To the Editor:
Incorruptibly honest, scrupulously fair, thoroughly analytical, reflectively empathetic, Bob Dierker is what the judicial reform movement, over a half-century ago, had in mind in instituting the Nonpartisan Court Plan in Missouri's major metropolitan areas ("Out of Order," RFT Feb. 10).
The 25,000 city residents who serve as jurors each year have Bob Dierker to thank for his tireless leadership in countless battles with city administrators to transform the Civil Courts Building from a Third World firetrap into a reasonably safe and functional courthouse.
The breadth and sweep of the First Amendment does permit the Fourth Estate to convey, by hatchet or puff, a false impression.
Timothy J. Wilson
Circuit Court Judge
To the Editor:
As a practicing attorney of 20 years, I read your article with regard to Judge Dierker with some interest. For the last two years, during Judge Dierker's tenure as presiding judge, I have dealt with him on nearly a weekly basis. I believe that a couple of key points were left out of your article:
(1) Most if not all judges who are appointed in Missouri are thinking men and women who, as all intellectual people do, have opinions with regard to almost everything. In fact, I find most judges to be quite opinionated on most subjects. (2) The key, however, is not what their private opinions may be but, rather, if their own opinions affect their legal decisions. Do their preconceived notions keep them from following the laws of the state?
The article tried to imply that Judge Dierker's feelings on the state of affairs in a certain area of the law affected his decision on the actual motion in front of him. Clearly Judge Dierker gave plaintiff's counsel every consideration and, in fact, gave counsel additional time to clarify an inadequate petition. Clearly Judge Dierker followed the law and gave the plaintiff adequate time to prepare and repair their claim.
Based upon my experiences with Judge Dierker, while we often disagreed, there is no question that he was always fair and applied the law in an evenhanded method. Judge Dierker's reputation for honesty and intellectual fairness with the St. Louis Bar is beyond reproach, and you do the city and the judiciary a great disservice by implying otherwise.
We have been graced in the city with judges who are fair-minded and intellectually competent. If anything, they should be commended, not criticized unfairly.
Michael B. Smallwood
To the Editor:
In writing his recent "Commentary" "A Frightening Talent for Politics" (RFT, Feb. 10), Ray Hartmann has joined Gov. Mel Carnahan in trashing the two Republicans who are declared candidates, Congressman Jim Talent and Sen. John Ashcroft.
To keep things balanced, I'm sure Hartmann will soon run editorials letting his readers know the records of his far-left radical and socialist Democratic buddies Bob Holden and Mel "Taxman" Carnahan. I am just as sure that he will be pointing out that they belong to the party of Bill Clinton, our ever-lying president who can't keep his zipper up. Or, the fact that their party supports a president who, as the chief law enforcer of our country, thinks it is OK to commit perjury, obstruct justice, lie to his Cabinet and the American people. I am sure Hartmann will note that they belong to the tax-and-spend party which thinks the earnings of working people belong to the government. I am sure that Hartmann will point out that Holden and Carnahan belong to the godless party which acts like children, who throw slurs, ridicule and make fun of other children because they don't meet their standards. Perhaps Hartmann will tell us why it is wrong for persons letting others know that they believe in God and live by his commandments. Will Hartmann be referring to Carnahan as a religious fanatic because he took the advice of Pope John Paul II and spared a nonremorseful triple killer's life?
I am sure Hartmann will tell us of Holden and Carnahan's impressive record of supporting the killing of babies from the point of conception, up to and including partial removal from the womb. Or, their "the government knows best" mentality and their cuddling of welfare recipients who make a career of living off the public.
I am sure Hartmann will point out that Carnahan, when he ran against Vince Schoemehl for the nomination for governor, assured the citizens of Missouri that the F-4 expansion plan for Lambert Airport would be an "economic and safety boondoggle, a pork-barrel plan of devastating magnitude to our regional economy." And how Carnahan, who now as governor supports a similar plan (W-1W) that is more disastrous to Bridgeton and in the eyes of pilots and traffic controllers is unsafe, and will result in less capacity than that touted by his friendly left-wing mayor, Clarence Harmon. Hartmann will probably note that the financing of W-1W could lead to the demise of TWA.
Yes, I'm sure Hartmann will apprise his readers of these facts and also a lot of other dirt on these two candidates. But, as I remember, Hartmann has a habit of not letting his readers know the seamy side of his holier-than-thou (bad choice of words) blood-brother Democrats.
Rowan C. Raftery
To the Editor:
Well, Ray, I read your "Commentary" about Jim Talent with the usual disgust. I'm a fan of (Dr. James) Dobson and I like how he tries to advise families with children, helping them raise kids with moral values. Help them know about what lying is and stuff like that.
No matter. I turn the page and look further into the RFT while I eat my burger. Wow, there's a nice full-page color cigarette ad -- Kool, I think. Al Gore wouldn't like that. Hmm. Next -- lots of casino ads and ads promoting gay "encounters" and phone chat.
Hmm. You say Dobson is a bad guy for opposing casinos, gay lifestyle and abortions. Obviously the RFT is a good guy, given the ads, with the exception of this cigarette stuff. You need to contact your sales desk and tell them to get a solid abortion sponsor (and none of these little ads -- give it the Kool treatment) and lose the guys from RJR. Just hope that they don't get it mixed up and score a big full-color for Focus on the Family -- then you'd have to really pull off a Clinton to make that fit the column.
But it would be fun to watch you try.
To the Editor:
A little late, but I just finished "The Tragic Christian" (RFT, Jan. 27) today. I was really impressed by the quality of reporting and fairness of approach to a complicated issue. James Carney's ideas and actions were the type that inspired me back in those years when liberation theology was making a breakthrough. Though I still believe that violence only begets violence, I understand Carney joining the revolutionaries. When you see that your faith is tied into an institution that consorts with the powers-that-be, it is quite understandable to feel a sense of betrayal toward that institution and to leave it behind.
Though many may find it inappropriate to have published this story just at a time when the pope visited, I think it was quite important that we kept our wits about us and not get caught up in the fervor to the point of blindness about the realities of politics (both inside and outside the church).
Like Reagan, the pope has a lot of personal charisma when dealing with people in a popular and personal way. But the work that goes on behind the scenes, the dictates of an authority who is quite rigid in some areas should not be forgotten in the glow of the moment. It is dangerous to lose sight of reality and become a willing pawn for a guru.