THE TRANS WORLD DOME AS A CASE OF BUDWEISER

Civic squabbling -- featuring RFT editor Safir Ahmed -- on KMOX; plus, other St. Louis follies and foibles

Sommer insists the dome is a good deal because it enhances the convention center. The dome, "for us, it is Hall 6. It's our sixth hall. That's what it's called in all our graphics." A mighty big Hall 6, needed only about a dozen or so times a year beyond the Rams' games.

"What people forget is, we agreed to do this dome -- city, county, state -- without a football team, because everybody agreed the economics made sense because of conventions and trade shows. The problem we're having with the media is that we can't get people off the fact that this ain't just a football stadium. If this were a stand-alone stadium, it would be a horrible loser."

Eek, the "L' word. Let's not even think about this messy stuff. Go Rams.

YOU THINK IT'S EASY BEING GREG FREEMAN? GUESS AGAIN: Maybe a thrice-weekly P-D column, a Monday- Friday radio show on KWMU-FM (97.1) and a weekly KETC (Channel 9) show are wearing Greg Freeman down. Or maybe Greg is just Greg, too affable to challenge Mayor Clarence Harmon, who was a guest last week on Freeman's 11 a.m. KWMU show. When Greg asked Harmon about the status of the convention-hotel deal, the mayor said the city had just "increased the bonding capacity of the empowerment zone," a move that "increased the cost" to the city. Did alarms go off? Isn't this a bad, bad sign? Well, when Greg was assured that the convention-hotel deal would be closed at the end of March and ground broken by spring, he came back with "It's finally going to happen. Great, great!" But credit Greg with getting a startling admission from Tuesday guest Buzz Westfall when a caller complained that the county's public libraries close at 9 p.m. Said Buzz, now in his third term as county executive: "I didn't know we closed at 9 o'clock. I'll be honest -- I haven't been in a library other than for a ground-breaking or a grand opening in a while." Now that would be a sign of a healthy economy: In addition to 24-hour Walgreens and Home Depots, a 24-hour public library to satisfy those middle-of-the-night urges for a good biography.

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: The quote of the week had nothing to do with the Rams; it was uttered by Pete Earley, who wrote Super Casino: Inside the "New" Las Vegas. During an NPR interview, he said a corporate executive told him "the Mob was stupid. We're making much more money now that the corporations have taken over." What does that tell you about how cold-blooded corporations are?... The award for the most inane Rams media report -- and the competition was stiff -- goes to Ruth Ezell of KSDK (Channel 5), who last Tuesday went to Francis Howell High School to talk to students to see whether they were conflicted about the Rams game (because their school's teams are known as the Vikings). Then she went (oh, the horror) to the Viking Restaurant. She closed her skit showing a clipped Hagar the Horrible cartoon strip. When will the Super Bowl be over?... Bad headline of the week goes to the St. Louis American. The subhead to "Vikings bring their soulful strut to St. Louis for playoff showdown" was "Black head coach, offensive coordinator make Minnesota threat to Rams' Super Bowl hopes." Gee, guess that means mere pigmentation is more powerful than we thought.... And finally, why did the P-D use the cryptic word "irreality" in a Jan. 12 editorial? Maybe they're trying to imagine new words to use.

Give us your feedback by e-mailing "Short Cuts" at shortcuts@rftstl. com, faxing 314-615-6716 or calling 314-615-6711.

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