Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Hypocrisy Alert! Post-Dispatch Links MetroLink to Unruly Teens in Delmar Loop

Posted By on Wed, Apr 13, 2011 at 8:30 AM

click to enlarge The P-D editorial page once accused RFT of giving credence to "thinly concealed racist sentiments" -- for a view now echoed on its own front page.
  • The P-D editorial page once accused RFT of giving credence to "thinly concealed racist sentiments" -- for a view now echoed on its own front page.
Don't look now, but the Post-Dispatch has done the unthinkable! They've linked crime and hooliganism in the Delmar Loop to MetroLink!

It's right there on Page 1 of today's paper. In writing about how officials plan to crack down on mobs of teens menacing shoppers and diners in the Delmar Loop, the daily paper reports that MetroLink lies near the heart of the issue.

It was in the vicinity of the MetroLink station on Delmar this past Saturday night that a St. Louis police officer was injured while trying to break up a fight involving 50 to 100 teenagers. Shop owners in the Loop, meanwhile, tell the Post-Dispatch they're not the least surprised.

"The kids causing these problems are not from University City. They're coming down here on the MetroLink," Carol Crudden, owner of the clothing boutique Ziezo, tells the newspaper. "I don't know what the solution would be, but I think it has to be acknowledged that MetroLink is shipping these kids to the Loop."

The paper then goes on to interview a young female commuter who says MetroLink and the Delmar station are frightening at night. Now it's even being suggested that the MetroLink station at Delmar close early on Friday and Saturday nights.

"I would think taking away (teens) means of getting here would go a long way to solving the problem," a diner in the Loop tells the Post-Dispatch.

The horrors!

When I wrote a similar story nearly three years ago about how MetroLink was being blamed for teen violence at the Loop and the Galleria shopping mall, it elicited a stern response from the high-and-mighty editorial page of the Post-Dispatch.

They referred to my reporting as an "irresponsible exposé in a local alternative newspaper." In making its case, the editorial didn't actually interview anyone involved in the issue or look at local crime data -- as I did for my story. Instead, the author of the editorial cited an obscure national study dismissing the notion that public transportation can ever be a conduit for crime. Concluded the editorial: "On the flimsiest of evidence, the [RFT] report suggested that thugs and shoplifters are riding MetroLink to the Delmar Loop and the Galleria, giving credence to thinly concealed racist sentiments."

My, oh my. How times change. I guess Post-Dispatch reporter Paul Hampel has the same racist agenda as I when he dared to actually report the story yesterday and hear how business owners and others say that MetroLink "shares some responsibility" for the problems in the Loop.

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