Week of August 15, 2001

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Webb of Deception
City Spud deserves a harsher sentence: What a shame to devote seven pages, including the cover, to the subject of Lavell "City Spud" Webb [Randall Roberts, "Bad Rap," RFT, Aug. 8]. This man is a convicted felon and, frankly, deserves a much harsher sentence than the one he got. My heart does go out to the family of this young man, but to justify his actions by saying that he should be given leniency for confessing is ridiculous. He committed a violent crime and needs to be punished! He didn't pull the trigger, but he did plan this attack. He didn't actually steal $1,500, but his accomplice shot a man five times for $30. None of this would have happened if Webb hadn't designed this scheme. Webb is being housed, fed, entertained and clothed at taxpayer expense, and his victim is physically challenged for the rest of his life. Webb, when released, is coming home to royalties and interest accrued from his "music." In no way do I feel that he got the short end of the stick from our judicial system.

Also, City Spud and his group are not the originators of glory to St. Louis music-arts community. There is a long street in University City that memorializes truly great artists of this town, a history that long precedes Nelly and the boys. In addition, there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of music artists in this city, truly devoted artists who bring glory to this city every day with their music. These are artists who truly deserve recognition and glory for their contributions.
Jesse Lawson
St. Louis

Expose This
Folks the power elites ignore: The recent run of Riverfront Times news features seemed like a familiar summer movie series entitled "St. Louis Race and Class Wars (Or Who the Power Elites Really Look Out For)." Both Mike McGrath ["The Transit Authority," RFT, July 4] and Onion Horton ["Peeling the Onion," RFT, Aug. 1] offer views and insights that need more exposure.

Mike, I've got a master's, too (urban affairs, SIUE), but my frustration and lack of "ins" with the local power structure led me to conclude I'm better off sticking mostly to cab driving, Benton Park landlording and poetry open mics. Besides, an inept transit system helps the cab business, though the city and county issue too many cab licenses. Still, it'd be interesting to find out if lightly used bus routes and overstaffing really generate enough goodwill to be worth it.

I've always had mixed feelings for Horton. In many ways, he's the reflection of 70 years of changing public-policy impact on African-Americans, for good and bad. Paired with a serious journalist such as Charles Jaco or a young black voice fresh out of journalism school, there's no reason he shouldn't be back on St. Louis airwaves.
Mark Carlson
St. Louis

Good Eats
Each meal was fantastic: I can't disagree more with the review of the Seven Gables Inn and the work of executive chef Mike Bozada [Melissa Martin, "Safe Landing," RFT, Aug. 1]. I have dined three times at Seven Gables Inn since Bozada was hired. I found each meal fantastic and unique. I think Bozada, the work he has done with the lunch and dinner menu and the work owners have done with the bar and dining room are both welcome additions to the Clayton dining scene.
Keith Schildroth

Barbarians at the Gates
I didn't appreciate Silva's mudslinging: I normally read Eddie Silva's columns with interest and look forward to their appearance in print. However, I found his remarks in his "Gates of Eden" piece partly offensive [RFT, Aug. 1]. I was disappointed in the mudslinging Mr. Silva directed at Mr. Hartmann and Mr. Freeman. It is the lowest point in journalism when the intelligent discussion of a topic slips from the rather neutral dispensing of information to personal invective.

On a positive note, it was nice to read of artist Lawrence Halprin's credentials and continuing work. While there is no sense arguing Mr. Halprin's qualifications, it is arguable that St. Louis residents should play a part in the selection of such massive presentations of art on public land. The point that has been missed, perhaps, is that the various entryways to Forest Park will be the first impression one receives of our beautiful park. Such gates and entryways represent what is contained within. And if an inadequate slate of alternatives is not presented for public viewing and discussion, it only follows that citizens at large will be upset.

In three years, Forest Park celebrates an exciting anniversary -- the 100th remembrance of the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair. It is the lowly opinion of this city resident, taxpayer and RFT reader that St. Louis has missed opportunities to capitalize on its past. Forest Park might be better served if the gates heralding the entrance to the park were traditional and reminiscent of the World's Fair.
Edward Steinhardt
St. Louis

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