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Board of Aldermen punt on soccer legislation

Members of the general public watch the St. Louis Board of Aldermen meeting on Monday, April 15, 2019, from the overhead gallery in the City Hall chamber.  Photo by Christian Gooden, cgooden@post-dispatch.com

ST. LOUIS — A $5 million boost for a planned violence-prevention program called Cure Violence won final approval Friday from the Board of Aldermen.

Aldermen voted 26-0 to pass the bill, which was endorsed a day earlier by the city’s main fiscal body, the Board of Estimate and Apportionment.

Under the Cure Violence approach, used in various other cities, people living in targeted high-crime areas are trained in crisis intervention and assigned to try to get people at a high risk of violence from carrying out shootings.

The measure increases to as much as $7 million the total committed by the city to Cure Violence over the next three years.

“Now we’re ready to bring the community on board, get people hired in those neighborhoods … and do the work that needs to be done and heal our city,” said a key aldermanic advocate of the program, Marlene Davis, D-19th Ward.

Davis added that “the grassroots solves problems.”

After the vote, the bill’s sponsor — Aldermanic President Lewis Reed — thanked the board for its support.

“This is just such a personal issue to me and my family and other people across the city,” said Reed, whose nephew was shot to death in the city.

Also Friday:

• A new effort was launched to repeal the residency requirement for St. Louis city employees, less than a month after such a measure was defeated by the board.

Alderman Joe Vaccaro, D-23rd Ward, introduced the rehash legislation, which if approved would go before voters next year. However, Vaccaro said he planned to make changes in the measure to try to pick up more support.

• Alderman John Collins-Muhammad, D-21st Ward, introduced legislation that would bar all employers in the city from basing decisions on hiring and promoting workers on the basis of an applicant’s criminal history.

The measure, however, would allow consideration of the frequency, severity and recentness of a criminal record if the record was “reasonably related to” the duties of the job in question.

In 2014, then-Mayor Francis Slay inaugurated a similar policy for the city government’s own hiring decisions, no longer requiring job applicants to disclose felony convictions.

Such efforts are part of a national movement known as “ban the box” referring to check boxes on applications asking people if they have a criminal background.

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