U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay on Monday gave a guided bus tour to fellow U.S. Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat. They looked at the blighted, high-crime neighborhood in North St. Louis being pieced together to provide the minimum 100 acres for the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency’s western headquarters.
Schiff said he was impressed, which is saying something for a guy from L.A. He did not see any of the other proposed sites.
Actually, there was a litany of what Schiff did not see from the Clay bus.
He did not see the protesters who were arrested after putting up signs and a shed saying they didn’t want their neghborhood taken for the NGA. He would not have seen anyone from Shiloh, O’Fallon or Mascoutah putting up anything but a “welcome” sign.
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He did not see the $130 million price tag expected for the former Pruitt-Igoe housing complex and other properties in North St. Louis being assembled by eminent domain, indirect property leverage and foreclosure. He would not have seen a price tag at all on the 400 acres being offered for free next to Scott Air Force Base.
He did not see the drug dealers, nationally-ranked violent crime or grinding poverty in the area where St. Louis leaders think a national spy agency should be nestled. He did not see the large military base and supportive corps of veterans and active duty military surrounding where St. Clair County leaders think the defense mapping and intelligence agency would be most secure.
What he did see was legerdemain and illusion that presented him with lots of liberal guilt and no facts about doing what is best for the NGA mission and the security of our nation.
We cordially invite Schiff for a tour of Scott Air Force Base, MidAmerica Airport and the logical location for NGA-West. It should prove eye opening.