Editorial: Committee report asserts need to boost St. Louis region. Real goal is control.

Editorial: Committee report asserts need to boost St. Louis region. Real goal is control.

St. Louis police prepare a stretcher to move a victim at the scene of a shooting on the 3100 block of Miami Street in St. Louis on Sept. 19. The region’s violent crime problems were the focus of a special legislative committee report issued Dec. 31. Photo by Daniel Shular, dshular@post-dispatch.com Daniel Shular, A special state legislative committee that was supposed to present a bipartisan look at what ails the St. Louis region instead reads more like a partisan screed. It blames crime on local mismanagement while conveniently ignoring what the Republican-dominated Legislature has done to worsen those problems by weakening law enforcement powers and making guns more easily available to people who have no business possessing them, including violent domestic abusers. No one anywhere can credibly dispute that St. Louis has serious public safety challenges. And it’s absolutely true, as the report by the Interim Committee on Greater St. Louis Regional Emerging Issues states, that turf battles and the lack of local intergovernmental coordination hurts the region economically. But if this were truly a warts-and-all approach to what’s wrong and how to fix it, lawmakers would have at least acknowledged the elephant in the room: ongoing efforts by Republicans in Jefferson City to dump guns onto St. Louis streets. Rare was the witness testimony from Republican and Democratic mayoral representatives, prosecutors, county executives and business leaders that failed to identify violent crime as the single biggest factor contributing to the region’s decline in population and business investment. But […]

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