Week of July 11, 2001

MetroLink is a sick joke perpetrated by politicians with the hope that somehow a light-rail system would enhance the image of St. Louis. Bi-State needs more buses, not a light rail that no one rides.

If my employer didn't subsidize me for riding the bus, I would also be one of the million not riding.
Mark Sparr Erickson
St. Louis

We have a new captain: After reading "The Transit Authority," I was overwhelmed by the amount of passion, not to mention knowledge, time and research, Mike McGrath has undergone which could possibly transform this lagging transit system into a class act for St.Louis -- something nobody else has taken such personal expense to achieve. I believe an integrated transit system is a small but important thread in restoring St. Louis to an integrated, viable, livable community. McGrath has a vision for our culture and our city's future. Attention, political leaders of our great town: You have a new captain aboard the ship, by the name of McGrath. Listen and obey him well.
Scott Austin Nauert

Where does magic money come from? I was shocked and sorry to see Adam Smith mentioned by someone that would, in the previous paragraph, say, "We owe it to the riding public to secure as much funding as we can." Just where does he think this magic money comes from?

If Bi-State couldn't survive without the very "visible fist" of government force for funding, then it should be gone.

While we're at it, let's dump Amtrak. It would probably be cheaper to buy everyone in the country a car than to keep "government transportation" going.
Tim Jamison
via the Internet

Stomp the Mudhole
Your critics should be encouraged: Being a journalist, particularly a critic, is not about coddling inept artists because they're local or because they quit their day jobs to pursue a dream. If something is bad and foisted on the public, it's the critic's duty to say so. I was happy to see that the People Project did not go unpunished and that René Spencer Saller busted a magazine that had the nerve to say to local bands: "Don't ask us for a cover story if you can't support us (buy ads)" [" Radar Station," RFT, June 27].

Your letters column has recently been filled with squeals of pain and fury from the chastised or those who don't believe in the concept of quality control. This approach to art -- that there is no such thing as good or bad because it's subjective, so everybody be nice and clap -- is insulting to artists who have standards and don't trot out crappy first attempts at whatever it is they do.

Anyone who doesn't want feedback unless it's positive is not here to make my world more beautiful, only to get warm fuzzies, and this does not beautify my world. These people should not be encouraged. Your critics should be encouraged: Thanks for being conscientious monitors of our civic culture, and stomp the mudhole wherever you need to.
Phoebe Love
St. Louis

County of the Apes
Chimp owner bears responsibility: The person most responsible for the death of Suzy the chimp is Connie Casey [Wm. Stage, " Going Ape," RFT, June 27]. The responsibility of a 52-year-old far exceeds that of a 17-year-old. Casey should post a sign in front of her property that states, "My lack of judgment and the neglect of safety for my neighbors caused the death of Suzy." I think her public slamming of this boy is inexcusable and hides her own guilt in this situation.
Jessica Gardner
Defiance, Mo.

How threatening is a tranquilized chimp? I am sorry Jason [Coats] has had problems, but that is no excuse for his behavior. Jason is 18, and, by most standards, he's an adult and should act like one. If he was so frightened, why did he come back outside? That is not the action of someone who is afraid. That is the action of someone showing off for his friends. He shot the chimp in the back -- how threatening could she have been? Her back was to him, and she was already tranquilized. I am sure that is what made her such an easy target (although, according to Jason, he has a lot of guns and gun experience). Did he not think of all the people standing around and driving down the road and on the other side of the road who could have been killed instead of or in addition to Suzy? There were multiple eyewitness to say that it was not necessary or self-defense to kill Suzy.

I know that children will not always tell the truth when they know they will be in trouble. This man (not boy) needs help! He definitely has a problem.
Mary Overton
via the Internet

An act of cowardice; a reprehensible response: To kill in the defense of a loved one is an act of bravery deserving commendation, but to wait until after the aggressor is subdued and then open fire, as Jason Coats did, is merely cowardice and deserving of contempt. In my opinion, he owes the value of the animal and possibly some community service.

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