Taxpayers of the City of St Louis Deserve Local Control of Their Police Department

Well the arguments have been made once again about why the citizen taxpayers of the City of St Louis should not be given back control of their Police Department.  The excuses, err, I mean the alleged reasons are legion.  Unfortunately, none is substantiated or enough to override the fundamental right of the citizens of St Louis.

The first red herring thrown out is that the city only wants the police department back to steal the pension fund.  The bills going through the legislature prohibit that from happening. But not content with letting facts get in the way, opponents continue in their attempt to mislead.

Next is usually corruption in the City.  Now, I may have missed it, but if were true that corruption was at the level of being alleged by the defenders of robbing citizens of their right to local control, wouldn’t I be seeing aldermen even the mayor being hauled off to jail in handcuffs?  If those making the allegations of corruption are correct, why are they not doing their jobs to investigate and arrest the guilty? Do they need a Google map to lead them to the FBI offices in St Louis?

Perhaps they are having difficulty finding the U.S. attorney’s office in St Louis. Here’s a hint for you – it’s located in the Eagleton Federal Courthouse downtown. You know, the really tall new building just west of Busch Stadium.

The corruption allegation is meant to incite people to be against local control by the people of the City of St Louis and maintain the status quo.  Even in the Senate hearing today, the head of the St Louis Police Officers’ Association (POA) felt he needed to tone down some of the testimony previously given.  He changed from “corruption” to “political interference.”  Credit where credit is due.

Testimony was even given that the members of the St Louis Tea Party Association opposed the return of local control to the citizens of St Louis.  Prior to giving this testimony, the witness pretty much told the committee that the POA had endorsed a number of them and other politicians.  His testimony appeared to indicate that the POA thought they had bought some sort of loyalty by their endorsement and were a little PO’d at what they now considered flip flopping. Interesting.

Anyway, I thought the report of the opposition of the St Louis Tea Party Association was rather odd so I checked it out.  I found out that it was true that the Board of Directors of the St Louis Tea Party oppose the local control issue. But no “vote” of the members/supporters was taken. As I’ve said before, reasonable people can disagree and we do.

There are 3 things that are the most broken in the City of St Louis:

  1. The schools
  2. Crime rate
  3. Election board

What do they all have in common? The city controls none of them, and they are all currently controlled by boards appointed by the governor.

There really is no justification for keeping from the people of the City of St Louis what is rightfully theirs, local control of their police department.  If the city messes it up — and currently it has No. 1 crime rate in the country — the citizens have the ability to make necessary changes in their elected officials and their city government to correct it.  As it is, they have no ability to effect changes or improvements.

As I said, I haven’t seen pictures of aldermen or the mayor being arrested for corruption, but I have read about questionable things happening with the board of police commissioners and recent chiefs. In case you had forgotten, here’s a little reminder of just one of the recent problems:

(Bommarito resigns from Police Board)

This is the fat cat,

That saved his nephew’s arrest,

That embarrassed the City,

That blamed the Mayor,

That blamed the Police Department,

That blamed the Governor’s Board,

That blamed the media,

That ignored the public’s vote,

That blamed the Civil War,

That lay in the house that the Governor built.

Carl Bearden
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4 Responses to “Taxpayers of the City of St Louis Deserve Local Control of Their Police Department”

  1. Bill Haas says:

    Carl Bearden: Nicely written article but wrong on several points in my opinion, PostDispatch 1/27.
    I think new tax will overall be more regressive; poor consume higher % of income. If all states do this, as they will if it really works, then we will no longer have an advantage. 7% wont work it; why cap it if you’re sincere, which you’re not; just make it revenue neutral whatever % that takes. It’s just about rich people wanting to keep more of their money and the rest can go to hell in a handbasket. Disingenous to pretend otherwise. Very selfish, short-sighted. God loves you but not very proud. best, Bill

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Wong on all points Bill.

      The 7% is sufficient for revenue neutrality. It will also provide for growth over time but not the mind numbing ups and downs of the income tax system we have now. The result will be some pain when the next downward swing of the business cycle occurs but not nearly as much as is being felt now.

      Any regressiveness found in the system will be offset by the rebate. It’s false to assume that the rich get off easy. They spend far more on professional serives that will now be taxed than do lower income individuals. The rich do not get away with a free ride. They don’t now and they won’t after passage of this proposal.

      Class warfare is really ineffective but it doesn’t stop you folks from trotting it out often. Guess it soothes your guilty consciences or something.

  2. Greg Zotta says:

    Carl you wrote, “… I haven’t seen pictures of aldermen or the mayor being arrested for corruption. I have read about questionable things happening with the board of police commissioners and recent chiefs. In case you had forgotten, here’s a little reminder of just one of the recent problems:(Bommarito resigns from Police Board). There are corrupt people in the world and Carl you point to the Bommarito resignation. He was one of Five members of the Police Board and I guess you are calling him corrupt. With that type of logic then try multiplying that by the possibility of 28. You state,” I haven’t seen pictures of aldermen or the mayor being arrested for corruption.” Maybe that’s because they do not have control of the Police Department. And how does changing control from the current system reduce the crime rate? You say the taxpayers of the City of St. Louis deserve City Control over the PD. Why? Why the urgent need for a change? When the citizens call 911 for police service are the police not responding? If so, where and when did this occur? The answer is the police do respond when called. Therefore,the taxpayers are receiving police service. There is no need for a change from how the PD is currently being run except for the fact the City needs the money and it is the first step to STEALING the pension. You claim the bills going through prevent them from stealing the pension. Laws can be changed. The goal is the pension. Alderman Quincy Troupe has let his intentions be known about the pension system. They can not come out and say we are going to rob the pension system. There is a process and the first step is City Control.

    • Carl Bearden says:

      Greg – I agree that officers respond but the biggest changes would be in policies affecting the crime rate. I am aware that PD members show up at neighborhood meetings and hear from the residents. I am not aware of any Police Commissioner who has ever shown up to one. How can they make good decisions without first hand knowledge?

      As to Bommarito – you don’t think it was corrupt to use his position as a member of the Board of Police Commissioners to get his nephew out of jail? Just as he was exposed, any of the 28 Aldermen who would do such a thing would also be exposed and public opinion would come down on them as well.

      I again repeat that the bills protect the pensions. If there is an attempt to change that after it is passed, I’ll be glad to stand beside you and others to fight it. I served with Alderman Troupe and he has a long history of saying things that don’t happen.

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