Week of May 19, 2004

Bad Blood
Politics -- the not-so-silent killer: Thanks to Geri L. Dreiling for her article on the fate of the St. Louis Department of Health and its former director, Dr. Hugh Stallworth ["Code Red," May 5]. It seems that city politics has prevented Dr. Stallworth from implementing his plan to "clean up" and correct the failing health department. Just like the homeless situation, the St. Louis politicians want to ignore the problem because poor people are not entitled to quality healthcare.

Again, thank you for exposing a critical problem in the St. Louis healthcare system. I look forward to reading the Riverfront Times online.
Luis Martinez
Baghdad, Iraq

Spud's On
The Potato, replanted: Ben Westhoff's "Potato Peeled" [May 5] is a great article. It really moves right along. Honest. Balanced. Fun. Lots of attitude.

By the way, Jew Watch came back two days ago as number one on Google when I typed in "jew." When the new server goes online in a week or two, the broken links will all be fixed. It is a big job, as there are about 850 pages/links in there. I am also adding some goodies about certain historical persons.
Frank Weltner
St. Louis

Punks for Peace
Where's the love? I don't know the root of the tension dividing Mark Sarich of the Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center from anarchists with the Community Arts and Media Project, but I would like to see a reconciliation [Mike Seely, "All the Young Punks," April 28]. I've been somewhat familiar with Sarich, and with CAMP activists ... it seems this is a case of some lost love between friends.

I'd also like to clarify a few things regarding CAMP. It is not operated by the Bolozone, as is erroneously reported. It is a collective of various organizations, not all of which are comprised of anarchists; [e.g.,] the Gateway Green Alliance (St. Louis Green Party) maintains an office at CAMP's building on Cherokee Street.

Aside from that, anarchists with CAMP have matured beyond painting of slogans, pranksterism and provocation. This maturity is reflected through the successful anarchist Black Bear Bakery, and by the current co-treasurers of the Buying Group of St. Louis, who recently helped rescue the quarter-century-old food co-op from financial collapse.

Mark Sarich has indeed developed a positive alternative in the Lemp. Similar positive things are developing through CAMP. There is much to love and appreciate in the both of them.
Randy Lampe
St. Louis

A Little Whine
Red wine with fish: As an avid restaurantgoer and food lover, I've enjoyed the exquisite cuisine opportunities found in the restaurants in St. Louis. With a great number of restaurants available, there are a select few with dynamite menus, atmosphere, and uncompromising service -- one of which is The Crossing.

I was greatly disturbed to read Randall Roberts' April 21 "Drink of the Week." In a poorly written article with no flow (and at times incomprehensible), Mr. Roberts chooses to focus more on Borges than expound on the food and wine, which should have remained his subject.

I have dined several times at The Crossing and am familiar with all the serving staff. Not once have I received service that was "salty," "irritable" or "condescending." From my experience, the staff is extremely knowledgeable and the most professional I have seen. As someone who has been on both sides of the service industry, I understand fully the accommodations asked of a server. Each person ... has their own individual style that can sometimes lead others to misconstrue the expressions. Too professional may come off as icy, friendly may be seen as unknowledgeable, and even great pride in the restaurant may seem angry or rude.

As for the short mention of the food and wine at The Crossing, I am offended that Mr. Roberts did not illustrate the amazing talent the chef displays for his guests. "We remember the soup, and the big chunk of crab nestled within the crab cake, and the bread, and the bass, and the perfect potatoes."

As for Mr. Roberts' wine selection, he has lost all credibility with me. Whatever happened to food and wine pairings? Assuming the wine flight accompanied the menu he had selected in the order mentioned, there are no complementing pairings present. Obviously, there was little more research of the selected wines than reading the [bottles'] labels before they were included in his piece. How am I to trust his recommendations when he seemingly chose the Columbia Crest (Washington state) shiraz as a match for the bass and trout entrées? (White wine, Mr. Roberts, is a better pair with bass and trout. What about such glass pours as the Arneis, or the white Burgundy listed on the wine list?)

I suggest the next time Mr. Roberts chooses to publish a composition, he ensure that it is not awkward, messy and unjustified.
Lauren Chiodo
Kansas City, Missouri

Ben Westhoff's May 12 story "Get Poked, Get Paid" contained a paraphrased statement about recreational drug use that was erroneously attributed to clinical-trial participant Alecia Hoyt. Also, with regard to Mike Seely's April 28 feature "All the Young Punks," the Bolozone housing collective played a key role in the creation of the Community Arts and Media Project but as letter writer Randy Lampe correctly points out, Bolozone does not operate CAMP.

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