I am a great advocate of Dr. Joel Cooper, mainly because my wife went to him in 1990 with a life-threatening lung problem and through his expertise she survived. She even had some years without supplemental oxygen ("Waiting to Exhale," RFT, May 31). She was one of the pioneers of Dr. Cooper's lifesaving lung operations. Fortunately, I am retired from the Navy and had adequate insurance. I admire the stand Dr. Cooper is making for patient rights.
Thank you so much for a very well-written article. I have already shared it with several people. I only wish it had national exposure. Thank you for the attention given to a subject in need of some good press.
Overland Park, Kan.
VOICE OF DISCONTENT
Your description of KMOX as the "faltering voice of St. Louis" couldn't have been more accurate ("Short Cuts," RFT, May 31). Before they canceled the Blues from their lineup, it was getting evident that they no longer gave a rat's behind about hockey.
Case in point: In giving scores at 5:50 p.m. before the Cardinals' pregame on April 29, news reader Bob Hamilton said, "After two periods in the Stanley Cup, the Avalanche leads the Red Wings, 2-0." The game ended at approximately 5:05 p.m., with Colorado winning 3-1 (two TV stations gave the score and highlights at 5:20 p.m.).
KMOX used to be more accurate and on top of sports happenings. Since this incident, KMOX does not give "in progress" scores during weekend newscasts. (I wonder if my e-mails to them and Dan Caesar at the Post had anything to do with it.)
Twenty years ago, KMOX broadcast the baseball Cardinals, football Cardinals, the Blues and Mizzou. Now, all they are left with are the Redbirds and the St. Louis University Billikens, with the Rams, Blues and Mizzou somewhere else on the dial. The once self-proclaimed "Sports Voice of America" has a severe case of laryngitis.
WAY OFF TRACK
Why should citizens who live in West County vote to increase their taxes to support MetroLink ("St. Louisans, Start Your Engines," RFT, May 4)? The map of East-West Gateway's latest recommendations shows clearly that there will be no expansion of mass transit to serve Ballwin, Chesterfield, Des Peres and Wildwood. Instead, there is a line soon to be built to serve Clayton and Washington University. It stops at I-170, going no farther west.
One recommended route for the future will go southwest, and one will go northwest. Ironically, the northwest route will go to West Port, providing a convenient parking place for residents of St. Charles who will have driven across the new Page Avenue extension bridge (ironic because St. Charles County does not contribute to the funding for MetroLink.)
The original alternatives for the MetroLink extension to Clayton included a route south of Forest Park, which would have run parallel to Highway 40 and which could have been integrated into the reconfiguration of Highway 40.
Construction of these two projects will occur at approximately the same time. Would it not be more cost-efficient to combine them? Would it not be more attractive to West County citizens to see a MetroLink line that could relieve the traffic on Highway 40? Would it not generate stronger support for MetroLink if the route to Clayton served St. Louis University High School, St. Louis Community College-Forest Park, the Science Center, what used to be Deaconess Hospital and what will arise on the site of what used to be the Arena ... instead of providing three MetroLink stops for Washington University campuses?
Think about it. If we want support for mass transit, we need to serve as many citizens as possible, not the most politically powerful.
Dorothy M. Doyle
Bill Bandle's letter about MetroLink claims that the 1987 environmental-impact statement (EIS) "predicted 74,254 daily fares" ("Letters to the Editor," RFT, May 31).
I have a copy of the EIS. The figure Mr. Bandle appears to be referring to is on page 4-19, under "Daily Two-Way Light Rail Station Volumes, Year 2000." The figure is 74,254. It is not a daily ridership figure but rather a station-utilization figure. The daily ridership figure is actually half that number, 37,127, which is clearly stated on the same page, right beneath the previous figure. I might add that the ridership exceeded this figure almost two years ago.
This is not the first time Mr. Bandle has tried misrepresenting this figure. He tried to do this exact same thing in the Aug. 26, 1998, Mid-County Journal. The first time he did it, I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt when I exposed his "error" in the Journal. I thought he might have gotten his figures confused. But now that he has done it twice, it is quite clear that Mr. Bandle is out to mislead the public by intentionally grabbing figures off reports put out by the East-West Gateway Coordinating Council and claiming that they are something they are not.
In conclusion: Considering his repeated intentional misstatement of facts when he criticizes MetroLink, I would not give any credibility to anything Mr. Bandle says about MetroLink.
RAISE YOUR GLASSES
Congratulations and thanks to Ray Hartmann for his insightful comments on blood-alcohol content (BAC), the human capacity to drink, and successful lobbying by the alcoholic-beverage industry in Jefferson City to resist a lowering of the BAC required for drunken-driving arrests ("The Politics of Alcohol: Way Over the Limit," RFT, May 31).
As you pointed out, Ray, a normal adult male (I know, some will argue with my kind characterization) can have a "few drinks" in an evening and remain substantially below the legal limit -- even below the proposed lowered limit for a DWI arrest. It takes a good bit of drinking, in amounts that would significantly impair most of us, to get to that 0.08 level.
The alcohol-industry lobbyists would have everyone believe that lowering this level would put everyone who drinks at risk, overload the courts and have -- in the end -- no real impact on alcohol-related crashes, injuries and deaths. In reality, only serious drinkers who are indeed impaired and dangerous would be likely to be affected by a change in the law.
Unfortunately, those who generally speak up for such changes are often connected with alcoholism-treatment or -prevention organizations such as MADD or the State Advisory Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse. The lobbyists, like court jesters, prance around legislative gatherings guffawing, winking and crying "neo-prohibitionists, neo-prohibitionists," and the legislators, like rubes at the circus, dismiss good science as well as common sense in responding to these clowns. Anyone who has been around these parts very long knows that, whatever names Ray Hartmann may be called, "neo-prohibitionist" is not one that would ever stick. Wonder what name they will call him to discredit his honest, straightforward and important message?
I don't know whether to kiss or curse Laura Higgins and The Riverfront Times for the recent story about Wendy Huddleston's being jailed for contempt on being behind with child-support payments ("No Way Out," RFT, May 24).
My main question: Why was a woman's story used? True, on its face it seems unusual. But things like this happen to countless men everywhere, every day, and there is no sympathy. There is no mechanism in place to help them get free help. All the laws and low-cost law centers are designed to help women hiding behind the children screw and strip money and rights from men. The number of women ordered to pay child support is statistically insignificant compared with men. Would these lawyers and law centers help poor men enforce visitation orders? I doubt it, as the former city prosecutor Larry Johnson -- er, ah, George Peach -- once put it, "Visitation doesn't cost anything." Some might differ, but way too many concur.
Huddleston got caught up in the machinery designed to trap men, but in the end she was spit out the other side with the help of sympathetic women -- lawyers, a newspaper writer and donated money. Not so for far too many men. Welcome to a man's world, Wendy.