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Appellate court hears stadium bond issue case


By Kevin Lavery, KWMU

St. Louis, MO – The Coalition Against Public Funding for Stadiums is appealing a St. Louis County judge's ruling last March denying them the right to put the bond issue on the ballot.

The bondholders argue a 2004 proposition requiring a vote before tax money can be spent on the ballpark does not apply in this case.

But coalition attorney Christine Hart says it does, and says it's a case of contract rights in conflict with the right to petition.

"The initiative right will always trump the contract right," Hart said. "The U.S. Supreme Court has said that when the initiative right is looked at by a court, the court should do all it can to uphold the right of the people to the initiative.

But bondholders' attorney Ted Noel says St. Louis County voters did speak out when they approved a hotel-motel tax back in 1989.

"They established in that vote a procedure to allow the St. Louis County Council to have a voice in how that money is to be spent," Noel said. "They did not decide that the people will have a second right to vote; they delegated those rights on how that money is to be spent to their elected officials.

The judges could decide on the case in a couple of months.


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