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Black aldermen criticize lack of representation on freeholder board

CITY HALL – North side aldermen lashed out Monday at the fact that only one of Mayor Lyda Krewson’s nine nominees for a Board of Freeholders lives north of Delmar Boulevard.

Four of the nominees are African-American, but the aldermen said there should be more, because the majority of city residents are black.

“North St. Louis is the singlehandedly most disenfranchised community,” 21st Ward Alderman John Collins-Muhammad said Monday at a meeting of the Board of Aldermen’s Intergovernmental Affairs committee.

Committee members interviewed the mayor’s appointees for the city-county Board of Freeholders. African-American members pressed nominees about what they might do to help disenfranchised areas such as north St. Louis.

After approval by the Board of Aldermen, the nine city members of the Board of Freeholders will meet with nine county freeholders and one freeholder appointed by the governor.

The freeholders will discuss potential changes in city-country government, which could lead to some sort of merger or re-incorporation of St. Louis city into St. Louis County.

The committee made recommendations for approval or rejection of the nominees after The SouthSider’s deadline.

Here is information about Krewson’s nominees:

Joseph F. Hodes, member, Republican State Committee, Chair, St. Louis City Republican Central Committee, 16th Ward Central Committeeman, white. He replaces another nominee by Krewson, James Mathis, a lawyer and partner of Husch Blackwell LLP, who stepped aside because of a possible conflict of interest.

Abdul-Kaba Abdullah, independent, executive director, Park Central Development, 4512 Manchester Ave., the only African-American who lives north of Delmar.

Bridgett McDermott Flood, Democrat, white, executive director, Incarnate Word Foundation.

LaShana M. Lewis, Democrat, chief executive officer, L.M. Lewis Consulting. She is black and lives downtown.

Earl E. Nance Jr., Democrat, black, pastor, Greater Mount Carmel M.B. Church. He lives in the Central Corridor.

Edward M. (Eddie) Roth, independent, lawyer, white.

Jerry Schlichter, Democrat, lawyer, founding partner, Schlicter, Bogard and Denton, white.

Daniel Zdrodowski, Republican, lawyer, Hais, Hais & Goldberger, white.

Taunia Allen Manson, 28th Ward Republican Committeewoman, black, secretary for the St. Louis Republican State Central Committee and Missouri State Committeewoman for Senate District 4, manager of community science media, St. Louis Science Center.

The committee’s vice chair, 1st Ward Alderwoman Sharon Tyus, sharply criticized Manson for saying she could represent the people of the north side, when she lives in the 28th Ward. Manson said she had grown up on the north side and knew how hard it was there.

Twenty-Fourth Ward Alderman Bret Narayan quizzed the candidates about whether they would move for keeping the protections for LGBTQ people now in city law. All of them said they would.

No vote was taken on the group Monday, but a vote is expected prior to the full Board of Aldermen meeting Friday.

Jim Merkel

southsidemerkel@gmail.com 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 www.jimmerkelthewriter.com.

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