I was greatly encouraged to see Eric Bronner’s letter last week supporting consolidation of St. Louis City and County. Our region is falling behind other cities: losing population, losing competitions for big employers, losing headquarters of the big companies we used to have. To really see the problem, all you have to do is drive from the airport to downtown. The northern half of St. Louis looks dystopian, so many vacant lots, so many abandoned buildings. What do visitors from more prosperous cities think?
Our work force here isn’t competing well with highly educated work forces elsewhere. Perhaps one reason is that the children from the northern half of the city/county don’t have access to the same financial support for education that we do here in Webster Groves, and we all know that the way to get a good job these days is with an education. We’re wasting human capital. It’s America, land of opportunity — for some.
It’s so easy to focus on what you might lose with any merger proposal. But what about focusing on what the region will lose if we don’t do it? And focusing on what we all stand to lose in the long run as St. Louis slips into obscurity?