Letters to the Editor 

Published the week of June 14-20, 2000

POST-SCRIPT
Great article on the departure of Cole Campbell and the general malaise at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch ("Lost at Sea," RFT, June 7). But I feel compelled to make a correction to something that Cole Campbell said. He was reportedly surprised that Carolyn Tuft, a first-rate investigative reporter, was complaining. He claimed that he made her a star by giving her a job as full-time investigative reporter.

Poppycock.

Carolyn was a star at the Belleville News-Democrat long before she was hired by the P-D. And she earned national recognition at the P-D long before Campbell was hired. She was a full-time investigative reporter under Jan Paul when Foster Davis was managing editor.

Campbell may have restored her to her rightful spot after a brief detour, but Tuft would produce front-page stories even if she was buried under a rock.
Dan Browning
Minneapolis

A few years ago, when I first read that Terry Egger and, later, Cole Campbell were coming to the Post-Dispatch, I wrote both of them a "welcome to St. Louis letter" and briefly offered my 2 cents' worth of observations regarding the Post.

Terry Egger responded with a really neat letter and genuinely appreciated being welcomed by a stranger. On the other hand, Cole Campbell ignored my welcoming letter. Although my letters were not intended to be a litmus test, that's what they turned out to be. Neither gentleman adopted any of my suggestions, but that wasn't the point. It became obvious to me that Campbell's aloofness from his readership simply would not mesh with Egger's eagerness to listen to the public.

The real mystery to me has been why they kept Campbell for as long as they did.
Richard H. Gerding

Cole Campbell complemented Civic Progress' twin operating philosophies: control and closed-mindedness. The price? A severe fracturing of credibility: in the newspaper itself and in the studies, plans and projects rolled out by the leaders, their representatives and spokespeople.

The next editor of the Post-Dispatch should go after Civic Progress and its subgroups with a bazooka, for what it has done and for what it has not done. Out of the chips that fall may grow credibility.
Ed Golterman

Spotted an error in the Post-Dispatch story. It says Bob Manor was one of those reporters going to the Chicago Tribune. He went to, and is still employed by, the Chicago Sun-Times. I know. I hired him before leaving the Sun-Times.
Steven Duke
Northwestern University
Evanston, Ill.

Editor's note: We regret the error.

OUT OF BREATH
My father was randomized to the medical group in the National Emphysema Treatment Trial ("Waiting to Exhale," RFT, May 31). He went to Los Angeles in the hopes of having the (lung-volume-reduction) surgery. He had to borrow money from friends and family to stay in LA for the rehab, staying in a low-budget motel, living on little or no money and then, nothing. It is sad that, like the article says, this (surgery) could help some patients and it is not offered. His doctor said he was an excellent candidate for the surgery, and he is only 56 years old and totally disabled.

We are now trying to raise money to pay for the procedure; then we will fight the Medicare decision in court, like Jim and Linda Farris did.

My father won't live to see the end of the trial unless we find a way to have this surgery. Medicare needs to pay for this surgery for the ones that qualify and not pick and choose. There is a treatment out there that has provided hope and promise, and they have placed it just out of reach.
Kim Drummond
Murfreesboro, Tenn.

FEMALE TROUBLE
Gregory Allen's letter ("Lady Luck," RFT, June 7) hit the nail on the head.

Several years ago, a group of women appeared on the Sally Jesse Raphaël show on behalf of a small group of women who did not have custody of their children and were protesting the "raw treatment" they were receiving from the system. As an invited guest and panelist on the show, I simply pointed out that their sufferings were no different than millions of men across the country on a daily basis.

The power brokers have it for now, and the myriad machinations and Machiavellian ruses and string-pullings they manifest hold us at bay, but corporatism, the mainspring of such finagling, will become frayed enough to allow fairness and justice to shine through.
Steve Erdmann Sr.

WASP STING
Perhaps Jordan Oakes should spend a little more time researching his subject before putting his acid-soaked pen to paper ("Rotations," RFT, June 7). In his poor review of Wasp Star he says: "Perhaps an indication that XTC's quirk-cred has come full circle, Moulding's sounds-like-it-sounds 'Stupidly Happy' opens with a weirdly catchy riff that evokes, of all things, Game Theory. 'Boarded Up' is almost unrecognizable as Moulding."

His credibility would have been raised considerably if he had stated that 'Stupidly Happy' is almost unrecognizable as Moulding -- since it is an Andy Partridge song, not Colin Moulding's.

I think Jordan Oakes has a predisposition to dislike XTC -- perhaps not the best person to review their CDs in the future. I also think this person just likes to hear himself speak. He concentrates more on the intricacies of his writing than on the subject of the review. As Wasp Star has received mostly excellent reviews over the past month, I will ignore this self-absorbed reviewer's comments. He has, however, done a disservice to XTC and anyone in St. Louis who will not buy the album because of this review. They are going to miss a real masterpiece.
Brendan Kehoe
Stamford, Conn.

TRAIN OF THOUGHT
In response to Bill Heger's vitriolic opposition to my point of view about MetroLink, I feel our differences are due to different interpretations of the statistics and the lack of specifics about MetroLink in the Bi-State Development Agency's annual financial statements ("Letters to the Editor," RFT, June 7).

In answer to his reference to a daily ridership estimate of 37,127, I presumed this would produce 74,254 round-trip fares. My logic is based on the huge increase in Bi-State's reported loss from operations since MetroLink began operations, averaging about $20 million a year over six years.

Due to the huge losses and the constant request for increased transportation taxes, I presume the current figure of 40,000 riders is actually 20,000 round-trip fares. If I am wrong and it really represents 80,000 fares, how does Bi-State explain the losses and tax requests which weren't supposed to happen?

Sorry, but I still feel MetroLink planning is wrongly based on abandoned rights-of-way rather than on need.
Bill Bandle

FAMILIAR STORY
I started crying as I read Jeannette Batz's article "Right of Passage" (RFT, May 24). It relates a story with which I am all too familiar. School personnel have low expectations for a child and turn the parents into "the enemy." If the parents are able to effectively advocate for their child and get the school to do what they should have been doing all along, no one from the school ever apologizes.

I represented a high-school student last year whose parents zealously and courageously fought for their son's rights and spent a lot of money getting what they should have gotten for their son in the first place. I represent another child who has cerebral palsy like Katie. After her parents finally had enough this year with the aide not taking their daughter to class, the wheelchair lift being broken and their daughter never being able to eat in the cafeteria with her friends, they complained. The result? The mother lost her job as a schoolteacher in the district.

We have made progress in educating and including children with disabilities. And there are dedicated teachers and administrators out there. But, unfortunately, we have a long way to go.

Thanks again to Jeannette for a terrific job.
Dayna F. Deck

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