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Newly sworn-in St. Louis County Executive Sam Page

Newly sworn-in St. Louis County Executive Sam Page takes down decorations that remain from former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger as Page settles into his new office on Friday, May 3, 2019. Photo by Cristina M. Fletes,

Regarding “County taxpayers expected bold leadership from Sam Page. They’re still waiting.” (Nov. 21): Last May, former St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, now in prison, repaid donor Mike Roberts by deeding him 60 acres of West Tyson Park, bordered by the Meramec River, in exchange for 15 acres owned by Roberts and located behind a subdivision next to a railroad track. The St. Louis County Council passively signed off on this loser deal.

Okay council members from 2018, many of whom are still in office, raise your hands if you’d rather have a picnic with your family on a defunct railroad track or by the Meramec River. No hands? Then why all the authorized signatures on that land deal?

The ease with which the park land was transferred into private ownership is a slap in the face to a diligent and caring park staff whose protests went unheard. One young lawyer involved in research to prepare the land transfer document walked the halls of the city government center repeating over and over, “This is wrong, this is wrong,” like a Greek oracle whose warnings are ignored until too late.

No matter how finalized that deal was, it can and should be reversed because it fails the litmus test of being enacted for the public benefit, the premier duty of our elected officials.

The county executive should do the tough thing and the right thing. Get that river land back into West Tyson Park where it belongs.

Florence Shinkle • Pacific