These are the most-read letters from last week.
Mailbag: McConnell quick to name Obama, Trump not so much
Regarding Sen. Mitch McConnell’s guest column, “Withdrawing forces from Syria is a grave mistake” (Oct. 22): While I mostly agree with McConnell’s context about the direction our foreign policies need to take, I find it very disingenuous that he is willing to lay blame on former President Barack Obama in several areas of the article, even citing Obama by name. He also cites Sen. Chuck Schumer by name in a negative light in the article.
However, when talking about the poor policies of the current administration, he is careful to cite “the administration,” never actually using President Donald Trump’s name. It is clear from news reports that the Syria withdrawal is entirely Trump’s decision. Obama’s name appears three times; Trump’s none. Clearly a political and uneven column intended to make Obama look bad while giving Trump a pass.
Dave Schepers • St. Louis County
Letter: Trump hypocritical to declare himself 'pro-life'
President Donald Trump identifies himself as the "pro-life" president. Many of his followers agree.
But don’t tell the Kurds that. Don’t tell that to the Ukrainians, the Palestinians, or the refugee children he has in detention. Think about his murderous heroes like Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Think about President Trump’s unwillingness to address gun violence.
I guess it all depends on what you call pro-life.
Bill Griffith • Shrewsbury
Letter: No proof that white cops more prone to shoot blacks
Regarding Eugene Robinson’s column, “Racist attitudes lead to tragic outcomes” (Oct. 16): He asks, “What can a black person do to keep from getting killed by police in this country?” While also listing some complicated scenarios where shootings occurred and implying that racist cops might have been behind them. If one would research this narrative, it is clear that white officers are no more likely than black or Hispanic officers to shoot black civilians.
The biggest factor found in police shooting of black civilians was the rate of violent crime in the area of concern. Areas where high crime is occurring need more police interaction, not less. Just ask the residents in those areas. Such a biased narrative does little to help those who need more policing, while also shutting down any real hope of police-citizen cooperation needed to successfully address high crime rates.
Tom Becker • St. Peters
Letter: Cardinal Ritter scandal shows a lack of values
Regarding “Top-ranked small school Cardinal Ritter may have used ineligible player” (Oct. 15): We now have added another black eye for the Catholic Church and for our city. These young men will carry the scar of cheating and lying into their future. Who was behind this muse? Did someone prompt player Bill Jackson and coach Brandon Gregory to do their dirty work?
This behavior of winning at all costs calls into question actions by privileged men whose real job is to influence young men to be our future leaders. What has happened to our society? Do we really want these values? It’s time for us to do some serious introspection and decide what kind of people we want to be.
Janet Kramer • Ballwin
Letter: ‘Hit the bricks’ if ‘to ankle’ is ever used again
Regarding columnist Joe Holleman’s overuse of the verb, “to ankle,” whenever on-air talent leaves a local St. Louis station for another market: For goodness sake, give the man a thesaurus!
A brief Google search came up with these for depart: abandon, blast off, disappear, escape, evacuate, exit, go, pull out, quit, remove, retire, vacate, withdraw, abdicate, absent, decamp, desert, emigrate, migrate, part, perish, scram, secede, split, start, tergiversate, troop, vanish, beat it, cut and run, cut out, get away, git, go away, go forth, hit the bricks, hit the road, hit the trail, make a break, march out, move on, move out, sally forth, say goodbye, set forth, shove off, slip away, start out, take leave.
For the record, there were no hits for “to ankle.”
Deborah Goldfeder • Creve Coeur
Letter: Pro-Trumpers’ arguments usually take two forms
When I come across supporters of President Donald Trump who question my opinions, I am struck that their attacks usually take two forms. The first is usually to assail my opinion with the observation that those opposed to President Trump have derogatory opinions of his followers. My response is that I feel the same about them as Mr. Trump does. He’s said his followers wouldn’t care if he shot someone in broad daylight in the middle of Manhattan. I agree with him as to the characterization of his followers — they would not care.
The second form is that they claim I’m an elitist for having my opinions. I am wondering who is the more elitist: those who maintain educated opinions, or those who claim they have direct and definitive communications with God and receive their instructions from him? If there is a judgment day, I wonder if it will be a God who thinks the evangelicals had it right.
Ted Frapolli • Glendale
Advice from NY: Do all you can to keep the trolley
I’m from Rochester, New York, and love visiting family in St. Louis every Christmas and staying in the Delmar Loop area. Rochester has attractions but nothing like the Loop’s unique collection of shops, restaurants, hotels, museums and historical markers. I’ve followed the Loop Trolley issue, which seems a natural complement to the ambiance of the area.
That said, this is an expensive complement with sizable bills. I pay some of the highest property taxes in our country here in Rochester but will not be paying for the privilege of enjoying your trolley.
I’m reminded, however, of the Erie Canal, which runs through Rochester. I do pay taxes that support its operation and increasing value as a unique asset. The canal opened in 1825 after years of controversy, budgetary justifications and wrangling. By no means carrying its weight economically any longer, it still adds immensely to the character and quality of life of the area.
Seems to me that a huge plus for your project includes leadership and invaluable experience. Also, the greatest expenses are in the past, the third car is on the way, and the tracks are laid.
The musical, “Meet Me in St. Louis,” includes “The Trolley Song” which begins, “Clang, clang, clang went the trolley …”
I encourage St. Louis, already a great American city, to do its best to persevere and pay forward a bit more for the trolley and the city’s bright future.
Ralph Saunders • Rochester, New York
Letter: Trolley projection numbers were highly unrealistic
Before committing so much money, did anyone ever do a reasonable check on the Loop Trolley’s projected ridership and revenue? According to the July 3 Post-Dispatch, trolley officials in 2015 had estimated there would be 394,000 passengers annually (and in 2017, estimated an annual farebox revenue of $394,333).
Consider what these numbers mean: The trolley was scheduled to run every day, year round, 7 days per week. Posted hours indicated that it would run for 62 hours per week. The estimated 394,000 passengers per year would mean an average of 7,577 per week, which at 62 hours per week would mean an average hourly ridership of 122. So every hour of operation, there would on average be 122 people wanting to buy a fare to ride from the History Museum to the Loop or vice versa? Really?
Speaking of reasonableness, the trolley district maintains that its reduced farebox revenue is because of reduced hours and cars. But if you extrapolate the current ridership data and calculate what it would be for full service, it still falls far short of projections.
I am not anti-trolley; it would be really neat if affordable, but it looks to me like $51 million dollars was committed on some pretty questionable assumptions.
Eric Stein • University City
Letter: Kansas City shows how a trolley should operate
The old song said, “Everything’s up to date in Kansas City.” It made me wonder how our Loop Trolley compared to theirs. It was quite an eye-opener.
From our transit grant, it took eight years before operations really began. In Kansas City, they came up with the idea and had a 2.75-mile long route in downtown running in three years. Their daily ridership as of Aug 19 was a whopping 6,448 people per day. Ours seems to have a handful. They operate from 6 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday. On Fridays, they operate until 2 a.m. The Loop Trolley operates from noon to 6 p.m.
Riders need sufficient time to get to lunch and to stay until the bars closed. Who goes to dinner and wants to take the trolley home by 6 p.m.?
Granted, the route to a set of our Metro transit stops is helpful, but the timing is most likely greatly stunting possible ridership. To save the operation, someone needs to look seriously at a loop though Forest Park, past the parking lots and major attractions.
But frequent service would be a must-do, like Kansas City, which has a car run every 12 minutes.
Larry Hollenberg • Odin, Ill.
Letter: Waste of money to replace garden's visitor center
Regarding “Missouri Botanical Garden to break ground on $92 million visitor center” (Oct. 23): In this story about the Missouri Botanical Garden’s plans to replace the Ridgeway Center with the Jack C. Taylor Visitor Center, garden president Peter Wyse Jackson is quoted as saying, “No one has said, ‘Oh, I think the current one is fine.’”
Well, spending $92 million to expand the visitor center by less than 50% strikes me as not the most effective use of a lot of money. The Ridgeway Center, less than 40 years old, was reminiscent of the Crystal Palace at London’s 19th-century exposition, but will be replaced by a building consisting entirely of rectangles. If the garden wants to spend this kind of money razing existing buildings, it should buy the residential area between the current campus and Interstate 44 and build a parking area, then convert the current, inadequate parking area into exhibit space.
Fred Blumenthal • Shaw neighborhood