Proposition P, JFK files and the deadliest earthquake of 2017


Ethan Fine

Reflection in sight, the drive up to school is shown through a rearview mirror, Oct. 17.


Know: St. Louis City residents passed Proposition P, which proposed a half cent sales tax hike for an increase in the salaries of government-funded jobs, Nov. 7.

Inform: Police officers, firefighters, the Circuit Attorney’s Office as well as children’s recreational programming and building demolition workers are receiving higher wages and benefits with the passing of the proposition. This measure required a majority vote of 50 percent. The results of the election produced a 59.78 percent popular vote in favor of Proposition P. The idea for the proposition came after residents in St. Louis county voted for a 30% pay raise for county officers in April. The sales tax will raise from 9.2 to 9.7 percent. The difference in salaries between St. Louis County and St. Louis City police are now $11,000 per year on average. Once wage increases are put into effect this upcoming January, St. Louis City first responders could possibly leave to work in better paying county jobs.

Care: Prop P plays a major role in decreasing crime rates throughout the St. Louis area. Reports of crime are up in LaSalle Park by 117.78 percent, Lafayette Square by 47.83 percent and Franz Park by 34.04 percent. The primary aim of Prop P is to hire more police to fight increasing crime rates. Citizens depend on law enforcement to protect them. With the increasing employment of officers, the hope that is crime will decline.


Know: The federal government released over 13,000 additional documents regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Nov. 9.

Inform: The U.S. government finally released more information regarding the 1963 murder of Kennedy after over half a century. The President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992 prevented more documents from being released; however now CIA documents describing Lee Harvey Oswald’s visit to Mexico suggest the influence that the Soviet Union and Cuba may have had on the assassination in the hopes of  weakening the U.S. during the Cold War. While there are a lot of answered questions, the archives still hold 30,678 documents. President Donald Trump is pushing for the release of more government-held documents, as the 1992 law required the government to make the last of the Kennedy documents public by Oct. 26, 2017 unless the sitting president wished to withhold them for national security reasons. While most have been released, the CIA and FBI protested to hold back around 17,465 documents for another review. Agencies are set to release the rest of the documents to the public by April 26 excluding the names and addresses of people who are still living. 

Care: Citizens should be able to stay informed about the world around them. By disclosing information about the past, people aren’t able to learn about how to prevent those same mistakes from being made in the future. Students enrolled in government and U.S. History classes throughout the country are expected to learn about their country and how it runs; yet some major incidents in history are left without explanations.


Know: The deadliest earthquake of 2017 struck the Iran and Iraq border, killing over 450 and injuring 6,650 people, Nov. 11.

Inform: The earthquake had a magnitude of 7.3 and a depth of just over 14 miles. While the Iranian Red Crescent Society used dogs to search for missing people, they also reported that more than 70,000 people are still in need of emergency shelter. Since the Kermanshah province was most heavily affected, the governor’s office of Iran has declared three days of mourning. People are waiting in line in Tehran to donate blood in response to a call from the government. Along with emergency aid, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, sent his condolences and asked people to continue searching for survivors. Survivors and witnesses are sending out updated information through Twitter. 

Care: The New Madrid Seismic Zone lays just a hundred miles south of St. Louis making the risk of an earthquake greater than anywhere in the Midwest. It stretches from southern Illinois, to Missouri and to northeastern Arkansas. A series of magnitude seven quakes occurred on the New Madrid fault in 1811 and 1812. Geologists identified another major seismic zone expanding along the Mississippi River from St. Louis to Cape Girardeau, called the Ste. Genevieve Seismic Zone. Geologists expect it to be capable of producing moderate earthquakes, defined as a magnitude five on the Richter Scale, every few decades. Research from geologists at Indiana University, Purdue University and Illinois University say that the seismic zone has the potential to produce major earthquakes every 2,000 to 4,000 years. Staying informed about how to help and what necessary precautions to take is vital for aiding those in need and preparing for a disaster can strike at any minute anywhere around the world.