Week of May 2-8, 2001

It's Just Business
Catch up with the rest of the nation: All across this country, new stadiums are being built, some with taxpayers' help, others without. What's the big damn deal? Illinois is proposing $50 million dollars in tax incentives to help Boeing relocate to Chicago. It's business. The Cardinals' stadium plan should be reviewed as a business proposition as well.

You asked, "Why would people suddenly be falling all over themselves to live next to a stadium?" [Ray Hartmann, "Ballpark Village Idiots?" RFT, April 18]. I've lived in Houston for 15 years, but I will be moving back to St. Louis in the near future. I've seen Enron Field in Houston spark other development around the stadium. Hell, they are building a 30-story apartment building named Ballpark Place. It wasn't even a part of the plan for Enron Field. Other condo high-rises will go up, as well as a convention hotel, an expanded convention-center hotel and new office towers. Enron Field helped spark or speed up this development. I would be one of the people who would rent or buy a unit in the condo building next to the new Cardinals stadium. Some people are adventurous and find these sorts of things exciting.

Your article is as stodgy as St. Louis was 15 years ago. Catch up with the rest of the nation.
Terrence McCreight

Grow up or get the hell out of my country: I am outraged that there are programs that discriminate due to race or gender. This program and Percy Green speak about these so-called "white-owned" companies as if they are owned by Satan [Peter Downs, "Certifiably Mad," RFT, April 25]. The year is 2001 -- wake up, America! We are still living like it is 1951. Racial tension is at an all-time high; "white America" is feeling neglected and persecuted. I believe everyone is equal and deserves the same thing. When we write laws that discriminate, we spit in the face of people who fought for equality in this country.

If Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. were still alive, he would speak up and abolish any law or program that discriminates due to race or gender. It is going to take a minority leader to speak out about this, because any white male that does is automatically labeled a racist.

We are all brothers and sisters in this country, and until we start seeing each other as simply Americans, things will never get better. Grow up or get the hell out of my country; if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem.
Greg Smith
St. Louis

Progress Report
His pettiness hurts the public schools: My daughter attends Central Visual and Performing Arts High School. She corroborates the story's findings [Jeannette Batz, "The Jerk," RFT, April 18]. Apparently Stevenson didn't order materials for several art projects that the art teacher had requisitioned. The teacher asked repeatedly what happened to them and received no answer. Stevenson's pettiness impacts more than the students at Central at the present time. Last night, at a party, some of us were discussing the article. A woman said to me, "That's just another reason why I'd never put my children in public schools."
Terry Bilheimer
St. Louis

The board should take charge: I am outraged, and my heart goes out to Cheryl Burns and to all the students who have lost a good teacher. No one should have to put up with such abuse, and no one should be allowed to inflict others with such reprehensible behavior, especially in the teaching profession, where we have an obligation to model good and decent behavior for the students in our care. I would like to encourage Ms. Burns to apply for a teaching position in a school where her talents will be appreciated and where colleagues will support each other in a professional manner. I implore the St. Louis school district's administration to take charge and correct this travesty, for the good of their teachers and their students.
Mary Garrett
St. Peters

Where are the art supplies? I attend Central, [and] there is one other big issue concerning Gary Stevenson and John Niemeyer -- all the school's budget for the past year has just disappeared. We are an art school, but shouldn't an art school have art supplies? The photography department is out of film and almost out of chemicals, but orders from September still haven't even been ordered. The art classes are running very low on paints and paper, and still our orders haven't been placed. I love my school, but if we have no supplies, why are we going to an art school?
Name withheld by request
via the Internet

What can I do? No prior RFT story has prompted me to pick up the phone. This one did. Is there anything constructive I can do? Keep up your good work.
Joel Slotnikoff
St. Louis

Petition drive was blocked: My son attends Central, so I had heard some of this before your article was published. [After] reading your article, not only am I not going to enroll my daughter, but I am now seriously considering removing my son from that environment! My son said that some of the students tried to get a petition to try and have Mr. Stevenson removed from the school and that other teachers snatched the papers from the hands of the children who were collecting signatures. What happened to the rights of the students and teachers being harassed by this man?
Virginia Vaughn
via the Internet

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