over the course of the next few months I will explain these solutions in greater detail, but the following three points are the summation of where we need to begin.

  • City officials need to examine and change overall policing strategy and revise the rules on the use of police force. I firmly believe we can police our city without jeopardizing the safety of officers and citizenry; all the while, operating with more racial sensitivity while we do it.
  • Everyone, but especially African Americans, need to work to change the level of violence that exists between young black men. We need to focus our efforts at those most at risk. We as a community must advocate for effective policies that achieve this, from strategic overhaul of policing strategy to youth outreach programs. Our criminal justice system focuses on punishing individual acts, not influencing group behavior. No law, no judge, no gun court will change this dynamic. Proven policing policies that truly reduce gun violence exist and have been utilized effectively in cities across America. Now is time we bring them to St. Louis.
  • If there is one thing we as a community have learned these past few weeks, it is the ugly specter of racism looms large over our city. Those anonymous comments usually seen in news sites are now being said out loud.  I won’t begin to claim I have a solution to this problem, but, now that it is out in the open, maybe the first step is that we all acknowledge the prejudices that exist in our own hearts and strive to understand the different perspectives of one another. Without serious introspection, we can never begin to bridge our differences.

Although we may never end racism or end gun violence, we can find a way to reduce both significantly and heal our city in the process, but only if we move forward together.

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An Artful Conversation with Kevin McKinney


don christy inviteYou are Invited to an Artful Conversation with Kevin McKinney

During the Historic Shaw Art Fair, Saturday October 4th from 9:30-11:30am stop by the home of Don Christy and Lisa Ellis located at 4169 Flora Place, St. Louis, MO 63110 accessible only through the Art Fair.

We also welcome you to invite any friends or neighbors who live in the ward to stop by and meet Kevin.

An RSVP is not necessary but appreciated. If you plan on stopping by please RSVP by September 28th to: mckinneyforabetterstl@gmail.com or call 314-308-9894. Your RSVP will help us plan for ordering food and beverages.

*Accessible only through Historic Shaw Art Fair, Admission $7 per person. Shaw Neighborhood Improvement Association members’ admission to the art fair is free.


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Over the past week I was out of the country, celebrating my daughter’s wedding. Just prior to leaving St. Louis, the tragic death of Michael Brown occurred. Even on the day of my daughter’s wedding, my thoughts were drawn to the loss and tragedy beset upon the Brown family. My deepest sympathies go out to them.

For the sake of his family and the unrest this tragic event has ignited in Ferguson, I pray that the wheels of justice spin swift and true.

I don’t have all the answers, but once tensions de-escalate, and justice prevails, we must be committed to learn from it. We must look in the mirror, examine ourselves and our community for all its faults and misgivings. We must make a commitment to work towards healing the rifts that exist in race, in income inequality, in regional factionalism; and find a way forward, together.

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