The St Louis Contrarian

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

Archive for the category “Racism”

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


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

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

Two Contradictory and Yet Similar Views of Missouri

I take the lists of best and worst to not be worth very much. Nevertheless in the competitive world of travel and jobs maybe they do play a role.

First, a list I just saw ranks St. Louis as the very best place for a young person to move. The report cites the low cost of housing and cultural amenities. I think we all know that, the question is how do we harness it to bring more young people here and retain the ones we have. I would suggest offering a free weekend trip to St. Louis for anyone who wants it who live a certain distance away. Paying for this would of course be an issue but maybe the Regional Chamber can tighten up on some of their salaries to do this. Our cultural amenities are on a par with the greatest cities in the world

On the extremely negative side, Fodor’s published a list of where not to travel in the world, Missouri was listed right up there with Myanmar and Cuba( actually you would be safer in Cuba for sure). I don’t know why Missouri is worse than some other redneck states but we are. Much of it goes back to the NAACP report from awhile ago. 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

Candlelight Vigil

On New Years Eve the organization Families Achieving Safe Streets held a candlelight vigil for the 200+ victims of murder in St. Louis. This event received a newspaper article or two but no where near the media coverage of the demonstrations related to the lack of conviction of a cop who killed a drug dealer trying to kill him.

Where are our priorities? Almost every day there are murders, sometimes of innocent bystanders, and nobody says anything. If a cop gets a little out of line all hell breaks loose. That’s why we struggle as a city. Written by Paul Dribn

New Police Chief in St. Louis

St. Louis picked a new police chief yesterday. His name is John Hayden, an African American veteran of the St. Louis force who seems to have a very distinguished career. I wish him well in a tough job. Improving crime and policing in St. Louis is more than one person, but this appears to be an excellent selection. Written by Paul Dribin

Proposition P

I am glad to see that Proposition P passed. This is a measure to increase the sales tax in St. Louis to increase Police Salaries. Critics of the police and activists have been opposed. I have never understood the logic of complaining about the police needing more training etc. and then denying them the money to do so. I fully realize these funds are only a small part of the effort needed to improve police-community relations, but it is a start. Written by Paul Dribin


I think this comes close to taking the cake for stupidity. Activists in St. Louis have been hugely critical of the city police department for being insensitive to people of color, violating the rights of protesters etc. (No civilians have been hurt in the demonstrations but police have). St. Louis County earlier in the year passed a sales tax increase to raise police salaries and provide more resources to police forces. The city has come up with a similar proposal, Proposition P, largely because the better police officers would leave for the county which would have higher salaries. Well guess what. Activists led by Tashara Jones, Treasurer of the city and almost mayor are opposed to Proposition P because they don’t like the police. So you complain about police behavior and then not want to fund efforts to professionalize and provide more training for police. I guess if police are bad, we will be worse off with more inexperienced and poorly trained officers. Written by Paul Dribin

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