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Editorial: Recall bid against Cara Spencer has fingerprints of Sinquefield henchmen

St. Louis Post Dispatch

An unseemly effort is afoot to force Alderman Cara Spencer from her 20th Ward seat. The recall effort has nothing to do with malfeasance or dereliction of duty. Quite the opposite:

Spencer was too good at her job and too effective at fighting against someone who tries to use money to short-circuit democracy in St. Louis.

Spencer dared to take on megadonor Rex Sinquefield, and now she must pay.

Recall efforts are rare and typically are prompted by some egregious offense. The recall petition being circulated in Spencer’s ward makes no allegation of wrongdoing nor says why she’s being challenged. The signature page simply states that “we the undersigned … respectfully ask” that Spencer be subjected to a recall vote.

Since Sinquefield’s henchmen have no real evidence to use against her, they appear to be making it up as they go door to door gathering signatures. If about 1,100 residents sign, she would face a 10-day deadline either to resign or be forced to defend her seat in the November election.

Why would any self-respecting public servant subject herself and her family to such humiliation and slander? It’s certainly not for the measly $37,000 alderman’s salary, a pittance compared to the immense headaches that accompany the job.

Aldermanic President Lewis Reed, who is spearheading an effort to put a privatization question on the November ballot, denounced the recall effort against Spencer even though she played a strong role organizing Board of Aldermen opposition to stall Reed’s effort.

It’s pretty clear Sinquefield and Brown want her out of the way. Metropolitan Strategies is owned by LeJuan Strickland, who has clashed previously with Spencer. He’s a longtime resident and former paid official of the District of Columbia government. As of January 2019, he served as a commissioner of the D.C. Housing Authority.

This recall effort is an unmistakable warning, if not threat, to any other aldermen who dare to continue defying Sinquefield’s will. He has the money and determination to bring any one of them to their knees and drive them from office, using Spencer’s experience to warn: This could happen to you. These tactics are the very antithesis of democracy.

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