Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Comptroller Hopefuls Represent Sharp Differences

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

City Comptroller Hopefuls Represent Sharp Differences

Article excerpt

THE ST. LOUIS comptroller's race pits a political veteran against a newcomer - and that's only one of many differences between the candidates.

Alderman James Shrewsbury, D-16th Ward, and Comptroller Darlene Green are Democratic rivals in the Aug. 6 primary to fill the unexpired term of Virvus Jones.

Shrewsbury has been in politics since he was 12 when he started hanging around campaign headquarters. Green was thrust into the political arena after Mayor Freeman Bosley Jr. appointed her to the elected position in October.

Green worked as a finance officer in the private sector for a decade before being named city budget director three years ago. She says she prefers to work behind the scenes as an accountant.

Shrewsbury is a probate lawyer who has been an alderman for 13 years. He's had an eye on the comptroller's job for a decade.

Shrewsbury, of south St. Louis, gets most of his support from whites. Green, a Central West End resident, gets most of her backing from blacks.

Green has a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Washington University. She says her background in financial management makes her the best qualified comptroller ever to serve.

Shrewsbury says his honesty, competency and independence are needed afte r the scandal that rocked the office under Jones.

Jones went to federal prison last year for income tax evasion. He also was accused of placing a stalking-horse candidate into the 1993 race to take votes away from Shrewsbury.

Most of Green's financial backers are from outside the area. Most of Shrewsbury's are from St. Louis.

Three months ago Green's name was so obscure that polls showed Shrewsbury leading by a landslide in name recognition. Leaflets and billboards have rescued Green's name from obscurity.

Each side says its polls show the two are running about even.

Power Position

Shrewsbury said he was making a second attempt for the job, which many say was stolen from him by Jones in 1993, because it is an office that can effect real change in the city.

He said his record of passing bills requiring officials to disclose gift s and expenses and requiring bids for riverfront property leases showed he runs a clean office.

"It's a powerful office if used correctly and, given some stability, you can do good things for city government," Shrewsbury said.

In eight months, Green said, she has already begun to change things.

Under her watch, the city's credit rating has been upgraded twice, giving the city the ability to finance projects for less money.

She has refinanced airport bonds at a $12 million savings, she says.

"My opponent thinks he is entitled to this job, but this job is not an entitlement program," Green said. "It's about experience. It's about a $600 million budget that a qualified individual should be looking at."

The candidates' biggest split came last month when the city was deciding how to pay for the new $76 million downtown jail. …

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