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Letter: Leaders don’t deserve power to make sweeping edicts

Letter: Leaders don’t deserve power to make sweeping edicts

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Restaurant workers protest shutdown

A St. Louis County police officer watches from inside as restaurant workers from around the St. Louis region protest outside the St. Louis County government building in Clayton on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. The group was protesting County Executive Sam Page's new coronavirus restrictions which closes indoor dining at restaurants. Photo by Colter Peterson,

Regarding “As shutdown enters second week, St. Louis County Council still trying to chip away at Page’s authority” (Nov. 23): Oversight of the mayor of St. Louis and the county executive’s ability to issue emergency orders is desperately needed to prevent a single elected official from wielding absolute power.

Nowhere in our system of government can one elected official strip the liberties guaranteed by the Constitution from an entire population without appeal, oversight, or any form of redress for an unlimited period of time. The emergency powers granted to the mayor and county executive, in my opinion, were never meant to be used in this way. Setting a curfew for a natural disaster or to curb rioting is entirely different from taking away people’s livelihoods, placing them under house arrest and telling them they can’t go to church. Laws need to be enacted in both St. Louis and St. Louis County to give the St. Louis Board of Aldermen and the St. Louis County Council authority to override emergency orders.

Charles Harper • Holly Hills

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