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FERGUSON'S PROBLEMS

Consent decree doesn't address real problems

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The Ferguson consent decree from the Department of Justice lets us understand how government works — or in this case, doesn’t. As with any government solution, there has to be months of study, enormous legal fees and no common-sense answers.

In the Ferguson case, the answers seem to call for more legal fees and completely out-of-touch recommendations. Instead of perhaps encouraging kids not to walk down the middle of the street, the consent decree now makes it OK to walk in the street and obstruct traffic. And for a small town already in debt, Ferguson is required to pay $350,000 in the first year to oversee the implementation of the ruling. Where the heck will Ferguson get $350,000 when it already owes over $2 million?

If black leaders support the consent decree, they need to ask themselves if the ruling will put more fathers in the home, create fewer unwed teen mothers, ensure kids don’t drop out of school and reduce gun-related violence. Not one of these is addressed.

For those screaming for more resources and opportunity, look no further than the Ranken Tech situation. Millions of private dollars were raised to establish training for North County kids. Ranken has a class capacity for 5,000 students to be trained for real jobs, but has recruited only 100 students through the Ferguson Forward initiative. Will the consent decree fix that?

Rich Stevens  •  St. Louis

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