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Opinion: Professional Lobbyists Shouldn’t Be Aldermen

October 18, 2017 Board of Aldermen, Featured, Politics/Policy No Comments

The 28 members of the St. Louis Board of Aldermen are paid by taxpayers to pass legislation that hopefully is beneficial to the city. Lobbyists, on the other hand, are paid by clients to push for legislation that benefits their interests. Lobbyists don’t belong in a legislative body, even if they don’t lobby that body.

The Cypress Swamp at the St. Louis Zoo

Ald Martin (11th) was elected in the Spring by overwhelming numbers, but most city voters go for the “D” without knowing candidates and issues. They elected a professional lobbyist. A lobbyist whose clients include police body camera maker Axon. The same company that wants to give body cams to St. Louis Police free for a year. No conflict, she says — she’d abstain from any votes. Wink.

We did talk with a legal ethics lawyer. He told us even if what she’s doing is legal, it’s ethically questionable.

“What government ethics really get into is, how does it look and how does it smell? And where there is a possibility someone is making money, there’s a bad smell that maybe a sign something shouldn’t be going on,” said lawyer Michael Downey. (KMOV)

This is hardly the first time we’ve had “ethically questionable” people in city hall, but now it’s so blatant. It’s repulsive. Is this what the voters in the 11th Ward wanted? Doubtful, they knew she was the backed Democrat in the primary and then the only Democrat in the general. Ugh…

The results of the non-scientific Sunday Poll show most of you agree the St. Louis Board of Aldermen is no place for a professional lobbyist.

Q:  Agree or disagree: I’m okay with an alderman who’s also a professional lobbyist.

  • Strongly agree 3 [6.82%]
  • Agree 1 [2.27%]
  • Somewhat agree 0 [0%]
  • Neither agree or disagree 0 [0%]
  • Somewhat disagree 1 [2.27%]
  • Disagree 5 [11.36%]
  • Strongly disagree 34 [77.27%]
  • Unsure/No Answer 0 [0%]

I’d like to see one of three things happen:

  1. Ald. Martin cease being a lobbyist.
  2. Ald. Martin resign from the Board of Aldermen
  3. 11th Ward voters recall Ald. Martin

I doubt any of these will happen.

— Steve Patterson



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