St. Louis has an important school bond issue on the Nov. 5th ballot, and four major cities in Minnesota, Michigan, and Ohio will elect mayors. Yet despite the Indian summer in these parts, the voter turnout is expected to be very slim. In each of the mayoral elections a veteran mayor who has attracted little credible opposition is standing for reelection.
Political experts say a general lack of interest may be partly due to the fact that the economy has improved and many of the sharpest cuts in urban spending have already been made.
Some analysts also blame the press for not covering the opposition and then lamenting the lack of a good contest. Following is a wrapup of these contests: St. Louis
Students in the St. Louis public schools have a lot riding on the outcome of next Tuesday's election.
The only issue on the ballot is an uncommonly high ($155 million), but otherwise routinely familiar, school bond issue.
School officials have tried seven times since 1962 to get voters to say ``yes'' to more dollars to repair everything from leaky roofs to worn-out plumbing. But never have there been enough votes to meet Missouri's unusually stiff two-thirds approval requirement.
This time officials seem to be taking a now-or-never approach.
City government and business leaders are united behind the effort. Recently reelected Mayor Vincent Schoemehl who had taken a hands-off approach in the past, now makes an almost daily appearance somewhere on the schools' behalf.
He and others remind voters that the city is booming -- with its new Rouse Company renovation of Union Station (a former train station), and the opening of the country's largest downtown shopping mall. The schools must keep pace, they reason.
``All kinds of things are happening but the schools aren't -- they're in deplorable shape,'' says school system spokeswoman Marge Polcyn. She says the courts will probably have to step in if the measure doesn't pass this time.
``It very much becomes an age and race issue in St. Louis,'' notes E. Terrence Jones, a University of Missouri political scientist.
Older, disproportionately white voters on fixed incomes from the city's South Side are being asked to help a predominantly black school system.
Polls indicate the vote will be close. ``There are enough `yes' votes out there if they all get to the polls,'' says Ed Bushmeyer, a press aide to Mayor Schoemehl who expects the issue to pass or fail by less than 1,000 votes. Minneapolis and St. Paul