Ward reduction fight resumes at St. Louis City Hall

“We’re making sure that we’re doing our due diligence as elected leaders in this city,” said Navarro, D-28th Ward. She said Alderman Pam Boyd, D-27th Ward, had been serving as co-chair but resigned about a month ago.

Navarro said the selection panel includes Serena Muhammad of the city Violence Prevention Coalition; Todd Swanstrom, a public policy professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis; Michael Evans, a political science professor at Harris-Stowe State College; David Gerth, executive director of Metropolitan Congregations United, and Nicole Hudson, a Washington University official and a former mayoral aide.

But Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, a ward reduction opponent who wants the entire issue put back on the ballot for a re-vote next year, complained that the advisory committee process wasn’t representative of the whole city.

Asked by Collins-Muhammad how many of the selection panel members resided in north St. Louis, Navarro said she didn’t know where they lived. She said they were picked because of their expertise on public policy and community organizing.

“It has not been a transparent process,” said Collins-Muhammad, who fears ward reduction would reduce the number and clout of black elected officials.

Another ward reduction foe, Alderman Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, asked whether Democratic ward committeemen and committeewomen had been consulted regarding the advisory panel. Navarro said they hadn’t because their roles aren’t governmental.

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