Saturday, April 5, 2014


(EDIT: A couple of people have told me this rambles a bit.  Sorry.  I am very passionate, and also don't always have the time to do enough editing. I will keep working on this.  I hope even though it rambles a  bit it will stir your soul for change.)

I want to live in a great city. Period.

But a nice start would be a city with great public transportation.  I can see it.  Can you?

Or do I need to move?

I love bragging about the St. Louis Zoo, and how it is number two in the country.  And the St. Louis Symphony, also number two.  The "jewel of St. Louis", Forest Park, 500 acres larger than Central Park, and the major attractions that are free (or, in the Muny's case, offer free seats at every performance).  The many, many other parks, in every neighborhood, and their wide variety of unique features

I love the river and the landscape and the wildlife.  The numerous caves and caverns and subterranean tunnels. The secrets and mysteries in every neighborhood. The haunted history of madness among the monied, and the ghosts lingering in dinner theatre mansions.  The Mounds-- nodes of ancient memory, the  pyramids of aboriginal civilization.  The copper rooftops-- gleaming across the top of the city like a circuit board of wealthy institutions, government, and organized religion.

The rich history of music, and architecture, and poetry, and writing. 

The "basements full of musicians" and the persistent, amateur crafters.  The foodies and the farmer's markets and community gardens.  The hustlers and the hipsters and Hobo University. The anarchists and underground artists. The fierce local indie radio and film scene.  The people that can't get a break but keep trying.  The still visible mark of early French trappers and traders, and the flood of hungry Bavarians, and Kerry County Irish that shaped our city streets and communities.

The deep legacy of African-American culture and struggle from the Civil War onward, as slaves and their descendents struggled to make their way in a world that gave them no thanks, no reparation, no place, and no rights.  A struggle that continues today.

And the "unseen" people walking to and waiting at bus stops in every kind of  weather.  The children that ride the buses by themselves to school and baby sitters. Grandmothers that get up at 5 A.M. and travel two and half hours on the bus, and two and half hours back, with a 9 hour workday in between.  The minimum wage, "right to work" workers with almost no rights, that serve the fast food and mop the floors and answer the phones at call centers.  The people that carry this city on their backs, with little thanks or consideration at all. 

I love you.

I wish I could say I loved our public transit system. *

I wish I could say I loved how forward thinking we are as a city. 

How we created a prosperity and safety from poverty and fear.

How we created many forward thinking innovators and engineers, and a harmonious, patchwork of diversity, with opportunities for all.

How we created real "business development"-- good jobs with sustainable wages and benefits-- for everyone.  For the whole city, equally.

I see it. Do you?

I left this city when I was young because the racism and the Ole Boy Network and corruption and lack of funds to low-income areas made me want to cry and made me furious.

In the last 28 years, things have gotten better.

But not enough.

There are a few greedy, selfish, stupid people in charge of this world (85 to be exact), and they don't care about people starving, without decent shelter and medical care.

It is not right that 85 people have half the world's wealth  That needs to change,  Sorry 85 people out of 7 billion!  But this inequality has to end.

And the same with the "Local 1%".  The St. Louis businessmen and government officials that only work to keep federal monies, tax dollars and profits flowing to the (mostly white, suburban) middle-class.  The "Good Ole Boy Network" that works to ensure that the Metrolink doesn't make it too easy for the (mostly African-American, urban) working-class to get around to the low paying jobs that create those profits.

Look at McKee and the Land Redevelopment Agency, and the 11 year and still waiting "business development" of Old North :**

You know who has the most voting rights in that area on whether a Metrolink or bus center can be developed?  Right. McKee.

St. Louis, your city is under siege.  Not from violent black people incarcerated by poverty and lack of decent public transportation in north Saint Louis, but from a lesser, local version of the Good Ole Boy Gang that brought us the housing and sub-prime mortgage fiasco in 2008.  (Banks got the bail-out, and banks ended up owning all the foreclosed properties.  And the homeowners lost everything.)


It just needs to be redistributed.

Citizens of this city, you have the power to change things! 
There is a great story here, waiting to unfold.

Your story, St. Louis, of change and growth and leadership!  For everyone.  Not just a few.

Be that change you want to see in the world!

Be that amazing person from St. Louis! One of the many, many people of this city that have trusted in themselves and their vision.  Who by challenging their own limits, created new horizons for all of us.

Dred Scott!  Maya Angelou! Bob Cassilly! Nelly! Chuck Berry!  T.S Eliot! Josephine Baker!  Cool Papa Bell!  William S. Burroughs! Scott Joplin! Miles Davis! Vincent Price!  Tenessee Williams! Tina Turner! Ike Turner! Clark Terry, Quincy Troupe, Masters & Johnson, Oliver Lake, Fontella Bass, William Greenleaf Eliot, Jackie Joyner Kersee, Kate Chopin, Emily Hahn!  (Murphy Lee, Pokey LaFarge, Sleepy Kitty, Tef Poe!)

Can we summon the same power you did/do? Can we claim your spirit as our own, as a product of this soil and sun and wind and river?  The same creativity in you as in us?

Can we not summon your "Spirit of St. Louis"? In ourselves? For real change?

I want the AMAZING from you, St. Louis! 

What do you want?

There is a public transportation system here-- a whole new model, the ultimate!-- and a city design, a lifestyle, a multi -but -shared -culture, to be discovered.  Discovered in you.  The answers to this city's problems will become clear as each person asks themselves what they can do.

Public transportation is a necessity for many people. 

Better public transportation would serve the entire city, and planet!

If everyone works together, we won't even have to disrupt our lives.

You already ride the bus how many hours a day?


Call, chat, investigate, share.  

Just do it St. Louis.


How many times have the Cards been in the World Series?  Are they a great team or what?


This city deserves to have a world-class transportation system.  We have the ability. 

Be the change.  Be the change you want to see in the world.



*(And our government bodies and police... seriously, we need to start a movement to Occupy The Police In St. Louis. And

**About McKee- see these articles as well.
(Could not find the article, but the Land Redevelopment Agency was saving lots for McKee and also for certain local alderman -a black woman, in particular, if I recall correctly- and politicians to buy at shockingly low rates, and then sell later for high profit.  The Good Ole Boy Network is not all white men anymore, but government and wealth work hand to hand in greed.  Will link to the article here when I find it.)

1 comment:

  1. Metro. You can't get there from here. Or anywhere else for that matter.