Walt Bodine: And good morning to you. We're ready to dive off into a fascinating subject.*
Co-host Martha Julian: Good morning, Walt. I'm Martha Julian.*
Bodine: Are you Martha Julian?*
Julian: I am.*
Bodine: All right. I'm just sitting here gravitating, I guess. We have mixed signals this morning, I guess. Our good friend is not here yet. Our good friend, do you know who I speak of?*
Julian: Yes. Today we have former county executive candidate Charlie Wheeler with us. He's caught in traffic.
Bodine: He's caught in traffic? Good.*
Julian: Mr. Wheeler is considering running for a seat on the City Council.
Bodine: Here he is now.
Wheeler: Are you talking to me?
Bodine: Is it true you wrestled a bear?
Julian: I believe Walt is talking about the time you wrestled a bear during a photo op.
Wheeler: I thought you were talking about Katheryn Shields.
Bodine: Tell me, what makes a great tomato?*
Wheeler: I used to be coroner.
Julian: That's a good question. In my opinion, a good tomato does not have to look pretty.*
Bodine: No, it does not. Some of the best tomatoes I've ever had did not look beautiful.*
Wheeler: Did you ask me a question?
Julian: Where has your best bowl of chili been lately?*
Wheeler: I never missed an important vote in the Senate.
Bodine: I've always been a big fan of little joints that have good chili. And one of the best of them is on Broadway, a little bit, a little bit north of the, um, Boulevard. What do we call it?*
Julian: Southwest Boulevard.*
Bodine: That's right.*
Julian: Just really quickly, this is The Walt Bodine Show on KCUR.* *Actual quotes from recent shows.
Our sister to the east was reveling in a World Series triumph when a Lawrence couple dropped a bomb: St. Louis is America's most dangerous city.
Morgan Quitno Press, a private research firm run by the husband-and-wife team of Scott and Kathleen Morgan, publishes an annual ranking of the nation's safest cities. From our office in Kansas City, Missouri, the 16th-most-dangerous city, we called Scott Morgan to talk about the 2006 edition of Crime City Rankings.
The Pitch: How does St. Louis' reaction compare with that of past title holders?
It actually gets some credit for originality in its comeback. We've done this one for 13 years. This year, the chief of staff to the mayor of St. Louis had one of the better lines in the [St. Louis] Post-Dispatch. He called me a guy in his bare feet and his pajamas, in his mom's basement, staring at a PC. I thought that was fairly clever. No, I mean, it's fairly standard.... What I think gets lost is that it's not really the city of St. Louis that is the victim here. The victims, if we're looking for victims, are the people left living in St. Louis....
St. Louis is small geographically, meaning the poverty and crime are concentrated in the city limits. What's sprawling Kansas City's excuse?
I don't know. I think that's a very legitimate question. To the extent we do anything, we point out what the problem is. We leave it to others, who really are the experts in the field, to point out why it is. But we do raise red flags, and that would be a pretty good example of one, just because I happen to know the city. It does kind of beg to be answered.
Lee's Summit rated as the 19th-safest city. Is it fair to compare suburbs to places like Detroit and Oakland?
We pick up an artificial threshold of 75,000 to get to 371 cities. Somebody else could pick 100,000. You could pick 500,000. Whatever you pick is going to be arbitrary.... So, OK, don't pay any attention to the affluent bedroom communities that are at the top of this thing. But Cleveland does better than St. Louis. Why is that? Presumably, Cleveland has some of the same issues that St. Louis would.
James Wolcott cited Morgan Quitno in a recent Vanity Fair essay about the low quality of life in red-state America. How cool was that?
It's been awhile since I've read Vanity Fair, to be honest with you. But, no, I think it's great. I thought it was cool we ended up in Pravda this time.... I didn't even know it was still printed. The lost transcript of the Bodine-Wheeler show. And a Lawrence couple ends up in crime stories.