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Green, Shrewsbury Among Charter Change Opponents

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The amendments would change a number of functions of City Hall (KWMU file photo)

By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – A large group of city officials spoke out at St. Louis City Hall Tuesday to protest four proposed amendments to the city charter. It believes the measures will strip voters of many of their rights.

The group, which includes aldermanic president Jim Shrewsbury and comptroller Darlene Green, says the charter changes will concentrate power in the hands of a few by eliminating some elected positions and reducing the board of aldermen.

Green says a 'YES' vote means citizens will lose and big businesses will win. "Homeowners will pay higher taxes, giving way to more corporate welfare," Green claims. "City workers will lose their jobs, being replaced by political cronies." One of the changes, though, would change a number of positions to civil service, which is seen as less political.

Charter amendment advocates also say the changes will strengthen the system of checks and balances and they deny allegations that the process to craft the amendments was skewed for political gain.

COMMITTEE HEARING

Also Tuesday, a representative of the group advocating St. Louis charter change faced questions from an aldermanic committee Tuesday.

Citizens for Home Rule executive director Jason Hannasch testified before a committee investigating the process by which the charter recommendations were developed.

Alderman Tom Bauer (24th Ward), who chairs the committee, asked Hannasch about the discrepancy between the wording of the group's recommendations and the more technical language of the actual ballot items.

"And why is it that you didn't bring the specific changes in city government before the Advance St. Louis group so that they could vote on changes in St. Louis city?" Bauer asked. "Their purpose was to come up with recommendations, not legal language," Hannisch replied. "And they made that determination early on in the process."

The items will appear on the November 2 ballot in the city of St. Louis as Amendments A, B, C and D.

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