Racial Equity Talk vs. Walk

Our Board of Aldermen’s Public Safety Committee meets Tuesday to hear from the Mayor Lyda Krewson’s Staff about St. Louis City’s Racial Equity Lens as it relates to Public Safety.

The City has failed miserably to incorporate racial equity, diversity and inclusion into our Public Safety Department. You cannot possibly use a racial equity lens on the City Workhouse and not see it for great injustice that it is. If there was going to be an announcement Wednesday about closing that hell hole, surely it would be coming from the Mayor and not Staff.

PropPdiversityProposition P is a good example of many City leaders talking the talk but not walking the walk on equity. Increasing diversity on the police force was one of the proponent arguments in favor of increasing sales taxes to pay for raises of police officers. I swear they threw in diversity as a sick joke.

Now that Proposition P has passed, the City is offering $500 bounties to Civil Service employees who successfully refer Police Academy recruits who graduate.

That’s not a diversity recruitment program.

Now that Proposition P has passed, Board Bill 194 was been introduced to eliminate the residency requirement for City employees, a St. Louis Police Officers Association (the white union) priority.

Police may already move out of the City after seven years service by act of the former St. Louis Board of Police Commissioners. Board Bill 194 could mean a police force where most call St. Louis County, Jefferson County, or St. Charles County their home.

If you think St. Louis City has problems now, imagine being the City that allows itself to be policed by people with little relationship, if any, to the people who pay the bills– no shared experiences of school, parks, church, neighborhood association, local small business shopping- no shared City living experience, the good and the bad.

A police force that does not live in the City is unlikely to look like the residents of a City that is half African American. We have that problem right now. Eliminating the residency rule would turn the Police Department into an occupying force.

The City eliminated its diversity recruitment program run by Ethical Society of Police.  I am not sure how the Mayor’s Staff can look members of the Public Safety Committee in the eyes and talk about the Mayor’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion.

ESOP’s successful pre-Police Academy Recruitment Program was appropriated $57,000 in FY2016. Only $17,000 used, the rest returned to General Revenue. A Bargain. In FY2017, funding for the pre-Academy program was eliminated. When Mayor Krewson was elected, she did not seek to return the funding.

Many of us in the #ExpectUs family contacted elected officials about funding for ESOP’s pre-Academy program. Funding was achieved but not from the City.

Thanks to the diligence of State Rep. Bruce Franks, Jr., the program has received funding from the St. Louis Regional Chamber. Not exactly a well known left wing organization.

Mayor Krewson’s Administration will continue to talk about racial equity, and study racial equity, and have meetings about racial equity. Action on equity? Sorry. Action by the Krewson Administration is reserved for luxury villas, hotels, sports teams, Rex Sinquefield’s agenda, raising salaries for an out of control police department, and rewarding supporters.

If you want to see who is really doing something about equity, come to State Rep. Bruce Franks Jr.’s Town Hall Meeting this Wednesday. You can thank him, Regional Chamber, and ESOP for walking the walk.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

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The $10,000 St Louis City Prop P Challenge

DGONPq3U0AIGEkyAccording to the Proposition P campaign literature, Proposition P has the following earmarked dollars…

“$12.8 million to increase salaries and benefits for police officers and to fill the 100 vacancies in the department.

$5.4 million to increase salaries and benefits for firefighters.

$1.5 million for the Circuit Attorney’s Office.

$3.6 million for more summer and after-school jobs, recreation programs for kids, mental health and social workers, and building demolition.”

Here’s how you win $10,000.

Be the first person to post here the line(s) of the ballot issue or enabling legislation which state(s) the specific dollar amounts $12.5 million, $5.4 million, $1.5 million, $3.6 million.

Or, be the first person to post here the line(s) of the ballot issue or enabling legislation which state(s) the number of police vacancies to be filled via this tax increase; or

Or, be the first person to post here the line(s) of the ballot issue or enabling legislation which state(s) the words “summer and after-school jobs, recreation programs for kids, mental health and social workers, and building demolition.”

To assist you…

Proposition P ballot language

Enabling Legislation- Board Bill 60, Ordinance #70580

Often in a ballot measure, there is an “Exhibit” mentioned in, and attached to, the board bill/ordinance with specific amounts for specific programs listed. No such Exhibit is a part of the enabling legislation for Proposition P. It’s not posted here to help you win the prize because it does not exist in the ordinance. In this contest, you must use the law (binding), not the campaign mailers (not binding).

Punctuation has meaning in law. In the case of Proposition P, what appears to be a simple comma is actually enormously important.

From the Board Bill/Ordinance, in “solely for the purpose of providing revenues for the operation of the department of public safety, including police and fire divisions…” the comma separating “public safety” and “including police and fire” means the examples after the comma are a nonrestrictive element. It means the examples of where money may be spent are some examples, not all examples, of where the money may be spent.

While the ballot language has more specific examples, it doesn’t alter the fact that they are just examples.

The “solely for the purpose of providing revenues for the operation of the department of public safety” becomes the most important part of the legislation. That is the restriction- the Sales Tax money must to be spent within the Public Safety Department.

But the Public Safety Department is much more than just the Police Department and Fire Department. It also includes Building Division, City Emergency Management Agency, (Police) Civilian Oversight Board, Corrections Division, Excise Division, Neighborhood Stabilization Team, and Office of Special Events. Proposition P money may be appropriated to any of those programs as well as Police Department and Fire Department.

The campaign literature is not based on the law. It is a sales pitch.

If I am wrong, show me.

Show me and win $10,000.

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

What Happens To Prop P Money If City Is Annexed Into County?

yTkejEGTEOur local government taxing authority comes from State law. There are all kinds of taxes that cities, counties, and special districts may ask the voters to adopt. In the case of Proposition P (Board Bill 60), the public safety sales tax increase on the November 7th Special Election ballot, the enabling law is Section 67.547 RSMo.

It’s a county sales tax, not a city sales tax. It’s the same section of State law that St. Louis County used to pass its Proposition P (Ordinance 25678) last April.

In the event that the City of St. Louis passes Proposition P and later is annexed into St. Louis County as a municipality, the City would no longer collect the sales tax for itself. Instead, St. Louis County would collect the tax from us and give some of it back to the City. Distribution of taxes has long been a contentious issue in the County.

Having less funds from the tax, the City would need to raise taxes to make up for the loss or reduce services commensurate with the loss.

The other possibility is that the City is annexed, likely unwillingly, as an unincorporated area or areas served by St. Louis County Police Department and one or more fire districts, as the County does not operate a fire department. Under that scenario, certainly a big pot of money, say from privatizing Lambert Airport, would come in handy to pay outstanding commitments from the former city as a city-county, such as pensions for its former police, firefighter, municipal and county office workforce.

It seems odd that in all the talk and posturing on the City being annexed into the County, usually referred to as a merger or consolidation, that there has been no conversation about taxes and fees. Which taxes and fees currently collected by the City are city revenue and which are county revenue? How much revenue loss would there be for the City? How do we continue to pay for services?

–Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

UPDATED: Tuesday Public Safety: Bill To Defund City Emergency Management Agency

st-louis-tornado-destruction-1896b

The Hearing on this Board Bill was cancelled. Perhaps someone finally told the sponsor that all appropriations bills have to be recommended to Board of Aldermen by Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

Make your voice heard. Contact your Alderman and Board President Lewis Reed. Contact Info at end of post.

10 am Tuesday, October 31st, 2017
St. Louis City Board of Aldermen
Public Safety Committee
Kennedy Hearing Room (#208)
City Hall, 1200 Market City

Online Calendar Meeting Notice/Agenda

Agenda Includes Board Bill 119 by 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad to defund the City Emergency Management Fund (sic) Agency and re-appropriate the funds to a workforce development and employment to out-of-work residents program to be named “City Works Now.”

Presently, the City Emergency Management Agency (CEMA)  has four employees, two funded by City General Revenue and two funded by grants and other funds. See Budget summary for CEMA below.

The General Revenue side of CEMA’s funding is $206,985. Board Bill 21, however, seeks $215,000 for the new jobs program, which is more than the General Revenue funding.

Grant funding not used for the grant application’s purpose(s) could be returned to the funding source but cannot be diverted to another program.

Perhaps the alderman believes by charging the Mayor to declare the City in an unemployment emergency that emergency management funds can be spent on an employment program.

Either way, this legislation seeks to defund CEMA.

However, the City Charter has something to say about all this. It says that the alderman cannot reappropriate funds.

“Article IV. Board of Aldermen. Section 25 – Expenditures to be pursuant to ordinance; recommendations required.Except as otherwise expressly provided in this charter, no money shall be expended except in consequence of appropriations made by ordinance, and no improvement involving any expenditure of money shall be ordered except by ordinance. No ordinance making, changing or transferring an appropriation or contemplating or involving the payment of any money shall be adopted unless the board of estimate and apportionment shall have recommended or joined in recommending the same.”

The Board of Estimate and Apportionment did not send the Board of Aldermen this legislation, meaning it violates City Charter, making it a wet hot mess.

Addressing our City’s unemployment rate among Black youth is laudable. Gutting the agency charged to “reduce the loss of life and property” with “a comprehensive, risk-based emergency management program of prevention, preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation” is, however, an inappropriate response.

CEMA

Members of BOA Public Safety Committee: 18th Ward Alderman Terry Kennedy, Chair; 5th Ward Alderwoman Tammika Hubbard; 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar;12th Ward Alderman Larry Arnowitz; 20th Ward Alderwoman Cara Spencer; 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad; 22nd Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd; 23rd Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro; 25th Ward Alderman Shane Cohn; 27th Ward Alderwoman Pam Boyd. Board President Lewis Reed is a voting member of all committees.

Contact Information for all Aldermen and Board President

— Marie Ceselski, 7th Ward Democratic Committeewoman

SLPOA Does Not Support Public Safety Sales Tax Hike

Because someone forgot, it’s all about them.

“We are not signing off on an agreement that doesn’t include significant raises and full funding of Sergeants overtime. If the Mayor’s office thinks that we are going to support a sales tax on the ballot without an enforceable agreement on competitive wages, she’s simply lost touch with reality. We’re not going to spend our political capital to pass another sales tax where—at best—only about 1/3 of the money will be for police raises….without any guarantee. We will not mislead voters that this is pro-police measure. To accept the terms currently offered by the Mayor would be a slap in the face to every member and would be nothing more than a lie to the voters we are sworn to protect and serve. We will stand firm. Remember, every member will have the opportunity to vote on any deal we reach with the City before any contract becomes final.” 

“We are also planning rallies and an aggressive media campaign to drive our message home. Stay tuned for more on that.”

“This fight is far from over and we need everyone’s participation. This is no time to be complacent.”

“We need to show the Mayor and other elected officials that they woke a sleeping giant.”

-St. Louis Police Officers Association Executive Board

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