Monday, January 28, 2019

These St. Louis Politicians Are Pledging to Oppose Airport Privatization

Posted By on Mon, Jan 28, 2019 at 7:37 AM

click to enlarge This pig has been busy enlisting local pols to commit to opposing plans to lease St. Louis' airport. - DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • DANNY WICENTOWSKI
  • This pig has been busy enlisting local pols to commit to opposing plans to lease St. Louis' airport.
A group of local activists hoping to force a public vote on any deal to privatize St. Louis' airport has been carrying around an oversized pledge sheet — and asking city politicians and candidates for office to sign it.

By signing the pledge, the elected officials and candidates are vowing that they will vote against any privatization deal for St. Louis Lambert International Airport. That's a bold stance since there is not currently a deal on the table. But with city-hired consultants actively seeking one, and demands for a public vote recently hitting a roadblock, the STL Not for Sale group has decided to up the ante.

How's that going? Well, let's just say a giant pig has been haunting meetings and forums, trying to enlist the politicians on site into signing. And, hey! He's having some success. Two of the three major candidates for the president of the Board of Aldermen have signed the pledge (the incumbent, Lewis Reed, is the holdout). So have seven incumbents on the board and a number of challengers.



Here's the latest list of those who've taken the pledge to vote against privatization, as of this morning:
  • Megan Ellyia Green, President of the BOA Candidate
  • Jimmie Matthews, President of the BOA Candidate
  • Jamilah Nasheed, President of the BOA Candidate
  • Robert Dillard, 4th Ward Candidate
  • Christine Ingrassia, 6th Ward Alderman
  • Annie Rice, 8th Ward Alderman
  • Dan Guenther, 9th Ward Alderman
  • Larry Arnowitz, 12th Ward Alderman
  • Derrick Neuner, 12th Ward Candidate
  • Tony Pecinovsky, 14th Ward Candidate
  • Darryl Gray, 18th Ward Candidate
  • Jeffery “Dhoruba” Hill, 18th Ward Candidate
  • Sunni Hutton, 20th Ward Candidate
  • Cara Spencer, 20th Ward Alderman
  • Tonya Finley-McCaw, 22nd Ward Candidate
  • Lorie Cavin, 24th Ward Candidate
  • Bret Narayan, 24th Ward Candidate
  • Shane Cohn, 25th Ward Alderman
Glenn Burleigh, a spokesman for STL Not for Sale, the anti-privatization group pushing the pledge, says that Danny Sample, a candidate in the 24th ward, has indicated he'd like to sign but hasn't been able to do so physically just yet.

Burleigh says the pledge became necessary after privatization opponents got bad news two weeks ago: Alderwoman Cara Spencer's bill requiring any vote on privatization to go to a public vote was scuttled by a last-minute flip from Alderman John Collins-Muhammad. That effort now needs a miracle to pass this session — basically, one of the three "no" votes in committee would have to reintroduce it. That hasn't happened yet.

STL Not for Sale is continuing to gather signatures to force a public vote through a petition process. But in the mean time, it's also pushing local politicians to just say no to any deal, even though there's not one being proposed just yet.

The list above is a handy cheat sheet for those who've agreed to do just that; we'll update it again before the March Democratic primary so you know where people stand.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at sarah.fenske@riverfronttimes.com

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