HELL TO PAY
Surprise, surprise! The House Commerce Committee has found a way to recommend that a percentage of state sales tax be siphoned off for use in building a desperately needed new baseball stadium, as so adroitly explained in Ray Hartmann's "Commentary" (RFT, March 15) and by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in a recent small article on page 3. Maybe this effort, yet another in a series of "trickle-up" theories, could also help keep our city from folding. The generous and understanding people of St. Louis could surely "do it one more time!" We're on a roll.
Hey, wait a minute -- don't excess tax dollars belong back in the pockets of the people? Maybe the Cardinals could try for tax-increment financing. How about raffle tickets or selling bricks, seats or patches of turf? Let's help keep that money flowing upward. Maybe I could volunteer to help sweep those parking garages or sell hotdogs and beer.
If the state returned these apparently not-needed millions to the people, gamblers would have more to lose at Missouri casinos, and the long-promised result would be statewide Triple A Schools, decently paid teachers and updated facilities.
Guess it's all a matter of priorities, and so far sports seem to have a louder voice than academics. Corporate welfare is just the newest way to facilitate greed by reaching into the pockets of people for whom the price of a baseball or football game can be darned prohibitive.
Jill Posey-Smith has once again cast a disparaging shadow on St. Louis dining, this time targeting the beloved outdoor dining in University City and, in particular, Brandt's Market and Cafe ("In the Outdoors," RFT, March 15). Posey-Smith does not seem to appreciate the purpose of sidewalk dining, the enjoyment of great weather, food and drinks amidst the bustle of city life. A great majority of students, dog owners, locals and others flock to Delmar to experience the diversity and charm of the U. City Loop.
I am a previous employee and frequent patron of Brandt's. I do not agree with Posey-Smith's "critique" of Brandt's, the Loop or St. Louis dining. Brandt's offers a great menu of healthy and creative dishes, a terrific wine and beer selection and a choice of an outdoor-dining experience or cozy interior seating. The crowds who visit Brandt's for the excellent musical performances, great food and atmosphere belie Posey-Smith's criticisms.
As a concierge at St. Louis' premier luxury hotel, I regularly recommend Brandt's Market and Cafe to my discerning guests. I get nothing but rave reviews about the food, music and local flair from all my guests.
Kelly J. Plunkett
CUT IT OUT
Let's see, your first cut ("Short Cuts," RFT, Feb. 23) is a six-year-old rehash concerning the "real" cost of the Trans World Dome. Of course, there's no hint in your hash about the economic impact the dome has had, will have and may have if a Super Bowl heads our way.
Next, a two-week-old upchuck of an unusually newsy Berger bit. Nice job. Your typical column is simply a plagiarization of Berger's spent butts. You're getting there.
Ah, finally, something new? Nope. You did, however, manage to add an even more negative spin to Dan O'Neill's uncharacteristically bitter story.
By the way, I think I'd use my initials too, if my name was "Dumb Jerk-off." Keep up the, uh, work.
I was so saddened to hear about the St. Marcus Church closing what has been one of the most important venues for diverse voices in America, the St. Marcus Theatre. I travel and perform all over the country. I have often spoken in public about how it is places like the St. Marcus Theatre and the companies that work there like Joan Lipkin's That Uppity Theatre Company and Scott Miller's New Line Theatre that are really keeping American culture humming with risk-taking and truth-speaking. Our nation is much lessened by the unfortunate decision of the St. Marcus congregation.
Highways Performance Space
Santa Monica, Calif.
While I could not agree more that Jim Hammond's story is heartbreaking ("Pot Luck," RFT, Feb. 23), there are a couple of points about medicinal use of marijuana that should really be addressed in more detail.
First, there are a multitude of effective and legal treatment alternatives that make it somewhat silly to be pursuing an illegal treatment. I personally know quite a number of practitioners (chiropractors, alternative medical professionals, medical doctors specializing in pain treatment, healers of various faiths and so on) who could certainly provide a measure of relief for Mr. Hammond without resorting to illegal drugs. Now, if it is just a case that Mr. Hammond and others like him would rather not pay for help, or lack insurance for treatment, I can understand how one might find raising marijuana in one's basement to be a cost-effective alternative.
Unfortunately, this leads to the second, and perhaps more important, consideration. Marijuana is far more damaging in the long run than the illness it purports to alleviate. All drugs, to greater or lesser degree, leave traces in the fatty tissues of the body that do not get flushed out. These drug traces can stay in the body, locked in fat cells, for years. While the drugs are locked in the body, they burn up vitamins and minerals, causing a continuous drain on the body's resources.
When a person takes a drug, there is an almost immediate burn-up of vitamins and minerals C, B, calcium and magnesium. The result of lowered vitamin C is headaches; the result of lowered B1 is depression; the result of lowered calcium is aches and pains; the result of lowered magnesium is nervousness. This leads to the desire to take more drugs, which numb the body enough to cover up these vitamin-deficiency effects, which then creates more deficiency. This is the downward spiral of addiction. This is a heavy price to pay for ignorance about the true effects of drugs.
I am very disappointed in the article about the Humane Society of Missouri ("High Society," RFT, Feb. 23). Much of the article was unfair. I have been an employee of the Humane Society since August 1986. Each and every one who works here has a deep compassion and respect for animals. First, each employee is an educator. We educate animal owners about animal care, behavior and overpopulation.
I have had hundreds of thousands of conversations with pet owners and prospective pet owners about the importance of spaying and neutering their pets. Every employee in this field understands the importance of spaying and neutering pets. We see firsthand the disaster of animals' breeding indiscriminately, the countless animals brought through the door of every shelter in the country with health or behavior problems brought on by ignorance or complacency. Each owner that brings in an animal that is not adoptable is told before the animal is left. The decision is theirs to make whether to leave the animal or take the animal home long enough to fix the problem and bring it back. Many owners choose to leave the animal, knowing that it will be euthanized.
Your article stated that there are plenty of "no kill" shelters around. That, in a sense, is true. However, what was not stated in the article is that most of these shelters have waiting lists, usually lasting for several months and, in some cases, years. They accept only the best of the best. The Humane Society of Missouri does not have this policy. We accept animals regardless. We also receive many of the animals turned away from no-kill shelters. We would love the luxury of only accepting the "grade A" animals, but that is not our role. Our role is to be a shelter for unwanted animals. That does not give us the luxury of picking and choosing what we will accept.
Your article further stated that the Humane Society of Missouri does not have free spay-and-neuter programs for the poor. That is not true. We have had programs in place for years to assist fixed-income families with medical services. It was obvious from Ms. Higgins' comment that no other humane organization would publicly talk against the Humane Society of Missouri that her intent was not to look at the positive things that Humane Society of Missouri accomplishes but trying to find something negative to report. How sad that an article should be that biased. The Humane Society of Missouri does a lot of good work and is filled with compassionate, caring individuals. To disregard that, for whatever reason, is inappropriate.