Letters to the Editor

Published the week of October 4, 2000

Your story on Tom Sullivan and MSD was disappointing (C.D. Stelzer, "Down the Drain," RFT, Sept. 20). As best I could tell, you used a lot of newsprint in order to make these points: (1) Civic Progress and other big, evil companies want changes in MSD. Therefore the charter changes proposed by MSD must be bad. (2) MSD uses outside engineering contractors. Therefore MSD must be wasting money. (3) Tom Sullivan doesn't like Mike Williams. Therefore MSD is run by crooks. (4) Billie Roberts is a neat lady, and she like Tom Sullivan. Therefore Tom Sullivan is right.

MSD provides a necessary, although hardly glamorous, service to the entire St. Louis region. The rules by which the district is governed were written when the district was first formed in 1954. The charter proposal brings these rules up to date. The proposal creates a commission that would review and approve rate changes, thus adding another level of accountability to the agency. It would indeed allow the district to more easily raise money. This money would be used to address a host of capital needs that MSD has been unable to solve for a variety of reasons (and Tom Sullivan is one of those reasons). These needs include building treatment facilities and fixing sewers in the city that date back to the 19th century.

Tom Sullivan is to be commended for the civic-minded impulse that led him to be a self-appointed watchdog of MSD. Unfortunately, his pursuit of efficiency and accountability at MSD has gone too far. MSD is not run by a bunch of self-interested goons out to line their own pockets and the pockets of their friends. Rather, MSD is staffed by people who are trying to make sure that when you flush your toilet, there is someplace for (the waste) to go. They try to do so in a manner that is fiscally responsible. Their success is in spite of, and not due to, Mr. Sullivan's zealous pursuit of truth and justice.
Mark Fogal

Has the RFT editorial staff reached a point to where they are so hard-up for copy that they have to print "features" concerning problematic pooping and pissing (Jeannette Batz, "Wistful Whizzers," RFT, Sept. 20)? Good Lord! Do you think your readership really gives a shit (well, obviously some do) if grown men and women can't make water or doo-doo in public?

Not to sound uncaring, but I think this is a matter that should be addressed between the person with the problem and his or her doctor. It is not, in my opinion, a subject that should be explored by a publication like the RFT. I know you like to chase lost causes and are diverse, but this should be in medical journals or the newsletter of Potty-Phobics Anonymous.

Ms. Batz is either out of touch with the makeup of your readers or needs to get some assistance when choosing story subject matters. Maybe you can call an editorial meeting, in the bathroom (or, better, under the Arch) ... drop your britches, hold hands, squat together, sing "Kumbayah" and see if, collectively, you can produce something better than "Wistful Whizzers"!
Keith A. Dockins

I appreciate the honor of being anointed Best Local Boy Made Bad ("Best of St. Louis," RFT, Sept. 27). I just wanted to clarify one mistake in the article. I have never lived in San Francisco. I do shoot there fairly often, but I live in Hollywood, Calif. Also, I understand that you had to play up the bad boy angle by writing primarily about my subject matter. I wish, however, that there was some mention of the artistic and aesthetic merits of my work. My book, The Beauty of Fetish, was published by the highly respected art publisher Edition Stemmle. Noted photography critic Vicki Goldberg of the New York Times even wrote the introduction of the book. My prints can also be found in the collections of several galleries and museums.
Steve Diet Goedde

We were thrilled (although not surprised) at your selection of Carol Carter for Best Local Artist.

We met Carol through her husband, Jeff Clark, whom we hired (Metropolitan Design & Building) to remodel the townhouse we bought when we moved to St. Louis to coach the Rams.

Jeff told us about her show at COCA featuring her Belle Glade paintings. We went to have a look and became fans and friends instantly! I had never seen a collection so thought-provoking. Her original style and use of color is fantastic! We are the proud owners of six of Carol's paintings -- we love "living" with them.

We miss Carol, her family and all the good people of St. Louis who believed in us through the tough times to bring your great city Super Bowl champions!
Carol Vermeil

Frank O. Pinion's continued popularity (Best Radio Personality, "Best of St. Louis 2000," RFT Sept. 27) is enigma to me. I listened to his show for a while last year. It was funny for about two weeks. Then it became apparent that his style of comedy is based on two things: beating a joke to death (that must be the "regular running shtick that people anticipate") and racist humor. I haven't listened for over a year, but one of those pieces of shtick was a sound bite of someone saying, "It's good nobody was standin' up under that thang." I presume it was considered funny and worthy of repetition because of his heavy black dialect. That, and the clip of Michael Jackson's response to a search warrant, was in constant use.

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