"Every piddly call in the city gets logged and turned into crime statistics. Whereas the same types of antics in the county just pass by, unaccounted."

Week of August 10, 2006



Rose Martelli has answered the Riverfront Times dinner bell for the last time.

Restaurant owners tempted to heave a sigh of relief should know that RFT contributor Ian Froeb has graciously agreed to fill in on an interim basis. Additionally, the paper is hereby accepting applications for the position of freelance restaurant critic. Think you've got the requisite discerning palate and rapier-like writing touch to match? Send résumé and writing samples to:

Tom Finkel, editor
Riverfront Times
6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200
St. Louis, MO 63130

No phone calls, please.

Unreal, July 20, 2006

Suburban Blues

Who's counting? In regards to the Unreal "Commontary™" concerning Chesterfield police showing no calls for service that night: County cops are not required to file reports on everything they do, whereas city cops are required to, by law. Meaning every piddly call in the city gets logged and turned into crime statistics. Whereas the same types of antics in the county just pass by, unaccounted.

Desirable zip codes (like Chesterfield and Webster Groves) take advantage of that loophole, keeping their crime away from the press. But Chesterfield has extremely high rates of vandalism and unruly behavior. Webster Groves has an astronomically high residential burglary/ robber rate. You only learn these things from people who live or work in these areas. And since there are more people in the county, the crime stats would be much higher than the city — if the cops were required to report them.
Toby Weiss, St. Louis

News Real, July 20, 2006

Gone but Not Forgotten

Creg Williams, hopeless toady: Kristen Hinman's article on the firing of St. Louis City School Superintendent Creg Williams ("The Execution of Creg Williams") was long on rhetoric and short on facts. She relies heavily on one source — Ron Jackson, a member of the now-deposed school-board majority. Jackson makes spurious allegations, such as charging that the decision to replace Williams with Diana Bourisaw was plotted far in advance, but offers no evidence. Then reveals his sour-grapes attitude with the crude remark about recently elected school-board member Peter Downs: "[Downs] always has that shit-eating grin on his face."

A more objective writer would have considered the record: With four out of the five seats that came up for re-election, voters in the last two school-board elections voted against the former majority that hired Williams. With the election of pro-teacher/pro-student candidates Peter Downs and Donna Jones in April, voters clearly stated they wanted a change in direction for the board. Plus, the Francis Slay-supported school board hired overpriced corporate consultant William Roberti, who closed sixteen schools, outsourced services to corporate cronies like Aramark and Sodexho (have you seen the awful food served to students since Aramark took over?) and oversaw the decline in test scores at most city schools. Slay and the former school-board majority favored charter schools and school vouchers — i.e., the privatization of the city schools. Charter schools that have opened in the district offer teachers lower wages and fewer benefits while producing poor academic performances by their students.

Williams seemed intent on following the direction of the former school-board majority, ignoring the voters' clear mandate for a change. The school board has a right to audit the superintendent and has a responsibility to oversee the superintendent. Hinman uses fuzzy math to imply that the audit will cost taxpayers money, when in fact the firing of Williams (with his bloated salary) and the hiring of Bourisaw will save taxpayers almost $200,000.

I think it is time to move past the rhetoric, put students first and acknowledge the will of the people: Give Veronica O'Brien and the new school board a fair chance!
Daniel Romano, St. Louis

Creg Williams, exiled hero: If anyone could have turned the St. Louis schools around, it would have been Creg Williams. He has a proven track record of increasing student motivation and learning. This visionary has the capacity to examine the curriculum and offer strategies that bring forth greater student achievement and retention.

I was one of the administrators who worked in one of the departments Williams headed at the Chicago Public Schools. He knows what he is doing. The man is brilliant! Now St. Louis will never how he could have made it one of the top school districts in the nation. Ms. O'Brien has selfishly done a disservice to every student in the St. Louis school district. My prayers are with Williams, a student-oriented superintendent. He is destined for greatness in spite of this senselessness.
Pauline M. Lee, Chicago, Illinois

News Real, July 20, 2006

Chop, Chop

An open-and-shut case: If the Nunns' survey is valid and the trees were on their property, then there is no suit. The real issue here is that the developer wants to "shield" his new houses from older homes, with cyclone fences. He probably considers them an eyesore. If those trees were damaged and fell on the Nunns' property, he would be the first one out there with the survey saying they weren't on his property and not his responsibility.

I worked for a builder for years. This guy has the plot plans and surveys and he knows where the property line is, he is just trying to intimidate these people.
Holly Laws, St. Louis

What is the world coming to? People today amaze me — most go above and beyond for someone they don't even know — then you have those few that just make you wonder. This family has lost a husband and father!

Griffey and Johnson need to have some compassion. Trees can be replaced; a life cannot be replaced. Johnson states his client is out twenty grand in trees, but he is suing this family for sixty grand; sounds to me like he just wants to make a quick buck. If that is not the case at all, walk away and give this family grieving room. Cut your losses and get on with life.
Angel Bell, Cedar Hill

Feature, July 13, 2006

It Ain't So

The Lawful Slugger: It is slanderous to link Albert Pujols to steroid use ["Oblique Strain," by Ben Paynter]. Albert is a natural defensive and offensive player. Just because Pujols' personal trainer has been linked to performance-enhancing drugs does not mean that he has taken them. The Cardinals, MLB and federal law-enforcement agencies are aware that he has done nothing illegal.
Ben Schaper, St. Louis

Ask a Mexican

Latin Lover

¡Viva Gustavo Arellano! As long as "The Mexican" writes articles for you, I'll never miss a single publication of yours. I love him! But I'm not gay.
Gary Pawlak, Imperial

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