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Contact:  Ed Rhode May 6, 2019

314.482.4138 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Unite STL Announces Its Withdrawal of Proposal

for City/County Consolidation


Will Look for New Way to Reform Local Government Which Enables Local Vote

Unite STL announced today it will withdraw its petition for its City/County consolidation
proposal, and instead will look for a new way to reform local government which
enables a local vote.

To make the changes proposed by Unite STL (including with respect to police and the
court system), and other major reforms, the Missouri Constitution must be changed.
Changing the constitution requires a statewide vote. So, Unite STL sought that route.

“Current Missouri law limits our ability to make the kinds of changes needed to put our
region on a good path to prosperity,” said Chairman Mark Wrighton. “So, we’re going to
study what changes in the law are needed to enable the voters of the City and County
to make the reforms they need and support.”

The overall mission remains the same: to change the way local government works so
that it’s more efficient and responsive to the people of this region.

“This will take longer,” said Wrighton. “But, together with local leaders, we are seeking
to create a new government that will serve people today and future generations. We
have a responsibility to get this done, and do it right, even though it is hard and will go
through unexpected twists and turns.” 

For the last five years, Better Together studied the fragmentation and racial inequity
that plagues our region. What it learned is clear: St. Louis is home to world class
universities and cultural institutions, an entrepreneurial community that rivals any in the
country, top-tier sports franchises, and one of the most philanthropic citizenries in the
nation.

However, despite many of these attributes that cause other regions to thrive and grow,
both St. Louis City and County have lost population. If Saint Louis is to grow and
prosper this structure must be addressed. We have too many layers of government that
drives up taxes, hurts our economy, lack of economic opportunity, speed traps to fund
services, uneven policing, and the inability to reduce violent crime to acceptable
levels.

The reality is that St. Louis needs to change its governmental structure.
“Our region continues to be held back by duplicative and inefficient government
services, declining populations, increasing taxes, lack of economic opportunity and an
environment that is not desirable for businesses growth and job creation,” said
Wrighton. “There is currently an 18-year life expectancy gap between black residents
of our region and white residents and that’s simply not acceptable. Our current
structure of governance not only makes it nearly impossible to address these systemic
problems of racial inequity but it’s making these problems worse.

“The corruption in St. Louis County government also disrupted Unite STL’s efforts.
Some people viewed it as proof that local government must change, while others
believe the former county executive’s involvement tainted the process. 


“This should be about our collective future, what is best for our citizens. We hope to
work with the community, Mayor Krewson and County Executive Page to identify
changes to our process that returns the focus to that.

“The self-interested forces fighting change should cheer today. They should know that
we are more committed than ever to fighting for the changes needed to modernize our
government so everyone in our region has a local government that keeps them safe,
responds to their needs and holds down their taxes.”

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