Week of January 17, 2001

St. Louis is a great city, with a great past tradition of urban leadership. The next few years may bring questionable economic times and greater urban challenges. Therefore our expectations for local leadership should be higher. We must find candidates for local office willing to meet that standard and raise the bar for those currently running.
Joseph Byrne
St. Louis

Love It or Leave It
Been all over, and St. Louis is the tops: I have lived in Maine and Florida, California and Connecticut, New York, LA and San Francisco, but I call St. Louis my home. Of all the places I have lived, St. Louis has the best combination of eclectic culture, active economy, cheap rent, museums, galleries, restaurants, clubs -- you name it. St. Louis is a big city with a small-town attitude, and I happen to love it here.

The comments D.J. Wilson made in his column were short-sighted and naïve ["Shut Yer Piehole, St. Louis: We Got It Good," RFT, Jan. 10]. Obviously Wilson has never tried to drive through LA at rush hour, get a restaurant reservation in midtown Manhattan or find an apartment that you can afford if you make under $150,000 in San Francisco. Does this guy realize that most other major cities cost about twice as much to live in (and only pay, on the average, one-third more)? If this guy is so fed up with St. Louis, why doesn't he leave -- see the real world (pay $2,000 for a two-bedroom apartment in Santa Monica).
Scott Fanetti
St. Louis

D.J.Wilson must lead a miserable life: Your article concerning the new RCGA campaign makes me wonder why you haven't packed up and left St. Louis yourself. The article is a fine retooling of the drudgery and pessimism that make one-half of this city so tedious.

We all know the drawbacks of St. Louis -- the urban sprawl, the ridiculous weather and that infernal new Cardinals stadium project, to name a few -- but if you have an adventurous spirit and a little enthusiasm (and a car), you will find a lot of great things happening in St. Louis that you won't see if you're too busy bitching about how St. Louis sucks.

People who constantly gripe about St. Louis lead miserable lives here. And I don't blame them. It must suck to have to bitch all the time. On the other hand, there are people who have a great time in St. Louis because they are able to appreciate things like intimate and tucked-away music clubs, Monday-night pingpong leagues (and beer) at the Way Out Club, the Webster film series (especially the ones at Beatnik Bob's!), the Ozarks, the free art museum and zoo, the Courtesy Diner, free concerts at the botanical garden, South Broadway Athletic Club rasslin', beautiful architecture and, yes, the good sports teams (got your boxers in a bunch because we didn't even make it to the Super Bowl?). And, to top it all off, really cheap rent in great neighborhoods.

Don't get me wrong; there are better places to live. But panning the RCGA (and St. Louis) for taking a questionable initial approach is throwing the baby out with the bathwater, I dare say. Lighten up and have some fun between articles!
Marc Syp
St. Louis

D.J. is probably a smug little nihilist: Well, I almost didn't write this letter. I couldn't decide whether D.J. Wilson's little tirade was genuine or just the same warmed-up pablum columnists use to try to stir up their readers when they can't think of a real topic to write about. (D.J., maybe next time you can write about whether men are better than women!)

I have to admit, I get real tired of these smug little nihilists who try to prove their superiority by saying, "Everything sucks, and if you believe otherwise, you are sooo stooopid." What's your point? We aren't bordering an ocean or a mountain range, so this place sucks? Wow, you are amazing -- what a breathtakingly simplistic point of view. Why didn't you just say all that up front, sign off and save us all some time?

I guess I'm supposed to despise St. Louis for its affordable housing, world-class symphony and botanical garden, its great city museum, science center, zoo and art museum, and the great sports teams, which can be watched in classy, state-of-the-art venues. I guess I'm supposed to sob because we don't get every A-list concert (even though I get to see the bands that do come here at a great outdoor amphitheater). And I guess I'm an idiot for not wanting to move to California, the land of earthquakes, riots, mudslides, wildfires, traffic gridlock and the nation's highest utility bills. Oh well, maybe I'll go drown my sorrows in any one of our great offbeat "loser" bars like Blueberry Hill or get something to eat at that little "loser" four-star restaurant, Tony's, before I go see a concert at our newest "loser" venue, the Pageant.

Yes, D.J., oceans are beautiful and fun, and mountains are beautiful and fun. And you're right -- that's why lots and lots of people move there. But guess what? There are things called airplanes and trains and cars, and you can visit those places. (It's true! I've done it!) And then I've come back to a place where you have lots of big-city amenities with a lot of small-town convenience.

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