Attempt to bring back curfew bill fails

CITY HALL – An effort to resurrect a bill mandating a tougher curfew for St. Louis failed in Friday’s Board of Aldermen meeting.  

In an initial vote, at the July 3 meeting, aldermen voted 12-12. That tie vote meant the measure didn’t pass. But 23rd Ward Alderman Joe Vaccaro said Friday that since he had voted on the presiding side (to defeat) on the previous week, he was making a motion for the board to reconsider. It lost, 11-12.

The bill, sponsored by 3rd Ward Alderman Brandon Bosley, called for lowering the curfew to 9:30 p.m. from 11 p.m. on weekdays and to 10 p.m. from midnight on weekends.

“It’s extremely important for every person to understand that every person who voted against this bill except for one does not live in an area where people are being gunned down at a young age,” Bosley said. 

Twenty-Second Ward Alderman Jeffrey Boyd said that he was disappointed but that he’d like to see something come back.

“I just wish that people would support those who are trying to do right by their community. It’s unfortunate that some people who are not African American want to protect African Americans more than people who actually represent them, and that’s unfortunate,” Boyd said. 

“We need to have more dialogue about this curfew. I think there’s some misunderstandings out there,” he added. 

Sixteenth Ward Alderman Tom Oldenberg voted against the bill. 

“I think that the current curfew bill is already an incredibly hard ordinance to enforce, and I also think it puts an additional burden on police officers,” Oldenburg said. “And I honestly don’t think it will achieve anything.” 

Fourteenth Ward Alderwoman Carol Howard, who voted “no,” said she didn’t think it would be a panacea for the problem. 

“We have many laws on the books. I don’t know that they’re being enforced,” Howard said. “Is it going to be enforced, or are we putting more of a burden on our police officers?”

The failure to bring the curfew bill back was a highlight of the meeting, the last before the board’s summer break.

In another item, 20th Ward Alderwoman Cara Spencer introduced a bill to apply for federal grant money to hire a consultant to advise the Board of Aldermen on the proposed privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Up to $750,000 is available.

The privatization of St. Louis Lambert International Airport requires the approval of four entities: the FAA, the airlines, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment, and the Board of Aldermen. All but the latter have paid professional consultant teams working on their behalf to help guide them in making a decision in the best interest of those they represent with the exception of the Board of Aldermen,” Spencer said in a Facebook post. 

Billionaire Rex Sinquefield is paying for consultants to study whether St. Louis should privatize the airport.

“These mounting expenses will get reimbursed only if we privatize the airport – creating an inherent conflict in the resulting answer to the question: Should we privatize?” she wrote. 

Also, Vaccaro and 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad introduced legislation to regulate the use of surveillance technology by the city.  

The board gave final approval of a Criminal Justice Coordinating Council including the city, the sheriff, the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court, the circuit attorney and the public defender.

The board broke for the summer without taking final action on legislation to put two proposed charter changes on the ballot.

One would keep the number of wards and aldermen at 28. An earlier change called for reducing the number of wards to 14.

Another proposed charter change would eliminate the city’s residency requirement for employment. Howard, the sponsor of the residency requirement bill, said she had held the bill Friday because she wasn’t positive enough supporters were attending to pass it.

Jim Merkel Born and raised in the St. Louis area, Jim Merkel covered communities throughout the area from 1991 to 2013 for the old Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. He is the author of five books about the Gateway City published by Reedy Press. The latest is Growing Up St. Louis: Looking Back Through the Decades. He and his wife, Lorraine, live in the Bevo Mill neighborhood of south St. Louis with Miss Jenny the Cat. For more about Jim, visit

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