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Are We Really That Bad?

From the Civic Strategies E-Letter for Nov. 15, 2003:

This has not been a good year for St. Louis. According to various rankings, it is the most dangerous city in America, the least healthy place for women to live and the one with the worst "environmental toxicity." Oh, and it's one of the fattest places around and one of the "sneeziest" (that is, a bad place for allergy sufferers). As the St. Louis Post-Dispatch noted in a recent article (headline: "Are We Really That Bad? How Our Area Ranks in Various Surveys"), "St. Louis has weathered a remarkable run of first-place finishes this year, outpacing every city in the country for titles no one wants to win." Well, is St. Louis really that bad? Probably not. Some of these rankings are dubious (the toxic environment award was from a magazine called Organic Style, the fattest city designation from Men's Health magazine). Still, all these booby prizes arriving in a single year can't help. "I hope this isn't scaring people into thinking we're a big, fat, dangerous city," said one civic leader. The head of the chamber of commerce worried that it might make St. Louis residents more cynical. "Sometimes we can be our own worst enemy in how much we believe the rankings," he said. Still, any place declared the "most dangerous city" ought to be worried, shouldn't it? You decide: It came from a research company in Kansas whose president volunteered that he recently celebrated his 20th wedding anniversary in, of all places, fat, sneezy, dangerous St. Louis. His impression: "It's a great city." Footnote: Not all this year's city rankings have been panned St. Louis. A sports magazine declared it the best sports town in the America, the Chronicle of Philanthropy said it was one of the most generous places in the country, and a University of Wisconsin study found it was one of the most racially integrated.

The unnamed civic leader was our very own Amanda Doyle, being quoted by the Post-Dispatch.

Posted under STL in the News by Brian Marston on Fri., Nov 21, 2003 at 7:14 PM


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