ST. LOUIS COUNTY FIRST

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Paul Berry III for St. Louis County Executive
St. Louis County First Agenda

Before I take any official action or sign any bill on behalf of the citizens of St. Louis County, I will always consider whether my decision violates the United States Constitution or the Constitution of the State of Missouri, irrespective of any political or community pressure to act otherwise. My Democrat opponents believe that when St. Louis County Council passes a bill, that it must be O.K. to just sign off as St. Louis County Executive without first considering whether such bill requires a veto based upon Constitutional grounds. I will execute my role as St. Louis County Executive in a Constitutional manner, and I will always veto any St. Louis County legislation that violates the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of Missouri or our St. Louis County Charter.

My Democrat opponents have not established the relationships with our Federal and State of Missouri government officials necessary to place the needs of St. Louis County citizens in front of other competing county jurisdictions. I will serve as an effective ambassador with the political party currently running Washington D.C. and Jefferson City, and will promote St. Louis County as the jewel of county government operations in the United States. St. Louis County will accomplish our goals by only pledging St. Louis county taxpayer dollars to intergovernmental projects that are necessary and provide a “Win” for St. Louis County taxpayers.

During my first year as St. Louis County Executive, I will personally review the end-use of each tax dollar spent by St. Louis County government, in order to determine if St. Louis County citizens are receiving the best use of our property and sales tax dollars. The idea that St. Louis Country is going to waste tax dollars by sustaining any ineffective or unnecessary government service will end the second I am sworn-in as your St. Louis County Executive. I will also review each St. Louis County law and regulation affecting St. Louis County businesses, and seek to eliminate any unnecessary St. Louis County law or regulation placed upon our St. Louis County corporate and small business community. St. Louis County will continue to serve as the economic engine of the State of Missouri, and provide employment opportunities to the entire Eastern Missouri region.

The City of St. Louis has a one billion dollar yearly operating budget, maintains one of the highest sales tax rates in the United States, has the highest murder per capita rate for any county-level jurisdiction in the United States, owns tens of thousands of abandoned properties, charges businesses and employees an income tax, operates over one hundred government agencies and believes only government can create solutions to economic instability. As a St. Louis County citizen, businessman and potential County Executive of St. Louis County, I do not support merging the City of St. Louis with St. Louis County. The best way St. Louis County can help the City of St. Louis is to remain an economic engine for the entire St. Louis region.

For clarity to my supporters, I personally love the City of St. Louis. I know the City of St. Louis is hurting from failed government policies, and such failed government can only be healed by City of St. Louis citizens voting for elected officials who have the vision and talent to meet the challenges of their community. As St. Louis County Executive, my duty is FIRST to the People of St. Louis County. The political position that I am absolutely against the City of St. Louis merging with St. Louis County has nothing to do with my love and respect for the City. I will continue to work to improve the lives of my family, friends and neighbors in the City of St. Louis during my personal time.

St. Louis County’s investment of tax dollars into our region’s Metrolink system are being squandered due to Metro’s inability to keep our Metrolink system safe for residents and visitors. As St. Louis County Executive, I am absolutely against any expansion of our Metrolink system, until such time Metro has successfully implemented a security plan that can address violent and theft crimes against St. Louis County citizens who utilize our Metrolink system.

To address the failure of Metro Security keeping St. Louis County residents who utilize Metrolink system safe for transit riders, I will be seeking on behalf of St. Louis County a contract with Metro that establishes St. Louis County Police Department will provide all security for the entire Metrolink system, in both Missouri and Illinois. My plan supports St. Louis County police officers who provide security for Metrolink system shall be cross-designated with law enforcement authority in both Missouri and Illinois.

Under my proposal, Metro will compensate St. Louis County for law enforcement security provided to Metrolink system from all Missouri and Illinois counties who utilize Metrolink system, based upon the population of such Missouri or Illinois counties. St. Louis County Police Department shall create full-time supervisor and video monitoring security officer positions to provide Metrolink security, and Metrolink officer patrol shifts shall be made available to St. Louis County Police Officers as secondary shifts to their normal St. Louis County Police Department officer shift. Upon screening and approval by St. Louis County Police Department, law enforcement officers employed by St. Louis County municipalities shall also be eligible to register for Metrolink security officer shifts executed by St. Louis County Police Department.

St. Louis County residents want a St. Louis County Cop to get them to the Cardinals game and back when they “park and ride” on our Metrolink, and I personally agree with them. The hospitality community also wants the same St. Louis County Cop to get their customers to their tourist and hotel destinations. Because law enforcement officers in St. Louis County are limited in their ability to take on part-time jobs, I believe providing our current St. Louis County law enforcement community the opportunity to schedule secondary shifts providing security on our Metrolink system will help St. Louis County Cops earn extra money, while serving our community by keeping St. Louis County residents safe while traveling on the Metrolink system.

St. Louis County was not built over the last century by out-of-state corporations who benefit from government giveaways, in the form of tax increment financing (TIFs). St. Louis County was built from lifelong residents who paid their personal property taxes to St. Louis County, year in and year out. With fluxuations in 401 k retirement accounts, uncertainty in personal liability for medical and prescription expenses and a lack of employment opportunities made available to St. Louis County Senior residents, our St. Louis County Senior population is in need of serious real property tax relief.

In order to provide St. Louis Seniors the real property tax relief they need and deserve, St. Louis County will have to get out of executing crony deals for political supporters. You will see serious opposition to my St. Louis County Homestead Act from politicos in both political parties who want St. Louis County tax breaks going to businesses and political supporters. I challenge you to ask yourself, is my St. Louis County Homestead Act a good thing for our parents and grandparents?

I challenge my fellow St. Louis County neighbors to think outside the box. Under my leadership as St. Louis County Executive, we can design St. Louis County as the type of community we want and are proud of. My vision for St. Louis County is prioritizing the needs of our kids, disabled persons and Seniors over businesses and able-bodied adults. Don’t be fooled by my naysayers who will do anything to preserve the status quo, St. Louis County Homestead Act is great for St. Louis County!

St. Louis County Homestead Act Program Eligibility Requirements

  • St. Louis County resident is at least seventy years of age.

  • St. Louis County resident personally resides at St. Louis County residential property seeking real property tax abatement during the tax property term in question.

  • At least one St. Louis County resident and owner of any St. Louis County residential property seeking real property tax abatement has paid at least forty years of real property taxes towards any St. Louis County residential property.

  • St. Louis County residential property title has not been conveyed to any thirty-party or pursuant to any reverse mortgage agreement.

St. Louis County Homestead Act Program Tax Abatement

  • Any St. Louis County Resident eligible for St. Louis County Homestead Act residential property tax abatement at least seventy years of shall not pay any residential property tax upon an eligible St. Louis County residential property upon the first fifty thousand dollars of property value assessed by St. Louis County Assessor.

  • Any St. Louis County Resident eligible for St. Louis County Homestead Act residential property tax abatement at least eighty years of shall not pay any residential property tax upon an eligible St. Louis County residential property upon the first seventy-five thousand dollars of property value assessed by St. Louis County Assessor.

The St. Louis region is no longer a “Top 20” region in the United States. The death of our beloved St. Louis region is being spearheaded by the City of St. Louis failing to operate Lambert Airport in an efficient manner. The City of Chicago is engaging in a 8.5 billion dollar airport expansion, while Lambert airport languishes stagenet with no growth (or related construction jobs.) The City of St. Louis can not logically account for why it cost more to land a commercial airplane at Lambert Airport, in comparison to any other major airport in the United States. Further, the City of St. Louis owes substantial debt related to financing bonds (loans made to government) utilized to keep Lambert Airport infrastructure at subpar standards, when compared to airport infrastructure development in other regions across the United States. As St. Louis County Executive, I will actively engage the Missouri General Assembly to address the City of St. Louis operating Lambert Airport in a manner detrimental to the entire St. Louis region.

Our State of Missouri government has decreased our State’s business income tax rate to the second lowest business income tax rate in the United States. With proper leadership, St. Louis County can increase our share of key 21st Century industries creating jobs in e-commerce and technology-based employment fields. As your St. Louis County Executive, one of my primary responsibility is to serve as an ambassador on behalf of our residents to corporations considering expansion or relocation to the St. Louis region. Eliminating redundant or unnecessary county-level government regulation is paramount to establishing St. Louis County as a premiere relocation destination for information systems, internet commerce, technology development and transportation corporate industry leaders. The bottom-line cost of government regulation is most felt by St. Louis County’s small and family-owned business. During my first year as your St. Louis County Executive, I will conduct a review of each St. Louis County ordinance and regulation affecting any St. Louis County corporation or small business, and I will lobby for the removal of any unnecessary government regulation currently required upon St. Louis County any corporation or small business.

As the quote credited to Socrates the Philosopher states, “poverty is the root of all crime.” To address the social ills plaguing regions of St. Louis County, we must address the lack of quality employment opportunities and reduce the need for St. Louis County residents to engage in expensive “at-risk” lending products due to a lack of banking and credit relationships. St. Louis County should never be in the business of telling bank and credit lenders how to give loans for houses, cars or personal needs to consumers. As St. Louis County Executive, I will utilize my leadership role to identify the lending institutions operating within our County willing to assist my community initiative to increase the credit worthiness of our residents and work with such lending institutions to create voluntary programs for St. Louis County residents to develop the personal credit score necessary to buy a home, car or obtain a line of personal credit. St. Louis as a region has the lowest African American homeownership and banking relationship rates in the United States, which must be directly targeted for improvement to achieve my overall objectives for all St. Louis County residents. By the end of my first term as your St. Louis County Executive, I seek to provide leadership to drive St. Louis citizens to the following labor, educational and fiscal health statistical benchmarks:  

St. Louis County Goal: Establish lowest overall unemployment rate for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

St. Louis County Goal: Establish lowest overall high school dropout rate for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

St. Louis County Goal: Establish highest overall post-secondary degree or skills certificate rate for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

St. Louis County Goal: Establish highest average consumer credit score per resident for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

St. Louis County Goal: Establish highest overall bank account holder rates per resident for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

St. Louis County Goal: Establish highest overall home ownership rates per resident for any county jurisdiction of similar size in the United States.

During the next St. Louis County Executive term, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will begin removal of nuclear waste buried in a landfill in Northwest St. Louis County, currently buried at the Westlake Landfill site. As a staunch supporter of removing nuclear waste from the Westlake landfill site, I am committed to keeping our Federal government accountable to ensure all nuclear waste removed from Westlake landfill site in a safe and secure manner. As a lifetime resident of the Maryland Heights area, I am personally invested in addressing Westlake landfill site on behalf of St. Louis County.

For several decades, the City of St. Louis has taken advantage of St. Louis County residents working in the City of St. Louis by demanding St. Louis County residents pay one percent of their income to the City of St. Louis, just for the pleasure of being employed in the City of St. Louis. Requiring St. Louis County residents to pay any earnings tax, when the City of St. Louis chooses to exempt some City of St. Louis businesses from paying one percent of their income to the City of St. Louis, constitutes a serious exploitation of our most vulnerable St. Louis County residents employed in service and manufacturing industries. The practice of charging St. Louis County residents any earnings taxes to work in the City of St. Louis will end during my St. Louis County Executive administration.

It’s election time, so everybody wants to form a “task force” to address the opioid crisis that has reignited St. Louis County’s illegal drug trade. Instead of addressing our opioid crisis head-on, St. Louis County went after Doctors, Senior Citizens and terminally-ill patients, which is completely naive response from St. Louis County. Fentanyl abuse is fueled not from some emergency prescription with ten narcotic pills, narco traffickers are bringing enough prescription-grade opioids to get every man, woman and child high in St. Louis County.

Under my St. Louis County Executive administration, I will seek to guide St. Louis County Police Department (and our law enforcement officers) to allocate our law enforcement officers (and the jail space at our St. Louis County jail) towards arresting out-of-town drug traffickers, regional drug traffickers and any person involved in violence against any St. Louis County resident. St. Louis County will have a reputation that if you commit violence or traffic dangerous drugs within our borders, we will chase you anywhere in the World to bring you to justice before a St. Louis County Court. That is as far as any St. Louis County Executive can influence our crime rate, our elected St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney and Judges previously-appointed by State of Missouri Governor’s Nixon and Greitens influence or orders who is charge with a crime and who is sent home from jail.

As far as addressing nonviolent opioid addicts in St. Louis County, I seek to develop treatment and non-correctional punishment options with our Missouri General Assembly. The red line I will set in St. Louis County is once your child or loved-one breaks in a car, a home, violently-steals from a business or commits a violent act, my love for rehabilitation is trumped by my duty to protect St. Louis County citizens.

Addressing the needs of families displaced from their St. Louis County personal residence due to fire or natural disaster is a priority for my St. Louis County Executive administration. My vision for addressing this issue is to promote increasing the population of St. Louis County residents who maintain renters insurance, and engage Missouri’s insurance industry to create a “stand-alone” renter’s insurance policy that provides a minimum of $4,000 of insurance benefits targeted towards the needs of displaced St. Louis County residents.

St. Louis County residents who are displaced due to fire or natural disaster and have renter’s insurance can purchase an insurance plan to provide the cost of at least ten day hotel stay, cost of food due to the inability to cook a meal at a hotel, and an addition two thousand dollars to pay a renter’s deposit and one month’s rent towards a new St. Louis County rental property, for very little cost to our most financially vulnerable St. Louis County residents.

American Red Cross shall continue to provide “first contact” onsite outreach when a St. Louis County resident faces condemnation of their residential property due to fire or natural disaster. St. Louis County residents who seek temporary housing assistance in the event a St. Louis County residential property becomes uninhabitable due to a fire or natural disaster may register their renter’s insurance with St. Louis County’s Health Department, and St. Louis County shall guarantee on behalf of such displaced St. Louis County resident housing assistance for a period not to exceed ten days.

St. Louis County will establish contracts with St. Louis County hotels who provide a reduced rate for displaced St. Louis residents and permit St. Louis County to receive an invoice on a monthly basis of the cost of hotel rooms provided to St. Louis County residents who are deemed homeless due to a St. Louis County residential property becoming uninhabitable due to a fire or natural disaster and maintain a qualified renter’s insurance plan. St. Louis County will receive repayment of housing assistance guaranteed on behalf of an eligible St. Louis County residents directly from such St. Louis County resident’s renters insurance provider. In the event of a large-scale catastrophic event affecting St. Louis County residents being displaced from their personal residents, St. Louis County will expedite disaster assistance payments from our Federal or State of Missouri government to any St. Louis County resident displaced from their personal residents who voluntary seeks St. Louis County to serve as a trustee for such disaster funds.

St. Louis County’s guarantee of housing on behalf of St. Louis County residents displaced due to a fire or natural disaster who maintain an active renter’s insurance policy will substantially decrease our homeless population in St. Louis County. Additionally, providing community leadership in addressing our “homeless by eviction” population by identifying and engaging St. Louis County property owners who seek “second-chance” rental tenants will also decrease our homeless population in St. Louis County. St. Louis County will work with nonprofit and religious institutions services to provide Homeless services to non St. Louis County resident who do not qualify for St. Louis County homeless services.

To establish constitutional governance on behalf of our county government representing one million residents, St. Louis County requires a night court system to provide our citizens the ability to adjudicate traffic warrants without being required by our court system to miss work, school or important family commitments. During the height of the unrest in the City of Ferguson, there were over 400,000 outstanding warrants issued from St. Louis County or municipalities of St. Louis County, which is an unnecessary drain on the overall mission of St. Louis County law enforcement to keep us safe. St. Louis County Night Court shall provide unscheduled “walk-in” court services for non-incarcerated persons with outstanding traffic or municipal ordinance warrants at our Clayton Courthouse each Monday thru Thursday from 7:00pm to 3:00am, and each Saturday from 10:00am to 6:00pm. St. Louis County residents shall be permitted to request the recall of active warrants for any petty traffic and municipal ordinance violation issued by St. Louis County or municipalities of St. Louis County, and may request a court date before the St. Louis County or municipalities of St. Louis County court such active warrant originates from. Providing St. Louis County residents “walk-in” access during evening and night hours to a St. Louis County judge strictly dedicated to addressing traffic warrants or municipal ordinance warrants will empower St. Louis County residents seeking to engage our court system to address active warrants for petty traffic and municipal ordinance violations.
My objective with St. Louis County Night Court is predicated on a simple theory, by substantially reducing the number of active traffic and municipal ordinance warrants, St. Louis County will increase the number of people willing to be supportive towards our St. Louis County’s law enforcement community. St. Louis County’s law enforcement community wants to focus on serious crime, not spending their entire shift arresting people who only have a traffic warrant because our court system is not designed to assist traffic court defendants with addressing a missed court date unless they can afford a lawyer.

The effectiveness of law enforcement to investigate violent crime depends on their ability to maintain positive communication and interactions with members of our community. There is a population of St. Louis County residents who are generally law-abiding citizens that have endured horrible past experiences addressing traffic ticket warrants in St. Louis County, which has created fear, hostility and mistrust between our law enforcement community and some St. Louis County residents. The establishment of St. Louis County Night Court will ensure St. Louis County residents will have constitutional and timely access to our St. Louis court system to address minor legal issues, and will substantially reduce the number of negative interactions between St. Louis County’s law enforcement community and St. Louis County citizens.

Further, I will seek St. Louis County legislation that provides any St. Louis County citizen may make voluntary payment of any traffic or ordinance fine payable to St. Louis County by performance of community service authorized by St. Louis County, at a rate of ten dollars per community service hour. St. Louis County shall provide straight-forward community service opportunities to persons financially unable to meet their financial commitment to St. Louis County, provided their efforts to satisfy fine debt owed to St. Louis County Night Court is sincere.

Establishment of St. Louis County Night Court will also cure constitutional violations related to conducting bail review of people incarcerated in St. Louis County upon traffic warrants or municipal ordinance warrants issued by St. Louis County or municipalities of St. Louis County. Any St. Louis County resident who has dealt with taking care of a traffic warrant knows a person may remain in jail for several days without seeing a judge or any court personnel, which is a violation of the laws of the State of Missouri. Treating incarcerated St. Louis County traffic law offenders in a worse fashion than people accused of murder, child molestation or terrorism offenses is unjust, unconstitutional and will cease under my St. Louis County Executive administration.

I will ensure as St. Louis County Executive that any person incarcerated on any traffic warrant or municipal ordinance warrant issued from St. Louis County, or any municipality of St. Louis County, shall have their incarceration status reviewed by a St. Louis County municipal judge upon all St. Louis County or municipal warrants within twenty-four hours of incarceration, which shall be executed by utilizing video court system located at the St. Louis County or municipal jail such person is incarcerated in. It shall be the goal of St. Louis County municipal judges to review the incarceration status of all St. Louis County or municipal warrants within six hours of any person being placed in custody at any jail within St. Louis County. I will support my commitment by passage of State of Missouri and St. Louis County laws that will demand such treatment of St. Louis County residents.

State of Missouri law provides St. Louis County citizens the right to judicial review of bail requirements within twenty-four hours of incarceration upon any charge, and as a result of St. Louis County’s failure to demand on behalf of St. Louis County citizens that such State of Missouri law be enforced, law enforcement in St. Louis County has taken the blame for our government not providing the resources to our court system to provide constitutional bail review to St. Louis County residents. The core mandate of my St. Louis County First agenda requires constitutional treatment of all residents of St. Louis County, including St. Louis County residents incarcerated on traffic tickets. My proposed St. Louis County Night Court will be revenue neutral to St. Louis County taxpayers.

Now for a few technical paragraphs for our St. Louis County attorneys. When a sentencing recommendation is filed upon St. Louis County Night Court record by the prosecuting attorney for any petty traffic and municipal ordinance violation issued by St. Louis County or any municipality of St. Louis County, the defendant may plead guilty at St. Louis County Night Court by accepting such sentencing recommendation, thus resolving the court case to a final judgement against such defendant.

Private attorneys may represent clients before St. Louis County Night Court, in the same matter as otherwise provided by law before any Associate Circuit Court of St. Louis County. Upon filing an electronic entry of appearance required by the Twenty-first Circuit Court before St. Louis County Night Court, no private attorneys shall be required to appear in person on behalf of any client appearing before St. Louis County Night Court solely for the purpose of requesting recall of a traffic and municipal ordinance warrant, or when accepting prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation issued by St. Louis County or municipality of St. Louis County.

When any entry of appearance has been filed and accepted by St. Louis County Night Court, the defendant’s private attorney shall be required to electronically approve any prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation, to which, any defendant seeks to enter a plea of guilty upon without the private attorney’s appearance before St. Louis County Night Court. If a defendant does not plead to the prosecutor’s sentencing recommendation filed with St. Louis County Night Court, a court date shall be provided on behalf of the originating St. Louis County or municipality of St. Louis County court jurisdiction for the defendant and attorney’s appearance. Upon the request of any attorney, or upon the request of any defendant incarcerated in St. Louis County, private attorneys before St. Louis County Night Court shall have confidential access to confer with their client by video monitoring system from such private attorney’s personal laptop.

No court action other than requesting recall of warrant or accepting prosecutor’s filed sentencing recommendation for petty traffic and municipal ordinance violation issued by municipalities of St. Louis County shall be permitted upon any municipal court case before St. Louis County Night Court, unless such municipality of St. Louis County provides St. Louis County Night Court prosecutor the authority to alter prosecutor’s filed sentencing recommendation on behalf of such St. Louis County Municipality. St. Louis County shall provide the cost for two full-time prosecutors to represent the interest of St. Louis County before St. Louis County Night Court, and upon request shall also represent municipalities of St. Louis County before St. Louis County Night Court. St. Louis County Night Court intends to engage St. Louis University and Washington University to establish pro bono representation of indigent defendants requiring legal representation before St. Louis County Night Court.

In order to establish St. Louis County Night Court, I will seek Supreme Court Rule changes and legislation from our Missouri General Assembly that provides St. Louis County Night Court shall operate as an Associate Court of the Twenty-first Circuit Court, and as such, St. Louis County Night Court shall be permitted to accept immediate certification of any municipal court matter for transfer to the Twenty-first Circuit Court. Certification applications before St. Louis County Night Court shall require a personal appearance from an attorney. St. Louis County Night Court shall have the authority to review and take action upon any warrant issued upon any St. Louis County Municipal Court division court case, except St. Louis County Night Court shall NOT take any action upon any warrant issued related to any D.W.I., domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault misdemeanor offense, unless such attorney certifies such case and corresponding warrant before St. Louis County Night Court. Cases certified before St. Louis County Night Court on behalf of any defendant involving any D.W.I., domestic violence, stalking or sexual assault misdemeanor offense shall automatically be transferred to a daytime St. Louis County associate circuit court.



Paul Berry III | Candidate | St. Louis County Executive