One does not live on Steakburgers alone: A food critic is not supposed to be a restaurant destroyer. In four of five [recent] reviews, the negative points were drawn out with vigor and lots of adjectives, while the good ones were merely hinted at. Do [your] critics have a chip on their shoulders? Do they feel a need to be extra-hard to prove themselves worthy? I can't quite see the logic in it. I would say opening a restaurant in St. Louis is an exceptionally risky venture -- why perpetuate the problem by scorning all the new ventures, as well as old ones, such as Café Balaban? Your reviewers are lucky to be eating anywhere other than Steak 'n Shake.
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Stingray's not bad, either: Miss Posey-Smith, you are one hell of an entertaining writer ["Hot and Bothered," September 4]. Do keep it up.
Fire the Jackass
Here's my number, Ma Bell: As a resident of St. Louis city, I applaud Darlene Green for making Southwestern Bell pay the $240,000 penalty for being late on its personal-property-tax bill [D.J. Wilson, "Late Fee," September 18]. Didn't Southwestern Bell flee St. Louis to set up headquarters in San Antonio, Texas, several years ago? Why did our mayor's office try to not make Bell pay this fine? I was in disbelief when I read that last year Southwestern Bell had to pay St. Louis a $300,000 penalty for the very same offense. Memo to "the suits" in San Antonio: Fire the jackass responsible for $540,000 in late-pay charges. Then, for $50,000, hire me to work every March 31, and I will FedEx the check for Bell's personal-property tax to City Hall.
Like the 2000 presidential election, eh? This is the first "Best of St. Louis" issue I have gotten to see, and [I'm] confused. The name implied that we would get input from the whole city about itself. I was disappointed to find that a large number of categories appeared to be space-fillers (see "Best Porches" and "Best Load-In") or made up for the benefit of the article's subject (see "Best Poodle Hair Salon" and "Best Coach to Return to High School"). But what confused me is the categories that ended with the readers' pick. If the majority of the people -- the consumers, the patrons, the audience -- picked the "Best of Something," then why did something totally different get the nod as the best? If the majority of the reporting citizenry weren't making the judgments, who was?
So who is buried in Grant's Tomb? Ulysses S. Grant is buried in New York City, not Calvary Cemetery, as reported on page 38 of the September 25 issue of the Riverfront Times. And I quit reading your "Best Of" issue when on page 40 you refer to Richard Gephardt as "the former House speaker." It is arguable that Dick Gephardt is the best local politician. But that aside, he has never been speaker of the House. He wants to be speaker of the House. These two errors led me to believe that there may be other factual errors that I might not catch because I'm not familiar with the subject or may not know any better. Therefore I thought it best to put that issue in the recycling bin rather than unknowingly be misled. If you can't get even the basic facts right, that probably means you're not giving us good information on more complex issues, either. I can read the Post-Dispatch for that.
Time for a big frosty Stag! Your intro to this year's "Best of St. Louis" was truly fantastic [Randall Roberts, September 25]. It left me with a grin on my face and the sensation of "This guy's got it." I haven't heard anyone pinpoint our town and leave an open door for exploration in such a long time. I looked forward to the pages that follow, whereas in previous year's I've only scanned the mundane. You deserve a big frosty Stag at Frederick's.
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How'd Mike Shannon make the cut? If we wanted to hear what your employees thought, then why did we even bother with completing the extensive poll and mailing it back? For example, the readers picked Joe Buck ["Best Sports-Broadcast Personality"], followed by his illustrious father, Jack Buck. Where did Mike Shannon land? Wherever it was, he got the story! We only take the time to complete your poll once a year, [but] you don't even give us the real winners.
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