St. Louisans react strongly to AJC economic spotlight

St. Louisans responded defensively, resignedly and with some very reasoned commentary to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s report Sunday on the Midwestern city’s economic, political and social struggles of the last century.

MidwestThe AJC story,  “St Louis: Enduring missteps carry high cost,” prompted a quick response from the local newspaper. And, by lunchtime Monday, 120 readers had commented on The St. Louis Post-Dispatch article.

“St. Louis’ rivalry with Chicago played out more than a century ago, but an Atlanta newspaper has decided to rub salt in an old wound,” the beginning of the story read.

The AJC has launched a yearlong examination of problems bedeviling the Atlanta region – traffic, education, infrastructure, leadership, a lukewarm economy – and is traveling the country chronicling how other cities deal with similar problems. The latest installment of the Atlanta Forward 2015 project detailed how St. Louis and Chicago faced critical junctures, or inflection points, in their respective histories. Earlier stories looked at the Dallas-Forth Worth area and at Charlotte.

SEE ALSO:

Once-booming St. Louis is beset by economic, political and racial problems that manifested in last August’s shooting on an unarmed black teen by a white police officer in the suburban town of Ferguson. The AJC wrote – and the Post-Dispatch repeated — that St. Louis could serve as “a cautionary tale” for Atlanta.

“It’s hard to disagree with that point,” commented Ken Loseman on the Post-Dispatch’s website. “The Atlanta newspaper is exactly correct in its description. I’ve been there several times and I would agree that they should try to follow plans that have worked for Chicago, Houston, Dallas, or Phoenix. The City of St. Louis is obviously a failure.”

Added James Murphy, “St. Louis lost out because it’s (sic) leaders lacked vision and determination. … Face it! St. Louis’ leadership couldn’t manage a one-bedroom brothel. It’s a shame, because the STL metro has a lot of things to be proud of.”

A few commenters turned their ire on Atlanta.

“Atlantans should first get their own house in order before criticizing elsewhere,” wrote John Schwendler. “I seriously doubt if anyone in St. Louis cares what anyone in Atlanta has to say, about anything.”

Victor Perrin wrote: “We are natives of Atlanta and have enjoyed living in the St. Louis area for the past 45 years, coming here in 1971. In the 1970’s either the Post-Dispatch or the Globe Democrat had an article that contended that Atlanta and St. Louis were very similar. I thought HUH? No way. But St. Louis need not be an Atlanta, Chicago, Pittsburgh or Indianapolis to be a good place to live, work and raise children.”

Next up for the Atlanta Forward 2015 project: How a unified Denver region tackles its problems.

Reader Comments 0

14 comments
PeachtreeBart
PeachtreeBart

Metro Atlanta has 3 or 4 times the population of St. Louis.  It was a bad comparison by the AJC.

JerryChau1970
JerryChau1970

Don's take it too seriously St. Louis. The AJC piece is a stretch at best and more likely its usual attempt to write something meaningful about nothing. They had to reach beyond the southeast because Charlotte, North Carolina is the only comparable city they could find. Even so, Charlotte's economy has grown as a financial center which is now beginning founder, and Atlanta is much more diversified. 


Jerry Chautin
Former entrepreneur, commercial real estate and business lender
Currently business columnist, financial content provider, blogger
SCORE certified business mentor, coach, counselor
SBA's all volunteer, non-profit resource partner
SBA's 2006 National "Journalist of the Year"

BravesFan79
BravesFan79

How does a unified Denver tackle its problems??   LOL Easy... its majority White.  The blacks tend to act alot more civilized when their under 10% of the population. 

DawgDadII
DawgDadII

I grew up in St. Louis in the 60's and lived and worked there into the late 90's, before moving down here to Atlanta. Still have friends and relatives there and go back a few times a year.


The AJC article was a very condensed and broad-brush account of a long and complex history. St. Louis is an old city, very old, and just like we have to deal with lingering effects of the slave era,  Civil War, and Jim Crow down here there are sticky, thorny undercurrents of history that cast a mold for the current state of affairs in St. Louis. St. Louis City has many wonderful assets any city would be proud of, and an overdose of crime, decay, poverty, and corruption.


St. Louis City and the metro region evidence three primary truisms: (1) People do want a city and city resources they can identify with, use, and be proud of; (2) People do not want to deal with crime, poverty, corruption, and decay, and (3) it is easy to see the faults and shortcomings of any city and its people, St. Louis or Atlanta, it is very difficult if not impossible in some cases to agree on a path forward and change direction.

MikeInATL
MikeInATL

One word for Atlanta... Transit.  Study what Minneapolis has done, and is doing, in that regard.

atlfalconno1fan
atlfalconno1fan

if Atlanta doesnt deal with its horrid racial problems in the metro area as well it could very much be like st.louis and detroit 

someonesdad
someonesdad

I've spent a lot of time in St. Louis.  It's a bit of a cesspool.  Drive down S. Jefferson and you'll understand.

hildymac
hildymac

I don't know. Any city with Forest Park (500 acres or so bigger than Central Park) can't be half bad. Let's see - one of the best zoos in the world (http://www.stltoday.com/travel/travels-with-amy/st-louis-zoo-named-rd-best-in-u-s-th/article_986aa2e4-6f7d-56b8-9aec-8b5850bf3ec1.html), a huge Art Museum with antiquities from Mesopotamia near Picassos and Monets, and free public performances of Broadway musicals all in one park? Sounds ok to me.

Factor in the Missouri Botanical Gardens which are in the city and are only $8 to wander through at your leisure and it doesn't sound too cesspooly at all. Old? Yes. Do some areas need some serious work? Yes. Could city government be better? Yep. Keep in mind though that the city's 251 years old and its past is a complicated one. It's not the perfect city and it has problems, but I think calling the most charitable city in the nation a "cesspool" is a bit much.

ATLAquarius
ATLAquarius

Wow did my man just go back to Andrew Young as mayor? LOL....at least use Bill Campbell or something more recently. I've spent a lot of time in St Louis when my now wife was at Wash U....the overall climate in Atlanta is more better and clearly most of the energy and investment are in the county not the city. On the face of it we do what to head in the direction of Chicago rather than St Louis, while understanding we don't want to be either

PJ25
PJ25

Having flown to St Louis with the Mrs back in October for a concert, short of the one square mile area by the Arch, St Louis makes Beirut and Detroit look classy! 


That said, the AJC critiques on both St Louis, Chicago and Atlanta were a farce yesterday.

Infraredguy
Infraredguy

@Andy123 We could send Andrew Young on a mission to St Louis to show them how to ignore their infrastructure while touting air routes to Africa which was his main effort when he was Mayor in Atlanta

RationalThoughts67
RationalThoughts67

@Infraredguy @Andy123 Are you kidding me?   Andrew Young delivered the Olympics to Atlanta.   Ninety percent of the African Olympic delegates voted for Atlanta because of Andrew Young.   


Without Young, there would be no Olympic Park.   That area of downtown would still be an oasis of unused and abandoned  warehouses.  


Sometimes it is better not to talk when you don't know anything about the subject at hand.