Letters to the Editor

Published the week of July 12-18, 2000

Public lynchings of African-American males are still occurring in today's society. Your article "The Scarlet Letter" (RFT, June 28) confirms this. Shame on you, RFT. I always admired your tough, independent, investigative style of reporting critical issues relevant to the growth and prosperity of St. Louis and its residents. However, your front-page article contained none of these admirable qualities. The article, the caricatures and headlines are much similar to the tabloid headlines one sees at grocery-store checkouts and contained in such publications as the National Enquirer or the Star. What public benefit or relevance was there in headlining an individual's past reconciled mistakes which had occurred 10 to 30 years ago?

Of the three more current accusations stated in the anonymous letter and in your article, only one may require continued investigation, the alleged inappropriate comments to the female student. The affair with an employee seems irrelevant and inconsequential, and the touching of the female student was found to be completely false. For me, the article contained no substantiative events or actions by Mr. Smith that would warrant you putting this story as headline news.

You succumbed to the public's need for gossip and an employee's need for vengeance. You became police, judge and jury, trying a man's reputation and career. You publicly lynched a black man. Shame on you, RFT.
Mike Powers

The RFT published a sad and depressing story on Brooklyn, Ill. ("Welcome to Brooklyn," RFT, July 5). I was not too surprised to note that you did not allude to one of the major causative factors that allows such misgovernment to exist (i.e., the lack of a two-party system). I'd bet my last cookie that the folks (alive and from the graveyards) of Brooklyn have been voting straight Democrat since inception.

While a two-party system does not guarantee clean and honest government, any reasonable person would agree that a two-party system generates its own checks and balances in keeping the other guy clean. That certainly beats what Brooklyn has.

Someone once wrote that we get the type of government that we deserve, and this is borne out quite nicely in the Brooklyn situation.

The really scary thing is that the city of St. Louis is on the same downward path and the residents don't seem to care. How many more years will it be before St. Louis joins the likes of Brooklyn?
Richard H. Gerding

You need a program to know the players, and to the people of Jefferson County these players are known for their sleight-of-hand ("Embracing Sprawl," RFT, June 28). C.D. Stelzer hits on several points which really strike home, especially the lunches -- they like the casino crowd and unknown developers (kind of like the Veiled Prophet without the veil). I just cannot understand why if Sam Rauls (Jefferson County presiding commissioner) is against it, why build an airport/industrial park/waste facility in a rural residential area? To despoil nature and to turn people out of their homes is not right. I am just glad that Sam has seen the light and is now against sprawl, but things could change.
Dan D. McCarthy

I think a little clarification is appropriate. D.J. Wilson was absolutely correct about some disagreements between Onion Horton Productions Inc. and New Life Evangelistic Center ("Short Cuts," RFT, July 5). The disagreements are unfortunate and unnecessary. Larry Rice does good work, but his religious focus does not coincide in some ways with our business focus. Nevertheless, our biggest problems with Larry probably emanate from a surprising unwillingness on the part of his organization to allow Mark Kasen, Onion Horton and Larry Rice to talk directly. Many of our agreements have been directed through Larry's varied representatives, allowing decent people to misunderstand each side's position. I don't believe that either group intended to harm the other, and there were missed opportunities, given some of our parallel views. Unlike others in radio who have been clearly unethical, Larry Rice has been, more than anything, just unavailable to us. As I told D.J., we are not going to be in a fight with NLEC, and we wish them the best of luck.
Mark Kasen

After spending most of my adult life dreaming of moving near the Loop, I finally did it. I have fantasized for years about Sheldon Margulis yelling at me to pull the book off the shelf the right way, I get excited by the smell of musty paper and low headroom, and it has been a great desire of mine to walk to A Collector's Book Shop any day I wanted rather than do the tourist thing ("Shelf Life," RFT, July 5). It was a major draw for me. Now I find out on the day I move in, Sheldon sold out. First the Bread Company (or shall I say "Panera Bread"), and now this? What's next? Blueberry Hill franchises with a drive-through speaker shaped like Elvis' head? Oh, the humanity!
Peg Keller

I would like to start by asking your food critic if he has done this job anywhere but the Midwest ("The Least Side," RFT, July 5). If he has, I would be shocked. I am a cook at Harry's East, and I have cooked in places like Hawaii, Las Vegas and San Francisco. I think his review did not take into account that people's tastes differ, even in a 20-mile area.

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