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We Deserve Better 

Letters from the week of October 31, 2001

We Deserve Better
More than a cursory investigation by police is needed: I have known William Harlston for over 10 years and was shocked when I heard what happened to him [Wm. Stage, "Good Cop? Bad Cop?" Oct. 17]. He was a great kid, very mannerly and respectful, someone you would want your daughter to bring home. His death disturbed me very much, but almost as disturbing was that immediately after his death, stories started to circulate that things weren't quite as they were presented by the St. Louis Police Department and the media. I work with a lady that lives in that neighborhood, and she told me that this was a gambling operation and the policeman was working undercover -- this was within 12 hours of the shooting.

I certainly feel that the police should investigate this further and that the officer who is being hailed as a hero should be disciplined accordingly if the evidence so warrants it. This type of allegation does nothing to help the reputation of our police department and deserves more than the cursory investigation it looks like it was given.

Obviously William made a mistake, one for which he paid the ultimate price, but please let's not make a hero out of someone that does not deserve to be one.
Karen Bishop
St. Louis

A Growing Pain
Goodbye South 40? I believe that there is another reason that Washington University is buying properties [Elizabeth Vega, "Buy and Swell," Oct. 17]. Last year, when they were supposedly considering taking down the oak trees in front of Brookings Hall, I wrote the chancellor a letter in which, in addition to stating my opposition to that notion, I gave several of my (admittedly grandiose) suggestions for improving the campus. One of those suggestions was redoing the exteriors of the residence halls (I'm sorry, orange brick is cheap and looks cheap). The response was that they would not do so for two reasons: They want to save students money (though at roughly $30,000 for tuition, room and board, what is the savings, really?), and that they anticipate the possibility of needing the land underneath the residence halls for academic and/or other structures. Certainly Wash. U. is short on space (it was when I was there 10 years ago), but I can only imagine the impact of suddenly relocating 3,000 college students out into the community.
Elliot Liebson
St. Louis

I expect better from a liberal not-for-profit institution: As a resident of one of the buildings on Eastgate bought out by Wash U., I'd like to bring up one crucial detail left out in your article on the buyouts. Much of the housing purchased north of Delmar Boulevard has been, at least technically, reserved for student housing -- specifically, graduate-student housing. This presents two major problems: the "win-win situation for everybody" presented by Mike Giger applies neither to the low-income residents of this neighborhood nor the graduate students it alleges to benefit. As the doors on Eastgate are painted in Wash. U. colors, the rents go up.

Graduate students began moving north of the Loop to find affordable housing. Now, the university is slowly obliterating that possibility, and not just in U. City East. Graduate students, who may not be in the best of financial circumstances (I pull down $9,500 after taxes), are faced with the university's encroachment into the housing sector, a move that was/is supposed to benefit us. Some of us would also prefer to live in a community, not a multiblock college dorm. But as Wash. U. continues to purchase rental properties around the university, affordable housing for its underpaid employees diminishes. I expect better from a liberal not-for-profit institution with a $4 billion endowment.
Name withheld by request

It's Alive!
Our work goes on: Supporters of comprehensive campaign-finance reform in Missouri were very pleased with your recent story about the many things at the Missouri Ethics Commission that could be done better [Bruce Rushton, "The Ethics Omission," Oct. 3]. Our former director Pat Harvey drew attention to situations that need to be corrected in the outstanding way he always does.

However, there was an error in the story. As Mark Twain said in a cable to the Associated Press after learning that his obituary had been published, "Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." The Missouri Alliance for Campaign Reform is alive, growing and changing. We are completing the search process for our new director, and our work goes on, as it must, given the $36 million price tag on the 2000 elections in Missouri.
Jeanette Mott Oxford
Missouri Alliance for Campaign Reform

Street Squawk
Ask me about Barry: Where are the African-American opinions about Barry Bonds [Wm. Stage, "Street Talk," Oct. 17]? All Cardinal fans of all races were excited when Mac got the title. Now that the title is held by a black man, we don't get to comment on it.
Tamara Anderson
St. Louis

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