After the COVID19 lockdowns were instituted, we started sending out a sample email to help get some eyeballs on the new virtual meetings of the St. Louis County Council. Here is the first letter that we shared:
April 21, 2020
SUBJECT: St. Louis County Council Electronic Public Comment
Dear Dr. Page, Council Chair Clancy and St. Louis County Council:
Please consider reopening St Louis County Parks, small businesses such as hair and nail salons, restaurants and medical/therapy practices subject to social distancing policies beginning May 3, 2020.
With grocery and home improvement stores already open, we have learned how to shop utilizing the social distancing procedures. Opening more businesses coupled with mandated usage of masks is now possible.
We must balance actions taken to flatten the curve with the need to keep Show Me State businesses viable. We can do both!
Thank you so much for your leadership thus far, it is now time to take further action to ensure the livelihoods and mental health of Missourians.
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County Executive Dr. Sam Page’s Report: During his report, Dr. Page took to castigating his constituents about racism. He says some Chinese owned businesses in STL have had a dip in sales since the Corona Virus spread outside of China. He fails to provide any evidence showing a direct connection to the virus or data showing a sustained drop over all Asian owned businesses across the entire county area.
Today Mr. Page had lunch at Won Ton King, which is so important to us as voters. We were so gratified to hear that he too enjoys Asian food and partook today.
He then moved on to PDMP and the fact that we don’t have a statewide program. Mr. Page failed to note that Opioid deaths in the state of Missouri are down by 10 percent for 2019. Perhaps next week there will be some good news shared about our great state and county.
Many individuals have come forward to testify about how the Vagrancy Laws criminalize homelessness. It was a coordinated effort, with only women coming forward to speak. Others joined them tonight. As each woman spoke the others stood in solidarity. It was an impressive show that was marred by inaccurate statements about what vagrancy laws do.
Larry Rice started off by discussing the lawsuit against St. Louis County. Mr. Rice claims that most panhandlers are women, which at Lindbergh and HWY 44 is untrue. He makes some salient points about the need to build a shelter in the County. He seems unaware that the Police transport people to any shelter in the area free of charge without giving them a ticket or summons for being homeless. He supports the removal of the Vagrancy laws, but for all of the wrong reasons. The police officers who testified at the Meeting of the Whole would have been so great tonight to rebut the misinformation that issued.
One gentleman stood up to oppose the RFP to privatize St. Louis County’s Animal Care and Control.
One St. Louis County business owner made a comment about inmates getting computer tablets and the bidding process that the county engaged in.
Lisa Pannet stood to make a public comment about Larry Rice and the fact that no one wants to help him or keep him in business but used him tonight to support their ideas of repealing vagrancy laws. Ms. Pannet also castigated the Council for even considering removing the Vagrancy Laws.
Mr. Tom Sullivan lit the Council members up for considering a $240 million dollar payout to the City of St. Louis to assist them in remodeling the Dome. He feels it would be much more beneficial to spend those taxpayer dollars in the county to help the homeless and improve the lower-income areas.
The founder of an organization called EARLY stood to share that Chinese students in the metro area have experienced racist incidents since the Corona Virus outbreak. She thanked Dr. Page for mentioning the racism and encouraged everyone present to frequent Asian restaurants to combat racism and help those businesses thrive.
I stood to share a number of Bible verses from the book of Proverbs pertaining to poverty and how we treat people. It is ridiculous for us to act as if repealing Vagrancy laws for unincorporated St. Louis County will have a positive impact on homeless persons. The women who testified tonight will not be kept warm, dry and safe by repealing Vagrancy Laws. I shared the following verses,
Proverbs 29:7 The righteous care about justice for the poor, but the wicked have no such concern.
Proverbs 14:20-21 The poor are shunned even by their neighbors, but the rich have many friends. 21It is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy.
Proverbs 19:10 Wealth attracts many friends, but even the closest friend of the poor person deserts them
Proverbs 22:22-23 Do not exploit the poor because they are poor and do not crush the needy in court, 23for the LORD will take up their case and will exact life for life.
Proverbs 14:31 Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God.
Proverbs 19:17 Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the LORD, and he will reward them for what they have done.
Proverbs 22:2 Rich and poor have this in common: The LORD is the Maker of them all.
I again reminded them of their duty to us as citizens and reiterated my call to create a Task Force on Homelessness, again volunteered to serve on it, and reminded Lisa Clancy that I called her office four weeks ago and no one has returned my call.
Kate Stratton rose to speak out against turning St. Louis County into another San Francisco by eliminating the ordinances against vagrancy. Mrs. Stratton shared that we need laws to guide behavior and enable police to keep the peace. We do not want tent cities in St. Louis County.
A blizzard of bill Perfection sailed overhead, but I am happy to report that the bill introduced by Lisa Clancy to eliminate the Vagrancy Laws in unincorporated St. Louis County was held again.
Next Tuesday the County Council meets at 1:00 pm. Be there!!!
St. Louis County Council Diary for Feb 11, 2020
Welp! Tonight is my third time attending this meeting and there appears to be a considerable hubbub – the news is here and they have a huge camera! Ernie Trakas is missing from the dais.
Fifteen people including myself have signed up to address the council.
Last week a resolution moving one County Council meeting per month to 1pm in the afternoon passed, and the handouts for tonight’s meeting have the dates reflecting that change. St. Louis County Council meetings will be held at 1:00 pm in the afternoon Central Standard Time on the following dates:
Sam Page presented the Report of the County Executive. He began by discussing the resignation of the St. Louis County Police Department Chief Belmar.
Page shared that after making new appointments to the Police Board he recommended that the police chief resign. He is making tons of comments about diversity, inclusion and other buzzwords that have no bearing on the efficacy or merit of police officers. Sam Page wants the MO Leg to pass an employee non-discrimination (MOMA) act which was roundly opposed by our representatives in Jefferson City. Sam Page went on to encourage attendees of the County Council meeting to “contact their legislators to encourage passage of the MOMA Act.” Obviously, Sam Page doesn’t represent every citizen of St. Louis County and takes time during his duties here to advocate for leftist policies.
As in past weeks, there were numerous speakers about the request to increase pay for St. Louis County Police department staff.
This week there was a considerable amount of blowback against an RFP for the privatization of the St. Louis County Animal Shelter.
Toshunda Troupe spoke about the death of her son while he was incarcerated in the Work House.
Tom Sullivan again rose to address Clancy about the time of meeting change that passed last week. He then turned to the Wildhaber case and castigated Page for accepting a huge $10 million dollar settlement with the police officer that accused the STLPD of discrimination.
Zina Hackworth rose yet again to teach county council members about the ills of abortion during Black History Month. Clancy and Walton-Gray, listened with their eyes on their papers. Other council members paid attention to her informative words.
Christy Hessel spoke for the third week in a row, this time on professionalism. She touched on the county council meeting time change, the twitter posting by Lisa Clancy on “the squad” and a purchasing order for new equipment for the police department.
Rev. Bill Duvall started his comments with a scripture quote then moved on to castigating attendees for holding the county council accountable for accepting the settlement. The pastor is an advocate of LGBT rights. He got a bit bombastic offering, “Animal rights? I wish the animals could vote too!”
A young man with an impressive beard and tweed sport coat spoke about saving 10 acres above Tower T during the development of a new McKelvey Homes subdivision.
Bill number 29 Red Flag is being perfected along party lines. Council Member Fitch expressed concern that the bill is a duplicate of Federal legislation that already prohibits everything proposed in this bill, he voted against perfection. Council Member Harder has concerns about the Red Flag Bill and is voting no as well.
Part of the reason that the Vagrancy Laws are up for removal as expressed by Clancy; they are already covered under other ordinances. But the same consideration is not even worthy of acknowledgment on the Red Flag legislation.
Bill NO. 320 has been held again as Clancy and Trakas continue to work out the details of a replacement piece of legislation. To recap Lisa Clancy wants to repeal the Vagrancy Laws and the Republican members of the Council want to replace the legislation with something more specific that can survive a court challenge.
County Council Diary Feb 3, 2020
Tonight we attended the County Council Meeting to ensure that what we were told would hold up during the meeting. After last week, we learned that Clancy would work with Trakas to create replacement legislation instead of simply repealing the bill.
Zina Hackworth made waves with her educational expose on abortion, noting that the KKK only killed a few thousand blacks but abortion has wiped out nearly 40 percent of the black population in America since the passage of Roe v. Wade. Adolphus Pruitt took issue with Zina’s truth-telling and addressed her from the podium during his turn to share a public comment. Fireworks ensued. It was a shame to see a man who advocates for civil rights for black Americans refuse to acknowledge the carnage abortion has wreaked on our community.
The Council voted unanimously to hire a law firm to assist them in fighting St. Louis County residents who are contesting their outrageous property tax increases. THIS is why more of us must attend this forum. It is utterly ridiculous that we are paying for the county council to fight us.
County Council Diary Jan 27, 2020
Today a couple of friends and I attended the County Council Meeting of the Whole at 3 pm in their boardroom.
Leadership from the St. Louis County Police Department spoke at length about what they do on a daily basis to help homeless people find shelter. The STLPD spends a considerable amount of time dealing with vagrants. They are begging for more assistance dealing with the issue of persistently homeless people, drug addicts and grifters who insist on begging for money as a means of supporting themselves.
Because Vagrancy Laws across the country are being challenged in court and dismissed for being too vague or violating the rights of the poor, St. Louis County Council Democrats want to do away with these laws altogether.
My comments as written for the meeting tonight are posted below.
The Missouri Housing Development Commission released a new study showing that homelessness is down in St. Louis City but has increased in the County. The report showed that “St. Louis County saw a 22 percent increase in sheltered homelessness, whereas it had a 53 percent decrease in unsheltered homelessness. The number of unaccompanied homeless youth jumped 113 percent, with 34 percent of those younger than 18.”
Because the Missouri Supreme Court has struck down a few vagrancy ordinances, Council Chairwoman Lisa Clancy proposes to completely do away with vagrancy laws. This approach is lazy and unworthy of St. Louis County residents who rely on Council Members to put the safety of citizens first. Councilman Trakas has proposed rewriting the laws, but perhaps that takes up too much precious time for your consideration?
Which of you will stand up and take the blame after you eliminate the vagrancy ordinance and homeless tents and aggressive panhandling increase? What of the possibility of violence?
It’s as if one homeless person, Robert Fernandez a man capable of hiring an attorney, but not of keeping a job and a roof over his head holds more sway here than hundreds of thousands of taxpaying law-abiding voters?
Why was the proposal prohibiting aggressive solicitation voted down? Why do St. Louis County Council Members want me to be subject to aggressive solicitation? About 20 years ago when we were new to the area, I used to stop into the Einstein Bagels in the Central West End for coffee. They had a couple of resident homeless people who would be for money. On one occasion, an irate lady was screaming at people in line for cash. I offered change when it was my turn to be verbally assaulted and she lost it. Screaming that what I’d given wasn’t enough. No one did anything. I left and never went there again.
That type of behavior is what you are about to promote here in our area. We deserve better from you.
San Francisco, currently the Human Feces Capital of America has lax vagrancy laws. Is that what you want for Missourians Council Member Clancy?
I urge you to take advice from legal counsel on how to draft a vagrancy law that protects the rights of St. Louis County residents to travel and move about the county free and unencumbered. While we cannot criminalize a person’s status, being homeless is not a crime, however, we can prohibit homeless persons from demanding money from strangers, blocking roads and installing tents on sidewalks and other common areas.
Perhaps the next order of business following that exercise should be a feasibility study on a new homeless shelter, or individual homes dedicated to housing homeless persons? In other words, a solution that would help decrease the number of transients.
I look forward to hearing from you, Chairwoman Clancy.
NOTE: I did not present my comments as written, but I did make a 3 minute comment.
After a lengthy public comment period during which many different residents spoke out against removing the vagrancy laws, Clancy decided to hold her bill to allow time to work with Councilmember Trakas on compromise legislation.