Alderman Antonio French talks MLS stadium project, St. Louis issues, Mayoral race

Antonio French 2016 photo. Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis 21st ward Alderman and Mayoral candidate Antonio French joined The Ryan Kelley Morning After on Tuesday for a wide-ranging conversation covering several municipal topics.

French gave his thoughts on the MLS stadium project, proposed Scottrade Center upgrades, St. Louis’ crime and public educational system, and more.

Read a few excerpts and listen to the complete interview below:

You had  a Democratic Mayoral debate on Sunday. How do you think that went?

“I think it was great, especially considering how many people attended. We had over 1,500 people attend. That’s democracy. I enjoy it.”

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What’re your thoughts on the MLS stadium and the arguments of those who support it and oppose it?

“I get it. I like soccer. I would love to have a new venue downtown. If it was properly funded, I’d be the first ones there. (My family) loves soccer. The question comes down to how it’s funded. The state said they aren’t going to contribute any money. The county is not going to fund it. Once again, it falls on the city taxpayers to fall on the burden themselves.”

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Several Aldermen said the amended stadium proposal will now bring a positive cashflow to the city. Do you not agree?

“Let’s be clear…the state is not contributing (towards building the stadium and maintaining it). The changes made in committee are better…But we still have not seen a breakdown and how that would occur and (what the numbers actually are). I don’t think anyone can say with certainty right now that it would be financially positive for the city. It’s a tough sell for voters right now.”

How do you think the vote would go if the stadium bill gets on the ballot?

“First step we have to do, it’s going to take a judge to get it on the ballot. If they’re successful getting it on the ballot…I think they’re going to have a tough time selling it to voters.”