It is always important to read what is presented to you on a clipboard. Most of us have run into signature collectors at a grocercy store or in a church parking lot asking us to sign petitions that would - they say - put matters on ballots for consideration by the electorate. Certainly, the people’s right to gain access to the election ballot by petition is an important one. The federal and state constitutions, and the City charter, all allow it.
Sometime soon, St. Louisans will likely be presented with an initiative petition that might have important consequences on how the City does business. If petitioners collect enough signatures to put the measure on the statewide ballot and voters subsequently approved it, several programs that give preferential treatment to women or to people of color would be threatened. Although the SLPS magnet school program would likely be okay, City lawyers think that executive orders requiring good faith efforts by contractors to employ women or people of color on municipal projects or the Supply Division to purchase a percentage of goods or services from certified minority-owned providers would likely face new court challenges.
While I hope that Missourians, especially those of us living in St. Louis City and county, would have enough of a sense of fairness to vote against such a measure if it made it to the ballot, it would probably be more prudent to take a few minutes and find out just what the signature collector wants you to sign.