It has been a lot of fun to return to the RFT after an eighteen-year absence. Thanks to everyone for the warm welcome back, including such comments as, "didn't notice you'd left" and "who are you again?" In that spirit of nostalgia, I've decided to resurrect an old RFT tradition of yesteryear, the year-end quiz. This year's version is culled from the OK-est hits of the 45 columns I wrote in 2019. Hopefully, it'll provide a fitting year in review, but it's all in fun. As to scoring, use any grading system you like, and remember: A perfect score is nothing to brag about. Happy Holidays!
1. Which larger cities would St. Louis have allegedly surpassed in population — according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — under the Better Together plan to unify the city and county?
A. Mayberry, Gotham City, Shangri-La, Brigadoon and Emerald City
B. San Francisco, Dallas, Washington, Boston and Detroit
C. Shanghai, Tokyo, Mumbai, Istanbul and New York
D. (A) but might as well have been (B)
E. (B) but might as well have been (C)
2. Which Clean Missouri provision passed by 569,480 votes but bothered Missouri legislators so much they moved to overturn it in the first weeks of the 2019 legislative session?
A. Public release of breathalyzer tests of legislators
B. Public release of email correspondence of legislators
C. Public release of high school transcripts of legislators
D. Public release of support sheep of legislators
E. Public release of hostages of legislators
3. When proudly gay Rep. Greg Razer, D-Kansas City, confronted Rep. Hardy Billington, R-Poplar Bluff, on the House floor, quoting from a book written by Billington, which did NOT happen?
A. Razer quoted Billington as referring to gays as Sodomites whose "sins are much worse than other sins because they cannot reproduce and thus must recruit"
B. Razer quoted Billington as having called gay marriage a "vile and disgusting display of absolute defiance of God's commandments"
C. Razer quoted Billington calling LGBTQ individuals a "perverted crowd"
D. Rep David Gregory, R-St. Louis County, accused Razer of "mudslinging" and "an actual brutal attempt at intimidation" for quoting Billington's book on the House floor
E. Billington admitted his book actually was mud, and everyone hugged it out at the end
4. In announcing that the city was soliciting bids from large private companies which install and operate red-light cameras to monetize tickets for running red lights, which did Mayor Lyda Krewson do?
A. Insist that "this isn't about revenue at all, it's about how we can have safer streets"
B. Insist that "this isn't about safety at all, it's about how we can raise lots of new revenue from our streets"
C. Test four-way traffic pauses and other proven safety measures before bringing back the cameras
D. Propose that city politicians be barred from accepting campaign donations from red-light camera companies
E. Admit that companies and cities make more money the more people run red lights
5. When Sgt. Keith Wildhaber sued St. Louis County for discriminating against him for being gay by passing him over for promotions 23 times, which strategy did county officials NOT employ related to losing a $20 million jury verdict?
A. Put a lying officer on the witness stand
B. Go to trial knowing Chief Jon Belmar had admitted in a deposition to retribution against Wildhaber
C. Accept a $850,000 settlement offer from Wildhaber
D. Essentially argue that state law allows police to discriminate all they want against LGBTQ officers, so there
E. Praise Belmar as "the right man for the job" after the verdict
6. Which statement is true with regard to Missouri's official state website offering a link for people to apply for a Medical Marijuana Identification Card?
A. This isn't true. You're stoned and imagining it
B. This isn't true. The link is a trick and sends you to a website selling MAGA hats
C. This is true. But the link is a trick and sends you to a website selling MAGA hats
D. This is true. But until next year, Missouri patients hang in a strange limbo in which they have a legal right to possess pot, but they can only buy it from people who cannot sell it to them legally
E. This is true. But (D) is so confusing that the right answer is probably (A)
7. Which person demanded Donald Trump be removed from the 2016 GOP presidential ticket a month before the election over "predatory and reprehensible" remarks, only to decline to attack him for saying four Democratic congresswomen of color should "go back" to their home countries"?
A. State Sen. Jill Schupp in a speech
B. Congresswoman Ann Wagner in a press statement
C. Vice President Mike Pence in a ventriloquist performance
D. Gov. Eric Greitens during a photo shoot in his basement
E. Melania Trump in a message tied to Hedwig's leg
8. Why did former Mayor Francis Slay wait until Day 5,818 of a 5,844-day administration to reveal that he was enlisting billionaire Rex Sinquefield to spend millions to facilitate a billion-dollar-plus scheme to privatize St. Louis Lambert International Airport?
A. He was just too busy in the previous 5,817 days
B. He had become forgetful. He forgot that he had one of the nation's top airport directors working for him and he forgot there was a Board of Aldermen, just like people forget where they put their keys. It happens
C. He thought it would be a cool surprise to his law firm and associates that they'd be getting nice business contracts from the privatization effort after he left office and he didn't want to ruin that with a spoiler
D. He was afraid Steve Stenger would steal the idea
E. Because he could
9. As of July, Missouri ranked No. 1 in the nation — by a lot — in the rate with which it has kicked poor children off of health care coverage. Health economist Timothy McBride of Washington University said, "The process is breaking down because we don't understand the situations of low-income people." How did Republicans respond?
A. By charging that critics like McBride "don't understand the situations of high-income people"
B. By admitting they were wrong to have cost the state untold billions in federal dollars — and continue to do so — as one of just thirteen states to reject Medicaid expansion because they didn't want to help that Obama guy
C. By saying, "Hey, you got a problem with this?"
D. By designating two of their state reps to hold hearings about the situation
E. By proclaiming during the Stanley Cup parade, "Hey, we gave these Blues owners $70 million in state money. Now do you think we should have spent it on some kids who can't even skate?"
10. ArchCity Defenders is suing the city over hellish conditions in the Workhouse, the jail in which thousands of defendants have languished an average 291 days waiting for trial, in no small part because of a cruel and racist cash-bail system. What is being done by city government and the criminal justice system to rectify this emergency?
A. Say, "what emergency"?
B. Attack Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner for coddling criminals because she's part of a national effort by reform prosecutors against cash bail
C. Vilify the Bail Project, a fine national group that irritated the entire system by posting bail for 1,300 city defendants in its first year, with a 94 percent success rate in making court appearances, after one inmate whose bail it met — having been set by judge and prosecutors—committed a horrible murder
D. Tout a recent grand jury report saying "after years of bad press due to poor conditions, the current reality was far different." Hey, it's all good. What were you saying about cash bail?
E. All of the aboveAnswers:
Ray Hartmann founded the Riverfront Times in 1977. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or catch him on St. Louis In the Know With Ray Hartmann and Jay Kanzler from 9 to 11 p.m. Monday thru Friday on KTRS (550 AM).