November 6, 2006
St. Louis:The Democrats' ParadiseBy Timothy Birdnow
St. Louis has been much in the spotlight of late with the World Series victory of the Cardinals turning attention to the Gateway City. Unfortunately the City has also gotten some less flattering attention; it has been declared the most dangerous place in America, and a massive voter registration fraud has been uncovered.
St. Louis has been controlled by Democrats for decades, and is a model of the success of liberal Democratic policies. They have worked well to keep the City under the control of the Democrats, and make it a rich source of "votes" for close statewide races in this important swing state.
With the elections being held tomorrow, perhaps we should examine this Democrat Promised Land more closely, to see exactly what we are bargaining for if we allow the Republicans to go down to defeat in the federal legislative branch.
I live and work in the City of St. Louis. There is no greater advocate for this community than I. St. Louis is a place blessed with a rich history and noble heritage, with beautiful buildings and vibrant communities, with art and science and a wonderful mix of small town charm and big city style.
However, the City of St. Louis itself is dying, thanks primarily to decades of liberal/Democrat control, which has done everything possible to drive out the upper and middle class citizens and ruined many blessings with which this once great city had been endowed. St. Louis is a classic example of what happens when Democrats and Liberals hold dominion unopposed over a community for a long period of time. It is a Democrat utopia.
So why is it so dysfunctional in most respects?
First look at the way the City is highly functional. Democrats have had complete control of the apparatus of voting here with the expected results. Vote fraud has been rampant for as long as I can remember, going back to the election of 1980 and before. Considering the fact that a Republican couldn't get elected trash collector here, it is absolutely amazing the amount of fraud which occurs. Remember the election of 2000 when 247,135 of 258,532 adults registered to vote? This 95.6% voter registration is a ridiculous number, clearly illustrating a massive effort to defraud.
In fact, deceased Alderman Albert 'Red' Villa was registered, as was a Springer Spaniel named Ritzy Mekler. A Judge friendly to the Clay dynasty in north St. Louis ordered that the polls be kept open late (allowing the busloads of voters to be shuttled from polling place to polling place) in a redux of then—Governor Kit Bond`s re—election campaign. A couple of days before the elections, future Congressman Lacy Clay was quoted as saying in 2000,
Strangely, the polling places were flooded with voters, many of whom looked suspiciously like people seen at other polling stations. Anyone having trouble with their registration was sent to the Board of Election Commissioners to vote (no questions asked), where they were given a ballot. Remember, the election board is dominated by city Democrats.
Now in 2006, of course, we have the flap over ACORN. This very partisan ``non partisan group`` turned in 1492 fraudulent voter registration cards in which at least three dead people were registering to vote here in our Democrat paradise. In fact, last year we were declared the 4th worst city for vote fraud. We`re just going to have to work harder if we want to be #1.
It disgusts me to have my franchise diluted with fraudulent votes, but that`s how we do things here in the `Lou. "If you don't like it, leave!" So we are implicitly told.
Then, too, St. Louis is blessed with one of the highest crime rates in the country, recently receiving the honor of being the most dangerous city in America. Lenient sentencing of criminals, a strong market for crystal meth and other drugs, numerous abandoned buildings, weak truancy enforcement, and a plethora of social services create a climate conducive to crime. The large influx of people from New Orleans (another liberal Mecca) definitely helped spike the crime rate to elevate St. Louis to her exalted position as Queen of Crime.
Years ago, there were certain areas of the city which were heavily crime riddled, and the City Fathers and Mothers decided that too many people were packed together, which they believed increased the crime rate. So the City rewrote the building codes, reducing the number of occupants permissible in a building. They also tore down some of the worst areas—such as McKree Town. It never occurred to these Keystone Cops that this would simply spread the criminals over a wider area. Now, instead of several enclosed crime zones the entire city is the gangbanger`s playground.
St. Louis has been one of the fastest shrinking major cities in America for a long time (the population loss has subsided in the last couple of years, largely because anyone who could leave has left.) But during the last 50 years, St. Louis has been shrinking faster than a bottle of scotch at a Kennedy family gathering. According to Encarta MSN:
Why? Because liberal policies such as the City Earnings Tax make it expensive to live or work in the City. I remember when Francis Slay was running for Mayor and a reporter asked him if he would consider removing the Earnings Tax. He responded that the City could not afford the loss of revenue, and that the question of what the City can do for business should be replaced with what can businesses do for the City! Mayor Slay is completely ignorant (as are most good Democrats) of the fundamental principles of economics. He sees government as the first priority, with business serving at their pleasure. This illustrates the damage the earnings tax does to businesses, and why so many companies won't locate inside the city limits.
Yet 'we can't afford the loss of tax dollars!' remains the battle cry of those who want to retuan the crippling earnings tax.
City building codes also are partly to blame for population loss. Mayor Slay, thinking he could imitate the model of Rudy Guilliani, began a more aggressive program of inspections and demands for work on properties. But St. Louis isn't New York, and many of the rental buildings are owned by working and middle—class people with limited funds.
Property values being so much higher in New York, and the underlying demand for housing stronger, it was feasible to make such demands and have hopes of them being met. But not here; many property owners simply defaulted and left their buildings abandoned, or deeded them to the city. St. Louis had to pass a law prohibiting deeding property to the city because of all the abandoned structures coming under city ownership. As a result, many of the city's poor found they could no longer find property to rent, and they either moved in with relatives or obtained some sort of rental assistance. With a large pool of poor seeking housing, many working class areas degenerated into slums, and many of the working class people simply left the city.
No Democrats' paradise can afford to ignore education. For years the abysmal City schools in St. Louis have been in danger of total collapse. The State of Missouri has made contingency plans to take them over when they do. Why would any family want to relocate to St. Louis, where they would have to pay for private school out of pocket (while paying taxes to support the city's failed system)?
The entire north side of the city resembles Sarajevo after the Bosnian War, with crumbling and abandoned buildings, or blocks upon blocks of vacant lots. The south side fared a bit better because of, well, Bosnians and Albanians who were relocated here as refugees, and who rebuiltsome of the neighborhoods. Unfortunately, many of them have tired of the crime and squalor and are moving out to the 'burbs.
Downtown is dark at night and the homeless wander the streets, thanks to a liberal minister who operates a major homeless shelter near City Hall. Personally, I never feel safe when I go downtown, and the exorbitant price for parking acts as a powerful disincentive to go. (The City does quite well with parking meters and the taxes they charge commercial parking lots.) The City has built a light—rail system which extends to East St. Louis (America`s first third world city) and the east side criminals can now prey on a wealthier clientele. They've also opened the famous Eads Bridge to foot traffic, so more muggers and rapists can come to football games.
I love St. Louis, but this city has serious, almost unfixable problems. These problems are right now unfixable because the Democrats own this place, and they have turned it into their vision of Eden. They have run one of America`s best places into the ground, fostering crime, poverty, and decay. This is a model for anyone who wants to see what Democrat control can do.
Tomorrow, we will be heading for the polls to decide who will control Congress. We had better think carefully. Do we want to see America run by people who have made such a mess in the places where they reign? Do we want to turn the entire country into a New Orleans or St. Louis?
Timothy Birdnow is the proprietor of Birdblog, and an occasional contributor to American Thinker.