As usual, best-places-to-live survey misses important data
By Tony Messenger, Columbia Tribune
Published Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Show Me your slackers.

Proving that we’re No. 1 in more than childhood obesity, Missouri workers rose to the challenge and took the title this week as the nation’s top goof-offs.

According to a study by America Online and Salary.com, Missouri workers waste more time on average during the workday than our compatriots in other states. I know this, of course, because on Monday I was slacking.

Using the most valuable of the slacker’s tools – the Internet search – I came across a story on The Associated Press wire about our affinity for time wasting. The story distracted me from another item I came across on the Internet about America’s best place to live.

This year, Columbia didn’t make the cut.

In previous years, Columbia has been near the top of the list, one of the finest places in the country to live, Money magazine reported. In 1992, our fine city was the second-best place in the nation to live, the magazine’s editors decided. Throughout the ’90s, in fact, Columbia consistently placed in the top 100 of the list.

This year, we didn’t even make the top two in Missouri, losing out to Ballwin and Lee’s Summit.

What, you say, aren’t those just sprawling suburbs of big cities?

Yes, they are, and therein lies the key to this year’s list.

Gone is the down-hominess of past years, where places such as Columbia and Rochester, Minn., won for their quality health care, their quaint downtowns and their good jobs. This year, the editors knocked Columbia out of the running with an early disqualification: finalists had to be within 60 miles of a major airport.

You can call Columbia Regional Airport a lot of things, but “major” isn’t one of them.

Fair or not, the list produced by editors this year is more of a compilation of “decent suburbs to live in if you have a trust fund and want to be near a big city.”

Read the rest of the article HERE

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