Give Rice one of the closed St. Louis schools: The Reverend Larry Rice's plan to use the L. Douglas Abram Federal Building for a homeless shelter will not fly [Geri L. Dreiling, "Homeless Holy Wars," February 25]. St. Louis needs the Kiel Opera House as the only venue in the region that can stage grand opera. St. Louis has two world-class medical schools and a half-dozen universities in the region. College graduates are educated to appreciate grand opera and will move to regions where it is performed. The March 1 St. Louis Post-Dispatch editorial "St. Louis Public Health: A comeback for TB?" tells of the air filters and ultraviolet lights to kill TB bacteria in homeless shelters. If a TB epidemic broke out at a homeless shelter in the Abram Building, it would drive away tourist trade at the adjacent Union Station.
Kiel Opera House developer Donald Breckenridge is correct in this matter and must prevail. The St. Louis Board of Education closed sixteen schools. One of them may suit the Reverend Rice's needs. Delmar High School comes to mind. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis just closed Bishop Healy School. It could serve as a more modest shelter. If the shelters are scattered throughout the city, their residents may more easily find work and earn money enough to leave and make it on their own.
I don't know if the Reverend Rice reads the Riverfront Times, but it is free, so someone will and let him know that there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Joseph J. Kuciejczyk
Give Rice the building, or give him money: Thanks for Geri L. Dreiling's excellent story. The city and county should either support the effort of New Life Evangelistic Center (Reverend Larry Rice) to acquire and use the Abram Federal Building or NLEC should acquire the building and sell it to developer Donald Breckenridge. There is no organization I trust more than NLEC to make good use of the building or funds from its sale to help reduce homelessness.
Business and government are weak at discerning and sometimes indifferent to the plight of the homeless or near-homeless. During the past year, the city used eminent-domain power to take 24 buildings with 60 decent, affordable, large, occupied units from Neighborhood Enterprises, demolish the buildings and then give away or sell the land to build $150,000-to-$250,000 homes. With funds we received, we can replace about half of the units destroyed.
Jim Roos, president
Neighborhood Enterprises, Inc.
Allegory of the week: Is money the root of all evil, or are the rich and powerful with most of the money the real root of all evil? Ask a homeless person what he or she thinks about it.
Most of us have an address of reference when we leave the house each and every day to go to school or to work. The homeless cannot bear witness to that reality. Therefore, it is, "No more room in the inn, you'll have to sleep in the stable." Where are most stables? At the edge of town, away from everything else so as to not create an unpleasant appearance or odor to the businesses and residents. Sound familiar?
The view from afar: I am a resident of St. Louis stationed in Germany and currently deployed to Baghdad, Iraq. I would like to thank Geri L. Dreiling for writing about an issue that most Americans do not want to deal with. I have been stationed in Panama and here in Iraq and would like to tell you that there is a lot of homelessness and poverty in these two countries. Like I said, most St. Louisans do not feel that this issue is happening in their own backyard.
Again, thank you for this article, and keep up the good reporting. I look forward to receiving the RFT online every week.
SSG Luis Martinez
Spank you very much: As a Jew, I read Frank Weltner's January letter and felt both anger and fear: anger at how someone could share such hate disguised behind fiction as fact, and fear as someone who no longer needs to imagine what it must have felt like to live during the rise to power of Nazi Germany.
The week after his letter was published, I eagerly looked for letters in response to Mr. Weltner's letter and was even more terrified when I didn't see any. Was I relieved when you finally ran all the letters you did in the February 4 issue? Absolutely. However, I find myself even more disgusted by the Riverfront Times for having chosen to run the letter in the first place. I know your editors are intelligent enough to be aware of what kind of response his letter would receive. Which leaves me to believe that it was calculated and manipulative on the RFT's part to publish it and wait for the fallout. Mr. Weltner's letter serves only to instill fear and hatred through lies and misinformation. Shame on you for giving him a platform to share his views so that you might incite your readers and increase distribution. If one person walks away believing any of his words, then your publication can take credit for feeding the machine of hatred and bigotry.
I've heard criticism from others as to how the RFT grossly abuses its public forum and now I have firsthand experience. I am disgusted with the RFT and would rather spend a quarter to be informed about the news and events around town than pick up your free paper any day!
Ruth E. Heyman