My comments to the Federal Aviation Agency on Lambert Airport Privatization sent today, February 21, 2018. #1k2-91ml-i487
The People of St. Louis have been left out of the official discussions on privatization of Lambert Airport. Nothing in the future of this process can undo that damage or the overwhelming conflicts of interest in this terribly flawed process.
Neither current St. Louis City Mayor Lyda Krewson, nor previous Mayor Francis Slay, asked the public if we are interested in privatization and under what scenario and process. This happened once before recently, with our Water Department. The people loudly said, No! It was stopped in aldermanic committee. That is why privatization proponents have kept Lambert Airport Privatization away from the Board of Aldermen, to avoid public involvement.
Privatization is spearheaded by billionaire, and Ozarks not St. Louis resident, Rex Sinquefield, known as Rex Inc. here. He’s the man trying to bankrupt St. Louis City by throwing his money around to try and force us to get rid of a major source of income- our earnings tax. He was a major donor to the former Mayor. The current Mayor recently passed a ballot issue with Sinquefield’s funding; donated remaining funds from a political action committee that she controlled to one of Sinquefield’s groups; was alderwoman of the ward that landed Sinquefield’s World Chess Hall of Fame.
Rex Inc. paid for the privatization Application, runs the privatization public relations machine, ran the privatization consultant application process, and, now, to no one’s surprise, is being hired by the Mayor to be the official consultant on privatization. Insult to injury, the Board of Aldermen recently passed a resolution placing Rex Inc. in charge of transparency for the privatization process.
The previous Mayor unveiled his secret privatization plan on the way out the door and just after the St. Louis Democratic Primary. In St. Louis City, our municipal Democratic Primary is the main election, not the general election. In announcing the City was pursuing privatization after the Primary for his successor, he denied voters an opportunity to query candidates for mayor on what may be the most important decision of this century for St. Louis. Subsequently, distrust of the process has been there from the beginning.
Rex Inc will never say privatization is a bad idea. The current Mayor does not care what the public opinion is on this issue. Full steam ahead. I suspect that the only way to stop this is by initiative petition ballot, a vote by the people that bypasses elected officials. What would the FAA do if on the eve of finalizing privatization of Lambert Airport, the voters said, No? I would rather not find out. I would rather that the FAA told Mayor Krewson to start over or, better yet, just stop entirely, enough damage has been done and there is no recovering from it.
— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman