The St Louis Contrarian

Providing Independent and Intelligent Insight on St. Louis Public Policy Issues

Archive for the category “crime”

A Tale About Metrolink

I have a retired friend who has an interesting job. He gets paid to ride Metrolink and report his findings to Metro. Here is what he has found:

1. In hundreds of rides no one has asked him for tickets.

2. Security personnel did not challenge dangerous passengers

3. All stations and routes were dangerous.

4. Police would load criminals onto trains to offload them to another location.

He does not have a very good image of the whole program. Yet we want to expand it. Written by Paul Dribin


Pagedale. Missouri

Pagedale is a tiny mostly African American community in north St. Louis County. The community has a history of corruption and poor living conditions.

Beyond Housing has been active in Pagedale for some time and is making some positive contributions to the community including housing,economic development, and social services. This process of improvement is difficult and slow.

St. Louis Magazine recently published an article about the situation in Pagedale which highlights the corruption and forwards some criticisms of Beyond Housing. I consider the article to be counterproductive, rehashing old news, gossip, and negativity. Too bad. No good deed goes unpunished. Written by Paul Dribin

Three Articles that Tell it All

Today’s Post had three articles which when taken together summarize the problems of the St. Louis area.

1. The Madison County Illinois Sheriff blamed the crime in St. Louis on a recent murder in his county and related crimes. This represented a certain amount of hyperbole but also was true. The crime situation is way out of hand and slowing the region.

2. Joe Regan was fired as President of the Regional Chamber. I don’t know the inner workings of that organization but I regularly wonder why it receives the large amount of funding it does from governmental and private sector organizations. He received over $700,000 in salary with no results while running the organization into the ground. Couldn’t those fees be better used to provide job training for disadvantaged individuals?

3. The Post also again reported on the racial gap in student achievement this time with College Advanced Placement Exams. I don’t put a lot of faith in these exams but they are an indicator of the achievement gap.

These stories indicated the terrible crime problem in St. Louis, the terrible educational system available to most African American students, and the back scratching cronyism of major area institutions such as the Regional Chamber. Written by Paul Dribin

Metrolink Security

The rapid transit system in St. Louis known as Metrolink is an albatross. Mostly due to security concerns ridership is down and the operating deficit is increasing. The St. Louis Post Dispatch ran an article today about Metrolink which is quite disturbing. There is still no overall security plan linking St. Louis City, St. Louis County, and St. Clair County. The standards for policing these three jurisdictions are all different. The prosecutor in St. Louis County will not allow prosecutions for riders who do not pay fares. St. Louis City hardly provides any policing at all. Why are they talking about expanding a system that does not work now. Written by Paul Dribin

Let’s Get Priorities Right

I am constantly frustrated by the silly priorities of our region and the things we try to put effort into. The City of St. Louis is the murder capital of the country. Indeed some neighborhoods have a murder rate as high as the most dangerous third world countries. We have a huge amount of poverty, poor infrastructure, failing schools, poor public health, and a net loss of population. Our race relations are the joke of the country.

Instead of focusing on these issues we are concerned about Metrolink expansion, soccer stadiums, trolleys, and horse drawn carriages. Our government is hugely fragmented and dysfunctional. It’s no wonder we have problems. Written by Paul Dribin

Havoc in Circuit Attorney’s Office

Since Kimberly Gardner has been elected as Circuit Attorney in St. Louis, havoc has reigned. Many staff attorneys have resigned and she has been accused of nepotism in appointments. Not much has been written about the situation. Now we here that a judge has ordered the Circuit Attorney’s office not to be involved with the investigation of a police officer. Why? Under previous administrations such investigations took place with procedures carved out to eliminate conflicts of interest. Something is not right. We need all available resources to fight crime. Written by Paul Dribin

City Reverse snobbery

For many year I have worked with so called urban pioneers who tend to be relatively affluent white people who live in marginal neighborhoods in cities by choice. I have found they tend to look down their noses on people who live in the burbs or make other choices. This is somewhat ironic because they often accuse suburbanites of the same type of snobbery they display.

We need to get past this issue. We all need each other. No one has a monopoly on truth or morality. People should not have to live in dangerous environments to prove their virtue. Troubled neighborhoods need middle class investment. Gentrification is not all bad; I don’t know of a neighborhood that has improved that has not gentrified. Written by Paul Dribin

Excuses Regarding Our Failure With Amazon

The St. Louis Business Journal contained an article today asking various people about the application of the City of St. Louis to Amazon for it’s headquarters. The article was written in a manner as to indicate that a great application would have secured St. Louis a spot in the final 20.

Nothing could be further from the truth. An application is a document that allows Amazon to pick among a group of relatively equally qualified applicants. In our case, we don’t make that initial cutoff. Our crime rate is horrible, our workforce uneducated, the governmental system is dysfunctional, and racial problems are beyond belief. The best application possible would not have convinced Amazon to put its second headquarters here.

I am tired of St. Louis chasing after rainbows, be they NFL or soccer franchises, a China hub, trolleys, Metro Link or a convention center. If we created a strong community of racial harmony, good jobs, great schools, good governance, and low crime we would progress far better. Written by Paul Dribin

Violence Prevention in St. Louis

I am happy to see attention paid to the violence in St. Louis. Some of our medical centers are providing special interventions for victims of violence in an effort to cure the problem. Hospitals have hired extra social workers to provide support and assistance to victims of violence and their families. Good effort. Written by Paul Dribin

A Practical Method to Lessen Violent Deaths in St. Louis

The new police chief of St. Louis held a press conference in which he discussed targeting the relatively small number of individuals who account for most of the gun violence. The date in the hands of the city would seem to indicate the identities of the key perpetrators. This idea makes total sense. My only question is why they were not doing it before.

Boston and San Bernardino has adopted this approach with additional carrots and sticks. They use other community based folks, often ex offenders to reach out to the perpetrators and offer them supports such as job training etc. to leave crime. If they refuse they are promised the full brunt of the law. In both places crime has been significantly reduced.

I believe the ultimate intervention is to offer mentoring from the time of birth to any at risk child and family that want it..A definition of at risk could be children who would qualify for free school lunches. This would require many volunteers and staff but would ultimately turn around the cycle of crime. Written by Paul Dribin

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