Thursday, January 05, 2012

OK, Maybe St. Louis Does Suck, At Least A Little

Back on December 7th, I wrote a blog post based on an article in Forbes that had the premise that St. Louis Doesn't Suck.  Author Aaron Perlut very truthfully spoke of some of the great things in the area and laid out a plan that could help the city of St. Louis, as well as St. Louis County, two different governmental units, fix the perception that St. Louis sucks.

As tends to happen in St. Louis, nobody took on the task of working on the city's image.  Something so important or so (basically) inexpensive and easy to implement was far beyond the reach of Mayor Francis Slay and County Executive Charlie Dooley and the droids who work for them.  Not a surprise, especially since the Holiday season had some mighty fine photo ops of the Mayor at St. Louis Lambert International Airport showing off some fancy artwork that was installed in that incredibly boring (and still not fully operational after the Summer tornado that hit it) place. Sadly, Hizzonner is not in this photo, he must have been trying to find a parking space or something.

But I digress.  This post is about suckage, and while the airport does suck in many ways, St. Louis as a whole grabbed a major suckage award today, being named the seventh worst run city in America by 24/  Here's the praise the website laid on St. Louis:
7. St. Louis, Mo.
> Violent crime per 1,000 people: 17.47 (2nd highest)
> Poverty rate: 27.8% (13th highest)
> Adult population graduated from high school: 81.5% (36th lowest)
> Credit rating: Aa3 (stable outlook)
> Population: 319,156
St. Louis has had a hard time controlling violent crime. With 17.47 incidents per 1,000 residents in 2010, the city has the second highest rate of violent crime in the country. This is due in part to the city’s high poverty rate of 27.8% and its median income of $32,688, which is the 10th lowest out of the 100 largest cities. Additionally, nearly 20% of housing units in the city are vacant. All of these measures influence government revenues. Despite this, St. Louis has managed its finances fairly well. While Moody’s credit score is Aa3, the credit agency also reports that the city faces a continued weakening of resident income levels, high unemployment rates and a decreasing population.
Read more: The Best and Worst Run Cities in America - 24/7 Wall St.
This information is about St. Louis CITY, not St. Louis COUNTY, which I mentioned before are completely different areas, in more ways than I care to go into here.  But has anyone from the City, County, Chamber Of Commerce, or the almost double secret RCGA come out to dispute or spin the story?  Not on the bleak front page of the city's newspaper website.  Not on the top rated TV station's website.  And not on the website where I first found the story, the radio station that calls itself "The Voice Of St. Louis".  They had no local reaction to the story, which makes me think the voices of power in St. Louis either had nothing to say or couldn't defend themselves.  Or that the reporter didn't pick up the phone to get a reaction, but I know that would never happen.

So America once again sees St. Louis cast in a bad light and the Damage Control machine sits dusty and unused, a victim of "old boy" networks and nobody willing to defend the city's honor.  I've seen this play many times before, and I'm seeing it again.  When will the Powers That Be in St. Louis get their act together and at least defend the region when it gets smacked around?  The dream of a campaign to prove that St. Louis doesn't suck remains unfulfilled, and the city just took another sucker punch without defending itself.

And THAT truly sucks.
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