Week of December 13, 2000

Terms of Endearment
Knowledge is key to acceptance: I want to commend Laura Higgins and the staff of the Riverfront Times for the article "Dress Rehearsal" in the Dec. 6 issue.

I know Scott Matheis. I have spoken with him regarding his battle to be accepted as Staci in the workplace. He is a truly fine human being who goes out of his way to help other people. I was gratified to see his story reported so accurately.

Such good reporting on an issue like Scott's workplace acceptance is worthwhile reading for employers and workers who will encounter such situations. Being aware of Scott's challenges will better prepare people in the workplace to meet Scott on the only terms he needs to be met on: as a co-worker. Nothing more, nothing less.

Thanks for doing your job so well!
Richard Stern
Lawrenceville, Ga.

Pack Your Bags
Neighborhood vigilantes should just leave: This is an open letter to those vigilantes in Lafayette Square. Haven't you assholes had enough? You were successful in your effort to eliminate the basketball goals in the park. Now you want to eliminate Bi-State and school buses from this area [D.J. Wilson, "Short Cuts," RFT, Nov. 29]. Who in God's name do you people think you are? You have entirely too much time on your hands.

With all this spare time, why don't you clowns do the citizens in this area, especially the ones who actually have to work for a living, a favor and pack up your Beemers and stained-glass windows and haul your dead asses back to St. Charles or West and South County?
Edward Collins
St. Louis

Hey, who's the elitist here? After his attack on the elitists of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee, it was ironic that David Tabscott closed his letter with an elitist broadside against the residents of St. Charles County ["Letters," RFT, Dec. 6]. As a resident of that fine county, I lived in a diverse and tolerant community. Heck, I even had an interracial couple living across the street and heard nothing from them about being "profiled."

Of course, it is true that St. Louis does offer some things which are excluded by the "elitists" in St. Charles: Open trafficking in drugs, regular homicides and the corrupt and inefficient government for which St. Louis is famous are known to the residents of St. Charles only by way of the evening news. In St. Charles, the grocery stores don't have an armed guard standing at the entrance, and I've never seen a home with bars over the windows.

St. Charles County is a community where everyone is welcome, regardless of race, without elitism or discrimination -- so long as they obey the laws and are willing to be members of a civil society. If Mr. Tabscott wants to see a genuine elitist, he just needs to look in the mirror.
Nick Kasoff
St. Louis

Color Blinders
Qualifications shouldn't include race: I was shocked at the racist comments attributed to Lacy Clay and Charles Quincy Troupe [D.J. Wilson, "Short Cuts," RFT, Nov. 29].

Mr. Clay is reported to have said, "We have to line up behind one African-American candidate, or else you're going to have, statewide, four majority African-American districts that are represented by two African-Americans and the other two will have Caucasian senators. That's not conducive for one-man-one-vote and equal representation for all." Charles Quincy Troupe was reported to have said, "It's critical that we have a black senator in the Senate, and I am bent to do everything within my power to be that senator."

I thought we were to judge individuals on the basis of what they have or could do and not on the basis of the ethnic group to which they belong. If white politicians made the similar remarks relevant to a black candidate, the town would be in an uproar about racism. It is time for all Americans to realize that any qualified candidate can represent all of us.
Richard S. Sohn, M.D.
St. Louis

You provided a one-sided account: I thought the article quoting Lacy Clay was extremely racist. There may not have been anyone at the RFT saying those words, but you published them and provided only one side of the story without any Caucasian legislator or committeeperson telling their sides. Did you ever consider that Clay was insulting Rep. Patrick Dougherty or perhaps even his fellow African-Americans? He is quoted as saying, "That's what I'm saying to the Caucasian committeepeople -- I don't like the way this is shaking out, that you have all the white committeepeople lining up behind Dougherty and then you have Troupe and O.L. splitting the black committeepeople."

For a fact, I know that some African-American committeepeople voted for Dougherty and some Caucasian committeepeople planned on voting for Troupe. I believe if Rep. Dougherty can represent such a diverse area as South Grand (Asian, Caucasian, African-American, gays, Amerasian), then he can represent the city.
Elizabeth Carson
St. Louis

The Naked Truth
Stop with the smoke and mirrors: You really had to stretch the truth in making connections in the bank and pornography article [Bruce Rushton, "Porn in the USA," RFT, Nov. 29]. Is pornography illegal in this country? Nope. Is there credit-card fraud in other areas of purchase? Yep. Is there redress for cardholders who were improperly charged? Yep. Does Heartland Bank own Heartland Payment Systems? Nope. As per your article, this was a spinoff from Heartland Bank. You're making associations that don't exist, and you're portraying criminal activity that isn't occurring. If it was occurring, there would have been criminal charges long ago. Stop with this smoke-and-mirrors crap. Ruin your own reputation some other way.
Name withheld on request
High Ridge, Mo.

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