Autumn Wiggins, founder of Upcycle Exchange
I would install Freedom Toasters all over the city. A Freedom Toaster is a kiosk that distributes all kinds of free Linux operating systems and other open-source software through an easy-to-use interface that burns the programs you need onto a CD or copies it to a USB drive. It's free as in freedom, not as in waffles. I think there are all kinds of situations where this would come in handy for the community, though. Proprietary software can be ridiculously expensive, and let's face it, many people in St. Louis are experiencing hard times (most still have computers and the wherewithal to utilize them to improve their lives). Quality free open-source alternatives can be hard to find online because they do not have "SEO experts" or any money to advertise. Maybe your hard drive dies and can't even get online. Just go down to your nearest Freedom Toaster with your thumb drive, install a bootable version of Linux on it, and you can now have a functioning computer.  The kiosks are DIY and completely customizable, so local artists and techies could work together on designing them. It would double as a public art project. Freedom Toasters only exist in Africa right now, so this would make St. Louis the first U.S. city to implement them. Total nerd cred.


Andi Smith, comedian
I think it would help if we stopped building stuff right next to the Galleria so I could get to the mall in less than three hours. Also, the city should implement some sort of legal limit on the amount of time boys can be depressed about Albert Pujols breaking up with us.


Jane Cunningham, state senator
My goal is to work with legislative colleagues to ensure every child has access to a quality, accredited school.


Reddit Hudson
Kholood Eid
Reddit Hudson
Andi Smith
Kholood Eid
Andi Smith

Sam Kogos, owner of Riverbend Restaurant & Bar
I have only lived in the St. Louis area for a little over seven years now, after a move from my hometown of New Orleans. St. Louis, like New Orleans, can also be a very parochial place —segregated racially, socially and economically. My idea would be this: If St. Louis City, St. Louis County, St. Charles County and Jefferson County all merged to be called Metropolitan St. Louis That would rank us around the fifth largest U.S. city, right after Houston. Being in the top five, our city would benefit from all kinds of increased federal dollars, tax credits and programs. By merging individual municipalities, taxpayers would save millions from the duplications in services.

After the region is merged, we would need to give the mayor more power. We have too many elected officials and governmental bodies. We would be much better served if the mayor actually had the constitutional power to get big things done, like mayors in other large cities such as Chicago and Houston. Our mayor has to share power with two other elected officials, so nothing really changes. People like to complain when mayors have too much power, but cities with a strong mayor and weak council form of government are in better shape than we are.

I always find it funny when people travel outside the state and someone asks where they are from. They say St. Louis as proud as can be — not Arnold, Kirkwood, Fenton or St. Charles, which is where they really live. The city of St. Louis is our identity. It's important to the whole region.


Tiffany Minx, owner of Apop Records
Extending the MetroLink train line beyond its limited central corridor function would, I think, be very beneficial for everyone. It could decrease car traffic, allow for people to seek jobs easier and be an asset to attract new residents. Also, we have this huge deposit of non-STLer college kids stuck in a few specific locales; no disrespect intended, but St. Louis has so much more to offer outside of these safe zones.


Hedy Epstein, Local activist and Holocaust survivor
The march of democracy is sweeping the world, and it is rising here in St. Louis.  We, the "Occupy" movement, are just getting started, and we're winning!  We're actually building the world that most people want.  We're building it this year, next year -- until it happens.


Susan Slaughter, retired principal trumpet of the St. Louis Symphony 
If I had the power to change one thing, it would be to make the educational quality of all of our schools — city and county — the best in the country, and of course music and the arts would have high priority. That is what I think would improve life in the city of St. Louis, not just in 2012 but for many, many years to come. The march of democracy is sweeping the world, and it is rising here in St. Louis. We, the Occupy movement, are just getting started, and we're winning! We're actually building the world that most people want. We're building it this year, next year — until it happens.


Chris Duncan, WXOS (101.1 FM) sports analyst and former Cardinals outfielder
The baseball purists are probably going to hate me for this, but as a former player and a big-time baseball fan, I would've loved to see the new Busch Stadium with a retractable roof, whether it's in April — it gets pretty cold, with rain and sleet — or in July and August, when it's smoldering hot with people having strokes in the stands. If you have a nice day, you can have it open. No rain delays, no canceled games. There's nothing like sitting with a hot dog and a cold beer in a climate-controlled stadium. I can't stand swamp ass in the middle of July while watching a game.


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