Fact or Fiction?: I’ve Been Verified!

Author: Anne Allred Published: 10:46 PM CDT July 23, 2020

Verifying statements on COVID-19 testing availability from St. Louis County Executive Democratic debate

ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Four candidates faced off in the Democratic St. Louis County Executive debate Wednesday night.

Our verify team is taking a closer look at statements made about the availability of COVID-19 testing.

University City resident and democratic candidate Jamie Tolliver said when speaking about North St. Louis County testing availability.

“People who were more advantaged and they and their families were able to get testing sooner than other people,” she said.

St. Louis County Assessor Jake Zimmerman also commented about testing availability saying 

“COVID-19 testing was available in places like Chesterfield and Des Peres weeks, months, before it was available anywhere north of Delmar Boulevard,” he said.

The Verify team’s sources used regarding these statements are The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services website and Sara Dayley, a spokesperson for the St. Louis County Department of Health.

A public COVID-19 testing site opened at the Mercy Virtual Care Center in West St. Louis County, specifically Chesterfield, on March 30.

North St. Louis County’s public COVID-19 testing side opened at the John C. Murphy Health Center in Berkley on April 6. Another site opened at People’s Health Center in Florissant on April 14.

We can Verify that Jamie Tolliver’s statement is true. She is correct that people living in more affluent areas, therefore more advantaged, had COVID-19 testing sites sooner.

We can Verify that Assessor Zimmerman’s statement, is false. While he is correct that the Chesterfield community had a testing site sooner than the North St. Louis County community, his timeline is incorrect. Assessor Zimmerman said “weeks, months.” The North St. Louis County testing site was opened 7 days after the Chesterfield testing site.

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Action St. Louis County Executive Debate

STL COUNTY EXECUTIVE DEBATE: The County Executive is elected by its citizens to lead St. Louis County similar to a Mayor. The County Executive works with the St. Louis County Council similarly to a Mayor and Board of Alders. Incumbent County Executive Sam Page and his opponents Mark Montovani, Jamie Tolliver, and Jake Zimmerman are participating in this virtual debate focused on the vital issues that matter most to the people of St. Louis.

April 20th Democratic Town Hall Transcript

For the vast majority of you all, this is the first time that you have ever heard of me. I am not a big name. I don’t have a long history in politics. However, if we are honest, time in a profession is just time if it is not well used. And, no one is born a politician. It is a calling driven by a passion to be the change that you wish to see in the world. In my interview for the St Lo.uis Post Dispatch when asked why I decided to run, I responded that, I was asked to run members of the community of the University City community saw the passion I have for helping people, a hearty appetite for change, a solid belief in Justice for all and a desire to educate the misguided, misled and misinformed. I decided to run because I want to be the voice for the voiceless and to be, for some, the only glimpse of themselves that they see in politics.

Being only the second African-American to hold this County Executive seat after Charlie Dooley and the first and only woman to ever hold this position would be a step in the right direction towards justice and inclusion. The St. Louis County Charter, drafted in 1979, uses the masculine terms for every St Louis County government role that is listed. The masculine pronoun is notably used 96 times, while the feminine only twice. In 2020, we have come too far as a city, a state and a nation for that to remain unchanged

In my 36 years I have been where many of the Saint Louis County residents areas have been- both personally and professionally and that is why my platform speaks to bring to the forefront 6 areas of  injustice  that need to be made right in the realms of :

  1. Health
  2. Education
  3. Environmental justice
  4. Social justice
  5. Justice for the homeless
  6. Justice for the elderly and disabled

Health Justice
is in the minds of everyone during this pandemic. One blatant injustice in healthcare was mentioned in a Washington DC press conference by Dr. Fauci was what he termed as the “unacceptable health disparities for African Americans”. As of a news report on April 13, of the 42 people who died from COVID-19 in St Louis County, 20 of them were black. This should cause major alarm as a government ‘for the people and by the people’. We should ensure that we stand fervently behind our county charter section 4.13 that says we the St. Louis County government will establish and maintain such activities and clinics as are needed to promote the public health of the county.

  • I propose that we use portions of the county funding to transform many of the unused buildings and offices spaces into Urgent Care facilities in these largely under-served communities. There is no reason that we allow in these areas more liquor stores,and corner stores than access to healthcare providers and pharmacies.

As it relates on to social justice….

While social injustice has indeed existed for years and can be proven statistically,it was never more apparent than since the unfortunate occurrences that happened in Ferguson in 2014 to Mike Brown. This one act that put St Louis in the news and on the map for something other than baseball and hockey championships. Social justice needs both attention and action now. Some may say, ‘At least there is a police presence, isn’t that enough?’ No, it’s not enough. If your home was being robbed would it be “enough for the police to simply be present?  When the oath to ‘protect and serve’ does not apply equally to everyone at all time then it leave residents unprotected even though they are being watch. Given that, St Louis County says they want to build trust in the community.

  • If you truly want to build trust in the communities, I propose that in addition to the police commissioners and department heads, that an open and transparent investigation of all police shootings and serious assaults to be investigated by an outside counsel and call for the establishment of a civilian police oversight board.

Economics is another element of social justice that seems to keep being addressed, but never resolved. I mentioned at the beginning the charter drafted in 1979 that we still still adhere to that is sexist in its compilation. With that in mind, In 1963 the Equal Pay act was passed given women the right to equal pay, In 1979 our St Louis County charter noted under Article VII the Merit System (section 7.010) that will will follow the principal of equal pay for substantially equal work and yet, in the annual report of 2019, it is still being addressed -a need to ensure fair wages for women and racial minorities. It has been more than half a century… it’s time to cross this issue off the list.

  • I propose that the St Louis County enforce Equal Pay Act (1963) compliance on the part of business owners and corporations that operate under our governmental rule.

Environmental justice is just as much a disservice in any community where health and social injustice exist. In these lower socioeconomic communities children, minority children- specifically African-American, are far more likely to suffer from things like like asthma and bronchitis and other respiratory diseases and ailments. This in part because the building that are torn down and reconstructed in these areas do not undergo thorough enough inspections for harmful biohazards before being demolished and they send things like asbestos and spores into the air that these children and their families have to breathe in daily. This is a phenomenon now known as Environmental Racism.  This goes back to the platform of health injustices as they are not only in areas where they are not given adequate access to healthcare, but they are also being attacked by environmental racism that only contributes to their need for health services. These construction projects are approved by our county government. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to be accused of racism of any kind and I certainly don’t want to be the cause or a contributor to it.

  • I propose mandatory procedures, tests, regulations and construction codes specific to preventing environmental exposure to biohazards.

Speaking of children, Educational Justice is another silent, ongoing and over time detrimental injustice in our communities. Education must be both fair and equitable. Let me be clear, I said equitable not equal. Equal is receiving the same things as everyone else, but when others do not begin from a Level Playing Field equal is never fair. This is an injustice, like many others that I have mentioned, that should have been addressed years ago. With technology now being so interwoven into the educational system, it is it is not without reason to believe that educators should be able to begin teaching American history to include the history of every race- not just Europeans. American history should begin with the Native Americans as they were here first. And, for the record, African American history does not begin with slavery. I have two small children in elementary school and they were told to be on grade level for next year to focus on reading and math.

  • I propose that children are assigned reading that is age appropriate, educational and historical? It is school after all. It is the belief of many ,myself included, that what we do or do not learn in school, leads to who we do or do not become in life.

As of the end of 2019, there are just over 500,000 homeless people in America and of that vast number, at least 6,000 of them reside in the Missouri alone.

  • I proposed that of the more than $81 million dollars that the county receives through HUD housing development grants that much of it is used to provide permanent shelter and programs designed to allow the homeless to once again become productive members of society. Also, funds should be designated to assist those in the lower socioeconomic communities with housing assistance and program that may aid in ensuring that they do not become one more citizen among the homeless population.

 Lastly, I campaign for a senior & disability Justice. Many of the homeless that I’ve already mentioned are our own U.S. veterans and of those, many of these vets are elderly and/or suffer from disabilities both physical and mental. I personally do outreach at many senior living facilities in University City and when I talk to these residents and care providers, their top concerns are related to safety and financial exploitation. We have lost, or have come close to losing, far too many of our elderly during this pandemics. It is important that we protect and find justice for those elderly that remain and the disabled as well.

  • I propose that, like living wills and power of attorney discussions, that the elderly and disabled and their families are given access to regular counseling, courses and programs to discuss the best ways to protect themselves and safeguard against exploitation and abuse. In a words of Martin Luther King, an injustice anywhere is an injustice everywhere!

The fact is, I am aware that these ideas and passions are not unique to me or my platform. But what appears to be unique about me and my platform, is the sense of urgency I have about finally checking these things off the list of things to do and moving these long overdue platform points to the top of the priority list.

Senior/Disability Justice

The safety of the elderly and the disabled is a concern I hold dear as a result of concerns that have been expressed to me personally on several occasions by this segment of the population. Crosswalks should be made more safe and secure across 4 lanes of traffic and at busy intersections by:

  • Making crosswalk markings wider so that cars are directed to stop farther away from the light.
  • The time for pedestrians to cross the street should be increased from 30 to 45 seconds.
  • Penalties for hitting pedestrians should be posted on the traffic light to ensure that drivers are aware of the consequence for not sharing the roadway.

Support all causes that aim to putting an end to the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of vulnerable individuals age 60 and older as well as people with disabilities between 18 and older.

My campaign stands up against the financial exploitation of the elderly and disabled. This is a moral, ethical and legal is a crime. According to the the Missouri Health Department, this illegal exploitation not only costs millions of dollars nationwide, it also destroys thousands of Missouri lives.

Environmental Justice

My campaign opposes the environmental racism that African Americans of the St. Louis Metropolitan area are exposed to at considerable greater risks than their Caucasian counterparts. This environmental racism contributes to stark racial disparities regarding health, economic burdens, and quality of life. These findings were published by the Washington University of St. Louis’s campus newspaper, The Source, on 9-3-19.  The study was conducted by the Washington University of St. Louis School of Law’s Interdisciplinary Environmental Clinic.

According to Washing University St Louis reports, “most of the city’s air pollution sources are located in neighborhoods of color, and more building demolitions — which create harmful dust that may contain asbestos and lead — occur in majority-black neighborhoods”. Construction and demolition standards of practice and bio hazard testing should be thoroughly reviewed to determine the potential environmental harm done to neighborhoods prior to any work being performed.

My campaign supports the 100% Clean Economy Act, the federal legislation introduced by a diverse group of 150 members of Congress that would put the U.S. on a path to 100% clean energy economy-wide by 2050.

Education Justice

  • The same way homes are racially divided by zip codes, schools seem to follow the same unjust rhetoric. If parents live in a city/municipality and move within that same city/municipality, they should have the option to keep their children at the same school. Those moving into a district, as tax payers, should have the option to choose and apply to enroll their children in the school at best suits their family’s needs.
  • Education should be inclusive of the history of all ethnicities that make up this nation in equal capacity. Students of all backgrounds are deserve to more than know more than just the one side of the American story. Computers are a large part of the student learning journey so finding information, activities and methods of inclusion are not beyond the resources already allocated to the educators.
  • In schools where special education services are not offered, regular special education and sensitivity training should be required as part of educators yearly continued education practices. The population of student that fall along the spectrum of special needs to include Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, autism, and others, is growing in education and educators should be prepared to accommodate them.