Local Control of City Police, But Less Transparency: Is "Prop A" Worth It?

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Once upon a time in Missouri, back in the Civil War, our governor's heart belonged to the Confederacy. But St. Louis and its mighty police force leaned Union.

So the governor and his legislator pals in Jefferson City created a state board to control us. That system is still in place a century and a half later.

Missourians could get rid of it if they vote yes on Prop A. It'll save everyone money. But a "yes" vote will likely cut some jobs, and will also explicitly sign away our ability to peer into the process by which police "police" themselves -- that is, see whether they punish cops who deserve it, or go light on their own.

Is it worth it? Yesterday, we rolled up our sleeves with Brooke Foster, spokesperson for the Prop A campaign, "Safer Missouri," and dug right into it.

Daily RFT: Why is Rex Sinquefield, the retired billionaire free-market activist, bankrolling this campaign?

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This is how Rex Sinquefield will look if Prop A passes.
He does support smaller, more local government. He's never mentioned that in reference to this initiative, but I'm sure it appeals to him. And he's really, really into making St. Louis more of a first-tier city.

So this was as simple as Mayor Slay and Jeff Roorda of the police officers union coming to him and saying, 'This is really important.'

Really? The officers union? Back when Representative Jamiliah Nasheed was trying to get this done legislatively in Jeff City, the policemen didn't have her back.

Right. But they're on board now because of the things we put in. This measure protects their collective bargaining rights, their pensions, and their health care. Because those elements were added, they felt comfortable endorsing it.

How will Missouri save money on this?

The conservative estimate from the state auditor is that we'll save $4.5 million in general.

Four million of that will be saved in Jeff City and St. Louis by combining administrative and HR departments. So it will eliminate redundancies, but without taking cops off the streets. I don't want people to think that.

But people in Jeff City will lose their jobs, right?

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Brooke Foster is trying to mislead us, and those out-state Missouri voters. She's not telling the whole truth. And I'll tell you why. She says above, "Then, when they find out that 70 percent of St. Louis voters voted yes on this in a symbolic referendum in 2008, they don't think they're forcing their will on St. Louis." There's a problem with this information. The symbolic referendum that 69% of the St. Louis electorate voted for in 2008 was SIGNIFICANTLY DIFFERENT, and more locally preferred, than Prop A. It was based on a Civilian Review plan put forward by Ald. Terry Kennedy (D-18th), it included input from other local elected officials and community activists and community organization and maintained transparency of disciplinary proceedings' records; this upstart Prop A tries to escape all of this. In 2008, 69% of the St. Louis electorate voted for a more transparent, more accountable STL Police Department. "Then they find out..." in truth, could be abated by a Safer Mssouri statement like, "The 2008 referendum was very different from the current proposition." But neither Brooke, nor her Safer Missouri cronies, nor their billionarie shadow-daddy Rex Sinquefield, have pointed out that difference. So let's know the facts, because Safer Missouri, Rex Sinquefield and Prop A are trying to deceive us.


@chadgarrison @lonesometoast Don't patronize me. Us.

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