He begs to differ: The December 4 edition of the Speedloader column [Jim Nesbitt, "Butcher's Boy"] contained several points which I think need correction or clarification. First, the article's characterization of my staff of 163 state employees as "unhelpful" is not only untrue but particularly unfair, given the fact that they have been working understaffed for nearly a year. Moreover, my staff has not had a pay increase in over two years, while their cost of medical insurance has skyrocketed and their benefits have been reduced. When I ran for this office in 1998, I told voters I thought the office should be an appointed position but I thought the people of St. Louis should vote on whether they wanted the office to remain elected or become appointed. I never stated that I would go to Jefferson City to work on making the office appointed. I did promise to work to give the voters the opportunity to decide whether they wanted to elect the circuit clerk or have someone else appoint the office. I worked to prevent the passage of the judges' amendment that would have made the office appointed in May 2002, because it would have done so without letting the people of St. Louis decide the issue themselves. Had the judges' amendment passed, it would have prevented the people from now deciding for themselves if the office should become an appointed position under our new home-rule powers. I am proud to say I kept my promise to the people of St. Louis to work to give them the right to decide the issue by their vote. The struggle to keep the people in the driver's seat is not over. I have heard that some will try to pass a law in the upcoming legislative session to make the circuit clerk an appointed position of the judges. The people should be vigilant so that no one tries some last-minute move in Jefferson City to circumvent the will of the people of St. Louis. I still think the office should become an appointed position. My experiences as circuit clerk, however, have convinced me that the public would be better served if the appointment process included not only the judges but elected officials, like the mayor or the Board of Aldermen. Contrary to the article's supposition, I am a proponent of change when change is warranted. That is why I have not substantially changed my position on the appointment of the circuit clerk. The "county" offices, like all government, exist to serve the public, not a party or a politician. Nevertheless, I do not presently favor the appointment of the other "county" offices because no one has yet made a case on how those changes would positively affect our city. Until then, I think the voters should retain their right to vote and only trade it in for real improvement, not illusory promises.
Mariano V. Favazza
City of St. Louis
The pause that refreshes: Charles Jaco was the only reason my radio dial would even pause at 1120 [KMOX-AM] [D.J. Wilson, "Back Fire," November 27]. He gave [respite] from the blatherings of the morning show and the preaching of Rush Limbaugh. I hope [Tim] Dorsey can get him to sign at KTRS-AM and keep him on the local airwaves.
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Ask the chef: I was very shocked by the review of Aqua Vin [Rose Martelli, "Something's Fishy," November 27]. I feel if you were looking for more meat, go right next door to KC Masterpiece. I am a sales rep who [does business with] this restaurant. I have requests from owners [of] wineries from California, Italy [and elsewhere] to set up a luncheon or dinner [at Aqua Vin] when they are in town. There is a senior wine educator from a huge, well-known winery in California who travels all over the world and loves to dine at this restaurant. People in St. Louis love this place. Maybe you had an off night. Or maybe your taste buds were off. One thing about Aqua Vin -- if you don't like the sauce that is mentioned on the menu, [the chef] will be more than happy to alter it. All you have to do is ask. This is what is so exciting in life: We all have different tastes in everything. What wines I like, you may not like. But I have other ones to offer, just like [the chef] has other sauces to offer. He will make anything you want. I am sorry you did not like the food, but there are a lot of people who love this place for the food, the drinks, the staff and the warm, relaxing colors they have chosen.
Waiting for someone to agree: Just wanted to say I really enjoyed "Mag Hags" [Rob Harvilla, December 4]. You hit the nail on the head. I've thought the same way about music magazines for years, and I'm glad someone finally had the balls to mention it. "The Maxim/Blender empire allegedly consists of drooling, boob-obsessed, knuckle-dragging jock idiots. Now they've got the big boys running scared. What the hell is going on here?" Classic. Great piece.
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For your next article: Congratulations on a fine article [Mike Seely, "Feed the Beast," December 4]! Sure, the system has some problems, but your exposé featured varied opinions with a feeling of balance. My suggestion would be to follow up with something at the end of the season, not only records and statistics but something that might identify a changing trend. Ideas -- shifting of power to other schools in the PHL? AAU influence? SLU commitment to [an] on-campus arena? Us basketball junkies can never get enough.