Warning: date() [function.date]: It is not safe to rely on the system's timezone settings. You are *required* to use the date.timezone setting or the date_default_timezone_set() function. In case you used any of those methods and you are still getting this warning, you most likely misspelled the timezone identifier. We selected 'America/Chicago' for 'CDT/-5.0/DST' instead in /home/stlpub/public_html/includes/commentaryarchives.inc.php on line 2
Missouri Due for Tobacco Taxes
Aired May 18, 2010
Why did Missouri say no to higher tobacco taxes when most other states were replying yes? Was it the above average number of no-taxes-nowhere-no time voters in the state? Was it squabbles among proponents about dividing the additional revenues? Was it the well-funded opposition from tobacco companies and cigarette retailers?
The Ghost of John Calhoun
Aired April 08, 2010
Calhoun was Mr. Everything in government during the first half of the nineteenth century. He served as member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a U.S. senator, vice president, secretary of war, and secretary of state. He also did a tour in the South Carolina state legislature.
Calhoun championed nullification, the notion that a state could declare a national law null and void for that state, and therefore refuse to follow it. One hundred and forty-five years later, the Missouri House of Representatives has voted to reassert nullification.
Higher Steps on the Ladder
Aired February 24, 2010
When the late Marguerite Ross Barnett became Chancellor of the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 1986, she went to visit the CEO of a major corporation headquartered here. “What’s your vision for UMSL?” asked the CEO. “To be a world-class university,” said Chancellor Barnett. “What’s wrong with just being good?” was the executive’s reply.
Risking adequacy to seek excellence is all too rare in our region. We find it difficult to pay the price to be on top. That’s why we have been so fortunate to have Dr. Peter Raven leading the Missouri Botanical Garden for the past forty years.
Aired January 27, 2010
The U.S. Constitution mandates that a census be conducted every ten years. That has become years ending in zero so 2010 is time for the count.
Being counted matters. It affects political power and government allocations. Although the economy has slowed growth in the Sun Belt, lessening the number of House of Representative seat that might shift from the Northeast and Midwest, Missouri remains on the list of states that might lose a seat. If so, it would go from nine members to eight and eleven electoral votes to ten.
Having one less House member and one fewer electoral vote might not seem like much, but it means about ten percent less influence in national policy making.
A New Year to Address St. Louis' Racial Divide
Aired December 30, 2009
The St. Louis area still has not fully realized that the challenge is enormous — overcoming the deep divisions created by over a hundred and fifty years of slavery and legally mandated segregation. A few decades of sporadic well-intentioned initiatives is not enough. Addressing racial issues both directly and indirectly needs to be at the very top of the region’s agenda. It is not simply a matter of justice — it is also the key to prosperity.
St. Louis' Thanksgiving
Aired November 25, 2009
The St. Louis region has many things to appreciate as it celebrates Thanksgiving.
One is Citygarden. Another is completing the Highway 40/Interstate 64 project.
Thank You, Dr. Beachy
Aired October 28, 2009
Building on the St. Louis region’s existing private and academic strengths in the plant sciences — that was the good idea born in the late 1990’s.
Founding a dedicated research facility to accelerate discoveries — that was the strategic decision that led to establishing the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center later that decade.
Committing millions of dollars for the Center’s development and operations — that was the wise and generous investment made by the Danforth Foundation.
But the final ingredient — leadership — came from Dr. Roger Beachy, named the Plant Science Center’s first president in 1999.
Now Dr. Beachy is off to a larger stage.
College Graduates and Median Income in St. Louis - Below the Median
Aired September 23, 2009
More than ever, education drives economic success, both for individuals and for regions. College graduates not only earn more themselves. They also create wealth for others lower on the educational ladder.
But having a post-secondary certificate or degree is not just about economic success. It is also about making equality of opportunity a reality. Currently in St. Louis, if a young person comes from a low income household, has little or no history of post-secondary education in the family, or is African American, there are daunting challenges.
Margaret Bush Wilson - A Legacy on Which to Build
Aired August 27, 2009
Indeed, there is not a major milestone in the region’s struggle for racial justice that does not have Mrs. Wilson playing a significant role. The Jefferson Bank sit-ins, the growth of civil rights advocacy organizations, breaking the color barrier on major corporate boards — she was there.
Margaret Bush Wilson was a gentle giant, soft spoken but firm, unassuming but determined. The St. Louis region can best honor her life by building on her legacy.
Question McKee's Plan, Not His Motives
Aired July 22, 2009
We are a skeptical bunch, knowing smugly that big dreams are destined to fail.
We are a suspicious lot, assuming cynically that the visionary must have nefarious motives.
We are selfish folks, plotting carefully how we can benefit from the vision even if it does not succeed.
For example, take Paul McKee and his vision for revitalizing a substantial portion of North St. Louis. It’s a daunting challenge but there’s much positive to be said about McKee.
Midwest High Speed Rail Closer to Reality
Aired June 24, 2009
Have you ridden a high-speed train in Europe? Most of us who made these trips have thought wistfully — wouldn’t it be great if you could do this in the United States, especially somewhere outside the Northeast Corridor? But reality quickly returns. It is not going to happen in America, we remind ourselves.
But the times might be changing.
Democracy in Action — Sometimes Inspiring, Other Times Puzzling
Aired May 27, 2009
The legislative process sometimes yields silly outcomes.
For example, take this year’s recently completed session of the Missouri General Assembly.
One of the laws it passed makes it a misdemeanor to send or read a text message while driving. But the law only applies to those 21 and younger, seeming to imply that with one’s twenty-second birthday comes the dexterity to text and drive simultaneously.
Remembering Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff
Aired April 29, 2009
Knowing Sister Mary Ann Eckhoff was a privilege and a joy. She was an outstanding leader, an extraordinary visionary, and a wise counselor. She was also a lot of fun.
Sister Mary Ann passed away last week but not without leaving a substantial legacy, especially in education and philanthropy.
East-West Gateway - Helping St. Louis Get its Regional Act Together
Aired March 30, 2009
The East-West Gateway Council of Governments has been getting a lot of attention recently.
It is the only place where the chief elected executives from the region’s seven largest counties and the City of St. Louis gather monthly to discuss how to work together more effectively to improve the region.
State Funds a Battle Between Rural vs. Urban
Aired February 25, 2009
Throughout Missouri’s history, state funds are more likely to be spent on rural programs rather than urban initiatives. One of the few exceptions to this pro-rural pattern is the historic preservation tax credit.
So it should it come as no surprise that some rural legislators are now depicting the program as a backdoor raid on the state treasury.
Just Say "No" to the Connerly Petition
Aired January 28, 2009
Watch out. Ward Connerly and his organization have returned to Missouri.
Missouri’s state and local public policy was affirmative action for whites, tilting the political, economic, and social playing field so that African Americans were at a severe disadvantage. With this 150 year backdrop, to say that a few decades of episodic affirmative action for blacks is enough, that the time has come to have a color-blind approach, is patently unfair.
Putting Kids First
Aired December 24, 2008
Every major Missouri county in the St. Louis region has dedicated revenues for children and families in need. Combined across these six jurisdictions, over seventy five million dollars a year will be invested in our most precious assets, our young people.
These funds can will make a major difference. Growing up in the twenty-first century is a hazardous process. Child abuse, mental illness, drugs and alcohol, family stress—these are real threats that must be addressed.
Be Prepared For Your Choices
Aired October 22, 2008
(There are) almost twenty choices on both people and issues, on Obama versus McCain to a new energy policy for Missouri to the future of public transit in St. Louis County. If voting is the central act of democracy — and it is — then you will have ample opportunity to perform that act on November 4.
Remember Rudy Crew?
Aired September 24, 2008
In 2004, he was the St. Louis Public School Board’s first and only pick to be superintendent. But Rudy Crew had other prospects and, shortly after leaving St. Louis at the altar, he eloped with the Miami-Dade County schools. He would save them rather than us.
There was a honeymoon, some positive signs, and a contract renewal. But the situation started to unravel over a year ago and, earlier this month, Dr. Crew was fired.
There are two lessons here.
A Star for Sharon Rohrbach
Aired August 27, 2008
After two decades of eighty-hour weeks, after scrambling for dollars here and volunteers there, after recruiting a talented staff, Sharon Rohrbach is retiring. Seldom has one individual done so much for so many — and accomplished it so well.
Missouri's Rural-Urban Split Handicaps Campaigns
Aired July 23, 2008
If all you knew about Missouri is what you observed in this year’s political spots for state and local candidates, you might think it is full of farms and little else.
So what could be a strength for Missouri — its ability to have the best of both rural and urban settings — continues instead to be a handicap.
Keeping the Pipeline Full
Aired June 25, 2008
While St. Louis understandably mourns the loss of local control, it should also celebrate the firms that have come of age here, some over decades and others — like Anheuser Busch, over more than century. The most important thing is to help grow another batch of successful ventures. And that is happening.
Missouri Civil Rights Initiative Cut Off at the Pass
Aired May 28, 2008
The social justice cause has many to thank for this victory. Their decline-to-sign efforts were crucial.
Behind the scenes, business groups helped fund legal challenges that slowed the anti-affirmative action effort in its initial stages. But most of all the credit goes to the hundreds of thousands of Missouri citizens who saw the deceptive proposal for what is — an enormous step backwards for our state.
Life After Swoboda
Aired April 30, 2008
Kirkwood Mayor Mike Swoboda’s courageous return for his final council session earlier this month says much about Swoboda the person and Kirkwood the community.
Let The Construction Begin
Aired March 26, 2008
Rivers are the reason St. Louis is where it is. As a region of rivers, St. Louis also needs be a region of bridges. Now, at long last, it will have one more across the Mississippi. Let the construction begin.
The Missouri Civil Rights Initiative - Anything But
Aired February 27, 2008
The proposed constitutional ban on state and local government affirmative action programs in Missouri is an anti-civil rights measure.
Missouri needs a government empowered to set things right, to practice affirmative action, to create a more just and prosperous society.
Embracing Change, But Not Loving It
Aired January 30, 2008
We survived, the crisis never appeared, life goes on. What might have been a major interruption is just a modest inconvenience.
It’s time to give some credit for averting disaster.
An Ovation for Randy Adams
Aired December 26, 2007
"Passionate" and "banker" are not usually found in the same sentence. But, in his own calm determined way, Adams has been passionate about first saving and then enhancing one of the St. Louis area’s most precious assets.
Missouri - Outside Looking In When It Comes to the Presidential Nominees
Aired November 28, 2007
What will probably be a battleground state in the general election is but a minor skirmish in the race for the nomination.
In Memory of Bob Young
Aired October 24, 2007
Bob Young was not an eloquent speaker but he was an exquisite doer. He delivered concrete actions, not empty rhetoric.
Congressman Young passed away last week after an extraordinary career serving the St. Louis region.
Terry Jones is Professor of Political Science at the University of Missouri - St. Louis.