These are the most-read letters from last week.
Letter: Bell is an inclusive and sensitive prosecutor
After two decades of a county prosecutor who seemed to specialize in keeping his distance from a segment of the community that contributed to his hefty salary, St. Louis County finally has a prosecutor who is inclusive and sensitive to the county’s s long history of racial inequality in the arena of criminal justice. We speak of St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell.
The changes he has initiated have been well received by all segments of St. Louis County. Since he assumed the county prosecutor’s office, there has been no rush to judgment, no racial profiling, and no unfair incarceration of black or white citizens.
In fact, under Mr. Bell’s administration, there has been nothing but prosecutorial professionalism for all of St. Louis County’s 900,000-plus residents. Among his efforts benefiting both the accused and the taxpayer, Mr. Bell has solicited a $1.2 million grant to institute badly needed diversion programs. Those programs will reduce the county’s jail population while saving tax dollars on inmate housing and court costs. With Mr. Bell in the prosecutor’s office, justice will now be dispensed as it should be, without regard to race, gender, religion or sexual preference.
Bishop Lawrence M. Wooten • St. Louis
Letter: Hawley is wrong. Impeachment is lawmaker's duty
Sen. Josh Hawley replied to a letter I wrote regarding impeachment, but it warrants a further response from me. First, the senator described impeachment as “overturning the will of the people.” This is incorrect. Impeachment is a duty of all members of Congress and one in which we expect members to carry out. Not doing so, especially in light of so much evidence, overturns the will of the people.
Secondly, the senator stated that calls for impeachment are partisan and politically motivated. This is also incorrect. Sen. Hawley and the other members of the Republican Party are acting in a partisan and politically motivated way by not calling for impeachment. The available evidence and witness testimony to this point demand it, and my elected officials are acting in a willfully blind, partisan and politically motivated way.
Once again, in his response to me, Sen. Hawley refers to the U.S. Constitution, but I fear he may be reading it selectively. It lays out actions he is required to take, and this should stop being used as an excuse for inaction.
Letter: Post-Dispatch is publishing lies about impeachment
Regarding “‘Everyone was in the loop. It was no secret’” (Nov. 21): What has happened to the news reporting in St. Louis and the country? The front-page headline in this Post-Dispatch story drew a quote from Sondland that I believe is an outright lie. Did anyone at the Post-Dispatch actually watch Gordon Sondland’s testimony and cross-examination? It was refuted that “everyone” was not in the loop. Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, followed President Donald Trump’s orders to talk to Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, but that was conveniently left off of your headline.
It was revealed that Sondland proceeded under his own presumptions and beliefs and that no one, including the president, directed him to make a demand on Ukraine.
The news media leans hard on the freedom of the press as essential to democracy. I completely agree as long as the reporting is honest, accurate and not full of half-truths. The Post-Dispatch should be taken to court and prosecuted for obstruction of the truth and interference with the election. As of today, the Post-Dispatch has one less subscriber.
Larry Buschman • Warren County
Letter: He didn’t commit a crime, so don’t impeach Trump
Recently we have been bombarded with information about the impeachment of the President Donald Trump. Points have gone from colluding with Russia to influence the election, to some type of obstruction of justice, to the current quid pro quo regarding Ukraine. For each, there are numerous confidential informants, unnamed sources or an unknown whistleblower.
We have received overwhelming instant analysis and reporting telling us why certain testimony is important (either for or against impeachment), why the testimony or information is a smoking gun, or why certain testimony or information is reliable or not. Often the instant analysis is provided by a group of so-called experts at some cable or television studio.
I do not claim to be an expert, but there are a few things that do not seem to have been discussed. A president can be impeached for “high crimes and misdemeanors.” What qualifies as a high crime is not defined, but the use of the term “crime” implicates that the act must be a criminal violation. Exactly what criminal violation is the president accused of violating if he indeed sought a quid pro quo from Ukraine? To remove a president from office, 67 senators must vote for removal. Does anyone think 20 Republican senators would vote with 100% of the Democrats for removal?
The president is entitled to a trial in the Senate, including due process. Is he not entitled to confront the confidential whistleblower in an open trial? What in the world are we really doing?
Michael Hart • University City
Letter: Forget the Hyperloop; just add third lane to I-70
Regarding “Hyperloop study calls for test track to be built in Missouri. Cost? $300 million to $500 million” (Oct. 29): Hyper Loop, diaper loop. Riding that thing will be like getting shot from a cannon. How long will it take for your stomach to catch up with the rest of your body?
Somebody is always coming up with an idea to throw away money that should be spent on rebuilding Interstate 70 and adding a sorely needed third lane. The highway can sometimes be like a parking lot. Sure, there are a few spots that would have to remain two lanes, like the bridge over the Missouri River at Rocheport. But, with a constant onslaught of cars and trucks playing leapfrog to get somewhere a little faster, it would be nice to stay in a lane on the right and keep one’s sanity.
David J. Neubauer • Florissant
Letter: Republicans didn't seem to want to know facts
After watching hours of the recent impeachment testimony, it was chilling to watch the way witnesses were questioned, or not questioned, by the two parties. Not one Republican seemed to ask for facts on whether President Donald Trump was involved in bribing the Ukrainians by withholding aid. Instead, they brought up Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton while calling the hearing a dog-and-pony show. I can’t recall the name Trump coming up in their questions. Why wouldn’t these elected leaders want to know if they have a wrongdoer as their president? It’s very apparent that the Republican Party came first and American justice second. It is also disheartening to turn on Fox News and listen to hour after hour of attacks against the Democratic Party. What could be fair and balanced about that?
Not one American wants to see taxpayer money favoring one party over another. This isn’t right, and getting to the bottom of facts in this case is of utmost importance to all of us.
Democracy and our republic must stand, so the rest of the world may hope for justice. The words “united we stand, divided we fall” apply to us all. Let us unite and find justice, both Republicans and Democrats. We want the same things in our leaders: truth and justice. One party should not be bad and the other good. Thinking like that divides us when we need to be together.
L. Lee Sorensen • St. Louis County
Letter: Republicans need to summon their patriotism
It’s time to believe what you’re seeing with your own eyes and hearing with your own ears, and it boils down to this: President Donald Trump extorted a foreign leader to advance his personal political interests — not our country’s interests. He withheld military aid to Ukraine — until even Republicans in Congress rebelled — in an attempt to force Ukraine to damage a political rival. Trying to bribe a foreign leader to distort our election process is not only wrong and illegal, it’s simply unpatriotic. Trump is no patriot.
The question is whether congressional Republicans and Trump supporters can themselves summon a renewed sense of patriotism and refuse to accept Trump’s betrayal of our country.
Brice Bloom-Ellis • St. Louis
Letter: Don't inject politics into your feature sections
When you see the words STL Life, like the Post-Dispatch Sunday features section, what comes to mind? A section believed to pertain to arts, home and travel in the surrounding area. Columnist Aisha Sultan somehow intertwines her hatred of President Donald Trump with every topic she possibly can, such as her column “What if DACA recipients followed the Trump family’s footsteps?” (Nov. 17). She disregards that the parent of the children in question broke a law and are in the country illegally.
Even if she wrote a column on the excessive amount of crime in St. Louis, or the flooding in the area this summer, or the Cardinals losing in the playoffs, Sultan would find a way to blame it all on President Trump.
It would be great to actually read one section of the paper that is positive and not polarizing, but it doesn’t look like it is possible.
Teresa Maraccini • St. Charles
Letter: Too soon to throw in the towel on Loop Trolley
The Loop Trolley has been beleaguered by delays and has had negative press coverage from the outset. Some say that any further financial support is throwing good money after bad.
I’ve ridden the trolley with my children a few times. If only one trolley is running on a given day, forget about waiting around for it to show up.
But let’s not throw in the towel yet. The trolley’s critics should realize that the money is spent and the infrastructure is there. If the trolley can finally get all three cars operating, this could be a great asset for the neighborhood — as an attraction, not a way to get to work. Now is not the time to give up. If it needs a bit of support while it finds its feet, so be it. I’m not ready to write off the $51 million yet.
Drew Mashburn • St. Louis