What a difference a year makes. A year ago we were lamenting the fact that the fate of the future of St. Louis government was in the hands of everyone else in Missouri except St. Louis.
Yes, it was Jan. 28, 2019, when St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, now of South Dakota, and St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson stood in front of the city, the county and the world and proclaimed that St. Louis was a wonderful city, place and region — but yet everything about it had to change.
They’d done wonderful jobs as leaders and provided an unparalleled place for residents to live, work and play, they said — but yet they wanted their city and county to stop existing and become a new mega-city.
The news had leaked a month earlier, but it was one of those things you just had to see to believe.
The most unbelievable aspect of this proposal was that it would be voted on not by the residents of the city and county whose lives it would ultimately affect for better or worse, but by the rest of the state too. More than any other aspect of the merger, the statewide vote was the poison pill no one was swallowing. Eventually, even board member Mike Hejna publicly declared Better Together dead.
We’re not writing its epitaph yet, but a year later, Better Together seems like the distant past and St. Louis is moving on. And rather than people in Chillicothe, Rolla and Sikeston voting on our future, we’re all joining together to celebrate the Kansas City Chiefs and their Super Bowl win.
Will St. Louis city ever get its act together and approve a group of delegates for the Board of Freeholders so that the constitutionally-mandated process can get going?
A series of diversions, many centering around weather, Christmas and sports, have distracted us from the ongoing embarrassment of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen continuing to ignore the Missouri Constitution and not appoint delegates to the Board of Freeholders. None of the aldermen seem to be particularly concerned about this failure to uphold the state constitution, as they swore when they took their oath of office.
One of the best aspects of Better Together’s proposal was that it got rid of the dysfunctional Board of Aldermen in the city altogether.
City officials have always been the best reason to vote for any merger. The jury’s still out on the county.
Will anything change in the next year? Stay tuned.