Results of Election in St. Louis Point to Impasse on Busing Plan

April 12, 1989 2 min read

In an election that largely served as a referendum on St. Louis’s comprehensive school-desegregation plan, voters last week split in their choices for the five open seats on the city’s school board.

Two of the successful candidates ran as part of what was widely referred to as an “anti-busing” slate. The slate of five candidates had vowed to petition the courts for a quick end to the district’s 17-year-old desegregation lawsuit.

The other three victors, including two incumbents, ran as part of an “all-city” slate that argued that fulfilling the court’s orders in the case would be the fastest way to bring it to an end.

Three candidates who ran as independents were all defeated.

The vote makes it likely that the 12-member board will be virtually deadlocked on one of the most important issues that it routinely considers.

Nancy L. Hagan, Earl P. Holt 3rd, John P. Mahoney, and Earl E. Nance Jr. all won six-year terms on the board, and Gwendolyn A. Moore won a two-year term.

In other city elections last week:

Chicago: Richard M. Daley became the first white mayoral candidate to unseat a black incumbent in a major American city when he won Chicago’s mayoral contest with a landslide victory over the independent black candidate, Timothy Evans.

The vote split sharply along racial lines, marking an end to the multiracial coalition that allowed Harold Washington to become the city’s first black mayor in 1983, according to a poll by The New York Times and WBBM-tv, Chicago’s CBS affiliate.

Only 8 percent of black voters selected Mr. Daley, and 7 percent of white voters backed Mr. Evans, the poll of 2,311 voters found.

A relatively low turnout by black voters contributed to Mr. Daley’s margin of victory, the poll found. Mr. Daley received almost 56 percent of all votes cast, as opposed to 41 percent for Mr. Evans and less than 4 percent for Edward R. Vrdolyak, the Republican candidate.

Mr. Washington’s death in 1987 led a state court to order last week’s election to determine who would serve the remainder of Mr. Washington’s term, which would have ended in 1991.

Milwaukee: Donald J. O’Connell, an incumbent school-board member who opposed dispensing birth-control devices at school-based health clinics, defeated Robert Harris Jr., who favored such services.

Jared M. Johnson won the seat formerly represented by Mary Bills until the district’s election boundaries were adjusted in 1986. Ms. Bills won an uncontested election in her new district, and Lawrence J. O’Neil also won an uncontested seat.--ws

A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 1989 edition of Education Week as Results of Election in St. Louis Point to Impasse on Busing Plan