While we applaud Municipal League of Metro St. Louis in changing its platform to one that endorse the re-entry of the City into the County, a few concerns remain. The Municipal League makes literally no mention of the inclusion of citizen and resident voices into the planning process.
The Municipal League states: "As local leaders we acknowledge there are other stakeholders that can bring value to the discussion. The expertise of business organizations and leaders, regional planners and civic groups are examples of important stakeholders we will need to reach out to at the appropriate times throughout the process."
Are citizens not the most important stakeholders? This should be a community driven process.
The Municipal League's language clearly indicates that it sees itself as the boss of bringing the City and County together by anointing itself author of the restructuring plan. We remain skeptical of its ability to unite people, as its members cannot agree to minimum policing standards, continuously battle each other over taxes, and float in and out of the organization.
Moreover, the entire piece lacks any indication of a mechanism that would allow for citizen input throughout the entire planning process. At St. Louis Strong, we've literally put amendment language and our website on crowdsourcing platforms in order to give residents a voice.
All commissions (especially those comprised of government entities) designated with writing far-reaching and high-impact policies, at the very least, should allow for public comment. If the Municipal League does not put forth a mechanism that creates digital and physical spaces which include the people's voice at all design phases, their step can be viewed as a power grab or a means to distract the news cycle from its members own shortcomings.
If the Municipal League is sincere about bringing our region into the 21st Century and facilitating conversation, it best use the tools of our era and avoid the 19th century backroom politics that brought us to this point in the first place. We find the omission of residential voices troubling.
We will soon post the contact information for all elected officials in the St. Louis area.
Contact the Municipal League to demand transparency and accountability:
1034 S. Brentwood Blvd., Suite 410
Richmond Heights, MO. 63117
Phone (314)726-4747 Fax (314)726-1520