ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – A bill that would force the city’s Parking Division to share more of its money with the city’s general revenue fund passes, but not without allegations of racism and sexism.
Alderwoman Sharon Tyus says the plan is motivated by a desire to weaken the power of a black, elected woman — City Treasurer Tishaura Jones.
“When I talk to other black, elected officials around the country, when I talk to other black, female Democrats, we’re tired of this kind of treatment,” Tyus said. “It’s unfair and it’s sexist and it’s racist.”
The bill’s sponsor, Alderman Jeffrey Boyd, says he’s motivated by concerns about the way Jones is doing the math before she gives the city its share of the money.
“You’re taking my rights away from me if you’re saying I cannot challenge you because you’re a black woman,” Boyd said. “This is democracy, so while you’re talking about oppression, don’t oppress me.”
Boyd and Jones — who are both black — were rivals in last year’s mayoral primary, in which Jones lost to the only white candidate — Alderwoman Lyda Krewson — by just 800 votes.
Tyus sees Boyd’s parking money bill as an extension of their political rivalry. Boyd had earlier run and lost against Jones and lost for City Treasurer.
“It’s petty and it’s vengeful,” Tyus said. “Jeffrey Boyd has lost over and over again to Tishaura. And it’s also the mayor and Lewis Reed doing it. And they’re doing it behind Jeffrey and letting him do it.”
Boyd denies his bill is designed to weaken a political rival.
“Well the Alderwoman from the first ward (Tyus) has said that this is about an attack on a black woman. This is not an attack on a black woman. This is good policy — period,” Boyd said, “because what that says to anybody — especially black and white men — is that you shall not dare challenge a black woman, and that’s not fair.”
Boyd’s bill passed 18 to 7. Under the plan, the parking division would pay the city’s general revenue fund 40 percent of the parking money before depreciation, not after.
Jones has argued she has authority under the Missouri Constitution to deduct the depreciated value of her division’s assets from the total before she divides up the money.
Boyd recently announced plans to hold public hearings and question Jones about her handling of the parking division. Boyd, who also sits on the five-member parking commission, says Jones has evaded proper oversight of her activities by refusing to call a meeting of the commission for several months.
Jones says she temporarily suspended the meetings to avoid a conflict of interest, because Boyd has filed a lawsuit against the parking division in an attempt to bring it under the control of city government and make it a less independent office.