Think About Tomorrow and Vote Tishaura: The Case For Tishaura Jones

By Umar Lee

After sixteen long years and four terms Mayor Francis Slay is moving towards the next phase of his life. Historians will debate his legacy for generations to come; but now all eyes are on the Democratic Mayoral Primary. In a city where the GOP is only slightly larger than the rush-hour line at an Arby’s drive-thru and the Green Party is a Brooklyn studio-apartment divided among itself the Democratic Mayoral Primary is the only election to watch.

Several months ago I speculated in an article on who would run for mayor. Now the field has taken shape. There are some good candidates in this race who’ve contributed a lot to St. Louis. There are some lousy candidates as well. There is one candidate who can lead St. Louis into the future.

Below I will make the case for Tishaura Jones. While I have a personal-relationship with Ms. Jones I’ve also met every other candidate in the field and have a relationship with some of them as well. This isn’t about Umar Lee, this isn’t about who is the coolest, this is about the future of St. Louis. Our city is about one-third of the size we were in 1950 and we either lead or damn-near lead America in murders, crimes, STD’s and vacant-housing. After the killing of Mike Brown in St. Louis County and subsequent protests in St. Louis City we made global headlines highlighting the racial-division in our city.

With Donald Trump to be President of the United States, Eric Greitens to be Governor of Missouri, and with a Republican Missouri Legislature in place when our next mayor takes office this is no time for a mediocre mayor. St. Louis will need a great mayor offering historic change to unite our city and lead us in challenging the Trump Agenda.

Tishaura Jones is the only candidate possessing the politcal talent, expertise, compassion and intellect to rise to this historic occasion. This is no ordinary moment in time and St. Louis deserves more than an ordinary mayor. Below are seven key reasons you should vote for Tishaura Jones.

-Responsible Development

Development is vital to the growth and health of St. Louis and any other city. This includes big developments, the revitalization of neighborhoods that brings in new residents such as you see on Cherokee, the hi-tech industry in the Cortex, university-related developments, The Foundry and so forth. No mayor or mayoral candidate should stand in the way of development that’s good for the city.

Having said that we have to make sure that development is done responsibly. We can’t just have big-development projects that only promise to benefit the poor and working-class of our city with trickle-down economics. Development must bring in businesses and new residents and transplants while not displacing or causing harm to lower-income multi-generational residents of the city. In order to strike this balance you need a mayor who both understands the economics of development and has empathy for all residents and Tishaura will be such a mayor. A mayor who won’t fork over hundreds of millions for a stadium when we are in desperate need of upgrading our public-transit system.

-The Least of These

Don’t take my word for it I encourage you to research the career of Tishaura Jones. Her entire career has been about using the resources of the state to improve the lives of those who need help. As a State Representative in Jefferson City Tishaura was a champion for women, children, people of color, and the poor. As the Treasurer of the City of St. Louis Tishaura has launched an office and campaign to make St. Louisans more financially-literate and less prone to predatory businesses. She’s also guaranteed all St. Louis schoolchildren money towards paying for their college education.

-Racial-Equity

Tishaura has said she’ll view everything from a “prism of racial-equity”. Ignoring the deep racial divisions in our city in an age of social media is no longer realistic or acceptable. Ignoring problems doesn’t make them go away. It causes wounds to fester. St. Louis cannot be a great city again without healing our racial-division. We cannot heal these divisions without causing discomfort to elements of the white-establishment. While this establishment is no doubt threatened by Tishaura they are the same people who’ve been our civic leaders during decade after decade of decline. There is no doubt some will paint Tishaura as racially-divisive, but this is an allegation with no basis in reality. Tishaura has always been an inclusive figure and the Draft Tishaura for Mayor meetings were jam-packed with primarily white St. Louisans.

-Post-Ferguson

We cannot go back to pre-Ferguson politics and a pre-Ferguson mayor. We need a post-Ferguson mayor with a post-Ferguson agenda. If we double-down on business as usual in St. Louis and don’t implement the needed reforms make no mistake the next uprising is coming to a neighborhood near you. I don’t think any St. Louisans will look back at St. Louis police firing teargas at peacefully-assembled citizens on South Grand as anything other than a sad moment in our history. If we don’t learn from the mistakes of history we are bound to repeat them and St. Louis right now is like a dry forest on a 105 degree summer day. All it takes is a spark and the protests after the deaths of Mike Brown, Kajieme Powell, Vonderrit Myers, and Mansur Ball-Bey will look like Southern Baptist dress rehearsals for a Bollywood Wedding. Tishaura Jones will be a mayor to put out fires and not play with matches.

-When Women Lead

It is time for a woman to be mayor of St. Louis. There is no need for the mayor’s office to be an all-boys club. We can send a message to America that we reject the misogyny that cost Hillary Clinton votes in the presidential election and we are better than that.

-Immigration and Diversity

If St. Louis is going to become a modern city we must become a more diverse city. Travelling around the country you’ll see St. Louis is one of the last cities dominated by a stifling black-white binary. This lack of diversity holds our city back culturally and economically. Some of our best and brightest leave because the city isn’t diverse enough and we lose out on new residents coming here after they take a glimpse and decide this city isn’t for them.

Tishaura Jones has backed municipal ID’s for undocumented residents of our city. She respects them and the great contributions they make to all of our lives. Furthermore Tishaura has said she supports designating Cherokee as a Latino Herritage area as thanks to their contributions to the city. No different than designations for Italians on The Hill or Irish in Dogtown. In addition to that Tishaura has made reaching out to the Bosnian community a priority.

(Tishaura with House of Goods Director and Bosnian police chaplain Dzemal Bijedic)

There is no doubt in my mind Tishaura Jones will fight the Trump Administration tooth and nail when it comes to rounding up St. Louis residents. There will be no cooperation with a Trump Deportation Force while Tishaura Jones is mayor.

-Refugees and Islamophobia

(Above is Tishaura Jones meeting with Syrian refugees in the old Alpha Gardens apartment-complex on the “West Side” of St. Louis)

Ignoring the climate of hate towards Muslims and the fear-mongering towards refugees Tishaura has went into the community to meet and work with refugees. There is no doubt in my mind with Tishaura Jones as mayor the City of St. Louis will not be cooperating with Trump Administration plans to either register Muslims or place some Muslims into internment camps. Tishaura Jones has close relationships with a number of local Muslims and these relationships go back years and she will be a mayor who speaks against Islamophobia and will seek to protect the local Muslim community.

The Opponents

Some candidates are running because they want to win and others are being paid to run. So for the sake of discussion I’ll just pretend everyone is real.

There are other candidates in this race I respect. Antonio French was on the frontlines in Ferguson with me and founded NorthCampus in the O’Fallon Park neighborhood which does great things for kids. I honestly believe the office of mayor isn’t the best fit for Antonio’s skill-set and he’d be better off focusing on media opportunities.

Jamilah Nasheed is an inspiring figure who fought back from an early life in gangs to become a State Senator. Sen. Nasheed has shown she’s highly-skilled working in a legislative environment and I think she should reconsider running for mayor and focus on legislative races.

Jeffery Boyd

With zero chance of winning and only making the news lately due to his relationships with slumlords one can’t help but wonder why Boyd is running, who told him running is a good idea, and who the hell would vote for him? As he’s not a serious person I won’t dedicate any more attention to him in fear he’ll try and hit me up for a “cash only donation”.

Lewis Reed

Reed ran last time and his numbers were inflated as he was the only anti-Slay candidate. This time he’s gonna be floating around Clarence Harmon re-election numbers. Any chance Reed had at being considered a serious threat to become our next mayor ended when he sat on the radio and chuckled away as a local misogynistic shock-jock went on a profane and sexist tirade against Alderwoman Megan Green. Reed never apologized to Green in person just showing he has “Donald Trump level” respect for women.

Lyda Krewson

If you go to the website of Krewson and her social media its as if Ferguson never happened, there are no racial divisions in our city, Donald Trump isn’t going to be president, and all we need is a Loop Trolley and some soccer and all will be right in St. Louis. There is nothing in the career of Krewson that leads me to believe she can implement a post-Ferguson agenda. With Krewson as mayor developers will go unchecked, the poor and working-class will not be a priority, and divisions will remain.

Will Krewson stand up to and fight the Trump Administration when they call upon local Muslims to register or report to internment camps? Will a Krewson Administration fight the Trump Administration and Gov. Greitens when a Deportation Force begins rounding up local residents? Will Krewson take community concerns about police-violence seriously? Will she offer more than trickle-down economics to the poor? All of the above will be unpopular with much of her base so the question is will Krewson have the courage to stand up to her base? I haven’t seen anything from her leading me to believe she will.

Think about tomora’ vote for Tishaura

Note: I work for Ms. Jones