ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – It’s not just tourists and conventioneers who are turned away by the St. Louis area’s racial and crime problems.
Anthony Bartlett, founder of St. Louis Transplants, says he regularly counsels people who are thinking about moving to the region for work, so he knows what their perceptions are.
READ MORE: NAACP Travel Advisory Continues to Dent Convention Business
Bartlett says a lot of companies send their talent prospects to him to answer questions about St. Louis, and more often than not those questions aren’t about the architecture, sports or tech scene – they’re about crime and race.
Bartlett says St. Louis has a “Google problem.” When outsiders google St. Louis, what they see usually is not positive.
“For along time, for many many years, that was tornadoes, that was crime, for two or three years there, Ferguson would have been right at the very tip-top of the list,” he says.
Now, he says it’s the NAACP travel advisory. Another issue – politics.
“Over the last year or so, what used to be the last thing on somebody’s list is now the first, and that’s politics. People will say, ‘I’m very very concerned about moving to a red state. I’m concerned about moving from a blue state to a red state, what is that going to be like?'” he says.
Bartlett says he spoke with, for instance, someone from Berkeley, California, who had a job offer in St. Louis, but had never met a Republican before and was a little skiddish.