Tishaura Jones is currently the treasurer of the city of St. Louis — the first woman to hold that role.
She is a committed and skilled public servant, revamping the city’s parking meter system, introducing a college savings program for public school students and launching an office dedicated to increasing citizens’ financial literacy.
She is a Democratic candidate for mayor.
And she will snatch your goddamn edges if you try her.
It is common for political candidates to meet with newspapers’ editorial staffs in an effort to win their endorsements. Jones not only declined a meeting with the editorial staff of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She instead published an op-ed in a historically black newspaper, the St. Louis American, explaining why she declined while calling out the Post-Dispatch for its racist coverage and sinking sales.
Peep some of the savagery from the epic letter that has already gone viral many times over.
Re St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial page director Tod Robberson’s complaint that graffiti and blight are what are killing Sy Louis.
“Two weeks ago, you used some of your ink to outline what questions you would be asking of mayoral candidates. You complained that “decades of sustained, abject neglect by city leaders have allowed a bombed-out graffiti-covered, war-zone image to prevail.” You said you were afraid to walk your dog at night and you called for a plan to “address blight and abate the graffiti that’s killing our city.”
You just moved here. It isn’t your city, yet. And graffiti is not what’s killing it.”
On not holding current (white) mayor Francis Slay responsible for the state of the city.
“What is killing our city is poverty. Since you’re new and you live in a great neighborhood, you probably don’t know that the poverty rate doubled during Mayor Francis G. Slay’s 16-year tenure.”
On a St. Louis Post-Dispatch writer calling her “high flying.”
“We do not need to invent new programs for much of what I plan to change. There are programs all over the country we can learn from and that we can adopt. I know this because I’ve traveled to see them. I know that galls your writer who wrote that I am “high-flying” and should be grounded. I suspect she meant that I was “uppity” or had a “bad attitude,” but didn’t have the honesty (or courage) to be that overt.”
On Roberson basically not being bout that life.
“I think you were in Texas during Ferguson. If so, you may have missed what happened here: We woke up. Black people woke up. Allies stood up. Young people spoke up. Our best minds listened and produced a pair of remarkable documents, the Forward Through Ferguson report and the For the Sake of All report, that are blueprints for the next four years of a mayor.”
On the racially tinged way in which she is covered by the Dispatch.
“There are some talented reporters at the Post who are very good at their jobs. I’ve had the privilege of talking with many of them. They have written about me fairly, objectively, and positively. I appreciate criticism when it’s due.
But what the editorial board and certain other reporters have done is nothing short of thinly veiled racism and preference for the status quo past. Something this city has had enough of.”
And, for a hint of petty, a dig at the paper’s flagging sales.
“I understand that the Post-Dispatch is hurting right now. I hear that soon you will have to lay off more employees. With readership down to below 100,000, it makes sense why you would resort to a more inflammatory news reporting style to boost readership.”
The letter was not all drag, Jones also laid out intelligent and substantive ways she would move St. Louis forward with heavier oversight of tax incentives, public transportation for poorer areas of the city, increased mental health services and shutting down a debtor’s prison.
Jones’ letter has been tweeted by Levar Burton and former presidential candidate Howard Dean, and she received more than $30,000 in campaign donations in the first 24 hours after the letter was posted.
Won’t a black woman do it??