Starsky Wilson

Conference-goers encourage each other to push for the implementation of Ferguson Commission recommendations Saturday Oct. 31, 2015 at St. John's Church.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio

With the Ferguson Commission disbanding at the end of the year, whether or not its recommendations are implemented depend in large part on the support of local and state leaders.

The Ferguson Commission has no authority of its own to implement its recommendations.

Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

A group of performers from the Hindu Temple of St. Louis joined Batya Abramson-Goldstein, the executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council, on “Cityscape” this Friday as part of preparations for this Sunday’s fifth annual Arts and Faith interfaith concert at the Sheldon, which promotes peace and unity in the region and around the world.

We had the pleasure to hear (and mic up!) nine of the Hindu Temple Choir performers live on air. The choir usually performs at full capacity with 18 members. 

Ferguson Commission co-chairs Starsky Wilson and Rich McClure share a laugh at the Deaconness Foundation before publicly presenting the Ferguson Commission report.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

On a special edition of Politically Speaking, Ferguson Commission co-chairmen Rich McClure and Starsky Wilson talk about a blunt assessment of a racially-divided St. Louis.


The Ferguson Commission was set up by Gov. Jay Nixon in the wake of Michael Brown's shooting death. It was tasked with examining the underlying racial and economic schisms within St. Louis -- and coming up with policy solutions.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon accepts a copy of the Ferguson Commission's recomendations from co-chairs Rich McClure (L) and Rev. Starsky Wilson during a press conference in Florissant.
Bill Greenblatt I UPI

In the turbulent days before a grand jury decided not to indict a former Ferguson police officer that shot and killed Michael Brown, Gov. Jay Nixon was asked why he needed a commission to figure out what ails the St. Louis region. His answer then was personal. His reaction to the actual report issued by the Ferguson Commission is for the entire state.

The Ferguson Commission's final report paints a stark picture of a region divided by race. It suggests a host of policy changes to law enforcement, education and economic development.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

The Ferguson Commission’s final report provides an unvarnished look at how a racially divided St. Louis underserves African-Americans. The report provides a host of recommendations to transform how the region polices and educates itself — and its most vulnerable citizens.

Attorney Al Gerhardstein speaks at Wednesday's meeting of the Ferguson Commission. Gerhardstein helped fashion a collaborative agreement to alter the Cincinnati Police Department.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

With only a few days before they release their final report, members of the Ferguson Commission got something of a reality check from Al Gerhardstein.

Gerhardstein is an attorney who helped negotiate a landmark agreement in Cincinnati that brought massive changes to the city’s police department. As he looked at some of the commission’s recommendations to overhaul the region’s law enforcement agencies, Gerhardstein worried aloud that he was experiencing déjà vu.

A focus group moderator writes down participants' thoughts on racial and ethnic relations in St. Louis, after a meeting of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

After months of deliberation and debate, the Ferguson Commission produced roughly 200 initial recommendations — an ambitious output for an entity charged with the job of issuing a report.

But Bethany Johnson-Javoism, the Commission's managing director, said the group’s “calls to action” are purposefully aspirational.

Ferguson Commissioners T.R. Carr and Traci Blackmon wait to start a meeting of the commission's municipal governance working group.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

When the Ferguson Commission first met last December, its members bore the brunt of pent-up anger and frustration. It was just days after a grand jury decided against indicting former Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson for shooting Michael Brown.

At that first gathering, the 16-member commission was beset by livid audience members and skepticism about the commission’s ultimate value. But recently inside a classroom on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus, the tensions of last year seemed far away.

(Flickr, Paul Sableman)

Closing economic disparities in the St. Louis region is one key to moving past Ferguson.

That was the message at a panel discussion Thursday called "Eight Months Post-Ferguson: The Journey from Recovery to Rebuilding." Several of the panelists said sharp economic contrasts contributed to issues in Ferguson, but are even more stark in other communities.

The Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

The Department of Justice report on the Ferguson Police Department and court system should not have come as a surprise, Ferguson Commission chairman the Rev. Starsky Wilson said. After all, his group has heard and discussed many of the same themes, he said.

A participant listens to the discussion during a focus group following the Ferguson Commission meeting.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Using a PowerPoint voting system, more than half the people attending the Ferguson Commission’s seventh meeting on Monday night said that no, they don’t think racial tensions in the St. Louis area will ever be fully eliminated.

Attorney General Chris Koster announced the lawsuit in St. Louis.
Jason Rosenbaum | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster is suing 13 St. Louis County municipalities for violating a state law that caps the percentage of ticket revenue that can be in a city’s budget. 

The statute in question – known as the “Mack’s Creek” law – stipulates that traffic fines and court costs can only comprise less than 30 percent of a city’s budget. Anything in excess has to go to schools.

Screen capture from official Ferguson Commission website,

The 16-member Ferguson Commission, created by Gov. Jay Nixon, met for the first time Monday in Ferguson.  

“It’s a long meeting, but we needed to listen carefully and we needed to get the administrative processes of the commission in place,” commission chairman Rich McClure said of Monday’s six-hour meeting. McClure shares leadership responsibilities with chairman The Rev. Starsky Wilson.

Lydia Adams speaks during the public comment section of the Ferguson Commission meeting. Adams was one of numerous speakers who spoke during Monday's meeting, which took place in Ferguson.
Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

If the Ferguson Commission wanted a frank discussion of St. Louis’ racial divide, Lydia Adams was ready to deliver it. 

“This Michael Brown case bust the discussion of race wide open in this nation and it needs to keep happening,” Adams said. “Because when you don’t talk about things, nothing happens. Talk about it to the point where it makes you uncomfortable.”

Bill Greenblatt, UPI

With a fateful grand jury decision expected any day, Gov. Jay Nixon swore in 16 people to serve on the so-called Ferguson Commission. It's a group charged with studying the underlying social and economic conditions that sparked protests over the death of Michael Brown.  


Opponents of payday loans say extremely high interest rates and quick turn-around sink people into a never-ending cycle of debt. Those in favor of the loans say they are providing a necessary service by offering loans to people who otherwise would not have access to them.

An investigative series by reporter Paul Kiel of ProPublica is shedding light on the issue.