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LOCAL Announcement :: Health issues : Housing and Development : Protests and Vigils

Greens ask, "Where is Lead Money Going?" Picket today!

Press release: October 30, 2006
Contact: Willie Marshall, 314-385-6906; Madeline Coburn, 315-5535

GREENS ASK "WHERE IS CITY LEAD MONEY GOING?"

October 30, 2006. St. Louis, Missouri. The day before Halloween, the Green Party of St. Louis will hold a press conference and picket with the theme "Unmask the Lead Money."

Press Conference: MoKaBe's Coffee House
3606 Arsenal (by Grand)
11:00 a.m., Monday, October 30, 2006

Picket: St. Louis Health Department
634 N. Grand
4:00 p.m., Monday, October 30, 2006
Gateway Green Alliance/Green Party of St. Louis
P.O. Box 8094, St. Louis MO 63156
314-727-8554 E-mail: fitzdon (at) aol.com www.gateway-greens.org

Throughout 2006, Greens have asked St. Louis to provide data on where lead money has been spent but City officials have kept their lips sealed. According to Willie Marshall, Chair of the Green Party Central Committee, "The City reports rate of childhood lead poisoning by zip code, ward and neighborhood. But it won't report spending the same way. So we can't tell if they're spending lead money where it's most needed. We have asked for lead spending by neighborhood and block."

When the Greens held a public forum on January 4, City officials ignored invitations to join the discussion until confronted by the press. At an April 20 forum, Greens again asked City officials for financial data and Lead Safe St. Louis Director Jeanine Arrighi chided them, claiming, "If someone had asked us to provide information and where the dollars are spent, we would have brought that with us tonight. But no one asked us that. I don't know who they asked. They did not ask me."

Lead activists interrupted her pointing out that they had repeatedly asked for information. Arrighi then promised "You would like us to provide how many dollars were spent per address. I think we can provide reporting on that" and "I have no problem sharing how we're spending out money."

But within days of the program, the LSSL Director broke the promise and refused to share financial information. When Green spokesperson Don Fitz asked Arrighi for the identification numbers of federal grants on lead, she wrote that she would send the information by June. But six months later, no information has been forthcoming. When dozens of people wrote LSSL asking for detailed financial information in September and October, the City said it could not provide information because grants were not identified.

Madeline Coburn, Secretary of the Green Party of St. Louis says "It's outrageous that the City always finds money for a new ball stadium or jail but citizens have to wait 36 years for action on lead. I wrote asking for financial accountability and got a four page run-around. They even threatened to charge me for information that should be available. Full lead financial data should be on their web site."

Willie Marshall wants to know where the millions of dollars on lead money are going. "Why are they so secretive? It looks like they have something to hide. I have to ask if they are using money for political favors instead of cleaning up homes in the neighborhoods with the most lead poisoning."

Go to www.gateway-greens.org to view a two minute streaming web movie of the LSSL Director promising to provide financial information and to read letters from the City explaining why financial information will not be provided.
 
 

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An inglorious peace is better than a dishonorable war.
-- Mark Twain
Source: "Glances at History" (suppressed)
 

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