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In reversal, Valley Park aldermen fail to override veto

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

Valley Park, MO – Aldermen in the St. Louis suburb of Valley Park have reversed their decision on a controversial law aimed at illegal immigration.

In the face of mounting litigation, they recently voted 7-1 to get rid of a measure that had required the city to verify the citizenship status of prospective renters.

But on Friday, Mayor Jeffery Whitteaker vetoed their move. And on Monday night, the aldermen voted not to override his veto.

Whitteaker says he's glad two aldermen changed their minds. "I believe the aldermen had a chance to do a little more surveying of their residents and just checking out different laws," the mayor said. "I believe they just came up with a different opinion tonight."

A group of landlords and immigrants' rights advocates who sued Valley Park over two previous measures say they will file another lawsuit.

We will be challenging, because there's a lot wrong with it," said landlord Florence Streeter, who added she thought the fight was over until Monday's action.

Last month, a St. Louis County judge struck down the city's original immigration laws even though aldermen had already repealed them.

Whitteaker says he'll continue to fight the litigation. He also on Monday night accepted an offer of free legal help from a St. Louis attorney.