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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Brecht Butcher Supply Company Demolition Told Slant

As I watch progress on the demolition of the Brecht Butcher Supply Company buildings, I hear music in my mind:

I sit at my table and wage war on myself
It seems like it's all, it's all for nothing
I know the barricades, and
I know the mortar in the wall breaks
I recognize the weapons, I used them well

This is my mistake. Let me make it good
I raised the wall and I will be the one to knock it down

- R.E.M., "World Leader Pretend"

I think: A priceless cultural treasure falls to the folly of a mortal vision?

What folly...

Why do I shed a tear? Why do I take offense? Why do I dare publish an opinion on a matter ignored by most every upright citizen?

Let me put it this way: Imagine that you live in a world with limited resources. There can only be so many beautiful things, so many bricks made, so many walls built. The beautiful buildings have aged and show imperfection, but are still lovely and give you great joy. Then, all of a sudden, one of the buildings disappears. You miss it as you pass by its site, but you quickly look at the other great buildings. Later in the week, another building falls. Then another, and another until your walks through your own neighborhood begin to seem like intrusions into a forbidden world of darkness. The world is newly strange, and a bit terrifying. When the remaining buildings begin to breathe life again, and find new owners, you catch a goog look at hope that this dark world will be transformed.

Then, all of a sudden, an intruder arrives. Although the old cycle of destruction is over, this person doesn't seem to care. He takes the remaining buildings -- the ones eyed by your friends as future homes -- and he evicts their occupants, allows their ornament to be stripped, lets them fall over. Strange fires happen, and uncertainty returns to a reborn landscape. You cry out, but no one pays you heed as they navigate their comfortable landscapes. The intruder wears a mask and laughs at your plight. The worst part about all of this is that this is the finite world. When the last beautiful building falls, so goes the beauty in this world.

What terror...

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Perfectly understand but unfortunately your feelings are felt by many in StL. Neighborhoods are being constantly destroyed by neglect and particularly by less-than-accountable elected officials. These problems are evident in your backyard and many others, including mine.

The abuse in the north is compounded by the lack of stated policies and selective law/code enforcement. In other areas, government is the source of the problems, it is the masked intruder. It is our elected leaders who rather listen to one developer than the many voices of the public...laziness or something worse?

What continues to puzzle me is why so many who understand this continue to believe that more government is the answer. Is the public that confused? Or is the enemy of my enemy my friend? We should all feel offended but it is too easy for too many in StL to ignore.

Desperate ledership rarely has the time or resources to listen to reason and thus inevitably makes desperate decisions. This is horrible to watch and I wish you better. In the interim, continue to insist on transparency and hold these leaders accountable for their oath of office.

Anonymous said...

Perfectly understand but unfortunately your feelings are felt by many in StL area. Neighborhoods are being constantly destroyed by neglect and particularly by less-than-accountable elected officials.

The abuse is compounded by the overhang of E.D. and the ability to blight. These problems are evident in your backyard and many others, including mine. Who wants to invest more time and money in areas that have an uncertain future?
Creating uncertainty should never be the main product of government but it is very common here.

The abuse in the north is compounded by the lack of stated policies and selective law/code enforcement. In other areas, government is the source of the problems, it is the masked intruder. It is our elected leaders who rather listen to one developer than the many voices of the public...laziness or something worse?

What continues to puzzle me is why so many who understand this continue to believe that more government is the answer. Is the public that confused? Or is the enemy of my enemy my friend? We should all feel offended but it is too easy for too many in StL to ignore.

Desperate ledership rarely has the time or resources to listen to reason and thus inevitably makes desperate decisions. This is horrible to watch and I wish you better. In the interim, continue to insist on transparency and hold these leaders accountable for their oath of office.

Sam Chapman said...

Paul McKee, are you reading?

Please stop destroying my city!!!

Anonymous said...

I just read an article at STLtoday about state subsidy support being proposed by the Lt. Governor of up to 100 million dollars for large scale development within the urban core of St. Louis involving 75 acres or more. I immediately thought of the mysterious Blairmont (owner of the Brecht Butcher Supply Company among many others) when he described a developer he refused to name from St. Charles County and offered his opinion that parts of our city look like war torn Berlin in 1945. Here is the link to the article:

http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/stlouiscitycounty/story/2EF2C5B02EF7F5578625727C00135BA8?OpenDocument

By the way, it sounds like the politicans are trying to rush this bill through to passage in Jefferson City. Anyone have similar thoughts?r