Privatization of St. Louis' Airport Belongs on the No-Fly List

The most recent example came last week from city Counselor Julian Bush, who argued that a bill requiring a citywide vote on airport privatization — sponsored by Alderwoman Cara Spencer — would constitute an unlawful delegation of power. Bush did allow that voters could pass a charter amendment requiring voter approval of privatization, which would in turn be followed by still another vote on a privatization plan. And even as he dispensed advice, Bush noted that his office hadn't gotten around to a "complete review" of one of the most weighty legal issues in city history, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know.

The charter-amendment process, conveniently, would almost certainly amount to slamming the barn door shut long after all the horses were running freely to safety. As Spencer pointed out, privatization could be a done deal well before voters were afforded two elections to weigh in on whether to allow it. The city might as well schedule a ballot measure for 2069 to ask future voters whether their grandparents' generation was wise to try to cash out the airport half a century earlier. Spoiler alert: The results would be ugly.


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