Opinion: Local Control – NO on statewide vote to force merger

  
The Plocher Family

Growing up, getting married and raising my family in St. Louis, I understand what it means to call our city home. I have always believed in improving our region and making it a better place to live. I am proud to call myself a St. Louisian.

Efforts to merge the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County into one political subdivision continue to take shape. Due to the scope of the proposed merger, the current plan will likely be placed before all Missouri voters in a statewide referendum. Strong arguments can certainly be made both in support of and against the merger plan and the discussions surrounding our region are merited.

Changing the State Constitution may be necessary according to the proposal, but the decision to merge should be decided by those directly impacted. I vehemently oppose any measure regarding a merger of St. Louis City and County that is only decided by a statewide vote. For my fellow Missourians who live outside of the St. Louis region, it is important to understand the far-reaching effects of such a vote for the entire State.

I believe in the importance of local management and the responsibility of local control.

As a State Representative from the St. Louis region, I believe the issues and propositions that substantially reform local government should be decided locally. The recent proposition to push a merger between St. Louis City and St. Louis County takes that responsibility away from the region’s residents. Determining our form of government is the essence of democracy. It should be the people of St. Louis City and County who decide whether to merge or not.

Likewise, I believe it would be improper for the citizens of the St. Louis region to determine the form of government of other Missouri cities and counties.

Representative democracy and self-rule are foundational principles of what it means to be free. Freedom requires a measure of responsibility, and the responsibility to determine the outcome of the efforts to merge the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County should rest upon a local vote.