"Our families immigrated here legally and respect the laws, customs, rules and norms of this great nation.

And we expect everyone else to do the same."

I find it sickening that the whole issue of illegal immigration seems to be far from the minds of our residents. However, the fact that resident Lionel Hall's Hispanic neighbors were "yelling stuff, talking Spanish, where you couldn't understand them and shit" seemed to be so important. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe what those neighbors were doing was speaking Spanish. If you're going to make ignorant comments, at least do it the right way, without making yourself look like even more of an idiot than you already are.

These people give our town a bad name, and in no way are a valid representation of all of our citizens. They should do us all a favor and just quit talking, so at least some of us can maintain the small amount of diminishing pride that we have left.
Aubreigh Davis, Valley Park

Watch out for the hate mail: As a new Valley Park resident, I am glad the article was written to hopefully put some pressure on the mayor. Kristen Hinman is a wonderful writer, not just because of the content, but because the article was well-written. I hope she doesn't get a lot of hate mail, because I am sure some racist asshole is going to e-mail her. Well, at least the one who can read.
Mallory Box, Valley Park

Blame it on mass myopia: The mayor says: "The key word is 'illegal.' Why doesn't anyone get that?" What his supporters don't get is that the new law turns landlords into immigration agents by putting the responsibility on them to verify tenants' immigration status. Say he proposed a law that says, "No one can sell gasoline to drunk drivers." Sound good? Surely, no one would say it's OK to sell gas to a drunk driver! The problem is that you would then have turned all gas-station attendants into police deputies, because it would be their responsibility to assess sobriety or inebriation.

The question then becomes: Do you want to deputize an entire group of people (landlords, gas station attendants, etc.) to be law enforcers? I think most people who are far-sighted enough to understand how government works would answer no. Unfortunately for Valley Park landlords, the people that vote there aren't.
Brad Treft, Chesterfield

There's more where that came from: Please keep up the good work on the story. It hasn't reached the surface yet. The un-American hatred in that town reminds me of the South during the civil-rights movement. Thank you again.
Steven Lee, St. Louis

Judge a town by its mayor: Your article showed me why I would never want to waste my time taking up residence in that community. Racial discrimination is so discouraging when it pops up from time to time in everyday life — I couldn't imagine living in a community where the city leaders decide to make racism a part of their everyday agenda. Even though specific nationalities were not mentioned in the actual wording of the ordinances, I think the mayor made very clear his stereotypical opinions of Mexicans and Hispanics, as well as his intentions for passing these ordinances. The mayor failed to give any substantial reason for these ordinances in the first place, and every reason he did bring up lacked factual evidence to back it up. He even admitted that he had never spoken to a Hispanic member of the community.

The residents of Valley Park need to speak up against these ordinances. The fact that the city attorneys of Valley Park advised the mayor against the interview for fear of racial slurs such as "beaner" and "wetback" slipping out of his mouth only tells me that those words must be a part of his regular vocabulary.

Valley Park, you are only as good as the people you elect to represent you, and the fact that this man continues to hold his position election after election tells me an awful lot about your community.
Amanda Ballance, St. Louis


Ian Froeb's January 18 feature story about printmaker Tom Huck, "Evil Ink," quoted Mark Pascale, associate curator of prints and drawings at the Art Institute of Chicago, commenting on a show of Huck's work at the Art Institute of Chicago. Pascale informs us that the exhibition was mounted at the Aron Packer Gallery in Chicago.

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