Week of May 5, 2004

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More Ado About Trova
Biondi -- savior of neglected sculpture: The April 21 edition of the Riverfront Times contained a misleading and unwarranted attack on Father Lawrence Biondi and Saint Louis University.

A little research by reporter Shelley Smithson for her "Sculpture Shock" would have revealed that, in a June 2, 1994, letter to Father Biondi, Robert Orchard said, "Trova made all kinds of stipulations concerning the removal [of AV/Bedu], but his input is not germane. He has no control over the disposition of the sculpture, nor in fact do I."

Orchard goes on to say, "I told [Heritage and Design Commission director] Kate Shea that it was up to City Hall to decide what to do with the piece....[S]ince I have no control or authority over the sculpture, I suggested that the city authorities should decide what to do."

The bottom line is, the AV/Bedu sculpture was stored in a basement for fourteen years. If not for Saint Louis University, the sculpture would likely still be in that basement.

Oh, one more thing. SLU's vice president for facilities management is Kathleen Brody, not Kathleen Peterson.
Jeff Fowler, interim associate vice president
University Marketing & Communications
Saint Louis University

Editor's note: Jeff Fowler makes a valid point: SLU's vice president for facilities management is indeed Kathleen Brody.

Seeing Soulard
Quit your bellyaching: It's so darned easy to sit back and bellyache about those who are doing things to improve their community. That's what I felt after reading Shelley Smithson's "Peeping Bob" [April 21].

Let's have a bit of appreciation for some plucky, dedicated St. Louisans who raise money to protect their loved ones and their homes and who show some real ingenuity in keeping a step ahead of the bad guys. I say hats off to these urban pioneers who are smart enough to know that padlocks and burglar alarms aren't so effective these days.
Robert Frank
Webster Groves

Trust the crime-fighting veterans: In the discussion about safety in Soulard, let's not lose sight of the fact that the new electronic neighborhood-watch plan is being pioneered by many of the same devoted neighborhood leaders who have spearheaded most of the positive developments in our area for the past decade. These are good, caring folks with a track record of success.

As a property owner and a twenty-year resident of Soulard, I encourage the doubting Thomases to give the benefit of the doubt to the crime-fighting veterans who have already made Soulard much safer. Personally, I'm looking forward to benefiting from a smarter, safer way of looking out for each other. This technology is here to stay. Let's use it for our benefit.
Thomas Gullickson
St. Louis

Surveillance is the answer: Nine years ago I was a Soulard resident and businessman using my background in architecture to renovate historic buildings. After having my fourth break-in there, one at my personal residence and three car thefts, I looked for help with local crime. Bob Kraiberg was just starting his anti-crime efforts and asked me to help recruit participation from other Soulard business owners. We asked business owners to each pledge a monthly amount to support the effort, which many of them did willingly.

Bob then worked with many people to set up a neighborhood watch and a weekly clean-up crew, and I know from personal experience that his efforts have made a tremendous difference in the quality of life for all Soulard's residents and visitors. I return frequently to the neighborhood, and it is thriving in no small part due to Mr. Kraiberg's efforts. I have known Bob for at least twelve years, and I find him to be a professional and honest man with a gift for helping two opposing sides of an argument reach a successful outcome.

I think that Bob's efforts with the surveillance camera could become the foundation for a solution to the crime problems not only in Soulard but around the nation. I understand the reluctance of some; however, I believe that this effort has the correct approach. By publishing the fact that the cameras exist, along with documenting their location(s), they are providing citizens with advance notice that they can use to protect their privacy. I think that by closely controlling the access to the cameras, only the right forces will have access and they will use the information only for the right purposes: to stop criminals from having the advantage.
Don Kehr
Cave Creek, Arizona

Lifestyles are at risk: I provided Shelley Smithson with a number of examples of how day-to-day situations would be affected by surveillance cameras in Soulard. Somehow my examples of same-sex and heterosexual relationships were paraphrased, twisted and incorrectly stated as "gay sex" and "extramarital affair."

Smithson's poor standard of journalism created a slant to the story, which misrepresented my concerns.

At risk are lifestyles and daily activities enjoyed by residents of our neighborhood. With Mr. Kraiberg's surveillance system in place, the quality of our lives will be compromised because the threat of someone monitoring our lives will exist. This person could be blocks away. Or miles away, with a laptop.

For too long, too many people have enjoyed the freedoms this nation has to offer without considering what those freedoms are. Now those same people stand ready to give up those freedoms without considering what it is they are squandering.
Bill Shelton
St. Louis

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