Swing vote on Rams stadium says he wants “a good deal,” doesn’t specify what that is

The St. Louis board of aldermen’s ways and means committee heard public testimony last night on the Rams stadium plan, and construction unions opposed the plan, while other members of the public argued that they shouldn’t be allowed to vote on it — ha ha ha, of course that’s not what happened:

“I am for the stadium being built,” said Darryl Hunter, who is in the pipefitters union. “It will also serve as an anchor for future projects.”…

Still, those who spoke out against the project routinely referenced the lack of a public vote. … “This was supposed to be put up to a vote of the people St. Louis,” said James Anderson, of St. Louis. “That vote has been taken away. We should do something that benefits all of the city.”

While alderperson Megan Green has introduced a bill for a public vote, it would need to be approved by the same elected officials who will be voting on the stadium plan itself. So all eyes are increasingly turning to board president and swing vote Lewis Reed, who dropped a few hints on Monday on where he stands on the issue:

  • He wants a stronger minority participation clause than the one that would spend about $1.3 million on pre-apprenticeship programs for women and people of color, saying that “falls way short of what we would need.”
  • He indicated there may not be time for a public vote, but said that the best way to protect taxpayers would be “by making sure we have a good deal in place.”

Okay, so those aren’t exactly big hints, but it does look like he’s angling for some kind of compromise where he can say he got something for the public, though we don’t know what “something” he’ll settle for. With $243 million in city money currently on the line, there’s lots of room for a better deal, though given how these things usually go, I’d predict it’ll end up being something like “everyone in the city gets $1 off coupons for Rams merchandise.”

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