St. Louis city counselor says petition plan on Lambert privatization is improper

St. Louis Post Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — The city’s chief attorney said Monday that a petition drive’s plan to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport runs counter to both the city charter and the state Constitution.

Bush, in his opinion, said the only way a charter amendment can get to the ballot is through an ordinance putting the amendment on the ballot. He said such an ordinance can be passed either by aldermen or by voters through the initiative petition process.

“This is not allowable under the Constitution, and it certainly is not allowable under the City Charter,” Bush said in an opinion issued to Alderman Cara Spencer, D-20th Ward.

Bush’s opinion spurred Spencer and eight other anti-privatization aldermen to call on Reed to refrain from holding a final aldermanic vote on his bill Tuesday before the board begins a two-month recess.

“It was based on the false premise that we were going to have a definitive vote on the November ballot” anyway through the petition process, Spencer said of Reed’s bill. “There’s no reason we should be moving this” with such haste.

Spencer had asked Bush for an opinion on whether one election or two elections would be required under the petition measure. The two-election theory was suggested last week by former City Counselor Jim Wilson.

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