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May 01, 2007

The worst city in America

The worst city in America

A ByronCrawford.com Special Report
I never heard of this happening anywhere other than the film Lean on Me, but apparently the public schools in the city of St. Louis are so bad that they were recently taken over by the state. I'm not sure what exactly "being taken over by the state" entails, but obviously it isn't good.

You'll recall that even in the film, the kids finally learned to read and managed to get a high enough score on the basic skills test to avoid such a fate. Sams got off crack, though of course the 15-year-old black chick had to get pregnant. That was based on a true story, right?

Other things that have gone horribly wrong here:

Power outages. There were two big power outages here last year, once during the summer and again in the winter. Both times, it took forever for Ameren UE to get the shit turned back on. All told, the power must have been out for something like a month last year.

Dead Cardinals. Granted the Cardinals recently won the World Series in a brand new stadium, but I'm not sure if I'd want to play for them right now. First of all, they suck now, and second of all you could die. In the past five years, we've lost pitchers Darryl Kile and Josh Hancock as well as announcer Jack Back, who, admittedly, was rather old.

Ghetto malls. The city recently made the mistake of building a train system from the ghetto to the mall in the nicer part of town. I'm sure it's a much easier commute now for the poor bastards who work there, but the only thing is, their kids are following them out here. It got so bad recently that the Galleria had to ban kids from the mall in the evening.

Here's the thing: as I noted before, in a story on how St. Louis is now considered the most dangerous city in America (Compton is gay by comparison), living in St. Louis City and living in St. Louis County are two entirely different things. Out here, we could almost do with more violent crime.

And it's not like very many people live down there anyway. As noted in a recent New York Times story, the population in the city has been in a constant decrease since 1950. Only about 350,000 people live there, and you get the idea that most of the people who could afford to left a long time ago.

(Interestingly enough, the house pictured above, which was featured in the New York Times story is literally right across the street from my cousin's house, though the house she lives in is brand new. It's one of those weird urban development deals where you get a lot of tax breaks to live in the ghetto.)

Recently, the city has attempted to reverse said population decrease by building lots of yuppie lofts downtown. For about what it costs to live in a small room in New York, you can own an entire wing of some building where people probably used to work back when this city was still worth a shit.

Which is not a bad deal, if you think about it. If I made better than subsistence wages, I'd probably cop one myself. And from what I understand, it's kinda working: the population in the city recently went up by 1,000 people or something. Granted, the schools still suck and crime is still rampant, but I suppose it's a start.

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Byron Crawford a/k/a Bol is the celebrated author of several books, most recently NaS Lost: A Tribute to the Little Homey.

Copp dat:NaS Lost

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Posted by Bol at 10:15 AM | Permalink

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