Council again shows its contempt for people it supposedly serves
August 03, 2011 - To the editor:
The St. Louis County Council again demonstrated its contempt for the people it is supposed to be serving when it unanimously approved $250,000 to go toward a $750,000 party to be held Aug. 6 for the American Society of Association Executives.
By anyone's standards, $750,000 is an exorbitant amount of money for a party — especially when it is completely funded with public money.
The organization of executives is holding its annual convention Aug. 6 to Aug. 9 in St. Louis and the big party is planned for opening night under the Arch. The $750,000 party and the $2 million cost of the convention is being sponsored by the St. Louis Convention and Visitors Commission.
Numerous questions about the party and why it should cost so much were asked of County Council Chairman Steve Stenger of south county. He has refused to answer.
In a letter to the council from County Executive Charlie Dooley, Dooley says the association executive are "highly influential decision makers," so it's all worthwhile. The $250,000 is coming from the county's Convention and Recreation Fund, which is funded by a hotel tax. This also pays the $180 million the county owes for the Edward Jones Dome in downtown St. Louis.
In the last 10 years St. Louis County has lost 88,000 jobs. People, jobs and revenue have been leaving the county in considerable numbers. The County Council might be more concerned about these matters than helping to fund an extravagant party.