Short Cuts

Radio Free St. Louis Goes to Jail; Ald Bauer, Get Your Ass Out of Town; The Crotchety Senator from Crystal City

Ald. Miguel Mitchell(D-4th) admitted that his North St. Louis ward doesn't have such problems. "I wish it did," he said as he sat down after speaking against the bill. One of Bauer's soliloquies against the bill prompted a brief burst of applause from the gallery — an event so rare during an aldermanic meeting that several spectators looked startled. But despite the oratory, the bill banning "equipment trailers" on residential streets passed, 18-6.

THE CROTCHETY SENATOR FROM CRYSTAL CITY:How often is WIL (92.3 FM) mentioned in the Sunday New York Times? Well, on June 27, once. In a muddled profile of former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, NYT Sunday-magazine writer Melinda Henneberger described how a "crotchety" Bradley snapped at "the reporter, for WIL-FM," during and after a St. Louis press conference.

Henneberger, for reasons that are unclear, didn't name the reporter, so you read it here first: It was Randy Caldwell, news reporter for the country-music station. Caldwell says Henneberger recounted fairly well what went down but may have left the impression that Caldwell was taken aback by his abrupt treatment by Bradley. Not Randy — veteran newshound that he is, he took it in stride.

Seems that Bradley held a press conference in town and Henneberger was tagging along for the NYTSunday-magazine piece. Because Dollar Bill was born and reared in Crystal City, Caldwell asked Bradley whether he expected to carry Missouri. Henneberger wrote: "Bradley was snide. "If you ask that of any candidate they're not going to say no — so yeahhh,' he drawled, as if speaking to an imbecile. "Of course I plan on carrying Missouri. And Iowa. And New Hampshire. And California."

Then, as the former Knick left the room, Caldwell asked "a second innocuous question ... Bradley scolded him: "Hey, this is a press conference. You had your chance to ask a question, and now you're trying to get in another one. That's not fair."

Caldwell agrees that Bradley "snapped a little" but says it was probably because there have been questions about whether native son Bradley could defeat Gore in the Missouri primary. But it's no big gig, Randy says. He's irritated many levels of politicians before, ranging from U.S. Rep. Richard Gephardt to St. Louis County Executive Buzz Westfall.

Was Bradley too crabby? Not for Randy. "He reminded me of me," Randy says. "I kind of like the guy."

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