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Government, Politics & Issues

St. Louis aldermen go on break without passing changes to residency, reversal of ward reduction

File Photo. Alderman Terry Kennedy says the delay in naming a St. Louis poet laureate could stretch into next year.
File photo | Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio
Alderman Terry Kennedy, D-18th Ward, says he and other supporters of a plan to reverse ward reduction will use the break to have conversations about the measure with colleagues.

Supporters of a measure that would reverse a planned reduction in the number of aldermanic wards in St. Louis will use the Board of Aldermen’s summer break to get more support lined up for their bill.

Aldermen adjourned Friday until Sept. 7 without giving final approval to two charter changes. One would eliminate the residency requirement for most city employees — the other would put the 2012 ward reduction back in front of voters.

Both bills have enough support to pass the Board of Aldermen if every single “yes” vote shows up. But one alderman, Sam Moore, D-4th Ward, has been out sick, and Mayor Lyda Krewson has pledged to veto the ward-reduction measure. An override requires 20 votes.

Krewson’s stance has opened the door for the reversal’s backers to have conversations with people who did not vote for the bill earlier, said co-sponsor Terry Kennedy, D-18th Ward.

“Some who were somewhat on the fence were not pleased with that statement and are now coming to us talking about ways that they have in mind that they can find a place to support it,” he said.

Most of the conversations have focused on which election the reversal would go in front of voters, Kennedy said. The bill right now calls for a vote in April 2019, but some aldermen want it on the November 2020 ballot to boost turnout.

“Those who want the April date know that the individuals who will be voting at that time period pay attention to the local affairs,” he said.

Kennedy said he is “generally confident” aldermen will pass the ward-reduction reversal by the time the board adjourns in April.

‘We don’t talk to each other enough’

Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-3rd Ward, urged his colleagues to spend time in each other’s wards during the break.

“We don’t talk to each other enough,” he said. “We love our city. Get out in each other’s wards, take a drive around in each other’s wards, get out in each other’s events, so we can start getting around the city and seeing what we have to offer each other — that’s something we don’t do enough of. We have to start looking at ourselves as being a little more inclusive across the entire city as opposed to just being locked up in our little boxes in our wards.”

Bosley’s request drew applause from his colleagues.

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