Open letter to the Post-Dispatch remembering its 23 editorial attacks on me
Thank you for the invitation. However, I distinctly remember that your editorial board at the Post-Dispatchmade a decision in July 2016 not to endorse in county races other than circuit attorney. In case you forgot, here’s a link to the editorial where you said “the only candidates we would endorse are those with solid qualifications who also promise to work to eliminate the office.” And since I am not making that promise, I believe that makes me ineligible for consideration.
Famous St. Louisan Maya Angelou once said, “When people show you who they are, believe them, the first time.” So, I’m going to take your word for it. Since 2016, this editorial board has done nothing but use its pen, ink, and declining readership to try to disparage my reputation as a public servant of the city I love and serve. Consequently, I am not inclined to accept your invitation. However, what I will do is use this as an opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane of your petty editorials. Shall we?
In 2016, it was pretty light. You only wrote two attack pieces. One telling me that I should give up a benefit that was afforded to elected officials for decades before me, but somehow became an issue after I took office. Despite the fact that this “perk” was added to my taxes as income, you compared me to Marco Rubio’s performance in his response to the president’s State of the Union address.
The next salvo was in 2017, when the mayor’s race was in full swing. You called me the “high flying treasurer” and said that I should be brought down, which is nothing more than a euphemism for calling me an “uppity” Black woman who didn’t know her place. In February, I declined your interview for an endorsement in the mayor’s race, because, based on advice from Maya Angelou, you showed me who you were. Instead, I published my response to your interview request in The St. Louis American.
In your endorsement of then-candidate Antonio French for mayor, you spent almost as much time attacking me as you did endorsing him. “Treasurer Tishaura Jones has treated public office as a grab bag of perks for her personal enjoyment.” You wrote. “We need a mayor who consistently upholds a high standard of ethics. She is quick to deploy the race card recklessly. The mayor’s job is too important to entrust to someone with such demonstrably bad judgment.”
After I exceeded everyone’s expectations in the primaries – including yours, I might add – you said, “Jones has long tended to blame others for her own shortcomings. Even after Tuesday night’s loss, she offered no hint of admitting that personal failings might have turned voters away. Instead, she blamed the other African-American candidates for refusing to bury their male egos and bow out of the race. Voters value honesty and transparency. Add a dose of humility, and Jones might still have a promising political future ahead.” Even the Washington Post called your response bull [expletive].
It was clear to me after the mayor’s race that I would never receive an objective eye or ear from the editorial board, which the last time I checked still doesn’t have one African American. I called you out on it in 2017, and I will continue to call you out on it until it changes.
How can I forget when you accused me of fraud related to the funds I raised to remove the Confederate monument in Forest Park? In case you’re still wondering, that check was presented to the city parks department as soon as GoFundMe mailed it to my office.
When I tried to help the city and the Scottrade Center fund renovations, after they changed the terms of the lease behind closed doors, you said I control too much money and with too little transparency, saying, “Jones might hope to boost future political prospects by asserting herself as the hero who saved the Scottrade Center renovation. That’s not her office’s role, and taxpayers shouldn’t tolerate it when so many other city needs are going unmet.” I’m damned if I try to help and damned if I mind my own business. I just can’t win, can I?
Three months later, you called Alderwoman Megan Green and I hypocrites for supporting community benefit agreements for development projects after a sales tax increase for police salaries was passed by voters. Never mind that CBAs have been attached to some of the largest projects in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Detroit in recent years. St. Louis gives away millions in tax incentives to wealthy developers and gets nothing in return. And you think we should continue to give our tax dollars away at the expense of our schools, crumbling infrastructure, and declining tax revenue?