Peter Meter

Week of December 26, 2001

Peter Meter
It never pays to be too far ahead: I've known and enjoyed Pete Rothschild for many a weird moon. I admire his ability to push snake oil to both garter queens and copperheads. Obviously Jeannette Batz bought a few bottles during her lengthy and informative hymnal ["Baron Rothschild," Dec. 12].

As for Pete's puff-clouded memories of those Xanadaze when we were sometimes referred to as "Smarm and Barmy": 1. In the Hendrix fiasco, there was a slender Indian girl involved and a dispute over chattelry ensued. 2. Most present agreed that the pink booties looked better with a burgundy tint (resulting from planned malice rather than sloppy regurgitation). 3. We did get an interview, albeit an eyewitness account from a groupied kneeward perspective.

Unfortunately, the sudden demise of the newspaper coincided with a little legal hoodoo that dashed our fogflight dreams of Hearst/Wenner pleasuredom. Pete's Xanadu could have been an outrageous and successful muckraker a decade before the Riverfront Times. But it never pays to be too far ahead of your time in El Gateway, a place where street myths are wooden targets for the lasered bourgeois hip.
M.H. Homan
via the Internet

Just the facts: One could speculate about how our division might respond if a bar that rents space from a so-called influential developer violates the city's liquor regulations. Or one could look at the facts. The fact is that on several occasions over the last few years, my office has disciplined bars that operate in buildings owned by the so-called influential developer profiled in the Riverfront Times. Had the reporter called me before writing this story, she would have learned this fact.
Robert W. Kraiberg
St. Louis Excise Commissioner

St. Louis needs this guy: I have been around Pete Rothschild for over 20 years. Pete, as your article indicated, is an enigma in motion. St. Louis needs this guy, to push the envelope of mediocrity. He is dedicated to the continued evolution of our neighborhoods. He displays vision, savvy and charm. He cares and has a paternal obsession with the façade of our city. I have watched quietly as he helped my wondrous Central West End neighborhood take form and evolve and be a place that has held its splendor over the years. This is our little SoHo. I recently moved to a '50s ranch in Olivette, because I always adored the architecture there, but getting me out of the Central West End was not easy. Pete was one of the reasons it was so easy to stay. Thanks for your continued love affair with our town, Pete. Whatta life, whatta character!
Jody L. Serkes

Incensed by his disregard for tenants: I am a person with a disability who works in one of Pete Rothschild's many rental buildings. As a disability advocate, I am incensed by the blatant code violations, such as not having a sprinkler system, [no] lights in the treacherous parking lot and nonventilated restrooms.

A majority of "the restaurants he plays landlord to" are not accessible to wheelchairs or other disability groups. Unfortunately, it confirmed my feeling that the group that manages our office building doesn't care about the people it houses.
Ana Jennings
via the Internet

If he wants respect, he should earn it: Jeannette Batz wonders why Pete Rothschild has such a poor reputation. Yet she provides the answer with her example of "the Baron"'s treatment of the Sunshine Inn, a fixture in the Central West End for nearly a quarter-century. It is one thing to give modest annual rent increases to businesses which have been paying "on the cheap" for decades. It is quite another matter to raise rent so greatly as to force a business to go under or relocate. If Batz had done her research, she would have discovered that the Sunshine Inn is not the only commercial tenant to suffer from the Baron's rapid-rent-increase policy.

I suspect that Mr. Rothschild pays top dollar for his properties and then proceeds to milk the existing businesses to recover his considerable investment. The cow may be milked to death or forced to move on to greener (and cheaper) pastures, but the Baron must think that he and his numerous partners come out ahead in the end. Rothschild professes to love St. Louis and its neighborhoods. He well may, but if he wants the respect of those neighborhoods, he knows how to earn it.
Lewis Hirsch
St. Louis

No Apologies
Obviously I voted for the wrong people: I appreciated the article by Safir Ahmed about Maplewood ["Selling Out," Nov. 28]. The improper use of TIF money, tax-increment financing, has been upsetting me for a long time. Please tell me why this is allowed and how it can be stopped. What a rip-off!

It wasn't mentioned in the article that the Deer Creek shopping center in Maplewood, where first Venture resided and, later, Kmart also resided and then left, is still empty. It's a very large building with seeming acres of parking. I don't believe it's a bad location. I believe if you build something needed, they will come.

The powers that be in Maplewood are typically arrogant, unfeeling and uncaring in their attitude toward the residents to be put out of their homes. No one said how sorry they are to disrupt your lives, or that they hate that this action is necessary to save Maplewood. Rather, almost from the beginning there was the threat to declare eminent domain. Obviously I voted for the wrong people. I wonder whose neighborhood is next.
Lou Daly

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