March 25, 2016 - 2:50 PM EDT
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EDITORIAL: Short takes on enlightened policing, dim-bulb politicians, and other noteworthy items

March 26--The people's business is none of our business

"I'd rather you not address this with me." That was state Rep. Sue Allen's bizarre response when asked by the Post-Dispatch to explain her own bill, in which she takes aim at the earnings taxes approved overwhelmingly by

St. Louis
and
Kansas City
residents. The
Town and Country
Republican's bill would take the taxation decision out of local residents' hands and, instead, ask voters across
Missouri
whether to allow it. Currently, locals vote on the 1 percent tax every five years. (It's Proposition E on the April 5 ballot.)

A wider state vote would dramatically increase the chances of dooming the tax and sending both cities into a financial tailspin. So, pardon us for bothering you with pesky questions, Rep. Allen, but could you please explain why you want to weaken local control over a local issue?

We suspect that anti-tax campaigner Rex Sinquefield, who has financially supported Allen, is behind her bill, which could go far to explain why she's trying so hard to avoid accountability for her own legislation.

Bravo for enlightened policing

St. Louis Patrol Officer Christian Johnson has the right idea when it comes to community policing. It's not always about banging heads together and making arrests. It's also about making people feel more safe and secure in their homes and on the streets. His bright idea, as reported by the Post-Dispatch's Denise Hollinshed, is to go door to door with a group of college students with a simple offer of free light bulbs to help illuminate porches where darkness would otherwise prevail.

The Porch Light Project, organized by Johnson and assisted by the nonprofit group Serving with the Badge, is a way to make a difference in people's lives while improving relations between residents and the officers who serve them.

Ameren Missouri has promised to supply 2,000 bulbs to help Johnson reach his goal. While he has served only two years on the force, Johnson already is showing a kind of initiative his more seasoned colleagues could learn from.

Official team? Never mind

We'd like to apologize to the Kansas City Royals and their fans for

Missouri
state Rep. Courtney Curtis and his House Bill 2831. It reads in full: "The St. Louis Cardinals, which can trace its history in
Missouri
back to 1882, are selected for and shall be known as the official baseball team of the state of
Missouri
."

Curtis is a two-term Democrat whose district takes in the north county suburbs surrounding Lambert airport. As a junior member of the minority party, he must seek attention where he can get it.

This silly bill at least is not as dangerous as Curtis' vote with Republicans to approve the "paycheck protection" bill that Gov. Jay Nixon recently vetoed. Gutting the political power of public employee unions won't help his constituents. There's no point in needlessly antagonizing Missourians who live west of

Columbia
.

UninSpired by name change for Laclede Gas

Whenever anyone thinks of natural gas, the name Spire naturally comes to mind. Not.

Yet that's the new name that the Laclede Group, the parent company of the venerable Laclede Gas Co., has chosen for itself. Why? The uninSpired press release mentioned branding. Scale. Organic growth. Touchy-feely stuff. It's like the company is embarrassed about its product.

We hope that when it comes to rate increase time, the Missouri Public Service Commission will not allow this rebranding exercise as a legitimate expense.

Giving overdose victims a second chance

St. Louis County
police received training last month to administer a nasal spray containing an opiate antidote that can save a life in a drug overdose.

The training proved useful last week when two county officers used the spray to revive a suspected overdose victim, who is expected to recover.

St. Charles County
,
Wentzville
and
Clayton
police also are carrying the antidote. With overdose deaths rising rapidly, this training helps officers give victims a second chance at life.

Maybe Barrel Bob walked off the job

We wonder what the true motive was for whoever absconded with Barrel Bob, the Missouri Department of Transportation's 10-foot-tall mascot constructed of orange and white reflective safety barrels. Bob was last seen at a

Jefferson City
roadside work-safety zone, warning motorists to slow down. Now Bob is missing.

We're not pointing any fingers, but it's worth noting that folks are pretty upset in parts of

St. Louis
, particularly along Interstate 44 between Kingshighway and Grand Boulevard, where MoDOT construction work is about to make life pretty miserable for thousands of motorists. Or maybe Bob just walked off the job in protest.

Peace comes to Rob Ford

In 2013, Rob Ford, the bellicose, garrulous, oversized mayor of

Toronto
, became an international joke. He'd been caught on video smoking crack cocaine. After denying it for six months, his explanation didn't help: "Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine. Am I an addict? No. Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors."

Ford was only 46 when he died Tuesday of cancer. Having endured, and to a large extent enjoyed, his time in the limelight, he'd faded from public view as he fought his disease.

He died too young with the kind of quiet grace that had eluded him during life.

Kevin Horrigan --314-340-8135

@oldsport on Twitter

[email protected]

___

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