[imc-st.louis] For immediate release: May 11, 2007
Fitzdon at aol.com
Fitzdon at aol.com
Fri May 11 07:36:28 PDT 2007
Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis
P.O. Box 8094, St. Louis MO 63156
314-727-8554 E-mail: fitzdon at aol.com www.gateway-greens.org
For immediate release: May 11, 2007
Contact: Don Fitz, 314-727-8554
Petitioners Near Goal for Audit of St. Louis City
Petitioners now have over 7500 signatures calling for an audit of the City of
St. Louis. Missouri statutes indicate that the number of signatures must
equal 5% of those who voted in the most recent race for governor. That would be
7200 signatures. Spokesperson Willie Marshall says that Greens will continue
to collect signatures because challenged petitions need more than the required
Petition coordinators ask that everyone interested in signing or circulating
the petition to call 314-727-8554. They also invite Mayor Francis Slay to
endorse the audit as a principle of good government and that he urge people to
sign the petition. The press conference will be:
3:00 pm, Friday, May 11, 2007, St. Louis City Hall, Tucker entrance
Members of the Gateway Green Alliance began circulating the petition because
the City of St. Louis was unresponsive in answering questions concerning where
money for lead poisoning prevention was being spent. After ignoring requests
for information throughout 2006, the City finally responded in early 2007.
"But they really did not answer our questions," reported Marshall.
The limited data supplied by the City only included 28-35% of lead
remediation funds, combined data for 30 months so that it was impossible to compare lead
poisoning and lead spending rates for individual years, and only included HUD
funds, which meant there was no data for funds that were not already examined
by the federal government. The data which was provided did not indicate that
the most funds went to neighborhoods with the highest rates of lead
"This was pitiful," observed Marshall. "We met with City officials several
times in 2006. We coordinated a letter writing campaign to ask for
information. And we held a picket to 'Unmask the lead money' last Halloween. And they
still refused to answer our questions."
The Greens have been joined by American Federation of Teachers Local 420, the
Universal African Peoples Organization and the Organization for Black
Struggle. The audit would be conducted by the Missouri State Auditor. The last
audit of the City of St. Louis, 21 years ago, uncovered over $9 million being
A scandal broke in April 2007 which brought together the issues of lead
poisoning prevention and financial accountability. Following a three year decline
in meeting targeted dates for home clean-ups, Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) informed the City that it was performing so poorly that it was in danger
of losing $3 million in federal grant money.
Rather than developing a strategy for neighborhoods with the highest
proportion of lead poisoned children, on March 15 the City submitted a "Workout
Strategy" which would focus on the largest multiple-family housing units it could
find. The City indicated that playing "catch-up" with the target quota of
grants was more important than children's health.
Lead is devastating. Just a few of its effects include:
* Brain damage;
* Kidney damage;
* Lower math and reading scores for children; and,
* Increased behavioral disorders and violence.
An audit of the City of St. Louis is the best way to promote general fiscal
responsibility and good use of funds designed to protect children's health.
See what's free at http://www.aol.com.
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