Ferguson, Missouri is one of those communities where the Visible Black Hand of Economics has seen fit to push Adam Smith's views on commerce and free enterprise to the side.
|The racial breakdown of Ferguson, Missouri, home to Michael "No Angel" Brown (and easily the worst school district in all of the state of Missouri... courtesy of the students who attend the public school system, blacks)|
The key to understanding the black insurrection in currently 67 percent black Ferguson, Missouri over the shooting death of Michael "No Angel" Brown by a white police officer can be found in this simple chronological exposé of the demographics of the city:
With Mayor T.R. Carr of Hazelwood looking on, the Ferguson City Council has agreed to join the proposed enterprise zone that would include the Hazelwood Ford plant and the commercial-industrial area being developed in Kinloch, Ferguson and Berkeley.
Cool Valley aldermen also approved the zone at a separate meeting last week. The zone will provide income-tax credits to companies making new investments and creating jobs, plus credits for training employees and for hiring residents and people with disabilities.
The zone would stretch over a long and irregularly shaped section of north St. Louis County along the north and east sides of Lambert Field from the Robertson area and the Ford plant to an industrial area around the intersection of Paul Drive, South Elizabeth Road and Bermuda Road in Ferguson.
The zone also would include parts of Berkeley, Kinloch and Bel-Ridge and was plotted to include the proportions of low-income residents, unemployed residents and underused industrial land needed to meet state requirements.
One significant part of the area is the nearly 500-acre tract east of Lambert Field including parts of Berkeley, Kinloch and Ferguson that some experts consider the best site for an industrial park in the St. Louis area. The three cities and the county have been negotiating a tax-increment-financing plan and special zoning to spur development of the tract but have yet to reach a final agreement. That TIF project and the enterprise zonedo not conflict with each other and could complement each other, says Patrick McKeehan, project director of the Ford-Hazelwood Task Force, the group that hatched the idea of the enterprise zone.
Businesses that move to enterprise zones get state income-tax credits and are eligible for property-tax benefits from local governments for improvements to their buildings, McKeehan says.
For the zone to become a reality, all six municipalities plus St. Louis County and the Missouri Department of Economic Development must approve. Hazelwood, Bel-Ridge and Cool Valley have approved the enterprise zone.
Berkeley City Council members expect to approve the enterprise zone at their next meeting, says Mike Heimericks of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, who attended the Ferguson, Berkeley and Cool Valley meetings with McKeehan.
When the municipal approvals are complete, the Department of Economic Development will need approval from the joint committee on economic-development policy and planning of the Legislature.
Since McKeehan made the proposal to Ferguson in July, Ferguson officials asked him to expand the zone to include the industrial area near Bermuda, Elizabeth and Paul. McKeehan crunched the numbers and agreed.
Mayor Hughes of Hazelwood thanked the Ferguson City Council for approvin g the enterprise zone.
"This is a prime example of North County communities using cooperation for a viable economic tool," he said.
Members of the Ford Hazelwood Task Force drew up the plan. Gov. Bob Holden appointed the task force last year after Ford Motor Co. said it would shut down its assembly plant in Hazelwood by mid-decade to cut costs. McKeehan's team hopes the enterprise zone and other incentives will convince Ford to keep the plant open.
About 2,600 workers are employed at the plant, which opened in 1948. They produce the Ford Explorer, Lincoln Aviator and Mercury Mountaineer.
The specter of Michael Brown is inescapable inside his high school.
Hundreds of students, most of them African American, walk the same halls and sit in the same lunchroom as Brown did — before his hard-won graduation and, days later, his death in the middle of Canfield Drive not far away.
The American flag at the entrance of Normandy High School flies at half-staff. Students write and draw in their journals and read essays about police brutality, Brown’s fatal shooting by a white police officer on Aug. 9 considered the most vivid case study at hand.
Teachers rush from class to weep, behind closed doors, in faculty restrooms. They say they are crying not only for Brown, but also for Normandy and the students who remain in their classrooms.
If education is the gateway to a better future, the door here was shut long ago, fueling a mix of resignation and rage.
The school system’s entrenched dysfunction helps explain the street anger that has unfolded in neighboring Ferguson since Brown was killed by officer Darren Wilson in what Wilson’s supporters have called an act of self-defense.
For years, Normandy High was considered the most dangerous school in the city, with abysmal test scores, underperforming teachers, a student body in which nine in 10 students qualify for subsidized or free lunches, and graduation rate that’s less than 50 percent.Ninety percent of students (out of an almost entirely black student body) enjoy lunch for free or at a significant discount; and you wonder why "enterprise zones" exist...
These students will graduate and go on to ensure the declining economic fortunes of Ferguson continue unabated, regardless of whatever measures are taken to prolong a full-fledged collapse.
This week's sign the black people are among us is the realization a large section of Ferguson became an enterprise zone 11 years ago, though the move failed to generate an economic revitalization in the city because the racial tipping point had already been passed.
Three things are certain in life:
And the reality no city can escape the vise the Visible Black Hand of Economics has on a community's commercial viability (or lack thereof).