Two St. Louis aldermen are leading an effort to recall Mayor Lyda Krewson over her support for the widely-debated Better Together plan that would combine the city and county governments.
Alderman Brandon Bosley, D-Ward 3, and Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-Ward 21, are launching a petition to gather support and the signatures necessary for a recall.
The city’s charter requires signatures from 20 percent of registered voters in at least 19 of the city’s 28 wards, and more than a total of 39,000 signatures for the recall to be placed on the ballot. If it reaches the ballot, a recall wins by a simple majority.
Aldermen Bosley and Collins-Muhammad are concerned that African Americans could lose power under Better Together’s plan, in which the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County would cease to exist as separate government entities. They say it’s contradictory for the mayor to be St. Louis’ executive voice while also voicing support for dissolving the city.
In a statement Mayor Krewson released in response to the recall effort, she said she understands change is difficult, but believes the city-county merger would benefit the St. Louis region.
Krewson said combining the city of St. Louis and St. Louis County will result in more regional decision making and a stronger, more efficient, more attractive and more competitive region.
“The fragmented government we have today is not working,” she said. “We are losing population, jobs and opportunities to other cities. We are losing ground every day because we spend our time fussing among ourselves. The real competition is between St. Louis and Nashville, St. Louis and Louisville, St. Louis and Indianapolis, or Kansas City, or Austin, or Denver. This recall effort is more internal fussing. My support for consolidation is rooted in that desire to provide safety and economic opportunity to all St. Louisans.”
The Better Together plan has drawn sharp criticism and opposition from many municipal leaders throughout St. Louis County. If it passes, the city and the county would be combined under one metro city. Police departments, court systems, roadways, regional planning and economic development would all be combined under one government.
Critics of Better Together are organizing their opposition and calling for a petition to establish a Board of Freeholders that would offer an alternative plan. The mayors of several municipalities, including Webster Groves, Crestwood, Sunset Hills and others, have signed the petition in support of a Board of Freeholders.