Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Meet the St. Louis City Mayoral Candidates - JIMMIE MATTHEWS; Undeterred by the Odds, Mayoral Candidate Jimmie Matthews (Once Again) Makes His Pitch; Matthews Challenged Slay Four Years Ago, One of Numerous Races Matthews Has Run since the Early 1980s

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Meet the St. Louis City Mayoral Candidates - JIMMIE MATTHEWS; Undeterred by the Odds, Mayoral Candidate Jimmie Matthews (Once Again) Makes His Pitch; Matthews Challenged Slay Four Years Ago, One of Numerous Races Matthews Has Run since the Early 1980s

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Longtime St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay may be sitting this one out, but voters in the upcoming Democratic mayoral primary will have the option of choosing someone who has been bumping around in city politics just as long if not quite as successfully.

Jimmie Matthews challenged Slay four years ago, one of numerous races Matthews has run since the early 1980s. All but one of them proved quixotic.

Matthews is one of seven Democrats seeking the party's nomination in the March 7 primary. In heavily Democratic St. Louis, the primary winner is expected to win the April 4 general election.

His platform this time is a series of campaign promises that range from the unlikely to the unconstitutional, mostly centered on serving poor and minority communities in the city.

"Every business north of Delmar should be black-owned," he declared in a recent interview.

He also wants slavery reparations for African-American residents, and creation of a program to give city-owned vacant buildings in poor neighborhoods to local residents, along with grants to renovate them.

Asked how this all would be funded, he responded: "What's paying for these other tax abatements?" referring to past and proposed future commercial development projects funded in part with city agreements to give up tax revenue.

"It's just a rich man's ripoff," he said. "The people's needs are never met."

Matthews has been preaching about the people's needs for decades now, from the pulpit of the Riverview Boulevard Baptist Church where he is pastor and from the front lines of one political campaign after another.

He has been a fixture in St. Louis politics for more that 30 years, through numerous campaigns for public office. Just one yielded fruit his successful 1985 run for alderman and also made a little piece of city history: In 1988, Matthews became the first alderman to be successfully recalled by the voters, amid a string of controversies that included allegedly posing as a police officer to help aid in the escape of a suspect who had been tampering with automobile stickers.

This is his second consecutive run for mayor; he came in third in a three-way Democratic primary in 2013, with 1. …

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