The St. Louis Post-Dispatch juxtaposes these headlines today:
- Financial outlook for East St. Louis is seen as dire
City revenue is expected to fall by more than 18 percent next year as officials struggle to maintain vital services, according to information presented Friday.
Patrice Rencher, executive director of the East St. Louis Financial Advisory Authority, said the city must make “tough decisions” to deal with the expected revenue crunch next year. Revenue is projected to fall from $23.5 million this year to $19.2 million next year, Rencher said at the authority’s monthly meeting Friday.
- Could the Rams play in Illinois?
When rumors had it that the owners of the St. Louis Rams are considering moving the team to a new stadium, one suggestion about a possible site came from someone who lives far outside the 314 area code.
“It’s something to study,” said Illinois state Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) in an interview with KMOX-AM earlier this month, suggesting the state could help with financing.
Basically, it’s that time again, where billionaires who own sports teams come around with their hats simultaneously held out for a handout and mournfully over their hearts in regret that they need tax money to compete because although they’re billionaires and the sports teams are making money hand over fist, thanks to creative accounting they’re really impoverished. It’s only been 15 years since the football team did this. The Cardinals did this just a couple years back. And always they publicly mull over the possibility of graciously accepting the corporate welfare from the bankrupt state across the river.
But here’s the rub: If a St. Louis sports team moves to Illinois, its gate will drop. Period. Many Missourians will be reluctant to drive over the river, across the bottlenecks of the bridges, and for an extra hour to see their sports teams. Not just because of the inconvenience, but because of East St. Louis’s reputation.
And I don’t care if Collinsville, Highland, or Edwardsville gets the stadium. To a lot of the Missouri side of the metropolitan area, the east side is East St. Louis, oil refineries, and strip clubs.
Just once I’d like to see the public officials in Missouri call this bluff. Let the Rams build a park over there. Let the Cardinals go over there when they need Busch III in 2020.
Ah, but that would mean that the public officials would have to drive over, too, to ride in the backs of their chauffeured cars for an hour, and to sit somewhere other than the boxes reserved for the honored lackeys of the aforementioned billionaires. Never mind. Public officials serve themselves, not the public.