I was surprised and dismayed to read in the Saint James Press of March 17, that the city council was thinking of eliminating our municipal court, under the pretext of saving money.
Who decides? We, the people were truly never duly approached about such a change. I salute the concern of Candice Dent on the editorial page of this week’s edition and I totally agree with her.
We need to keep the municipal court in St. James but a court that works. And the experience I had with it does not support this. It was in 2017 and it may be that money was not appropriately used either, from what I personally experienced.
I had a neighbor who had four dogs, which became a nuisance. I called the police late into the night, a great number of times. The police were remarkable, always courteous, acknowledging that indeed this should not happen and I should file a complaint. One night the owner was out of town and asked the officers to put the howling dogs in her house. She had been on the board and knew them. So while my complaints were duly filed, nothing ever happened and I was haunting the city council every month. I then learned that the prosecutor Mr. Shockley had recused himself since he knew the lady.
Later a new prosecutor was appointed and could not do anything either, since the lady in question had been his teacher. So nothing was ever done! Was it justice or politics? I would not let the city council rest and finally one day I was heard and taken seriously by the city administrator. I had brought a copy of St. James City Code and the lady had to pay a $500 fine. She has since moved away.
I can’t imagine myself going to Rolla and make my case as I have for this one time.
St. James is a wonderful little town but we have to keep it that way. In our efforts to make it touristic, we should not neglect the quality of life for the people who reside in it. We should accommodate our budget for a municipal court, a court that works. Review the City Code maybe, but with wisdom and some reservation.