FLOTSAM AND JETSAM

That giant sucking sound at the Post-Dispatch, part 2; a circus of errors in the city's 25th Ward

Yeah, this is the second week in a row for a mention of the Post-Dispatch's declining circulation. OK, after this week we'll give the beleaguered Pulitzers some time off. Sure. As reported last week, Sunday circulation has dropped to 500,397 from 516,237. On the Monday-Saturday front, for the six months ending Sept. 30, the daily average circulation was 303,314, a decrease of nearly 8 percent from a Mark McGwire-aided 329,582 last year. That's also down from 316,777 as of Sept. 30, 1997. Maybe if they reorganized their newsroom "teams," that'd help.... Apparently you can take the alderman out of the circus, but you can't take the circus out of the alderman. Or something like that. Retired police Sgt. Dan Kirner, the new alderman in the 25th Ward who replaced Paul Beckerle, was taking advantage of complimentary tickets to the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus recently when he showed up only to find Beckerle's wife and children already in the freebie seats. The Beckerles were ousted and had to pay their own way, though Kirner insists he offered to buy them new tickets. Word has it that the snafu led to a falling-out between old pals Beckerle and Kirner, but both deny it. The question remains: Isn't the weekly aldermanic meeting on Friday circus enough for Kirner?

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