On April 29, the St. Charles County Council will present a resolution opposing the recommendation of Better Together to use a statewide initiative to change how the citizens of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis are governed.
I have lived in the St. Louis region my entire life, so I understand that we can do better. When large corporations consider locations for their next headquarters, offices, or factories, they will often consider the Greater St. Louis region generally before narrowing their search to St. Charles County. If St. Louis struggles with economic challenges and governmental dysfunction, the chance that these corporations will ignore our region rises significantly. For this reason, Better Together’s plan does concern us, and it is our business.
Better Together, a non-profit, citizen-led City-County Governance Task Force, is calling for the people of Missouri to vote on what is effectively a two-part initiative: the ballot measure changes the Missouri Constitution to create a new form of government that does not exist at this time, and then compels the citizens of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis to be subject to this new form of government. Better Together has chosen to do this through a statewide vote, because they know the residents of the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County – the ones who will be directly affected by this proposal — would NEVER pass it as it is currently drafted.
I believe what Better Together is doing is wrong. The statewide initiative disenfranchises local voters and strips them of their constitutional rights by diluting the power of their vote. This is a slippery slope. Should we allow billionaires to initiate constitutional amendments for their own advantage, regardless of how the people affected by these changes feel? If you see someone mistreating your neighbor, and you do nothing, you will be next. I hope Better Together can develop a good plan that allows the residents of St. Louis County and the City of St. Louis to have their say. Going to a statewide vote is not the way to handle this effort.