Best Alderman St. Louis 2000 - Craig Schmid
Although the city considers the office of alderman a part-time position (and pays accordingly), the good ones spend at least 50 hours a week just taking care of the routine business of the ward: attending countless neighborhood meetings, writing letters to slum landlords, allocating block-grant funds, drafting legislation -- not to mention returning all those irate phone calls about Dumpster misuse and wind-chime infractions. Little wonder, then, that good aldermen often get myopic after a term or two -- not much time is left at the end of the day to fret about what's outside their ward boundaries. Craig Schmid (D-10th Ward) isn't just a good alderman, he's a great one. A longtime resident of the Marine Villa neighborhood, Schmid is practical, tenacious and responsive to the needs of his constituents -- in other words, he does his job. In addition to his many ward responsibilities, he makes the time to work on citywide issues with other aldermen, community leaders and volunteer-driven activist groups, such as Metropolis and the Southtown Coalition. At a recent conditional-use-permit hearing at City Hall, Schmid gave eloquent testimony on behalf of the Grand & Gravois Coalition, which is currently working to block demolition of the South Side National Bank Building, an art-deco landmark just outside his ward that's dangling precariously above the gaping maw of corner-crazed Walgreens. Schmid proves that serving as city alderman doesn't mean micromanaging an isolated fiefdom; it means making the city of St. Louis a better place for all residents, even the ones who can't vote for him.