By Stephen Deere
Just before the Rev. Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission, officially provided Gov. Jay Nixon a copy of the commission's 198-page report, he told an audience of media, elected officials and community members that the process had not been easy.
"This was tough," he said. "The only promise we can make to the region is that it gets tougher."
Nixon established the 16-member commission in November in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, charging it with taking an unflinching look at the issues highlighted by mass demonstrations and developing transformative recommendations on how to correct them.
The commission's job is far from over. The group is scheduled to meet through the end of the year. And now the focus will turn to carrying out some of the 189 "calls to action" the commission has adopted. Those proposals have been prioritized into 47 recommendations.
In those key recommendations, the commission has identified roughly 100 "accountable bodies." Missouri's Republican-led Legislature is perhaps more responsible than any other entity identified in the report for making the changes. It is mentioned as an "accountable body," nearly two dozen times, followed by the governor and state Supreme Court, which are listed as "accountable bodies" 11 times each.
At the press conference, held at the St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, Nixon, a Democrat, brushed aside concerns that lawmakers from the rival party would oppose the commission's report.
"We are all Missourians," Nixon said, noting that a municipal court reform bill passed this year received broad bipartisan support.
"If you are only analyzing issues on whether it's a donkey or an elephant, you are missing the complexity of the Show-Me state," Nixon said.
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