According to the 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 150,000 St. Louisans under the age of 17 live in neighborhoods with risk factors that contribute to youth violence. Today community leaders gathered in Forest Park to outline a plan to combat the problem.
It's called the St. Louis Regional Youth Violence Prevention Task Force and it's designed to help young people stay out of trouble. Among the goals are prevention, intervention, enforcement, and reentry into the community. St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley says education is another key aspect to the program.
"Keeping young people in school, that is paramount, that has to take precedent," Dooley said. "If they stay in school and get educated, they have the opportunity to be productive citizens and get meaningful jobs, and that's the key."
The youth violence task force runs until the summer of 2016. It's being funded by a public/private partnership.
Amid recent controversies, St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley could be facing off against a new challenger in 2014. The St. Louis Beacon reports that County Council member Steve Stenger, a Democrat from Affton, may announce his intentions to run against Dooley as early as tomorrow. Stenger is expected to be backed by area labor leaders and possibly St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who said he would not endorse Dooley for reelection. Dooley's administration has come under fire as of late for an embezzlement scheme committed by a top health department administrator and for the FBI's investigation into questions surrounding the bidding process for contracts in the building of the county's crime lab.
The largest coalition of organized labor unions in the St. Louis region is pulling its support for St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley's 2014 reelection bid. Greater St. Louis Labor Council President Robert Soutier and Jeff Aboussie of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council met with Dooley Monday.
Soutier spoke with Fox 2 News about that meeting. "And I said at this point, we're withholding support. We would urge you not to run."
Dooley says he's sorry the labor leaders are pulling their support, but he has no plans to bow out of the race.
"There is no better friend to labor than Charlie Allen Dooley," he said. "I have been labor's friend since I've been in politics, since I've been the county executive, on the county council since 1995."
Soutier says the action isn't the result of any one incident, but stems from a relationship that has deteriorated over time.
"The building trades certainly have some problems with non-union contractors in the county," Soutier said. "Certainly, the firefighters have a problem with an appointment that Dooley made for, I think, one of the training centers."