Curtain Call

Week of August 7, 2002

Aug 7, 2002 at 4:00 am
Curtain Call
Take a bow: I applaud the Riverfront Times for its story regarding John Tiller [Bruce Rushton, "Serial Tiller," July 24]. As a former employee of the Civil Rights Legal Defense Team, I can assure you that everything you printed is true. I was wondering when someone would expose Mr. Tiller and the Civil Rights Legal Defense Team. I hope inmates get the RFT in prison. My only regret, besides working there in the first place, is listing it on my résumé. A client once said that Mr. Tiller is a figment of his own imagination. Unfortunately, Mr. Tiller is real.
Name withheld by request

Eat Fish or Die
Lunkers R Us: Many thanks to Wm. Stage and the RFT for an excellent cover story on the Beasley family and the river-fishing industry ["Net Profit," July 31]. We invite your readers who are hungry for more to visit Grafton for a fresh taste of what the river has to offer.
Joe Wilson
City Clerk
Grafton, Illinois

He isn't a judicial kingmaker? With all due respect to Jim Nesbitt, his attack on Jim Holloran ["Crime Story," July 24] is as out of touch with the reality of the St. Louis legal community as it can possibly be. While Jim Holloran has raised money for political candidates over the years, he has done it with the purpose of assisting those political authorities who favor the use of the legal system to redress the scandalous behavior exhibited by product manufacturers, insurance companies, chemical manufacturers and other industries that cause hazardous incidents and conditions. Jim Holloran is one of the fairest and most honorable lawyers I have ever had the privilege to know. Those in authority who seek his opinion respect his experience and insight. He has been instrumental in helping qualified and fair candidates seeking judicial appointments. The present state of the St. Louis city judiciary is a testament to those who have contributed to the present nonpartisan appointment plan. Attacks on this group of judges is not only unfair, it is quite simply wrong and erodes a trust that they themselves have earned.
Michael B. Smallwood
St. Louis

A cheap shot to the green: I am saddened to see that the Riverfront Times has hired a racist to write columns and report stories, however slanted and misinformed they may be. I refer you to your column of July 24 entitled "Crime Story." I am not politically sophisticated enough to quarrel with your slant on the gist of the article, and that is not my point in writing. I understand that the paper business is very competitive, and sensationalism seems to be the device most often used to increase circulation; however I believe degrading the Irish people with racist remarks, as you have done, is highly inappropriate. I refer you to your statements in this article concerning Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce and "raising her Irish ire," that she "bothered to gin up some clever, if hollow, legal arguments," and your reference to Judge Margaret Neill's "Irish Alzheimer's." As [have] other races that have come to this country, the Irish have felt the unpleasantness of prejudice and racism. Regardless of how devious you or your famous unnamed "sharpies" think the people in your article are, you have stepped over the line. You owe Judge Neill, Judge Jack Garvey, Circuit Attorney Joyce, Jim Holloran and the Irish-Americans of St. Louis an apology.
Daniel T. Ryan
St. Louis

Bleeding Heart
Get a job: Once again, we readers are asked to bleed for yet another victim of big, bad city progress -- in this case a woman who's 35 years old and has eleven children but apparently no working husband or partner [D.J. Wilson, "Wrecking Ball," July 24]. Was this intended to be one of those ten-neediest-cases stories, meant to inspire those of us who work for a living to contribute to a fund? Personally, I don't have one shred of sympathy for her plight. Do the math -- she's 35 and has three children older than the fifteen-year-old who's living with her? The fact that her youngest is just a year old means she hasn't learned a thing from life experience. If you want to inspire some sympathy and outrage, do some stories on working people who lost their retirement funds from the Enron or WorldCom scandals.
Anne C. Young
St. Louis

Preaching a hard gospel: Let me get this straight: A 35-year-old mother of eleven knows and has known that her "welfare," as she calls it, is running out in September. Plus, there is construction going on in her neighborhood; she has to have known that the day of moving is coming. But what is her response? To quote from the article: "That's why I say it really doesn't make me a difference...." Well, to her, I say, it really doesn't make a difference to me where you live or what happens. To quote her again: "... and if then somebody can help me ..." How about helping yourself? People like her who take no responsibility for their actions (read: eleven children, some of which may have done vandalism, some of which are truant from school) and has no plan for her life or, more importantly, for her children (read: no plan for moving and no backup plan for that inevitable day) is exactly why there is a stigma associated with those on welfare. I would have preferred to have read an article about a woman who was trying to improve her life and those she brought into the world rather than [see] wasted space on someone who obviously doesn't care.
Maurice St. Pierre
St. Louis