Seven deadly sins: Your article "Tombstone Blues," although very informative, was a blatant description of the sloth, greed and apathy evident among many St. Louis officials and citizens alike. There are scores of honest, hardworking St. Louisans [who] will spend their entire lives struggling to maintain [their property] and ultimately fail to do so. People who don't care enough and allow their neighborhoods to become dilapidated and completely rundown do not deserve handouts. Irene Smith is not only typical and pompous, she has the audacity to ask donors for more when nothing was truly deserved to begin with. Unfortunately, we have a bad habit of rewarding this type of [behavior] among our politicians, not just locally but nationwide. The additional problems they help to perpetuate are beyond the scope of this comment. Irrespective of the donor's motives, free rehabilitations and offerings should be perceived as gifts and not threats.
via the Internet
Grave-rockin' decline: As a former North Side kid myself (20th Street and Fairgrounds Park area), I am appalled by the overwhelming rot that has come to devastate North City and North County. One of the blocks I lived on as a kid does not have one building left standing, and the neighborhood looks like Germany after World War II ended. Crime goes unimpeded [and] unchecked. The last [North County] neighborhood I lived in was controlled by gangs, not by government. Florissant, an area of beautiful homes, now has become the site of pawnshops and furniture-rental emporiums that are, along with check-cashing instant-loan shops, the heralds of a neighborhood in decline. I'm sure the persistent whirring sound I hear from there is the late Mayor Jim Eagan spinning in his grave.
More than a dating service: This is in response to Jeannette Batz's article "The Reluctant Archbishop" [November 13]. I applaud her for attempting to present both sides of how Archbishop Justin Rigali is doing his job, but it is skewed more toward the negative side. And while we're on negatives, the article fails to mention one area where the archdiocese is failing to do its job: singles ministry. As a convert who left the Southern Baptist [Church] eight years ago, I had hoped that the Catholic Church would do a better job than the Southern Baptists in ministry to single (as in "never-married") young adults. The Southern Baptists did a very poor job in the singles-ministry department. The archdiocese doesn't do a much better job; there aren't enough spiritual-oriented groups for single young adults; too many groups for single Catholics are social-centered, and their events are largely attended by men seeking a wife rather than a closer relationship with God. If there's one area Archbishop Rigali must do a better job [in], it's ministry to the single young adults of the archdiocese, whether they're Catholic by birth or conversion.
Too much information: At first I compared the losing of the last HoJo's to the demolition of the first White Castle [Wm. Stage, "HoJo Mojo," November 6]. Then I remembered my last meal at HoJo's and realized what a horrible place it was, and I'm glad that dump is finally gone. I never had a worse case of the "screamin' meemies" in all my life. I blasted for three days straight after one of their cheeseburgers and almost passed out while on the throne. I say, "Good riddance!"
Dumb and dumber: You are an idiot [Mike Seely, "Detroit Wheel," November 6]. "Breakout statistics"? A leading wide-out that has 384 yards and two touchdowns is not a standard and wouldn't even be the third go-to in the Rams' offense. Do some math -- $39,000 per yard and $7.5 million per touchdown.
Fairview Heights, Illinois
Missive from a stats-meister: I would like to respond to your recent article [about] Az Hakim. If you are a true follower of football, you will note that each year teams keep and lose players of all talent levels. While I would agree Az was an exciting player at times, his loss in no way equates to the [importance] you place on his [absence]. Look at the stats. [The Rams have three players listed among the National Football Conference's top ten receivers as of November 13: (1) Marshall Faulk; (6) Torry Holt; and (9) Isaac Bruce.] No Hakim. The Rams have one player among the NFC's top-ten kickoff returners: (9) Terrence Wilkins. No Hakim. Team standings: Rams, 4-5, 194 total points; Lions, 3-6, 172 total points. I believe it is easier to be a playmaker on a team that has little competition at your spot. [Although] you believe Az Hakim makes such a difference, he has not elevated the Lions to the [level of] Super Bowl contender. I agree the Rams may not reach this year's playoffs and [Hakim's absence] might be a small factor, but don't forget that the Rams also [failed to advance] in 2000-01 [because of a play involving Hakim]. Lost fumble on a final drive. And that's the way I will remember him.
No sharks in the pool: Wm. Stage's article on lawyers ["For the Defense," October 23] is just more fancy sugarcoating of the "legal industry" [instead of an exposé of] the Mafia and racketeering cabal it is -- where stealing, lying, extortion, blackmail and greed all go disguised under the Orwellian term "the law." Justice is a last resort.
Grudging approval: OK, OK -- I've grumped and complained endlessly about Jill Posey-Smith's "fooditorials" in the past, but her assessment of Tony's shows that the girl is capable of better stuff ["Perfection Is Possible," November 6]. Her assessment of what she terms "hackneyed artfood" delivered at a "pestoriffic bistro" was witty and amusing without sniping at any one particular establishment. Most of us have sat through a restaurant dinner that was half pretension and half overpriced ingredients. And haven't we all suffered through the L&R (lick and retain) establishments that require that the same fork be used for all courses? For a long time I've referred to Posey-Smith as someone who writes as though she's continually auditioning for a regular column in the Village Voice. But this week, I could read her entire review and be amused.
Anne C. Young
What's for dinner? St. Louisans sure do take their restaurants seriously. I can't remember a week passing by without half a dozen restaurant boosters taking umbrage at a review in the letters pages. I'm pleased to see that silly issues such as a looming war in Iraq, economic crises and the inevitable bankruptcy of Social Security aren't distracting St. Louisans. Be sure to fill out your "Best of St. Louis" ballots early and often.
Hands-off rule: The November 6 issue of the Riverfront Times contains an article by D.J. Wilson ["Professor Schoemehl"] in which he states, "The St. Louis Education Caucus, backed by the Danforth Foundation, is trying to put together a slate of four candidates" (to run for election to the St. Louis Board of Education). This statement is not true. The St. Louis Education Caucus is an idea in formation -- draft bylaws have been developed and shared with citizens, including Mr. Wilson, interested in developing good ways to learn about the views of candidates seeking election to the Board of Education. The draft bylaws state that the caucus cannot and will not endorse or run candidates. The Danforth Foundation has not, nor has it ever in its 75-year history, tried to recruit or endorse an individual or a slate of candidates to run for election to the Board of Education. Our status as a tax-exempt charitable organization prohibits any and all such activity.
Robert H. Koff
Senior Vice President
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