Grace Note

Week of January 9, 2002

Unlike Mr. El-Amin, I never thought I had the recourse to seek the intervention of the federal government and the EEOC. And, as also stated in the article, Mr. El-Amin finally (after long last) has seniority, which gives him a choice. Many of us, myself included, have no choice. Finally, I would like to recount what happened several years ago when the St. Louis minivan plant started running production on Saturdays. Several Seventh Day Adventists (whose Sabbath, like Jews', is on Saturday) actually had the courage to quit and find other work. I hope it never comes to that for me, but as for Mr. El-Amin, if he waives his rights by seniority so he can pray while working nights, he may have to make that choice. It all comes down to how important our faith is to each of us.
Tony McMillan
Millstadt, Ill.

Gee, We're Dumb!
Petty and sleazy, too: The Riverfront Times has run a series of articles on TIF projects in this area, all of which have one common theme: All TIF projects are evil and exist for the purpose of enriching large corporations. The ignorance of the Riverfront Times and its writers on this subject is incredible.

As stated in the most recent article, these corporations come into a city, pick a location and demand millions in "subsidies" from the municipality [Safir Ahmed, "Selling Out," Nov. 28]. In the first place, the city requests proposals from developers in areas generally preselected by the city's planners for redevelopment. These are areas either considered blighted or conservation areas. It is an intentional falsehood for your paper to say that the developers come in and pick out a location they wish to develop.

Second, it is also intentionally false to say that these developers get public subsidies from the municipality. All TIF financing comes from self-financed bonds totally funded by sales tax generated internally by the project. No project, no sales tax, no development, no TIF. The municipality provides no public funds for these projects.

Third, your article states that TIF projects are supposed to be used only in blighted districts. This is also intentionally false. As stated by the Missouri statutes, the TIF projects also are used for conservation districts. Those generally are areas 35 years or older, showing signs of economic decline, and are subject to deterioration over time because of location or other circumstances. This is never mentioned in your articles, either out of your slanted opinions or your ignorance.

Fourth, your article also states that it is unfair for large, profitable corporations to get public subsidies. Again, your ignorance and untrue statements about these projects is especially glaring. These corporations get no public subsidies whatever. They are merely tenants in the development. They pay competitive market-rate rents for their space.

Fifth, you totally ignore the alternatives for cities facing financial problems. Many cities are having problems maintaining police and fire departments, adequate municipal salaries, rendering other essential services [...] Without finding additional sources of revenue, the entire city structure will decay and decline. If the Riverfront Times has some better ideas to solve these problems, it is time to reveal them or shut up.

The Riverfront Times has some peculiar journalistic practices. Most publications will investigate a story, get the facts and then reach a conclusion. The Riverfront Times makes its conclusions first, then scrounges for tidbits and anecdotes to support its preconceived notions on these issues. Most often, your paper bases its conclusion on its own ignorance and prejudices. The Riverfront Times has become a petty, sleazy publication.
Isaac E. Young

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