Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gauen: Metro East Is No Magnet for Region's Glitz, but It Feels like Top Contender for Spy Agency

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Gauen: Metro East Is No Magnet for Region's Glitz, but It Feels like Top Contender for Spy Agency

Article excerpt

I once mistakenly thought I was winning a five-kid foot race in a junior high gym class. Over my shoulder, I could clearly see four guys behind me. No, wait. Five. How could that be? And how could I be leading when I hadn't passed anybody?

It turned out the coach got tired of waiting for me to finish so he started the boys in the next heat. They were the ones gaining on me.

Hah. I should have known. The fellow always picked last for the team isn't likely to be winning any race. It's one of the facts of life. Clint Eastwood's "Dirty Harry" character memorably condensed it for me later in the movie "Magnum Force." After killing his adversary, he stared at the carnage and observed: "Man's got to know his limitations."

My home is in Metro East. If the St. Louis region were a steamship, we'd be below decks. We'd have the coal bunkers and the boilers and the engine room. Our heavy machinery and hard workers would make important things happen, but we may not get invited very often to the swimming pool or cocktail party.

It's not personal. Topside is topside, and the Missouri side of the Mississippi River is the Missouri side. Regionalism is laudable, but the east edge has got to know its limitations. Only the oldest among us remember the firm federal decision in 1976 to replace Lambert Field with a bigger airport near Columbia-Waterloo. Ever been there? Of course not.

So it was with a touch of East Side pride that I read about St. Clair County's offer of free land atop free land atop free land if the federal agency in St. Louis that makes secret maps for our warriors and our spies decides to move east. I say pride because this time, Illinois may have the rare upper hand over Missouri.

Land alone won't clinch things, but if you were building a new facility from scratch to do top secret work, would it make more sense to be adjacent to an already-secured major air base with abundant free space or on a tight site carved out of inner city decay?

Mark Kern, chairman of the St. Clair County Board, not only has offered 182 free acres beside Scott Air Force Base but just threw in 200 more. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.