St. Louis in the National Media

St. Louis references in the news. Oh yeah, don't forget our favorite "Top Lists."
First unread post1455 posts
Since I really like to post articles I've found on our fair city, I thought it would be useful and more compact to make one thread where we can post the links and comment on them as we go.

I'll start the thread with a recent video from the wall street journal: "Will St. Louis become the next silicon valley?" Looks like T-Rex is finally starting to get some national attention.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... %3Darticle

This is the accompanying article which I will repost since it is behind a paywall:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142 ... 98096.html

ST. LOUIS—This city, which sponsored Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic and served as the starting point for Lewis and Clark's westward expedition, is trying to recapture its risk-taking spirit.

Stung by the takeover of iconic local companies such as Anheuser-Busch, which was sold to Belgian brewing giant InBev in 2008, and by the failure to recruit big employers to replace them, locals are trying a new approach: building the next generation of businesses from the ground up.

On Thursday, a coalition of local leaders from both the public and private sectors will unveil plans to raise $100 million over five years to invest in and support local startups. The effort is the latest in a series of steps intended to revive an entrepreneurial culture that even local boosters acknowledge has faded over the generations.

Creative director Rasheed Sulaiman, left, and co-founder Gabe Lozano of the sports-themed social network LockerDome.

"St. Louis has a pretty deep history, and it's built on entrepreneurs and risk-takers," said Judy Sindecuse, chief executive of Capital Innovators, a two-year-old early-stage investment firm, and one of the leaders of the nascent local startup scene. "Now we need to redevelop that."

In similar moves, in recent years cities and states across the country have established venture funds, tax incentives and other programs meant to encourage new businesses. Such efforts have been especially popular in cities such as Pittsburgh, Detroit and Cleveland that have seen their industrial economies decline in recent decades.

The focus on entrepreneurship comes at a time when job growth has been slow and rates of business formation are falling nationally. Economic research suggests a possible connection between the two trends: Harvard economist Edward Glaeser, among others, has found that cities with high rates of entrepreneurship experience faster job growth.

But it isn't clear how cities can best foster entrepreneurship—or even whether it's possible to do so. Even success stories haven't necessarily been the result of government policies, Mr. Glaeser said.

"It's not at all obvious that governments know how to promote entrepreneurship," Mr. Glaeser said. "The theory is sound. Whether or not they're actually going to be able to produce this is much less sure."

St. Louis is hoping it has history on its side. Once the gateway to the western frontier, the city emerged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as a commercial and industrial hub. Anheuser-Busch, pet-food company Ralston Purina, aircraft maker McDonnell Douglas and other local firms grew into national and even global brands.

But the region's frontier spirit gradually gave way to a reputation for business conservatism. One by one, the city's iconic companies were sold to out-of-towners, and few others stood in line to take their place. When Anheuser-Busch was sold in 2008, many locals saw the deal as the end of an era, even though the brewer has retained a significant presence in the city.

"It absolutely was such a crushing blow to St. Louis because that is the global brand that identifies St. Louis," said Rick Holton Jr., a local financier who traces his lineage to both Budweiser co-founder Adolphus Busch and explorer William Clark. "People started saying, 'The party's over.' "

Now Mr. Holton and other local leaders are trying to revive the risk-taking spirit. In the past two years, a web of independent but intersecting efforts has sprung up to support local companies. Among them: Ms. Sindecuse's firm, Capital Innovators; Cultivation Capital, an early-stage venture-capital firm in which Mr. Holton is a general partner; and Arch Grants, a nonprofit group that has in the past two years awarded 35 startups with $50,000 apiece in financing.

Even with such programs, however, St. Louis lags behind other cities in funding. Missouri, the 18th-largest state by population, ranked 34th in total venture-capital dollars awarded last year, according to an analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

The new $100 million fund aims to help close that gap. The project, a joint effort by the city and county governments and several private groups, aims to raise private money from local companies, investors and foundations to provide firms with not just seed funding—as Arch Grants and other programs have done—but also with enough capital to stay in the city as they expand.

"The idea is to grow the resources here to keep the companies here," said Katy Jamboretz, a spokeswoman for St. Louis County Economic Council, one of the project's backers.

Even before the fund's launch, St. Louis can count some successes. LockerDome, a sports-themed social network, recently raised $6 million in venture capital from, among others, Jim McKelvey, a St. Louis native who co-founded mobile-payments company Square Inc. In a mark of the city's progress, LockerDome's new backers are letting the company stay in St. Louis rather than move to Silicon Valley, something both the firm and its investors say once would have been unlikely.

Gabe Lozano, LockerDome's 30-year-old co-founder and CEO, said St. Louis has come a long way since the company got its start in 2008. Back then, he said, St. Louis was the kind of town where it was better to be unemployed than to be an entrepreneur—at least being unemployed implied the effort to find a job.

"Now," Mr. Lozano said, "it's probably the exact opposite."
^That was a great article to see, and the second map on the following Atlantic link helps put into perspective just where STL is with regards to VC investment.

http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-a ... ital/3284/
Gotta love The Onion...

ST. LOUIS—Describing the behavior as bizarre yet captivating, dozens of visitors to the Saint Louis Zoo reportedly looked on in fascination Saturday as the ice cream shop’s staff engaged in their unique mating rituals...
Image

Full story: http://www.theonion.com/articles/zoo-vi ... sho,33058/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013 ... tech-hubs/

St. Louis: A Model For Aspiring Tech Hubs

Only a few U.S. cities can claim to be technology meccas. Silicon Valley, Boston, Seattle, and — recently — New York City are responsible for the lion’s share of successful tech startups in the U.S., but they can no longer stake a sole claim. New tech hubs, like St. Louis, are emerging. St. Louis’ rise can serve as a model for other would-be hubs.

I started my company six years ago in St. Louis. I remember the challenge of finding talented local personnel for key roles like Ruby on Rails developer and search engine optimization consultant. Fortunately, the St. Louis entrepreneurial ecosystem has come a long way. The city recently birthed a host of impressive venture-backed tech companies such as Appistry, CrowdSource, LockerDome, and Bonfyre. And government leaders recently announced a plan to raise $100 million over five years from local companies, investors, and foundations to help entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses in St. Louis.

I believe there are a few key reasons why St. Louis (and cities like it) has been successful in fostering tech entrepreneurship. When smaller cities play to their strengths while simultaneously working to shore up their deficiencies, they can attract talented entrepreneurs and help them succeed. These contributing success factors include:

Reduced costs: Thanks to cloud servers and Web services that reduce upfront capital requirements, it’s less expensive than ever for people to launch a digital company anywhere. Not only that, St. Louis has an incredibly low cost of living. These two factors make it inexpensive to start a company here.

Local support from universities: In our city, Washington University in St. Louis and Saint Louis University offer nationally respected entrepreneurship programs. The students and graduates are highly talented and knowledgeable, and the program’s incubators and accelerators are yielding high-potential startups. I was a student of the WashU program when I formed Varsity Tutors, and I continue to marvel at the advances and achievements of my fellow graduates.

Growth of local VC firms: Several early-stage tech VC firms, like Cultivation Capital, have opened their doors, complementing the established later-stage venture and private equity firms already in operation here. This gives local investors the chance to reinvest in their hometown communities.

Emergence of wealthy angels: During the past 20 years, a huge number of St. Louis-based Fortune 500 companies have been acquired, including Anheuser-Busch, McDonnell Douglas, Trans World Airlines, and Ralcorp. Many executives at these companies experienced massive buyouts, and some are looking to reinvest those windfall profits into local startups. My hope is that today’s entrepreneurs in St. Louis will choose to reinvest their capital and create a sustainable ecosystem like the ones seen in Silicon Valley, Boston, and Seattle.

Mentoring assistance from entrepreneurs: It’s crucial for business owners who’ve experienced substantial success to give back to their communities by mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs. This has been the backbone of Silicon Valley’s success, and St. Louis is starting to follow suit with several formal programs.

Attracting entrepreneurial talent: Local St. Louis accelerators are wisely offering modest prizes and grants to companies that move their operations. Arch Grants and Capital Innovators have both been successful in convincing entrepreneurs to relocate to St. Louis for $50,000 worth of funding. The quality of each of their respective classes of startups continues to improve, elevating the local talent level for an incredibly modest investment per company.

Emphasizing education: New York City recently began highlighting the importance of computer science to students at a very young age. This is a prime example of how to integrate real-world, employable skills into the educational culture of a city. My hope is that St. Louis officials take note of Mayor Bloomberg’s efforts in this regard.
As I’ve watched the recent growth and success of St. Louis and its entrepreneurs, I’ve realized these lessons can be applied to small- and mid-sized cities across the country. While Silicon Valley may always reign supreme in the startup world, it shouldn’t be seen as the only viable option for entrepreneurs and investors. If other cities organize and pull on all the entrepreneurial levers at once, they too can participate in the job creation process happening here in St. Louis. It’s amazing how far a city can come in six years.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/01/us/in ... hools.html

In Missouri, Race Complicates a Transfer to Better Schools

ST. CHARLES, Mo. — When the Missouri Supreme Court upheld a law in June allowing students from failing school districts to transfer to good ones, Harriett Gladney saw a path to a better education for her 9-year-old daughter.

But then she watched television news clips from a town hall meeting for the Francis Howell School District, the predominantly white district here that her daughter’s mostly black district, Normandy, had chosen as a transfer site. Normandy, in neighboring St. Louis County, has one of the worst disciplinary rates in the state, and Francis Howell parents angrily protested the transfer of Normandy students across the county line, some yelling that their children could be stabbed and that the district’s academic standards would slip.

“When I saw them screaming and hollering like they were crazy, I thought to myself, ‘Oh my God, this is back in Martin Luther King days,’ ” said Ms. Gladney, 45. “ ‘They’re going to get the hoses out. They’re going to be beating our kids and making sure they don’t get off the school bus.’ ”

Public schools here in the St. Louis region, as in many other metropolitan areas across the country, have struggled for decades to bridge a wide achievement gap between school districts — a divide that often runs along racial and socioeconomic lines. By affirming the right to transfer students out of failing school districts, the State Supreme Court opened the doors for hundreds of families to cross the lines and move their children into better schools.

But the ensuing contention has shown that the process remains a tricky one, complicated by class, race, geography and social perceptions.

“Most folks are for having equal opportunity, having good schools for everyone,” said Patrick J. Flavin, an assistant professor of political science at Baylor University who recently wrote a report on the black-white achievement gap in schools. “We’re all about that in the abstract. You start to see support levels drop when it turns into a real-life thing.”

In 2010, nearly three out of four black students and four out of five Latino students in the United States attended schools made up mostly of minority students, according to a report published last year by the Civil Rights Project at the University of California, Los Angeles.

More than half of the 28 public school districts — excluding charter and specialty districts — in the city of St. Louis, St. Louis County and St. Charles County combined are at least 75 percent black or white. Of the nine districts that are at least three-quarters white, all but one scored a perfect 14 on the state’s performance rating scale. The six mostly black districts scored an average of 7.

Racial segregation has lingered in this region, the result of generations of discriminatory zoning and real estate practices. Efforts to reverse it have included a court-ordered program that has been busing thousands of black St. Louis students to mostly white suburban schools since the early 1980s.

The separate transfer law, which the Legislature passed two decades ago, did not directly target segregation, but it addresses the issue in practice. Unaccredited districts, so classified based on a state performance formula, must designate a district to which they will send students wishing to transfer. Parents may choose to send their children to a different accredited district, but then they will be responsible for their own transportation.

The transfer law was invoked several years back when Normandy, which is 97 percent black, took in students from another predominantly black district that eventually dissolved. Supporters of the law noted that there was no outcry when students from that mostly black district were transferring to Normandy, which at that time had been accredited.

Normandy, Riverview Gardens and the Kansas City Public Schools are currently the state’s only unaccredited districts. Those districts will remain responsible for paying for students who have transferred.

“I think they’re already killing schools like ours indirectly because they’re taking the resources,” Ty McNichols, the Normandy superintendent, said of the law. “It’s going to negatively impact us because of the financial side.”

Educators and parents also argue that the law could leave students facing instability because they would have to return to their home district if schools regained their accreditation.

Many administrators and parents raised concerns of crowded classes and of teachers having to slow down to allow students from struggling districts to catch up. Some school districts are setting class-size policies, but it is unclear whether they would legally be able to refuse transfer students even if they reach the capacity they set.

Normandy and Riverview Gardens, also in St. Louis County, have each received transfer requests from about 1,000 students. Riverview Gardens administrators chose a second district, Kirkwood, to bus their students to, because their first choice, Mehlville, said it could not accommodate all of the transfers.

Some parents have criticized the law for not giving taxpayers a say in what happens in their own districts and accused the state of abandoning the unaccredited districts instead of working to improve them.

“We have been made like we’re going to stand on the steps the first day of school and spit on them,” said Andrea Stopke, 35, who has three children at Francis Howell and started an online petition to change the transfer law. “That’s not the case. We are going to welcome these kids and we’re going to help them. But because we’re doing that it doesn’t mean that something doesn’t need to be done to fix it.”

For decades, St. Louis’s urban population has been dwindling, often because parents seek better schools for their children in the suburbs. That was the case for many parents in the Francis Howell district, who insisted that their opposition had nothing to do with race, but with school performance data and news reports that painted Normandy as the state’s most dangerous district.

“I think that any time you disturb a culture — you’re bringing in a variable that is unknown — I think it has the ability to create some unrest because you don’t know how the variable’s going to play out in the culture you already have,” said Pam Sloan, the Francis Howell superintendent.

But some Francis Howell parents have said that the transfer students could bring much-needed diversity to their district, and some argued that concerns were overblown because the transfer program would attract mostly good students.

“I don’t really see gang-related kids busing themselves an hour to go to St. Charles to sell drugs and pick fights,” Chris Mellor, 45, who has three children in the Francis Howell district, said as he stood on the deck of a pool in his subdivision of multistory brick-and-siding houses.

But Joseph Zakrzewski, 51, who has one child in the Francis Howell district and another who recently graduated, said he thought that some “troublemakers” would be among the transfers, and that Normandy students might struggle to keep pace academically.

“Their A and B kids are probably going to be our C and D kids,” he said.

For Patrice McHaskell, who is black, the decision to transfer four of her children from the Normandy district to the Francis Howell district was personal. From fifth grade through high school, she rode about an hour on a bus each morning from her north St. Louis home to a mostly white suburban district.

The experience, she explained, was life-changing. Ms. McHaskell, 39, said she even became friends with a boy who was part of a racist group called the Skullheads. They bonded in shop class, collaborating on a project to build a bench and a birdhouse.

“Having that, being able to have the diversity, being around different cultures and everything,” she said, “has taught me how to handle the world.”
Should We Be Thrilled or Disappointed by St. Louis's New Highway Park?
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-a ... park/6420/

On Friday, a group of officials including new transportation secretary Anthony Foxx broke ground on a park being built over Interstate 70 in St. Louis — an effort not surprisingly called "Park over the Highway." The project's purpose is to overcome half a century of poor planning and reconnect the downtown area with the iconic Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River. If the completed job even partly approaches the beauty of the design renderings, it may well have been worth the wait:

The "Park over the Highway" plan is just one part of a broad effort to reduce the barriers between the Arch grounds and downtown St. Louis by late 2015 [PDF]. Other phases involve re-routing roads, laying an extensive groundwork of pedestrian and bike paths, and generally upgrading the landscape. The entire $380-million renovation is being funded by a mixture of public money (federal grants and a voter-approved local sales tax) and private contributions (via the CityArchRiver foundation).

For these reasons, officials are looking at St. Louis as a model for cities around the country to emulate. For starters, the "Park over the Highway" approach (known locally as "the lid") offers a possible approach for reducing the impact of urban interstates that have severed downtowns from their waterfronts. More broadly, the combined funding structure may offer a way to improve urban parks in an era of diminishing public money.

But not everyone agrees that St. Louis is making clear progress. On the contrary, some local observers see the "the lid" as a bandage for the urban interstate, when what's really needed is reconstructive surgery. Rather than toss a green carpet over I-70, they would prefer to knock down the highway completely and construct grade-level boulevards in its place — truly integrating city and riverfront. And, to be fair, their renderings are pretty impressive, too.

The push to remove I-70 has been growing for years. The state transportation department found that re-routing this portion of the interstate was very possible, since most vehicles on the highway go around the city. Writing at Next City in April, city alderman Scott Ogilvie pointed out that nearly every public comment about the current "Park over the Highway" project supported further study of the I-70 demolition.

That study was indeed set in motion in mid-2012, but the results never appeared as scheduled last December. This June, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that officials no longer believe there's enough planning money to give the idea full consideration. Boulevard proponent Alex Ihnen, writing at the blog Next STL, appeared resigned to the fact that the chance for any real conversation about tearing down the highway might have passed — at least for the moment, if not longer.

Down the road, as it were, those plans could be revived. The Missouri Department of Transportation says the current "Park over the Highway" project does not preclude the removal of I-70, should local officials choose to reconsider that vision in the future. For its part, MDOT argues the lid project not only satisfies the city's primary aim — "to ease both pedestrian and bike flow from downtown into the Arch grounds" — but does so with widespread support.

For sure, it's hard to call it a loss when a city builds a lush and inviting park over an urban interstate, but that's not the same as calling it a total win. Instead, what's happening in St. Louis may be better described as progress with a stumble. That doesn't mean other cities shouldn't see St. Louis as a model for addressing the problems of an urban interstate, but it does mean they also shouldn't forget to see it as a caution.
Forum Rules and Tolerances (http://urbanstl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=2036)

urbanstlouis wrote:
If you are referencing an article and don't have express permission to post the entire article, then please only post a summary (or key paragraph) and a link to the article. Simply said, do not repost an entire article. If you decide to post a key paragraph from the article, you must post a link to the article as well as mention the title, author and source.


JuanHamez, maybe your post could look something like this:

Should We Be Thrilled or Disappointed by St. Louis's New Highway Park?
http://www.theatlanticcities.com/jobs-and-economy/2013/08/whats-better-turning-urban-highway-park/6420/
By Eric Jaffe of the Atlantic Cities
On Friday, a group of officials including new transportation secretary Anthony Foxx broke ground on a park being built over Interstate 70 in St. Louis — an effort not surprisingly called "Park over the Highway." The project's purpose is to overcome half a century of poor planning and reconnect the downtown area with the iconic Gateway Arch and the Mississippi River.
Comment I intend to make in the piece comment section:

One thing the author may have missed is that the road under the lid will no longer be I-70 soon. I-70 will instead be diverted across the new I-70 Mississippi River bridge (Newly named the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge) to be opened in 2014 just North of downtown. The stretch under the lid will then just be for local traffic. Hence, a lot of people have suggested that we just remove that depressed highway stretch between downtown and the Arch in favor of a cheaper, more narrow, grade-level boulevard with space left over for restaurants and parkland.
My understanding is the road under the lid will become an extension of I-44.

It appears many of the highway signs in the area are already ready for this change with a metal covering over the 44 sign.
I hate it when we get negative national attention:

Why the Health Care Law Scares the G.O.P.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/busin ... e-gop.html

Our backwards state government has been singled out to the country as an example of petty politics causing real economic damage to the tune of billions of dollars. This is currently one of the top viewed articles on the NYT.

I mean what the hell? The federal government was offering billions of dollars of free money to the state and we turned it down, over what? A futile attempt at maintaining relevance of a radical party?
With these kinds of Missourah stories, Kansas City, Missouri is lucky to have "Kansas" in its city's name. Some people tend to think the whole city is in Kansas. Lucky them even though Kansas does sometimes have ratchet policies and laws.

But the sad thing is that most people against "Obamacare" are only against it because Obama's name is associated with it. When called by its actual name, The Affordable Care Act, people are more accepting of it.

And the people rejecting "Obamacare" tend to be the one's who need it the most. Sad, sad, sad.
arch city wrote:
With these kinds of Missourah stories, Kansas City, Missouri is lucky to have "Kansas" in its city's name. Some people tend to think the whole city is in Kansas. Lucky them even though Kansas does sometimes have ratchet policies and laws.

But the sad thing is that most people against "Obamacare" are only against it because Obama's name is associated with it. When called by its actual name, The Affordable Care Act, people are more accepting of it.

And the people rejecting "Obamacare" tend to be the one's who need it the most. Sad, sad, sad.


I think it was CNBC who just conducted a poll with 46% of respondents against Obamacare, but 37% against the Affordable Care Act.
^ Well who would really be against affordable care? Anything with the name Obama in it will typically split across party lines.
innov8ion wrote:
^ Well who would really be against affordable care? Anything with the name Obama in it will typically split across party lines.


^Apparently 37-46% of the populace.
JuanHamez wrote:
I hate it when we get negative national attention:

Why the Health Care Law Scares the G.O.P.
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/02/busin ... e-gop.html

Our backwards state government has been singled out to the country as an example of petty politics causing real economic damage to the tune of billions of dollars. This is currently one of the top viewed articles on the NYT.


An hour after you posted this, CBS Evening News had a report on this topic of the coverage gap featuring a woman from Missouri. Regardless of how one feels about Obamacare/ACA, if Missouri doesn't expand Medicaid BJC is going to be hurting.
WaPo covers the impact of the federal shut-down on Saint Louis federal employees:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/ ... ml?hpid=z1
Here's the CBSnews story. Sen John Lamping is interviewed.

http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50156334n
As large as the st louis hospitals are, you'd think they would have some people to influence these types of things.
Heartless. I feel bad for that woman in the CBS story. Missourah should be ashamed of itself. Missouri has some of the worst public health policies in the country - on the state and local level.

In the meantime, those same MO politicians still get their paychecks, kickbacks from the lobbyists and outside ventures as well as their health insurance paid for mostly by taxpayers; but the low man on the totem pole is screwed with no health care, could die because of a lack of health care and might have to apply food stamps to keep from going broke.

When people start leaving the state for surrounding states just to get healthcare, then what? Missouri would probably open the door for them to leave.

Sometimes it seems like Missouri is disintegrating into Mississippi and Louisiana.

Read: Study Ranks Missouri's Overall Health 8th Worst in Nation
flipz wrote:
As large as the st louis hospitals are, you'd think they would have some people to influence these types of things.

Missourah, with the Republicans in office, has grown to be more anti-St. Louis.

When Missouri doesn't listen to the Missouri Hospital Association and various other health care associations - including large institutions such as BJC - there's a serious dearth of understanding and heart by State politicians.
Some envy and love from NYC for the Cardinals:

House Of Cardinals; Is St. Louis America’s Team?
http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2013/10/11/ ... icas-team/

And they play in St. Louis, appropriately placed in the middle of the map, like the aorta of baseball. Almost every player, foreign or domestic, preaches the Cardinal Gospel. St. Louis is a special place, they say, the real Field of Dreams, a pastoral wonderland where players are beloved no matter their last plate appearance.

Sometime tonight a blimp will zoom in on a well-lit bowl in Missouri, swathed in red shirts, jerseys, sweaters and caps, politely cheering, never jeering, their beloved Cardinals.

And New Yorkers will look longingly toward St. Louis. Not that we will ever admit it.
This billboard on I-44 near Lebanon calling for seccession and creating a country of TX-LA-MO-MI-OK is awesome!

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2013/1 ... -missouri/

The genius behind this obviously has a great understanding of geography! And a couple other questions come to mind, such as "What the heck did Arkansas do wrong that they don't get to join this super-awesome new nation?" and "They're actually planning on welcoming Saint Louis into this paradise?"

The sad reality is that many think of Missouri as a backwards hell-hole and this kind of thing is becoming commonplace. Like Saint Louis trying to redefine the crime stats, maybe we can figure out a way to lower Missouri's exceptionally high "doofus" rating.

edit: oops.... not quite Saint Louis per se in the national media.
^ I agree, even though Missouri has gone further to the right in the past decade or so. It still isn't as red as its national perception and it definitely isn't as red as the states it gets frequently lumped in with. There is a small of people in Missouri that are fighting hard to keep things stagnant here, because they know one economic or population boom could easily turn the state from slightly red to decidedly blue. Just my thoughts.
I hear a lot of complaints about the "hillbillies of Missurah" dragging down our metro in perception and in reality. The solution to this is education. If we really think they're uneducated, we should open new colleges and universities or significantly expand existing ones to educate them and elevate them out of poverty, or we're guilty of being the insular and stuck up city people that they accuse us of being.

As I mentioned in another thread, retention is a major issue in this metro area. I saw an article in the Post Dispatch recently about recruitment efforts that universities as far away as Oklahoma and Wisconsin are directing at our metro to attract St. Louis students. Every student lost in this way is somebody that will be much less likely to come back to our region. I visited a relative on the east coast who is shopping for high schools and compared their graduation lists. It seems like for most of these great high schools, 90% of students ended up staying in state and at least 80% within an hour or two of the city where they grew up. This is real retention of the best young minds and futures.

Another interesting idea is that universities and colleges are the best long term stewards of cities and neighborhoods that exist. Corporations, while great, can't be trusted in this role because they move to where the money is or they eventually go out of business. Detroit and St. Louis found out about this the hard way. Individuals also don't expect to live in a particular neighborhood for a very long time anymore. In contrast, universities invest with the assumption that they will exist in that spot for an infinite amount of time and try to improve the area accordingly. Universities also continuously attract a flow of young people to a region and many of them end up settling in the area where they spend their 20s. Much anger has been directed at SLU but to be honest, if it didn't exist, St. Louis would probably be in the same spot that Detroit is in today. What if there had been a university in North City? Or downtown? Or East St. Louis? Its certainly not too late and with land as cheap as it is, perhaps now is the best time that there ever will be.

As somebody said in another thread, we needed these institutions 50 years ago. It will take decades before any new college opened here will gain national prominence but its better to start the clock ticking today than 30 years from now.