This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 22, 2011 - State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, D-St. Louis, may be against local control of the St. Louis police department -- but she does support allowing St. Louis to re-enter St. Louis County.
Chappelle-Nadal announced today she has filed Senate Joint Resolution 19, which would ask Missouri voters "if the city should become a part of the county and exist in the same manner as any other city in the county."
According to the senator, the resolution, if approved, "also would repeal sections of the Missouri Constitution that govern revisions to the St. Louis charter and intergovernmental relations between the city and the county."
St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay have advocated re-entry, if voters in the city and county go along.
(Click here to read the text of Chappelle-Nadal's resolution.)
"Whether you live in the city or the county, we are all residents of this great metropolis called St. Louis," said Chappelle-Nadal, who resides in University City. "It is time we started looking as issues that are important to us with a regional focus, rather than continuing the 'us versus them' mentality that has stymied progress in our region for far too long."
She reaffirmed the longstanding claim that allowing the city to re-enter the county would "save millions of dollars by consolidating the administrative functions of the city and the county."
Those savings would be particular significant for St. Louis, since re-entry would presumably mean the elimination of more than a half-dozen of the city's "county offices'' -- such as recorder of deeds and collector of revenue -- that are necessary because the city is its own county.
"Our region is composed of more than 90 municipalities and the city of St. Louis," Chappelle-Nadal said. "Each entity has its own government, its own police and fire department, and its own tax rate. Think of the money that could be saved by combining the administrative duties of all of these governmental entities. Money that could be saved by creating efficiencies in the delivery of government services and by eliminating duplicative services could be used to reinvest in our region to make it more attractive to business."
In addition, she said, "Too often we hear the irrational fears of county residents who are afraid to venture into the city, or we hear from urban residents who do not feel welcome in parts of the county. It is past time we started acting and behaving as one community."
As for local control of the St. Louis Police Department, Chappelle-Nadal is cited as among a bloc of Senate critics who may try to block approval of the pro-local control measure that passed the state House earlier today.