The Invisible Deal

13 09 2012

The St. Louis Forestry Division’s contract with a private company appears to have vanished, taking the credibility of City Hall with it.

by Bill Newmann

A sign at the gates of the city’s Hall Street composting facility

St. Louis Composting Inc., the private company that accepts wood waste from the city, has been operating without a valid contract since the beginning of September, the Journal of Decomposition has learned.

Despite numerous requests made this week, City Hall could not produce a copy of the current contract between the Forestry Division and St. Louis Composting.

Forestry signed a deal with the company three years ago when the city agency decided to privatize its composting operation. St. Louis Composting submitted the successful bid. On September 1, 2009, the firm entered into a three-year contract worth up to an estimated $750,000, according to city documents. The agreement expired on August 31 of this year.

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See No Evil

18 07 2012

St. Louis Forestry Division Commissioner Greg Hayes turns a blind eye to his agency’s clandestine landfill in Carondelet Park.

By Bill Newmann

“A man should look for what is and not for what he thinks should be.”Albert Einstein

Forestry boss Greg Hayes says this dump doesn’t exist.

By all appearances there is a landfill craftily tucked within the trees at the St. Louis compost facility in Carondelet Park. But according to the city official in charge of the site, the dump  doesn’t exist.

On Monday, St. Louis Forestry Division Commissioner Greg Hayes denied the dump site’s existence, which was first reported by the The Journal of Decomposition last week [What a Dump!, July 10].

Hayes’ denial comes on the heels of a response from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources that draws into question the legality of Forestry’s  Carondelet Park landfill. In a response to a request under the Missouri Sunshine Law, DNR verified that none of the required state permits have been issued for the unacknowledged dump.  DNR is the state agency that regulates solid waste disposal.

Renee Bungart, DNR’s public information officer, was unavailable for comment earlier this week regarding the department’s policy on investigating illegal landfills.

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The St. Louis Chainsaw Massacre

7 06 2012

When a tree falls in the city does anyone hear the cash register ring?

By Bill Newmann

“If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen.”Henry David Thoreau

An example of the St. Louis Forestry Division’s handiwork.

The hit jobs are carried out with military-like precision in broad daylight on city streets almost every day.  As a result, thousands of St. Louis’ oldest residents have disappeared over time, targeted for disposal without warning.  Moreover, the hatchet men in these coordinated attacks operate with immunity under a blanket law that provides authority to act with no public input.

The victims are mature hardwood trees that line city streets.  The perp is the Forestry Division of the St. Louis Parks Department. The city’s urban foresters adhere to a model shared nationally by the commercial timber industry, a world in which trees are planted, grown, and harvested in a perpetual cycle.  The strips of publicly owned land between sidewalks and curbs are akin to a plantation, and the trees, an agricultural commodity.  Removing the mature tree canopy that shields the city is an unavoidable part of this municipal agribusiness.  Adding insult to injury, a private company profits from this taxpayer-subsidized scheme.

Street trees have become a cash crop.

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Dead City

31 05 2012

Unearthing the necrophilic affair involving the St. Louis Forestry Division, Land Reutilization Authority, and St. Louis Development Corporation

by Bill Newmann

“Ashen lady give up your vows, save our city right now.”Jim Morrison

In the distance, the din of traffic ebbs and flows on Gravois Boulevard, a heavily-traveled St. Louis thoroughfare. But here in Gatewood Gardens Cemetery, the dead remain unperturbed by the noise. What might perturb the living, however, is this: the bone yard is owned and operated by three overlooked government agencies, an unholy trinity that controls thousands of other properties throughout the city and is accountable to no one.

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