Friday, January 27, 2012

Local Control Activists Thrown Under the Bus

This was an amazing story in the Political Eye that I had not seen before (but see the update):
As for the activists, they had been on the side of local control all along. Not because they love and trust this mayor, which they do even less than the coppers love and trust him, but because they see city control of the city police as a stepping stone towards citizen overview of a police force that has done much to test public trust in its authority to impound, confiscate, arrest and use lethal force. Whether this is reasonable thinking or not, activists have believed that mayoral control of the city police would be a meaningful step towards a Civilian Review Board. Activists believe civilian review is needed because the police department has a proven, poor track record of cracking down on its own. Even federal investigators, who were expected to bring down a host of white shirts along with the petty operator Greg Shepard in the towing scam, have let down the public where there seemed to be obvious, widespread corruption in the department.

This incredible, tentative coalition is officially quitsville. The POA and Mayor Slay have sided with Sinquefield on his local control ballot initiative, and the activists have turned against them. On the face of it, it would be difficult to imagine local control activists siding with any group that includes Slay, the coppers and Sinquefield, but they have specific reasons for their opposition that were outlined in a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri.

Please read the whole thing if you haven't already. It offers some important insights into St. Louis City politics.

One thing not mentioned in this article is that several St. Louis City Democrats were paid substantial sums of money by Rex Sinquefield to work on this issue. These same Democrats are supportive of Rex's plans to inch ever closer towards privatizing education, and turn a blind eye to his insane policy suggestions (backed by millions of dollars) like the everything tax.

Update: There was a nice op-ed in the Post-Dispatch about this by Brenda Jones of the ACLU.

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