ROCHELLE WALTON GRAY

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Rep. Walton Hosts Forum on Trash Districts and Economic Development of North County

State Rep. Juanita Head Walton (Democrat, north St. Louis County ), hosted a public forum on economic development and trash collection between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Friday, April 25.  Rep. Walton and her aides were pleasantly surprised when more than 200 people showed up for the session in the community room of Jamestown Mall.  Friday evening at 6:00 p.m. is ordinarily not a time when most people are interested in attending public forums.  Most people having just finished their work week, instead, look forward to a weekend of relaxation and entertainment.

The high attendance at the meeting was sparked by a wave of anger among residents of unincorporated areas of St. Louis County about paying for recycling pickups they donít want or use, as well as the large increase in their trash bills occasioned by the county councilís newly enacted trash district plan.  Many residents were already recycling their trash for free, and even being paid by recycle centers for delivering to those centers such items as aluminum cans.

Approximately two-thirds of the attendees at the meeting came to the forum because of large increases in their trash bills. They were informed of the meeting mainly through mailings and telephone calls organized by Rochelle Walton Gray, who is running to succeed Rep. Walton as State Representative of the 81st District.  Walton, who has reached the maximum limit of terms that she may serve in the Missouri House, is seeking election to the Missouri Senate in the August 5 democratic primary.

The recently passed trash district plan has become a very heated issue throughout the unincorporated areas of St. Louis County ; so Rep. Waltonís community forum on the issue was well received.  Members of the audience expressed anger as they bitterly complained about substantial increases of $20, $30 or more dollars in their quarterly or three-month trash bills because of recycling pickups they did not order.

As a part of the forum, Rep. Walton showed a power-point presentation that had been prepared by trash district opponents in south St. Louis County. When a picture of St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley appeared during the presentation, the audience booed loudly.  They also expressed displeasure with Mike OíMara, the county council member from the 4th district that covers the areas surrounding Jamestown Mall.

OíMaraís position on the trash district seems to be benefiting Tony Weaver, a Walton ally running for St. Louis County Council member from the 4th District; with Weaver seizing the moment to urge participants to vote for him in the Aug. 5 Democratic primary if they want a county council person who will listen to their concerns and meet their needs. Weaver pledged to undo the trash districts and the recycling requirements imposed on the residents.

The forum lasted some three hours and spurred Rep. Walton to schedule a second meeting aimed at residents of unincorporated areas around Jamestown Mall that are not located within her legislative district.  The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for May 8th at the Jamestown Mallís Community room.


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