Letters to the Editor

Published the week of May 10, 2000

Looking for "creative ways" to finance the proposed downtown stadium complex? There's a sound answer to the problem, an approach as capitalistic and as American as Warren Buffett himself: Sell stock in this venture.

City and state governments exist to pick up trash, educate kids and keep the streets safe, not to feather the nests of businessmen so wealthy they can afford to pay million-dollar salaries even to little-known bench players.

(Those of us in the disability-rights movement are fighting tooth-and-nail for every cent to shift deserving folks out of nursing homes and into state-supported at-home care. Dollars for baseball millionaires may mean less for people who truly need a break, but that's another letter.)

As an investor much more interested in the long term vs. next quarter's performance, I'd jump at the chance to own even an itsy-bitsy part of a storied sports franchise supported by a loyal core of Midwesterners. Hell, leave the team out of it -- sell stock in the complex only. Developers are enthusiastically embracing a downtown on the rebound. This would be another promising redevelopment project for St. Louis. Give the fans a chance to watch their Redbirds and make a profit from them at the same time. Bruce Rushton's story "Card Sharks" (RFT, April 19) noted that Denver, San Francisco and Los Angeles all turned to private sources to pay for their ballparks. St. Louis can do the same. The last thing the taxpayer needs is another burden.
Steve Jennings

On April 5, former Country Day alumni John Danforth and Tom Eagleton conceded a crushing defeat with leaders of the pro-tax group Downtown Now. The loss occurred when St. Louis County officials refused to participate in raising money to resurrect the city's troubled downtown. Danforth was quoted, "Some people in politics are so afraid of the word tax...."

Four days later on April 9, three other Country Day graduates -- Andrew Baur, William DeWitt Jr. and Frederick Hanser -- unveiled their plan to build a new $370 million baseball park. Being more cautious than the former senators, they decided to get their money the old-fashioned way -- take it.
Tim Kendrick

City Treasurer Larry Williams is not in the business of pressuring anyone with regard to the approval of any City Hall projects ("Letters," RFT, May 3). It would be detrimental, as a politician, to use "bullying" tactics to mold and direct legislative action. The Argyle facility is a project that will be of great benefit to the Central West End and its business owners. Treasurer Williams has worked hand-in-hand with Ald. Lyda Krewson and the principals of the Central West End. He has made quite a few concessions to ensure that the cultural and social integrity of the area remains a constant.

Our office's continual dialogue with the Planning and Urban Design Agency -- which, by the way, approved the signage -- has been extremely positive and well thought out. I would also like to see any documentation that supports the $70,000 price tag the writer inaccurately and carelessly cited as evidence. The streetscape improvements on Lindell, which will be praised and which cost significantly more than the erroneous figure the writer used so egregiously, were Treasurer Williams' and Ald. Krewson's idea alone. Does the writer of last week's letter have a problem with a public library, retail and sufficient parking for his neighborhood?

Citizens from every part of this vast region will want to dine and take in the beauty of the area. I must stress: This is not the '40s or '50s! The letter should have been titled not "Bright Lights, Big City," but "Status Quo."
Christopher Bowers

When I read the editorial on the homosexuality in the Boy Scouts, ("Commentary," "New Scout Motto: Be Prepared for Bigotry," RFT, May 3), I had to smile. I found it naïve of you to expect the Boy Scouts to be anything less than discriminatory. In an institution whose very name promotes sexual discrimination, why should we find it unfair that they actually uphold that title? The Boy Scouts do not allow females to be part of their organization. Why in the world should they allow homosexuals, who already possess a sadly lower social status than women, in? Bigotry toward homosexuals is only an extension of the sexual repression of women. So the issue here is not about whether an organization should be open-minded about homosexuality. The Boy Scouts of America have proved where they stand on that issue. Perhaps the issue should be "Why does our American society uphold and applaud a group that has been sexually discriminatory since the beginning of its days, and why has it taken a homosexual male to make us question that standard?"
Stephanie L. Fitzpatrick

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