Black elected leaders denounce St. Louis area merger plan

COOL VALLEY, Mo. (AP) — A group of about 35 black elected officials are denouncing a plan to merge the city of St. Louis with St. Louis County and calling for the local NAACP president to resign.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the group's news conference Monday in the suburb of Cool Valley was in response to John Gaskin III speaking last week at an event billed as an endorsement of the merger by his NAACP chapter. He didn't disclose that he worked for the campaign pushing the merger until he was questioned about it after his remarks.

Vinita Park's mayor, James McGee, says he was appalled that the county NAACP "would be hijacked as a vehicle to take the power away from the minority community." Gaskin hasn't returned texts or calls from the Post-Dispatch.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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