When the Riverfront Times called and asked me to introduce their "Guide to the Final Four," my staff warned me the paper was jerking the mayoral chain. For one thing, I was reminded, these guys are forever making stuff up -- and the guide comes out right around April Fool's Day.

But then I got to thinking: Why not give it the ol' Slay Slam Dunkeroo?

Sure, I'm busy. Despite the fact that I have no real authority, being Mayor of the nation's 53rd-largest metropolis isn't all ribbon cuttings and Champagne toasts. And in case you haven't noticed, I'm in the middle of a rough-and-tumble election campaign against some fella from the Green Party whose name I wouldn't mention even if I could remember it.

But as I told my staff, this March Madness brouhaha might not come around again while I'm Mayor. So what the hey...here goes!

As Mayor, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the City of St. Louis!

As you thumb through this nifty pull-out "Guide to the Final Four," published by what I have to say is the most terrific newspaper in town, you'll find everything you need in order to make your weekend in St. Louis a time to remember. There's Mike Seely's incisive analysis of the Final Four basketball teams. And useful, fun-to-share facts about the colleges and their coaches.

Most of all, you'll find that there's lots of really fun stuff to see and do here in town, even if you didn't score tickets to the Big Game, all of it assembled by the Riverfront Times' award-winning editorial staff. (I've got to tell you, what with being Mayor and all, it's been a long time since I made it across the Mississippi River to Illinois -- I never realized how many wonderful diversions have popped up over there!)

Anyhoo, have a great time while you're visiting our fair city. And remember: We in St. Louis may have taken some lumps over the past, oh, forty years or so. But as you'll see, this is still a pretty cool place compared to a lot of other cities in the U.S. For instance, Detroit.

Maybe I'll see you at the Better Than Ezra show Sunday. Those guys rock!

Francis G. Slay
Mayor, City of St. Louis

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