There is also another incongruous pressing issue. Much superfluous attention seems to be directed to personal fashion choices, which include, but are not limited to, my summer hat. To believe that this is a "24/7" style of choice is simply ludicrous. There are several different hats on my personal hatrack that I wear quite often. Some of the hats are not optional, for my protective hats are mandated by Missouri state law.
I certainly hope in the future that the Riverfront Times will take greater care and time to check such imperative details in the submissions to contests. For the record, I have only seen a few minutes of the movie Harlem Nights on Channel 11, and that was well over ten years ago.
Steven Fitzpatrick Smith
The Trouble With Taverns
Barman: Thanks for your article on the problems facing the current and prospective owners of the Delmar [Bruce Rushton, "Bar Fights," May 7]. I own a restaurant/nightclub in St. Louis. It's no Delmar, but I'm proud of it. I once believed all the hype about how eager St. Louis is to encourage small-business development and what a wonderful place the city is to do business. As a result, I moved my CPA practice from Sunset Hills to Soulard and purchased, restored and reopened the Cherokee House. I have put my money and my family's financial security where my mouth is.
You have touched on a major issue for commercial development in St. Louis. Holders of liquor licenses operate their businesses at the pleasure of their neighbors, alderpersons and the city excise commissioner's office. Your article demonstrates how a single person can wreak havoc on an honest businessperson's livelihood and financial security. While she may mean well, I wonder how Ms. Steinbach and others who take similar actions would react if their jobs and retirements were threatened and compromised as easily as any club owner's can be. Do these folks, and the people who write and enforce the rules for liquor licensees, ever wonder about the potential trauma and loss?
I am well aware of the arguments in favor of tight controls on liquor licensees. We are the only legal nonprescription-drug traffickers and should be watched closely. At the same time, however, taverns, restaurants and nightclubs are often the first ones to charge into a dead city neighborhood with a vision and a full head of steam. We pick up trash, rehab buildings, run off bums, hire security guards, create jobs, pay taxes, increase property values and a hundred other things that are vital to development. We also make some noise, attract crowds (if we're lucky) and take up some parking spaces.
It is a tough, unforgiving business. If the truth gets out -- that you can't sell and that a handful of committed neighbors can run you out of business -- who in their right mind would ever start or buy one?
The "get a life" approach: While living around the Loop, I worked two years for a planning department in a West County municipality. I enjoyed my time at the Loop for its culture, walkability, unique attractions and all the interesting characters you can find 24/7.
As far as those complaining about the bar, I can understand a few setbacks like the jackass blasting Hootie and the Blowfish. What I can't understand is how a few people who complain to the city can have enough clout to block the sale of an established bar. I encountered a variety of complaints in my former department and often felt many issues were not addressed on levels of importance but instead on how vocal the complainers were. Most notably, a very vocal minority would bitch about airport noise (as if the airport wasn't already there when they chose to live there), and next thing you know, there's a government-funded noise study. It's too bad that those who are content have to live at the mercy of anal-retentives.
This reminds me of a neighbor upstairs who would get angry every time we had people over after hours. He didn't drink, smoke or socialize to any degree. My question to him and all the others like him is this: "What the fuck do you expect from an area heavily populated by college kids, blocks away from bars?" People do not move here for perfectly manicured lawns, a noise-free atmosphere or any of the features of Anysuburb, U.S.A. Commonsense guide to choosing where to locate: Don't move next to an airport if you don't like airport noise, don't move to South City if you don't like hoosiers, don't move to St. Charles if you can't handle traffic and don't live next to bars if you can't handle drunks!
Talk of the Town
A voice in the wilderness: Thank you for the prominent coverage of Historic Preservation Month [Rose Martelli, "We Built This City," May 7]. The headline and lively copy accompanying our historic photo in "Urban Experience" convinced many readers to call us for more information and/or reservations. We've never experienced anything like this level of interest; previous RFT listings were hidden in a thicket of events.
Carolyn Toft, executive director
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