ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR) -Fellow Democrat and President of the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen Lewis Reed announced Wednesday he will challenge incumbent Mayor Francis Slay. The mayoral primary is the first Tuesday in March, 2013. Slay is seeking his fourth term in office.
Reed promised a "shared vision" for the city that will help create a "world class city." The former alderman from the Sixth Ward has been more critical of Mayor Slay in the last six months. As Board president, Reed is part of the three person revenue board that must approve city contracts, budgets and expenditures before they go before the aldermen.
Reed complained he had asked the mayor to set up a fund to finance "hot spot" policing five months ago. "We went the entire summer without them because he refused to do it," Reed said.
Slay's office disputes Reed's version of the story. Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford said Reed asked the budget director if the city could move one million dollars from the jail account to the police department but never sponsored a budget amendment to accomplish that.
Rainford said the city police department tested hot spot or highly focused police patrols based on crime data from March to August in a partnership with UMSL. A report showed the effort produced about a thirty percent drop in crime. At that point, Rainford said Police Chief Dan Isom requested an extra $250,000 to pay for officer overtime to keep the program operating. The funds were taken from the jail account as Reed had suggested. Rainford said all three members of the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, Slay, Reed and city Comptroller Darlene Green voted for the fund transfer.
Reed promised to assess the city "crime picture" if elected and to employ "new technology" to address problems.
Mayor Slay said reducing crime has always been his administration's number one priority. "Crime has actually gone down steadily. In fact we're at a a forty year low," Slay explained. But he agreed there is more work to be done. Slay promised St. Louis would continue testing new strategies to lower crime if he is re-elected.
For more information go to the candidates' web sites.
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