Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 23

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Letters to the Editor, Jan. 23

Article excerpt

Stenger promised transparency but does the opposite

The lawsuit filed against County Executive Steve Stenger's office for Sunshine Law violations by Attorney General Josh Hawley highlights a long-standing problem with the county executive (editorial "Victory for transparency," Jan. 19). Stenger promised transparency and accountability in his campaign but has done exactly the opposite since taking office.

The lawsuit filed by the attorney general listed the many times Stenger has not provided documents or not provided them on time. The law requires that a custodian of records be named and disclosed to the public. One trick Stenger's office liked to play was to keep changing the name of the custodian and then claiming requests were made to the wrong person.

What does the county executive have to say about all this? He said hundreds of Sunshine requests are received every week and are responded to in a lawful and timely matter. This is the usual Stenger deception. The attorney general says it's more like one request in a typical week.

As a member of the County Council, I can say the county executive treats most council members the same as the media or members of the public. He is secretive with most everything and does not like to provide information. Rather than collaborate with the council, he does nothing but show contempt.

Voters in St. Louis County will have the opportunity this year to decide who they want to be county executive for the next four years. They should carefully consider Steve Stenger's record and whether he deserves to be re-elected.

Hazel M. Erby * University City

St. Louis County Council member

Poor people go to jail for ignoring the law repeatedly

"Jailing people for their poverty is wrong, cruel and illegal," says Blake Strode in the Post-Dispatch on Jan. 17. I agree that debtors' prison is immoral.

Strode's opinion on this is misleading. Poor black people are not jailed for being poor. They are jailed for a life pattern of ignoring the law repeatedly. Their behavior begins with driving poorly maintained cars with expired licenses and registration tags. These violators run red lights, speed and drive carelessly, garnering traffic citations that go unpaid. Unpaid tickets garner more citations for failure to pay fines and failure to appear for court dates.

All of this illegal behavior is not caused by poverty. It is the result of disregard for law and order. If the people Blake Strode is worried about obeyed the laws, they would not be subject to fines or jail time, or warrants for their arrest. People who demonstrate a pattern of serial law-breaking deserve fines and jail time. If poor people do not want trouble with the law, they should not commit criminal behavior.

I drive a 22-year-old car. I obey the traffic laws. I have no tickets because I have high regard for obeying laws. …

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