When Suburban St. Louis Municipalities Attack!

Those of us who live in the St. Louis area can easily get inured to the absurdity that passes for politics in the area’s dozens of postage stamp municipalities, where high school drama kings and queens can ply their cliquish fantasies decades beyond graduation. The spectacles tend toward comedies, in the sense that life is a comedy to those who think and a tragedy to those who feel or own land about to be eminent domained for a new Wal-Mart.

Typically, it’s the powerless home owners against the slightly less powerless municipal Powers-That-Pose-To-Be in their own government. However, the regularly-scheduled development brouhaha takes a novel twist when it’s the citizens of neighboring communities who try to dictate development in a neighboring community.

To sum it up in a nutshell for those of you who don’t want to click the link, a tony suburb called Town and Country (whose very name conjures up visions of failed Warren Beatty movies and Lincoln-Mercury minivans) wants to throw in one of those strip malls guaranteed to bring in $2.4 million in sales taxes every year until the next development siphons half or three quarters of the sales next year. However, residents in neighboring communities whose lots abut the development site have annointed themselves to determine what’s best for not their communities, but Town and Country. That land would be better used as a park to raise their property values than anything the duly elected government of Town and Country could approve.

That sets off my special Rant-Sense. You see, it’s bad enough when municipal governments and the fascist power of the majority gets to infringe on the property rights of owners, whether homeowners who don’t want to sell or developers who want to build, but for unelected and un-asked-for people from different communities to start their a-clamoring and a-litigating…. Well, it’s so very wrong and against many principles upon which this country was founded. Self rule. Property rights.

I wonder if these same “activists” think that the United States government should submit to the will of its neighbors before making decisions in Minnesota or Arizona. I’m not sure which would trouble me more: hypocrisy, in which they would say, “Of course not!” or eager belief that a single world government is a good idea, and that Luxembourgers could best determine where to put a Target.