St. Louis – A Heartless City

What happened to St. Louis' moral compass? St. Louis has become a vile, corrupt, cruel, heartless, racist, and violent city. Collectively, we should be ashamed.

Next week, a group of millionaires is asking the City of St. Louis to vote for a sales tax increase to give them $60 million so they can build a soccer stadium that will further enrich them. 

Three days before that election, a homeless shelter that has served St. Louis' homeless population for four decades is being forced to close. 

When millionaires beg, we hold elections when the poor and homeless beg we get offended and pass ordinances to prevent them from begging. When the billionaire owner of the Rams wanted to leave St. Louis, we spent $16 million dollars trying to give him money he didn't even want. 

As Rev. Larry Rice mentioned, the homeless people he serves come because they were turned away from other shelters and have nowhere else to go. The video below serves as a reminder about the basic respect we owe to one another.

I'm not a particularly religious person, the bible verse below is an additional reminder to treat each person, no matter their station in life or circumstances, with basic humanity. Matthew 25:40-45, English Standard Version (ESV).

  1. And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers,[a] you did it to me.’
  2. “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.
  3. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,
  4. I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’
  5. Then they also will answer, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to you?’
  6. Then he will answer them, saying, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.’

What's Your Special Talent?

Do you have an extraordinary skill or talent? If not, you might be the next victim of heartlessness.

New and emerging technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), Autonomous Vehicles, Robotics, 3D Printing and other innovations will continue to strip away jobs. A few years ago, it was predicted that by the year 2025, half of all jobs will be eliminated by automation. Your job may not be as safe as you think. 

My wife and I were both unemployed at the same time. Legal research skills helped us defend against predatory creditors and lawsuits. Otherwise, my family, years ago, could have been counted among the millions of people who became homeless during the financial crisis of 2008, which is still affecting families today. AI is now performing some functions of doctors, lawyers and other professions that were previous assumed immune from technology.

A 2015 report by the PEW Charitable Trust, “The Precious State of Family Balance Sheets,” indicates that the majority of American households (55 percent) are savings-limited, meaning they can replace less than one month of their income through liquid savings.

Low-income families are particularly unprepared for emergencies. The typical household at the bottom of the income ladder has the equivalent of less than two weeks’ worth of income in checking and savings accounts and cash at home.

Despite the studies like the PEW report, the majority of people still believe in the myths concerning homelessness: that most homeless individuals are alcoholics, drug addicts, thieves or mentally unstable. The homeless often are your former neighbors and under the right circumstances could one day be you!

Homeless Rights

Use of the law that criminalizes the homeless generally takes on one of five forms:

  1. Restricting the public areas in which sitting or sleeping are allowed.
  2. Removing the homeless from particular areas.
  3. Prohibiting begging.
  4. Selective enforcement of laws.
  5. Selective creation of laws.

Being homeless is not a crime. People should not be penalized because of their misfortune or by exercising their basic right to survive which might include begging or sleeping outside.

The United States Supreme Court implied an aggressive begging ordinance unconstitutional in Thayer v. City of Worcester. The ordinances prohibited “aggressive begging, soliciting and panhandling in public places.” (Under the ordinances’ definition, virtually all begging would be viewed as aggressive.)

The ordinances also created twenty-foot buffer zones throughout the city that prohibited activities from handing out leaflets to selling newspapers to selling Girl Scout cookies. The zones also covered all the most desirable areas to sell a product or deliver a message.

The court declared the City of Worcester’s ordinances regarding begging, soliciting and panhandling unconstitutional in their entirety and also declared unconstitutional that part of the ordinance regarding the restriction the ordinance placed on activities on traffic islands.

St. Louis City has a similar aggressive begging ordinance 15.44, that may also be unconstitutional.

In Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional an attempt to ban the display of content-based outdoor signs without a permit.

Six charts that illustrate the divide between rural and urban America

Image 20170308 24192 1xrq31w

The divide is in the data. American Community Survey (ACS) 2011-2015 5 year estimates, Table S1810, CC BY

Editor’s note: We’ve all heard of the great divide between life in rural and urban America. But what are the factors that contribute to these differences? We asked sociologists, economists, geographers and historians to describe the divide from different angles. The data paint a richer and sometimes surprising picture of the U.S. today. The Conversation

1. Poverty is higher in rural areas

Discussions of poverty in the United States often mistakenly focus on urban areas. While urban poverty is a unique challenge, rates of poverty have historically been higher in rural than urban areas. In fact, levels of rural poverty were often double those in urban areas throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

While these rural-urban gaps have diminished markedly, substantial differences persist. In 2015, 16.7 percent of the rural population was poor, compared with 13.0 percent of the urban population overall – and 10.8 percent among those living in suburban areas outside of principal cities.

Contrary to common assumptions, substantial shares of the poor are employed. Approximately 45 percent of poor, prime-age (25-54) householders worked at least part of 2015 in rural and urban areas alike.

The link between work and poverty was different in the past. In the early 1980s, the share of the rural poor that was employed exceeded that in urban areas by more than 15 percent. Since then, more and more poor people in rural areas are also unemployed – a trend consistent with other patterns documented below.

That said, rural workers continue to benefit less from work than their urban counterparts. In 2015, 9.8 percent of rural, prime-age working householders were poor, compared with 6.8 percent of their urban counterparts. Nearly a third of the rural working poor faced extreme levels of deprivation, with family incomes below 50 percent of the poverty line, or approximately US$12,000 for a family of four.

Large shares of the rural workforce also live in economically precarious circumstances just above the poverty line. Nearly one in five rural working householders lived in families with incomes less than 150 percent of the poverty line. That’s nearly five percentage points more than among urban workers (13.5 percent).

According to recent research, rural-urban gaps in working poverty cannot be explained by rural workers’ levels of education, industry of employment or other similar factors that might affect earnings. Rural poverty – at least among workers – cannot be fully explained by the characteristics of the rural population. That means reducing rural poverty will require attention to the structure of rural economies and communities.

Brian Thiede, Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography, Pennsylvania State University


2. Most new jobs aren’t in rural areas

It’s easy to see why many rural Americans believe the recession never ended: For them, it hasn’t.

Rural communities still haven’t recovered the jobs they lost in the recession. Census data show that the rural job market is smaller now – 4.26 percent smaller, to be exact – than it was in 2008. In these data are shuttered coal mines on the edges of rural towns and boarded-up gas stations on rural main streets. In these data are the angers, fears and frustrations of much of rural America.

This isn’t a new trend. Mechanization, environmental regulations and increased global competition have been slowly whittling away at resource extraction economies and driving jobs from rural communities for most of the 20th century. But the fact that what they’re experiencing now is simply the cold consequences of history likely brings little comfort to rural people. If anything, it only adds to their fear that what they once had is gone and it’s never coming back.

Nor is it likely that the slight increase in rural jobs since 2013 brings much comfort. As the resource extraction economy continues to shrink, most of the new jobs in rural areas are being created in the service sector. So Appalachian coal miners and Northwest loggers are now stocking shelves at the local Walmart.

The identity of rural communities used to be rooted in work. The signs at the entrances of their towns welcomed visitors to coal country or timber country. Towns named their high school mascots after the work that sustained them, like the Jordan Beetpickers in Utah or the Camas Papermakers in Washington. It used to be that, when someone first arrived at these towns, they knew what people did and that they were proud to do it.

That’s not so clear anymore. How do you communicate your communal identity when the work once at the center of that identity is gone, and calling the local high school football team the “Walmart Greeters” simply doesn’t have the same ring to it?

Looking at rural jobs data, is it so hard to understand why many rural people are nostalgic for the past and fearful for the future?

Steven Beda, Instructor of History, University of Oregon


3. Disabilities are more common in rural areas

Disability matters in rural America. Data from the American Community Survey, an annual government poll, reveal that disability is more prevalent in rural counties than their urban counterparts.

The rate of disability increases from 11.8 percent in the most urban metropolitan counties to 15.6 percent in smaller micropolitan areas and 17.7 percent in the most rural, or noncore, counties.

While rural-urban differences in disability have been analyzed previously, researchers have had little opportunity to further explore this disparity, as updated data on rural disability were unavailable until recently. Fortunately, the census released updated new county-level disability estimates in 2014, ending a 14-year knowledge gap.

The release of these estimates has also allowed us to build a picture of geographic variations in disability across the nation. Disability rates vary significantly across the U.S. Although the national trend of higher disability rates in rural counties persists at the regional and even divisional level, it is clear that disability in rural America is not homogeneous. Rates of rural disability range from around 15 percent in the Great Plains to 21 percent in the central South.

 

 

 

 

Data reveal notable differences between rural and urban America. American Community Survey (ACS) 2011-2015 5 year estimates, Table S1810, CC BY

A variety of factors may be behind these regional and rural differences, including differences in demographics, economic patterns, health and service access and state disability policies.

While this survey provides a glimpse into the national prevalence of disability and reveals a persistent rural-urban disparity, it is important to note its limitations. Disability is the result of an interaction between an individual and his or her environment. Therefore, these data do not directly measure disability, as they measure only physical function and do not consider environmental factors such as inaccessible housing.

Lillie Greiman and Andrew Myers, Project Directors at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana; Christiane von Reichert, Professor of Geography, University of Montana


4. Rural areas are surprisingly entrepreneurial

The United States’ continuing economic dominance is perhaps most attributable to the very smallest elements of its economy: its entrepreneurial start-ups. Nearly 700,000 new job-creating businesses open each year. That’s almost 2,000 every day, each helping to create new market niches in the global economy.

Most people mistakenly believe these pioneering establishments occur in overwhelmingly in metropolitan areas, such as in the now-mythic start-up culture of Silicon Valley.

Yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, it is in fact nonmetropolitan counties that have higher rates of self-employed business proprietors than their metropolitan counterparts.

Furthermore, the more rural the county, the higher its level of entrepreneurship. Some of these counties have a farming legacy – perhaps the most entrepreneurial of occupations – but farmers represent less than one-sixth of business owners in nonmetro areas. Even for nonfarm enterprises, rural entrepreneurship rates are higher.

The reality is that rural areas have to be entrepreneurial, as industries with concentrations of wage and salary jobs are necessarily scarce.

Start-up businesses have notoriously difficult survival prospects. So it is perhaps even more surprising that relatively isolated nonmetropolitan businesses are on average more resilient than their metro cousins, despite the considerable economic advantages of urban areas, which boast a denser networks of workers, suppliers and markets. The resilience of rural start-ups is perhaps due to more cautious business practices in areas with few alternative employment options.

This resilience is also remarkably persistent over time, consistently being at least on par with metro start-ups, and regularly having survival rates up to 10 percentage points higher than in metro areas over 1990-2007.

Stephan Weiler, Professor of Economics, Colorado State University; Tessa Conroy and Steve Deller, Professors of Economics, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Brian Thiede, Assistant Professor of Rural Sociology and Demography, Pennsylvania State University; Lillie Greiman, Research Associate, The University of Montana; Stephan Weiler, Professor of Economics, Colorado State University; Steven C. Beda, Instructor of History, University of Oregon, and Tessa Conroy, Economic Development Specialist, University of Wisconsin-Madison


This article republished with permission under license from The Conversation. Read the original article.

$60 Million in Public Money For a Soccer Stadium? NO!

Yesterday, St. Louis MLS owners and the City of St. Louis announce charitable partnerships. How insulting! Bribing us with our own money? 

If the voters approve giving millionaires $60 million dollars of public money, those millionaires will give the voters $5 million of their own money back over a 20 year period ($250,000 per year). There were allegations of corruption during the previous stadium proposal. St. Louis, if you give me $60 million, I'll give $10 million back, and actually do some good with it; how's that for a great deal? 

I played soccer recreationally when I was younger, but nothing organized or for an actual team. When my family moved back into the City of St. Louis, my youngest son attended Lexington Elementary school which had a soccer program that he played in which I believe was funded by a sports or soccer foundation. I like soccer and I certainly do not have a problem with professional soccer returning to St. Louis. However, there are plenty of better ways to spend $60 million dollars than on a soccer stadium that the City would have no ownership interest in. St. Louis already owns a stadium and an arena and should maintain those properly before spending money on someone else's stadium.

The City has much more urgent problems than trying to fund a soccer stadium. The City of St. Louis has one of the highest homicide rates in the country and just recently, a man died after being shot at the Busch Stadium Metro Link stop. Public money needs to be spent on public problems.

Here's my idea for that money. Contact Habitat for Humanity, Rankin, Larry Rice and other organizations involved with the homeless. Every time I go downtown to the St. Louis Public Library, City Hall, Municipal or Circuit Court buildings, you can't help be see the tragic sight of homeless people with nothing to do and nowhere to go.

St. Louis homeless encampment downtown on Locust near 15th street.

According to the 2015 homeless census, there were more than 1,300 homeless people in St. Louis City alone. If I had not developed legal skills, I and my family might have been among them when both my wife and I lost our jobs. Computerization, artificial intelligence, and robotics will take away half of all jobs in the United States, and that estimate might be low. In the future, it won't be an immigrant taking away your job, it will be a computer or a robot. How many paychecks are you away from being homeless? 

Crews of homeless can be trained with the skills to rehab city-owned homes. As those homes are rehabbed, some of the homeless people that participated in the rehab can use sweat equity earned towards rent or home ownership. For example, a rehabbed three bedroom home can house a homeless family or three single men or women each with their own room. They could continue using sweat equity to pay rent while building additional skills that will eventually lead to employment and being able to pay actual rent. 

Once place in sweat equity housing, those new tenants could put those new skills to use as part of a revitalization crew. Those revitalization crews would perform maintenance projects in the neighborhoods where they are placed. Cleaning up vacant lots and properties, planting and maintaining urban gardens, assisting with repairs to the homes of elderly, disabled and low-income homeowners.

The homeless population benefits from learning and applying new skills, meaningful employment and the prospect of a decent place to live. The neighborhood benefits from having vacant city-owned property being put back into good use, neighborhood improvement projects and sources of nutritious neighborhood grown produce. 

Once some of the formerly homeless individuals have been stabilized, they would receive assistance with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) paperwork and applications to attend St. Louis Community College, Rankin or other trade schools. 

This is just one example of how I would spend $60 million and how public money can and should be spent. However, public money should never be spent simply to make rich men richer. When you hear politicians fighting hard to give your tax money to rich men, you need to replace those politicians with others who fight hard to make your tax dollars enrich your community rather than individuals.

Every Republican is not Your Enemy, Every Democrat is not Your Friend

The first African-American candidate nominated by a political party to run for President of the United States, George Edwin Taylor, had been both a republican and democrat. Taylor belonged to a group whose motto was “Race first; then party.” As a group of people, African-Americans politically have become too predictable and are therefore taken for granted.

The three major black democratic candidates for mayor of St. Louis received more than 64% of the total votes cast. Our next mayor easily could have been black. The three black candidates that split the black vote knew that black voters are so predictable that they would not lose their support, even if they collectively cost the black community the mayor's office. 

There is still one a black candidate in the mayor's race. Andrew Jones won the republican primary and will be on the ballot in April. Jones wants to debate Krewson and I want to see that debate. Before this election, I was not familiar with Krewson. Krewson only received 5% of the black vote during the primary election.The fact that she is endorsed by both Slay and the St. Louis Police Union, previously headed by Jeff Roorda, does not make me very comfortable.

Jeffrey Roorda was a Democratic member of the Missouri House of Representatives and has worked in law enforcement for seventeen years. He was a police officer in Arnold, Missouri until 2001, when he was fired for making false statements and filing false reports. Later, he became chief of police in Kimmswick, MO. He was the executive director and a business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association and is currently a city police union representative. 

In St. Louis, some democrats are closet republicans. Republicans understand it's almost impossible for a republican candidate to win, so many republicans disguise themselves as a democrat to win. The democrats at one time were known as the party of the Ku Klux Klan who were described as the military arm of the Democratic Party and are attributed with helping white Democrats regain control of state legislatures throughout the South after the Civil War.

Malcolm X in his "Ballot or the Bullet" speech, explained how dangerous it was for Black folks to throw all their support behind a single political party.

Blacks and the Republican Party

"Heroes of the colored race" Print shows head-and-shoulders portraits of Frederick Douglass, former Republican Senators Blanche Kelso Bruce, and Hiram Rhoades Revels surrounded by scenes of African American life and portraits of Jno. R. Lynch, Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, Ulysses S. Grant, Joseph H. Rainey, Charles E. Nash, John Brown, and Robert Smalls. 1881

Blacks were overwhelmingly republicans until Franklin D. Roosevelt's presidency during the Great Depression. Ironically, FDR's new deal legislation excluded most blacks from benefits, because of a deal made with Southern Democrats. As late as 1960 a third of all African-Americans were still republican.

"First Colored Senator and Representatives in the 41st and 42nd Congress of the United States." (Left to right) Senator Hiram Revels of Mississippi, Representatives Benjamin Turner of Alabama, Robert DeLarge of South Carolina, Josiah Walls of Florida, Jefferson Long of Georgia, Joseph Rainey and Robert B. Elliot of South Carolina.

The Republican party began as an anti-slavery party opposed to the Kansas–Nebraska Act, which opened Kansas and Nebraska Territory to slavery and future admission as slave states, thus implicitly repealing the prohibition on slavery in territory north of 36° 30′ latitude, which had been part of the Missouri Compromise.

Abraham Lincoln became the first Republican President and Southern states began seceding from the union resulting in the Civil War. Since President Lincoln was credited with freeing the slaves and democrats were associated with slavery, Blacks naturally supported the Republican Party. 

George Wallace Effect

In 1952, George Wallace became the Circuit Judge of the Third Judicial Circuit in Alabama. Wallace became known as "the fighting little judge," a nod to his past boxing association. He gained a reputation for fairness regardless of the race of the plaintiff. It was common practice at the time for judges in the area to refer to black lawyers by their first names, while their white colleagues were addressed formally as "Mister". A Black lawyer, J. L. Chestnut said that,

"Judge George Wallace was the most liberal judge that I had ever practiced law in front of. He was the first judge in Alabama to call me 'Mister' in a courtroom."

In 1958, George Wallace ran against John Patterson in his first gubernatorial race. In that Alabama election, Wallace refused to make race an issue, and he declined the endorsement of the Ku Klux Klan. This move won Wallace the support of the NAACP. Patterson, on the other hand, embraced Klan support, and he trounced Wallace.

Wallace reportedly said after the campaign,

"I was out-niggered by John Patterson. And I'll tell you here and now, I will never be out-niggered again." … "I tried to talk about good roads and good schools and all these things that have been part of my career, and nobody listened. And then I began talking about niggers, and they stomped the floor." 

In 1962 Wallace, having realized the power of race as a political tool, ran for governor again—this time as a proponent of segregation. He won by a landslide.

Civil rights protest made many white voters unsympathetic to the movement. After Republicans notice how popular democratic Governor George Wallace's racist rants were all over the country, including the North, some republicans began incorporating those same racist elements into their campaign.

Racist white democrats unhappy with Kennedy, switched to the republican party. Because of Kennedy's perceived support of black issues and Johnson pushing through the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, Black voters became almost exclusively democrat.

In 1968, when George Wallace maintained that there wasn't a dime's worth of difference between the two parties, he may not have known how right he was or why.

The republicans, using the democratic play book, started injecting racist code words rather than overt racist words into their campaigns. John Ehrlichman, President Richard Nixon's domestic policy advisor, made the following statements about the 1968 presidential election, 

"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies, the anti-war left and black people."…"We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news."

Ronald Reagan during his campaign told stories of Cadillac-driving "welfare queens" and "strapping young bucks" buying T-bone steaks with food stamps. George Bush used the infamous Willie Horton ads during his campaign and of course most recently Donald Trump reverted back to overt racist language to win. See the book, "Dog Whistle Politics" for additional information racism used to win elections.

Republicans control all the major Missouri state-level elected offices and the legislature is Republican controlled. A Black Republican mayor under these conditions stands a better chance of working with and getting concessions from the Republican-dominated state government. The republican legislature and governor might even pay closer attention to issues concerning black voters since they would want them to continue voting for other republican candidates.

Use common sense, if you know a particular group of voters will never vote for you, how seriously would you look out for their interests? The opposite is also true. When you know you have the black vote regardless, politicians can make deals without worrying much about the issues affecting the black community. Electing a republican mayor would send a chilling message to democrats that the black vote should no longer be taken for granted.

I am 51 years old and have voted for democrats all of my life. Things have actually gotten worse, it's time to consider a change. In my 51 years, a white person has sat in the Mayor's office except for eight years when Freeman Bosley Jr. and then Clarence Harmon were mayor. I saw changes and real attempts at change in North St. Louis when a Black mayor was in office.

A black mayor is more likely to have friends and relatives in North St. Louis and may care a little more about the issues that affect the black community. However, I don't want to vote for Andrew Jones simply because he's black any more than I want to vote for Krewson just because she's democrat. I want to see a debate and a real discussion about the issues.

As Phillip Agnew, with Dream Defenders stated during the PBS special "America After Ferguson

"It's not a matter of just having a representative … that looks like you, they've got to come from the community, know the issues of the community, and then it's folks in the community that got to remind them every day that we pay your bills and where watching every single day to ensure that the platform on which we elected you on is followed and defend you when those people who seek to calibrate the system and right the system as it's been built seek to come after your for that office" 

Had one of the three major black democratic candidates gotten elected, I would have been voting for a democrat this election. I am extremely disappointed with their lack of unity and vision. Those candidates were divided and conquered. Unfortunately, they couldn't unite and work together so that the black community could support and elect a black democratic candidate in the general election. If they can't work among themselves, how would they ever be able to work with a republican controlled governor and legislature? 

Amazingly, St. Louis media including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis television stations and even the St. Louis American, a Black St. Louis' Newspaper, appear to ignore the fact that a black man is the republican candidate for mayor. Bruce Franks received more press coverage about being a write-in candidate than Andrew Jones received as an actual major party candidate. It's almost as if the press in St. Louis doesn't want to alert the black community that a black republican is in the race for mayor. Andy Karandzieff of Crown Candy received more press coverage for being a republican primary candidate than Jones has received as the republican candidate for mayor. 

St. Louis, which has been dominated by democrats all of my life, has one of the highest homicide rates in the country. The entire North Side was abandoned and left to decay and St. Louis City a reputation for being one of the most racist and segregated cities in the country. How much worse off could St. Louis be under a Republican mayor?

Krewson should at least debate Jones so we can better decide if the white democratic candidate or the Black Republican candidate is the better choice. If Krewson refuses to debate Jones, take that into consideration when you vote.

Will Andrew Jones become St. Louis’ Next Mayor?

Andrew Jones won the March 7th, Republican primary race for mayor and is the only Black candidate still in the running for mayor.

The five black democratic candidates received a total of 67.5% of the vote. Since St. Louis is in one the most racially polarized cities in the country, having a Black republican candidate in the general election might be a game changer.

Before Andrew Jones' victory in the republican primary, I had assumed I would be voting for Larry Rice during the general election, but I am now taking a closer look at Andrew Jones. There's even indication by comments made by Jones concerning the homeless that Jones would be more willing to work together with Larry Rice than the current administration or Krewson.

Who Is Andrew Jones

You may be wondering just who is Andrew Jones? I had the same question, so here's the result of my research.

Andrew Jones is an Executive Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at Southwestern Electric, which distributes electricity from Collinsville to Effingham, Illinois. Jones was born in Cairo, IL in 1960, raised in East St. Louis and has lived in the City of St. Louis for about 30 years, currently in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.

Andrew Jones earned a BS in economics with a minor in business administration from Lincoln University (Jefferson City, MO), and two graduate degrees; an MA in International Business from Webster University, and an MBA from Washington University's Olin School of Business.

Below is a video of a February 22, 2017, primary election event held at the Sheldon Concert Hall where the St. Louis mayoral candidates participated and responded to questions.

If you would like to skip the other candidates response, Andrew Jones responds to questions or makes statements at: 7:53, 10:55, 21:23, 30:46, 34:13, 45:20, 101:10, 109:05, 111:52, 116:45, 121:21, 132:36, and 141:51 in the timeline.

Will Black voters support the White democratic primary winner who only received about 5% of the Black vote during the primary or will they break ranks and support the Black republican candidate. 

I consider myself independent, however, I have voted most often for democratic candidates. Unfortunately, there haven't been many republican candidates that genuinely seemed to have the best interest of the black community at heart. We need a change in St. Louis and a Black republican mayor would certainly bring change. The one thing I know for certain, it couldn't be much worse than it is now, and St. Louis has had democratic leadership I believe for my entire life.

The fact that Krewson was endorsed by Slay and the Police Union doesn't inspire faith that things will be any different under a Krewson administration. A republican mayor might even be able to gain additional favor from the republican governor and legislature and work as partners rather than adversaries. 

For more information about Andrew Jones' views, check out Building St. Louis News which published a series of questions and answers concerning a range of St. Louis issues or visit the Andrew Jones for Mayor website

Black Ego Lost the St. Louis Mayoral Race

The three major black democratic mayoral candidates, Tishaura Jones, Lewis Reed and Antonio French, threw away the best chance St. Louis had of having full black leadership in power positions including control of the police department. The chief of police reports directly to the director of public safety and the director of public safety reports directly to the mayor. Everyone but the candidates themselves seemed to understand that they were splitting the vote.

How is it possible that three intelligent, seasoned politicians didn't understand they would split the black vote so severely that none of them would win? The vote was split even in my own household, which has three registered voters. Although, Tishaura Jones came surprisingly close to Krewson, she still needlessly lost the primary.

Black St. Louis voters turned out in strong support only to be disappointed because our elected officials couldn't work together. Our elected officials need to be smarter than this; the black community has too much to lose. This loss feels like a betrayal. Instead of working together, these candidates created a divide and conquer scenario, and allowed a lesser-known candidate to beat them all. 

These candidates demonstrated they were thinking only about their own political future and not what was best for St. Louis' Black Community or the City of St. Louis in General. Jamilah Nasheed who had officially declared she was running for Mayor, was the only viable black candidate that demonstrated a team spirit and common sense when she withdrew from the race.

The two white democratic candidates had a combined 32.5% of the vote. The three major black candidates had a combined 64.5% of the vote, with Tishaura Jones receiving 30.4. The second and third place black candidates, Reed and French, had a combined 34.1% of the vote, more than the combined totals of the two white candidates. It's almost a statistical certainty that Jones, Reed or French running without the other two major black candidates opposing them would have won. 

The election results are below as reported by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

St. Louis Mayor (Democratic)

222 of 222 precincts reporting (100.0%)

Name Votes Pct.
Jeffrey L. Boyd 1,429 2.7%
Antonio French 8,460 15.8%
William (Bill) Haas 257 0.5%
Tishaura O. Jones 16,222 30.4%
 Lyda Krewson 17,110 32.0%
Jimmie Matthews 145 0.3%
Lewis Reed 9,775 18.3%

Andrew Jones, the winner of the republican primary, is the only black candidate still in the race for mayor.