Bound by Division

(Marshall Griffin/St. Louis Public Radio)

The St. Louis metro area is considered Missouri’s economic engine.  But, it’s in constant competition with both Kansas City and rural areas for state dollars for schools, roads and other needs.

Financial interests are not the only things that drive a wedge between city and country dwellers.  In this installment of our series “Bound by Division,” St. Louis Public Radio’s Marshall Griffin looks at how the divide between urban and rural interests often comes to a head in Jefferson City.

(via Flickr/Eric Fischer)

Jack Straughter was a pipefitter in the 1960s when he and his wife were looking for a new house for their family of seven, and so he could have afforded to live almost anywhere in the city of St. Louis.  But as a black man, there were places he never considered looking.

St. Louis residents pay for the city’s police force, but the state controls it.

While St. Louis’ mayor sits on the Board of Police Commissioners, Missouri’s governor appoints the other four members.

It’s been that way for 150 years, since the outset of the Civil War.

In recent years, the drumbeat to bring local control back to the city has been growing louder.

As part of St. Louis Public Radio’s continuing Bound By Division series, Maria Altman reports the reasons for and against local control have changed since the Civil War, but it’s still an issue that pits the city against the state.