Play Gloria: Four governments should not all meet at same time

Editorial
By Gloria Lloyd

This summer, the Crestwood Board of Aldermen is holding its meetings on the fourth Tuesday of each month instead of the second Tuesday.

Usually that would be an insignificant summer sidebar. But it’s a step forward in transparency for residents.

That’s because Crestwood government watchers, like their counterparts in Sunset Hills, have a unique conundrum every second Tuesday of the month: If they’re going to their government meeting, which one? And which two should they skip?

Any resident of either of those cities is also a resident of Lindbergh Schools.

And if someone in their cities wants to get involved in their school district, they can find it more challenging than anywhere else in South County.

The Crestwood Board of Aldermen, Sunset Hills Board of Aldermen and Lindbergh Board of Education all hold their meetings at the exact same time: Crestwood and Lindbergh meet at 7 p.m. and Sunset Hills at 6 p.m.

Crestwood and Sunset Hills residents are of course also residents of St. Louis County, where the County Council meets every Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m. in Clayton.

Other cities in Lindbergh have chosen to meet on different nights.

Green Park meets on Mondays, and Grantwood Village meets on the third Tuesday of the month.

Why does this matter? If you’re noting that most Crestwood residents probably don’t attend even one of these meetings, let alone try to attend them all, you’re right.

But we do know of at least one interested citizen who regularly tries to attend Crestwood, Lindbergh and the County Council. And how do we know there wouldn’t be more residents who do the same if those meetings were held on different nights?

Some topics overlap among these governments too, even for someone only interested in a single issue.

When the proposed tax-increment financing for the Crestwood mall redevelopment was up for debate in 2016, the Lindbergh board passed a resolution against it at the exact same time that the Crestwood board — which would ultimately decide whether the TIF went into effect — was discussing it. And county government ran the Crestwood TIF Commission. But any interested resident without a DeLorean was not just “outatime” but out of luck.

There’s no substitute for democracy in action, in person.

And residents in Crestwood and Sunset Hills deserve that opportunity.