News 4 Investigates: Mayor Slay's Response - KMOV.com

News 4 Investigates: Mayor Slay's Response


You might wonder why St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay refused to be interviewed for our ongoing series "A Shared St. Louis."

I've asked the same question every time my request for an interview was either ignored or denied.

During the last six months, I've repeatedly requested an on-camera interview with Mayor Slay.

Five weeks ago I made another attempt in this e-mail I sent to the Mayor's Press Secretary Ed Rhode:

Ed,

We are producing several stories about leadership in the city. I am requesting an on-camera interview with Mayor Slay.

I will ask questions about what he perceives to be the biggest challenges facing the city, the impact of the school desegregation plan, the effort to recall the mayor, his re-election bid, the increased effort to battle violent crime in north St. Louis, his reflections on the resignation of Sherman George and the retirement of Joe Mokwa.

In addition, we would also like to discuss his views on the racial climate in St. Louis. If possible, we would prefer to interview the Mayor next week.

Thanks for your time.

Craig

It seemed reasonable to me. After all, the Mayor had already openly talked about most of that stuff. But once again my request was ignored.

Of course, the question is why?

It seems the Mayor, and his Chief of Staff Jeff Rainford in particular, believe I've been unfair in the way I've investigated city-owned housing, building inspections and development issues, among other things. In some cases, our investigations didn't reflect well on the way the city government conducts business.

In several of those stories city officials admitted making mistakes. In response, the city demolished derelict buildings identified in our stories and changed it's approach to looking at those kind of properties based on our stories, according to Ron Smith, the city official in charge of building inspections at the time.

During one stretch, our stories ran repeatedly for weeks. Needless to say, the city was pretty sick of us, especially me.

Most of those stories were done several years ago. I thought we had moved past that.

Apparently not.

Today, at 3:19 p.m., Rhode forwarded to KMOV a three page list of things the Mayor has done to help African-Americans in St. Louis. It was e-mailed to Rhode by Jeff Rainford. Rhode e-mailed it to one of my bosses.

The following are all of the items that refer to race or race relations:

"Let me give you a statistic that most people will find remarkable. In the wards represented by African American aldermen, there has been $1.7-billion in physical investment, including more than 8,000 new or substantially rehabbed homes.

We know more needs to be done. So working with African American aldermen, the mayor has created a neighborhood stimulus plan to generate more than $150-million in new development in predominantly African American wards over the next five years.

Nearly 65% of the federal HOME and Community Development Block Grant funding for housing production has been allocated in wards led by African-American aldermen. (By comparison, ½ of 1% has been invested Downtown.)

The mayor has also focused on creating economic opportunities for African American businesses and workers.

Since the mayor took office, more than half a billion dollars has gone to minority and women owned firms under the mayor's minority participation executive order.

The mayor is also working to make all of our neighborhoods better--particularly our challenged neighborhoods.

Under Mayor Slay's leadership, the City has demolished thousands of vacant buildings. For the first time in decades, the number of homes on the demolition list finally started going down.

We in the planning process and have the money to build a brand new recreation center in North St. Louis. That will be an amenity that will strengthen families and strengthen neighborhoods.

The mayor believes Martin Luther King Boulevard should reflect the greatness of its namesake. So, the City has invested millions of dollars to make improvements.

The mayor also has a strong record of inclusion in City government.

Most people know about our remarkable new police chief, Dan Isom. He is a terrific leader and very smart guy who is going to make a difference.

But, you may not know that the mayor hired Rodney Crim, the City's first African American development director. He hired Ron Smith, the first African American deputy mayor for operations. He hired Kevin Dolliole, the first African American airport director. He hired Marjorie Melton, the first African American female Board of Public Service president. These are very significant jobs held by very qualified people.

The mayor has also been a leader in doing what's right for our community. He donated $10,000 to the successful effort to kill the initiative petition to end Affirmative Action in the State of Missouri.

He recently raised $65,000 for the NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner.

That's the mayor's record. It is a strong one. It demonstrates that Francis Slay has been the mayor for the entire City of St. Louis."

It's a shame Mayor Slay refused to talk about some of these things with me. Clearly, our viewers would have benefited from watching an extended sit down interview with the most visible elected official in our metro area on an issue as important as race relations.

So, I'll ask again.

Mayor, let's talk!


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