I haven’t been too kind to St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson lately and I would argue for good reason. Most of my criticism has focused on her response to the verdict in Jason Stockley trial and the protests that followed in its aftermath. So I’ll admit it surprised me that she reached out and wanted to come on my show this week. I promptly agreed and we had a pretty good sit down on-air chat. Of course the mayor had some selfish reasons to appear on the show since we’re just days away from the vote on Prop P, the half-cent sales tax proposal that would raise money to give police and firefighters in St. Louis a much-needed raise.
I was interested in going back to her public reaction and actions in the wake of the Stockley verdict. In the first 15 minutes after the release of the judge’s decision on whether Stockley was guilty or innocent of first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith, the mayor tweeted that she was “appalled” by the verdict and I asked her what that meant. She told me “I just think anytime a person dies, regardless of the circumstances, we all have to be sad about that for a moment.”
Well…no you don’t. I didn’t feel any sadness nor did (hopefully) 99.9% of Americans when we discovered that the shooter (I won’t use his name) in the Las Vegas massacre was dead. I woudn’t have felt any remorse whatsoever if the terrorist who killed nine innocent people in New York City had a bullet put in his skull. By no means am I comparing a heroin dealer who tried to run over cops with his vehicle and led them on an 87 mph chase to a terrorist, but the point isn’t too hard to understand. You DO NOT always have to be sad when a life is eliminated from the planet.
I asked the mayor why she didn’t condemn the ridiculous, ill-advised resolution from the Board of Alderman that honored Anthony Lamar Smith and she told me, “His mom asked to see me and she reached out to hug me and I’m always going to hug a mom who has lost a kid.”
I told the mayor I didn’t think anyone would fault her for that. Here’s the bigger issue – in her original Facebook message, before the verdict, the mayor encouraged empathy for the protestors’ concerns about racial inequities and police abusing their power, yet she has, and continues to, show empathy for one side over the other. It’s a tricky political game because there is apparently fear of setting off the radicals on the Board of Alderman and in the protest crowd. So what? Have a little political courage.
I played the mayor a soundbite I’ve used several times on my show the past few weeks. It features a group of protestors chanting “How many kids have you killed today, St. Louis PD KKK?” I told her if I were mayor, I would have come out and told the protestors that if they continue to scream out things that have no basis in fact, we’re not going to have any further discussions on solutions to the issues that they want on the table. For example, if you hold a sign at a rally that says “Stop killing our kids” we won’t continue a dialogue because it’s nonsense. Kids ARE being killed in St. Louis…black children… and far too many of them. But it’s not the cops doing the killing. I’d tell the protestors that if they want to have a conversation, they need to quit acting like lunatics who are out of touch with reality.
I’m pretty sure she’s not going to take my advice. But here’s something else I made clear to the mayor – if the City of St. Louis and its elected officials don’t start having the guts to call out the foolishness for what it is, there’s not going to be any support in St. Louis County for a so-called “City-County Merger.” I don’t think she believes me, but there’s going to be a point when this whole merger thing gets rolled out, and I suppose city officials will be shocked at how little support it’s getting from St. Louis County. Taxpayers in the county will have no appetite for helping solve the city’s problems. This whole episode has made that process an even more difficult to sell. Keep passing your resolutions for drug offenders and keep focusing on police conduct at the expense of an outrageously high murder rate where mainly black men are killing each other every single day. That’s an excellent way to kill “regional cooperation” before it even gets off the ground.