St. Louis Oracle

St. Louis-based political forecasting plus commentary on politics and events from a grassroots veteran with a mature, progressive anti-establishment perspective.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Confusion likely over Propositions A

In this election campaign, St. Louis area voters will soon hear a lot about two entirely different proposals that are both called "Proposition A," although voters in any particular place will only get to vote on one of them. In an era when media advertising and attitudes transcend the invisible 1876 wall dividing the City of St. Louis from St. Louis County, these separate identically named propositions will lead to much confusion.

In St. Louis County, Proposition A is the proposed amendment to the St. Louis County Charter that would give voters the right to approve or disapprove expenditures of county funds for the new Cardinal baseball stadium in downtown St. Louis, including annual bond payments. That proposition is already confusing enough, since a voter needs to vote "Yes" on this proposition in order to have the right to say "No" to future public stadium expenditures.

In the City, though, Proposition A is the first of four controversial "home rule" amendments to the City Charter placed before city voters. It would restructure the city's financial offices, including the duties of the Office of Comptroller, currently held by Darlene Green, the highest ranking African American holding an elected citywide office.

Many of the people who favor one of the Propositions A are quite likely to be opposed to the other. Even though they can only vote on whichever proposition is on the ballot where they live and not the other, the identity of name is bound to make advertising about "Proposition A" very confusing.

The County finished and published its proposed ballot long before the City, so the City's Election Commissioners had ample opportunity to give the home rule amendments a different name, like Amendment A or Proposition 1 or any number of other names that didn't match what was going on in the county. But they didn't. Actually they couldn't even get the ballot ready in time for the September 21 start of absentee balloting, although everything is in place now. Including the confusion.

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