The heavy hand of police unions has become evident in recent weeks as pro-law enforcement groups battle the backlash of of them exposed by ProPublica, a national investigative publication that explored the sordid world of private policing in St. Louis. A credit reporting agency website has looked at skewed St. Louis crime data to absurdly claim that our city is the “the least safein the county. Black and white police unions put aside their decades of differences to join forces in the fight against police accountability. Even Schnucks stepped in to complain increased petty crime cases around their South Grand location – blaming the surrounding neighborhood without any mention of mini $1 bottles placed near the automatic cash registers.
Earlier this month, 7th Ward Alderman Jack Coatar published a very expensive campaign TV advertisingtargeting the city’s perennial thorny problem: public safety. In his adCoatar is calling for more police officers and a better 911 system. Coatar, in office since the spring of 2015, has been largely ineffective in leveraging his relationships with the police department and unions to address lingering labor issues within the department. from police.
Here’s the problem: Jack can’t save his own words. After making promises to voters, he will not be able to keep the promises he makes to his donors and other supporters.
To fix” 911, this system should be consolidated under one large umbrella of the Department of Public Safety. Currently, all calls for emergency assistance are routed through the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, which is then the sole determinant of which services to send for assistance. It’s a holdover from a time not too long ago when the city of St. Louis didn’t have control of its own police department. Prior to the Civil War of 1861, Missouri’s segregationalist governor did not want union sympathizers to control the police department. Since the state-appointed police commission called the SLMPD from the civil war until 2013, our 911 system has been down since its inception. We have regained local control of our police service, but that does not mean that the police are ready to collaborate with other emergency services.
The “fix” to 911 would require consolidation of the workforce. The arrangement is opposed by Alderman’s benefactors to St. Louis Police Association (SLPOA) and the not yet approved IAFF Local 73. Of course, this opposition is not based on what best serves the community.
In short, Coatar cannot support an improved and consolidated 911 system without supporting a consolidated workforce. And he can’t support a consolidated workforce because white police and white fire unions oppose the move. These two arrangements cannot coexist – so the young alderman must make a difficult choice between the concerns of voters and the interests of his donors.
Is the ESOP about-face?
On the other side of the county, the Republican executive candidate for St. Louis County Marc Mantovani – who our readers may remember as a two-time Democratic candidate for county executive – received approval from Police Ethics Society. In a first for the black police union, ESOP Recording Secretary St. Louis County Police Lieutenant Ray Rice made an unspecific statement that Page did not have a “holistic crime mitigation plan” – something Mantovani does not have but The page actually does – hook on talking points demystified previously touted by ousted SLPOA commercial director Jeff Roorda. Wondering who organized this possible change in policy?
Aside from the already bizarre turn of events for the Republican nominee for St. Louis County CEO, Mantovani’s ESOP endorsement calls for more transparency — as she appears to be ignoring ESOP. own legal battle against the pro-transparency measures adopted by the Council of Aldermen of Saint-Louis.
In this situation, the left hand apparently does not know what the right hand is doing.
Weigh anchor at Lighthouse Landing?
If you haven’t heard of the “Lighthouse landingin the far north of the city, you should pay special attention to the latest shiny “thing” in our area. The project was announced last month, along with two bills sponsored by Alderman Lisa Middlebrook (Ward 1), to establish a development district and one community improvement district help financially support development. Commission for transport and commerce of the College of Aldermen voted on Tuesday to delay a new review to recommend 15 years of tax abatements and sales tax exemptions for the project, after developers failed to explain the lack of environmental and safety studies; local, state and federal collaboration; or plans for “living wage” jobs that offer an average salary of just $27,000.
During the usually lackluster Transport and Commerce Committee meeting, Alderwoman Christine Ingrasia (D-Ward 6) asked the developers to identify the various government agencies they claimed to have spoken with and obtained permission to continue development of “Lighthouse Landing”. Moreover, when pressed for more details, the promoters admitted that they had not spoken to any government partners for several years or that they had misrepresented their points of contact.
“It seems very irresponsible to me, for all of you as developers, that you haven’t had at least some preliminary conversations, I mean, at the very least with Corps of Engineers,” Ingrassia warned. “There’s a reason tugs and barges cross a channel we spent millions of dollars building in the 1940s – it’s because the rocky plateau of Chain of Rocks is the greatest danger. on the entire Mississippi River, so we diverted all of that commercial traffic to the Illinois side.
Ingrassia stressed that rescue and recovery operations should be launched from downtown St. Louis, rather than further north up the river, due to the natural hazards that actually threaten boat traffic around the river. location planned for the marina.
The proposed site for “Landing the Lighthouse” was purchased in 1988 by a former SLMPD officer, Tony Daniele, who served eight years in federal prison for police pension fraud and extortion. His business partner, Mark Repking of Alton, Ill., served his own federal sentence for bank embezzlement. Daniele and Repking apparently still own the land where Nashville-based developer M2 Development Partners (M2DP) wants to build a 67-acre “entertainment destination.”
The property is located near the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge, likely at the northernmost point of Riverview Drive. It was the subject of a number development patterns for many decades. The old North Shore golf course was washed away by the 1993 flood, and casinos and riverboats teased development on the site for years. The city ended up paying Daniele and Repking to raise the floodplain by dumping “clean fill” from various city departments, thanks to a series of shady deals that raised nearly $500,000 from 2009 to 2016. In 2017, the former alderwoman Dionne Flowers (D-Ward 2) sponsored of them bills similar to those filed a few weeks ago by Middlebrook, seeking to develop the elevated, waste-filled floodplain property.
Turns out Middlebrook’s bills aren’t the second or third development attempt on North Riverview Drive. The Post-Dispatch’s Tony Messenger has been following the “Lighthouse Landing” project for years, going through its various names such as “St. Louis Pier,” “Lighthouse development,” and “beauty of the night.” For one reason or another, however, each proposal failed.
Despite the environmental and safety challenges identified for the construction of “Lighthouse Landing” on North Riverside Drive, out-of-state developers have always clung to the idea of a marina and rejected the idea that the Chain of Rocks area was a hazard to boaters.
Alderman Annie Rice (D-Ward 8) reminded proponents that Missouri law allows 14-year-olds to pilot boats and that lower river levels have further tightened barge traffic along the Mississippi.
“I don’t even see how we’re even starting this conversation about the fact that we have a potentially devastating marina project for the environment, and potentially public safety as well, and we’re moving forward not knowing if that piece of the puzzle may even exist. “, said Rice.
This project has been simmering for years, so there are few excuses for this glaring lack of information from the developers. While the EYE strongly encourages development on the North Side, projects such as “Lighthouse Landing” should not be supported at the expense of the environment, safety, or commerce.