It is time for the mayor of St. Louis to engage in collaboration and create a constructive environment that benefits the working families who deserve to be able to count on reliable delivery of city services, safer streets and improving neighborhoods.
Mayor Krewson is leaving the people she was elected to serve behind while she rushes to please special interests. Instead of keeping the streets safe, the alleys clean and the grass mowed, the mayor has enlisted her administration in a territorial fight against other offices and other elected officials.
For the past two years this political chicanery has been fomenting, and in 2019 the harm caused by this mayor’s focus on shenanigans instead of service has reached a boiling point. At the Board of Estimate & Apportionment and separately I have urged her to set politics aside; but it is clear that she has not heard the outcry. The mayor does not seem to grasp – or does not care – that playing politics with the people’s money and services is causing real harm.
For more than 20 years the fiscal policies of the City of St. Louis have served the city well by improving the city’s credit rating, lowering the cost for borrowing, and saving the taxpayers millions of dollars. The mayor should embrace the fiscal policies of the comptroller that brought the city through a very tough economic downturn, implemented a 10-year strategic financial plan designed to improve future fiscal outcomes, and encouraged refinancing debt to provide better service delivery with the savings. Instead, she has chosen to engage in politics that do not serve the public interest.
At the same time, our community has been going through a horrific wave of senseless crime this spring and summer. As I write this, 12 children have been shot this year—11 fatally. And just this past week, there were six drive-by shootings in one 24-hour period. Our community is rightly upset and deserves answers.
The simplest explanation is usually correct, and the simplest explanation is that the mayor has not made preventing crime and protecting children a higher priority than her politics. Less tragically, this same explanation applies to what residents and aldermen alike have decried: an administration that is unresponsive to their concerns and incapable of effectively managing operations.
It is not acceptable that the administration waits for crises before acting. The people of St. Louis deserve an administration that is proactive and engaged. A proactive administration would not have sat by idly after the police department tested body cameras in 2016. And a proactive administration would not drag its feet in supporting violence reduction programs. Instead, this mayor’s administration is left scrambling, unprepared and reacting to the current crisis.
St. Louis is a city full of hope. It’s a city with promise and a bright future. What makes the city so great is the people who choose to live here. City voters are smart and deserve better than the proverbial politics-first agenda from this administration. I call on the mayor to serve the people better through collaboration instead of the proliferation of political agendas that pull the city down. Let's uplift the city by working together.
Darlene Green is comptroller of the City of St. Louis.