Week of November 1, 2000

Al Mount
Antonia, Mo.

Just fattening the bottom line: The design's fine. The loss of "Life in Hell," Mike Peters' editorial cartoon and "News of the Weird" saddens me -- no one else will run "Life in Hell" or Mike Peters cartoons. Obviously, dropping these items is done to fatten your miserable bottom line. Over the years your newspaper has become less an alternative "dig up the dirt and fling it" publication and more of a "let me entertain you and here's where the entertainment is" magazine. Now you are beginning to dilute the entertainment value. Soon there won't be any reason to bend over and pick up your rag off our office lobby.

Greg White
Edwardsville, Ill.

You're no better than the Post now: Congratulations on turning the RFT into a supplementary insert of the Post-Dispatch. What a horrible new look you have given to our beloved newsweekly. If you want the RFT to be more "reader-friendly," change it back to the original format. The old RFT was great -- a true urban alternative weekly. Now it has degraded into a mainstream formula publication offering nothing that "Get Out" doesn't.

You have not only ruined the foremost cultural source in St. Louis, you have taken a chunk of St. Louis' soul with it. The RFT no longer exists. It has been replaced by a frivolous imposter that undermines the very essence of its foundation. Your restructuring of the RFT into a "McPaper" was successful in one respect: It lost a faithful reader.

Jeff Vines
Creve Coeur

I'd pay for no sex ads: For some time I have been turned off by the sexually explicit advertisements, which seem to be the bread-and-butter of your magazine, based on the space these ads take up. I am referring to the "barely legal coeds" and "horny housewives" variety.

I truly appreciate so much of this local magazine: the arts and dining coverage, the liberal edge I feel is the backbone of this magazine and the investigative boldness of the journalists. I have noticed, though, that I don't have the tendency to pick it off the stand as of late, and I know it relates to my feeling that the sex industry is paying for the magazine on the whole.

I was interested to see the new look of the Riverfront Times and found myself going directly in the back to see if the magazine decided to seek out different sponsors along with its new, more serious image and initially felt hopeful to see the ads were not in the back ... but then I turned through the entire magazine and there were the "naughty local girls" more to the middle. I understand that advertisements pay the bills, but I would be willing to pay for this important local magazine without the sex ads.

Gwen Bueckendorf
St. Louis

A Peach of a Paper
The best read in Georgia: I just wanted to thank you all. I just moved down to Savannah, Ga., and while we have the local so-called hip magazine, nothing compares to the RFT. I'm so glad I can read it off the Internet, because it's expensive mailing it from St. Louis every week.

Misty Clark
via the Internet

Dead Man Running
The late gov was the real deal: Mel Carnahan was truly a great man [Ray Hartmann, "Golden Heart," RFT, Oct. 18]. He was a rare breed of man that is so seldom seen in politics today. The loss of Mel Carnahan was a great loss for our state and our country.

I feel very fortunate to have met Mel during the filming of a campaign commercial at my house. I had seen him in public a few times, but it was in my own backyard that I truly got to talk to the man and got my first real sense of what he was like as a person. He was the real deal. The genuine article. Hey, he was like me! I think that's how a lot of people felt when meeting Mel. When he spoke, he focused on me -- not the wall, not his shoe, not the influential campaign contributor across the room -- but me. What I saw was what I was going to get when I went to the polls.

I still intend to cast my vote for Mel Carnahan. It will be much more than a symbolic gesture. I hope very much that Carnahan wins, so that whomever Gov. Wilson appoints to represent Missouri and the Democratic Party in the U.S. Senate can help move our state forward, not backward, and to at least be a moderating influence to the wave of conservatism that seems to be percolating up from trouble-free Midwest suburbia and crowding out the liberal-minded Missourian.

Andy Knudsen

Reviewer seems disconnected from reality: Recently I was in St. Louis for a class reunion and was invited to dine at a trendy new restaurant, the Park Avenue Bistro. The food was excellent; the setting, while not elaborate, was attractive and immaculate, with pleasant and attentive service.

On the same day, a review of the restaurant appeared in your paper. I could hardly believe we were talking about the same place. She criticized everything: the food, the décor, the prices, the restroom facilities and the neighborhood and even made some slanderous remarks about canned ingredients. Succeeding in the restaurant business is tough enough without her rancid comments. Perhaps Ms. Martin should try a meal in San Francisco, where the price of parking the car is about the same as having crab cakes at the Bistro.

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