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Alderman French Calls Mayor's Speed Bump Veto "Petty Politics"

Categories: Politics

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"His veto has more to do with politics than it does with public safety," says French.
​St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay vetoed yesterday the bill that would add speed bumps to O'Fallon Park -- and 21st Ward Alderman Antonio French is not happy.

"It's ridiculous," he says. "The people of north St. Louis and the visitors of O'Fallon Park deserve the same level of protection as the people who visit Tower Grove Park and Forest Park. His veto has more to do with politics than it does with public safety."

To French's mind, the veto serves as further evidence that people north of Delmar get treated differently than people south of Delmar.

"This is just the latest example of how this man's office does not take public safety in north St. Louis seriously," he says. "So when this city gets labelled 'most dangerous,' Slay comes out and says, 'Well it's only in some neighborhoods,' which is a veiled code for north St. Louis."

While Daily RFT was unable to get direct comment from Slay, the Mayor did release a statement to the aldermen, as well as a blog post to the public explaining his veto.

"Today, I vetoed an odd little bill that would have paid for the installation of speed bumps in one of the city's 105 parks," he wrote on his blog. "The bill's sponsor ignored the testimony of the Streets Department that there were better and more effective ways to slow traffic and the opinion of the city counselor that such constructions are legally questionable under state and Federal law."

The mayor is referring to the recommendation he received from the city counselor's office, which told him in a statement, "since speed bumps are not explicitly permitted in [Missouri Statutes section] 304.120, they logically fall under the category of prohibited obstructions in [section] 229.030." The counselor's office goes on to state that the speed bumps would create additional legal liability for the City.

Then why, French wonders, are speed bumps allowed in other parks?

"If this mayor now wants to lead an anti-speed bump policy across the city, then he needs to be asking the people of Tower Grove Park to pull up their speed bumps and the people of Forest Park to pull up their speed bumps," he says. "But it's just unfair and it's just disrespectful to the people of north St. Louis."

As you may recall, this bill induced a surprising level of floor debate amongst the Board of Aldermen a few weeks ago, but it eventually passed, 15 to 9. And while French wasn't totally shocked by the veto, he didn't really expect it, either.

"There were some rumblings that the mayor might veto it, but I didn't think he'd be that petty," he says. "He uses his veto -- which he so rarely ever uses -- for something as important as this. This is silly. It's just silly. And it's petty. He needs to spend his time dealing with the city's real problems, like jobs, murders, crime rates -- instead of wasting people's time and spending energy and political capital on things like speed bumps or stray rescue or Del Taco."

And then he adds:

"His twitter feed reads like a teenage girl's look at the world."

French says he hopes to override the veto once the Board of Aldermen gets back in session in September.

"It's a shame that we have to fight the Mayor's office," he says, "when we're obviously making huge progress and revitalizing this section of north St. Louis."



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8 comments
Nik Koscielniak
Nik Koscielniak

Francis Slay is an idiot and a dick, he and his administration have no business running a city. Their politics have run this city in to the ground and they have no intention of making this city safer or investing in making St. Louis an actual functioning city. I agree with Mr. French. Will anyone step up to save this city from idiocy?

iceblackteajojlno
iceblackteajojlno

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Mike
Mike

In NSL, Mr. French, maybe spikes would be more appropriate than speed bumps!

Douglas Duckworth
Douglas Duckworth

How many tens of thousands of dollars did Alderwoman Jennifer Florida waste on Gustine for traffic calming and we can't even get some basic measures in O'Fallon Park?  The infrastructure investment disparity between North and South St. Louis is offensive and unjust.

To say the City would be legally liable for speed bumps is a joke.  They are common throughout the St. Louis Region and I don't believe we see municipalities losing millions in court.  If the City wants to update its traffic calming measures then it should do that in an open manner, not simply on an ad hoc basis as an excuse to block one project someone dislikes for whatever reason.  

stltransplant
stltransplant

French seems to be the one over reacting and playing politics here.  A veto over speed bumps and he goes off like this and makes huge jumps to conclusions on the "real reasons" of why.  Not healthy behavior for the city Alderman French.

Amixon
Amixon

This Alderman is doing amazing things in his ward that has seen an 80% reduction in crime. What this Mayor needs to realize is that externally people don't see North Saint Louis or South Saint Louis they see a city riddled with crime. The polarization must end....Mayor Slay the city of STL deserves better

Anonymous
Anonymous

What are these 'better and more effective ways' to slow traffic as detailed by the Streets Dept? French has a valid point about the roads in Tower Grove and Forest Park being exempt for whatever unknown reasons. We can line the streets with concrete planters under the guise of public safety but (I assume due to their wide prevalence,) not hold the city liable for any damage involving them... but we can with speed bumps?

Chiefstock
Chiefstock

Completely agree.  Everyone in this city should have an equal right to be aggravated by useless and costly speed bumps.

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