Nolte: Democrat-Run St. Louis Enters ‘Doom Loop’

St. Louis arch
KAREN BLEIER/AFP via Getty Images

“The office district is empty, with boarded up towers, copper thieves, and failing retail,” reports the Wall Street Journal of Democrat-run St. Louis, Missouri. “[E]ven the Panera outlet shut down. The city is desperately trying to reverse the ‘doom loop.’”

Let’s look at the mayoral history of the doom-looping St. Louis, shall we?

Oh, look, there hasn’t been a Republican mayor in St. Louis since — not a typo — 1949. For 75 years, the people of St. Louis have voted for More of the Same, so excuse me if I don’t whip out a violin over all this unavoidable doom looping.

“Cities such as San Francisco and Chicago are trying to save their downtown office districts from spiraling into a doom loop,” writes the Wall Street Journal. “St. Louis is already trapped in one.”

The Journal notes:

As offices sit empty, shops and restaurants close and abandoned buildings become voids that suck the life out of the streets around them. Locals often find boarded-up buildings depressing and empty sidewalks scary. So even fewer people commute downtown.

This self-reinforcing cycle accelerated in recent years as the pandemic emptied offices. St. Louis’s central business district had the steepest drop in foot traffic of 66 major North American cities between the start of the pandemic and last summer, according to the University of Toronto’s School of Cities. Traffic has improved some in the past 12 months, but at a slower rate than many Midwestern cities.

In the immortal words of Jerry Seinfeld: Yeah, that’s a shame.

Back in 2006, downtown’s AT&T Tower building sold for $205 million. In 2022, it sold for $4 million.

Crime, naturally, is a problem. The Wall Street Journal describes a barbecue joint’s smoker pierced with a bullet hole, businesses already struggling forced to pay for private security, broken windows, graffiti, otherwise empty roads filled with reckless drivers, buildings destroyed by the homeless and copper thieves…

The city is trying to regroup with $50,000 cash payouts to small businesses that open up downtown. There’s a campaign that’s “adding landscaping, bike lanes, and traffic barriers.”

The idea is “to put more people on the street doing positive things,” Kurt Weigle of Greater St. Louis Inc. told the Wall Street Journal.

Democrats can either do something about reducing crime, taxes, and regulations or not. That’s what it comes down to. Bike lanes in a city where people drive like maniacs make about as much sense as screen doors on submarines.

I lived in a Midwest downtown for a couple of years in the mid-80s. There’s nothing better than a vibrant, safe downtown atmosphere with all the people and plenty to do, including the free amusement of the library, bookstores, and museums. This didn’t have to happen to St. Louis or San Francisco. Over the past century, Americans learned how to govern modern cities and reduce crime. The reversal of those policies was a deliberate decision made by Democrats. The fact that those Democrats remain in office is a deliberate decision made by voters. None of them deserve your sympathy.

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