St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri on January 1, 1998 · Page 38
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St. Louis Post-Dispatch from St. Louis, Missouri · Page 38

St. Louis, Missouri
Issue Date:
Thursday, January 1, 1998
Page 38
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C14 ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH EDITORIAL THURSDAY, JANUARY 1, 1998 FOUNDED BY JOSEPH PULITZER, DECEMBER 12. 1878 ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH JOSEPH PULITZER EDITOR & PUBLISHER 1878-1911 JOSEPH PULITZER EDITOR & PUBLISHER 1912-1955 JOSEPH PULITZER EDITOR & PUBLISHER 1955 1986 CHAIRMAN, 1979-1993 MICHAEL E. PULITZER CHAIRMAN & PRESIDENT, 1993 - NICHOLAS G. PENNIMAN IV PUBLISHER TERRANCE C.Z. EGGER GENERAL MANAGER COLE C CAMPBELL EDITOR RICHARD K. WEIL, JR. MANAGING EDITOR CHRISTINE A. BERTELSON EDITORIAL PAGE EDITOR J.T. JOHNSON DEPUTY EDITOR ARNIE ROBBINS DEPUTY EDITOR ST. LOUIS 1998 A new sense of ourselves i or how many years has St. Louis sat astride i the banks of one of the world's mightiest rivers, in the very heart of the nation, in a place enviably rich in natural and cultural resources in the throes of an inferiority complex that would knock the socks off Sigmund Freud? It's been nearly 50 years at least, since St. Louis was first in booze and shoes. But the roots of our disorder creep all the way back to 1905, when our forebears realized that the lights had gone out in Forest Park and no one was going to invite the world back for another party. For so long, the challenge of rebuilding St. Louis appeared Sisyphean. Too often, we have been content to push a stone half way up the hill and call the job finished, then allow it to roll down again, sometimes bringing with it a rock slide of attendant problems. We let Civic Progress promise to replace The Arena with a new Kiel Center and renovated Kiel Auditorium, then let the auditorium renovation slip away. We built a domed stadium without a football team as tenant, then cut a costly deal to lure the Rams. We envisioned a Gateway Mall linking the Arch to the Civil Courts Building in an uncluttered sweep, then inserted an office building into the reserved space and destroyed the grand vista. We have been content to be who and what we are and less interested in what we might become. We have settled into parochial perspectives, some defined by class, some by race, some by religion. We have been grumpy about paying for public education and high culture. We have been slow to give the boot to lazy, venal or incompetent leaders. We are still stymied by race. Racism continues to be a big contributor to factionalism and to sprawl. We know it must be tackled straightforwardly, but we have yet to make substantial progress in addressing it. Still, as 1998 brings us closer to the millenium, there is reason to hope we are changing our sense of ourselves and what we can do. We should celebrate that and recommit to it. Regional destiny There is a growing recognition that that we East St. Louis, Chesterfield, Ballwin, Ferguson, Jennings, St. Louis, St. Peters are going to have to work together as a regional community. Fractionalization, factionalism, unplanned growth and uncoordinated development strain our resources. City dwellers accuse the suburbanites of draining off resources. Suburbanites say that urban problems drove them out. Municipalities that have worked hard to develop their own public services are impatient with those who have been careless. New voices are talking about urban sprawl, including religious communities and civil rights activists. Inner suburbs are beginning to realize that urban afflictions afflict them, too, and are trying to alert their outer-suburb cousins that this is a family problem. St. Peters and St. Charles may disagree with St. Louis, but at least these communities are involved in the give-and- EmilyPyu take of deliberation about what should be done. Lambert Field's expansion shows the limitations of regionalism, in that St. Charles, Bridge-ton and others believe that they will carry the burden of noise and residential relocation to benefit mostly the city of St. Louis. It also shows the bounty of regionalism, as Lambert and the MidAmerica Airport in St. Clair County, 111., pledge cooperation to serve the passenger and cargo aviation needs of the entire region. The city Meanwhile, the region's center downtown St Louis is getting serious attention from Mayor Clarence Harmon, the St. Louis Downtown Partnership, the Regional Commerce & Growth Association, the Landmarks Association of Greater St. Louis Inc. and others. The team selected to develop a $171 million convention hotel downtown has a history of opening up its buildings to the street and of demonstrating the importance of maintaining, as much as possible, the built past of cities. The downtown loft district has begun to develop almost in spite of the city's building codes and bureaucracies. City Museum the imaginative vision of Bob and Gail Cassilly is blossoming. Bold and controversial plans are being offered to begin to reform the city's public school system, so that it can better serve students and. make the city more attractive to families. Mayor Harmon after a slow start has taken the reins of power out of the hands of Emily Pyie functionaries and City Hall patronage leftovers. In the last few months, he has made progress in beginning to repair the seriously broken public health care system. Mr. Harmon's choice of Dr. Larry Fields as director of public health is a great example of progressive leadership. Inclusiveness We seem to be learning that community life works better when leaders and institutions work with the public and not merely on its behalf. In part, we have been led by cultural institutions that once held themselves apart and in turn were marginalized by many as snooty. Robert Archibald and his colleagues have engaged citizens in turning the Missouri Historical Society into the keeper of our shared stories and not just someone's official history. Bruce Coppock, recently departed executive director, and his colleagues took the St. Louis Symphony outside Powell Hall and into churches and classrooms to reconnect classical music to citizens' lives. In contrast, the Art Museum keeps struggling to win acceptance of its expansion plan. That is in part because of concern about its impact on Forest Park but perhaps also in part because the Museum hasn't connected its agenda to a public agenda. St. Louis 2004 is valiantly struggling to move its regional goal-setting initiative away from public pitchmanship and toward genuine public participation. Civic Progress, a collective of 32 influential business leaders that can launch or destroy many civic initiatives, seems headed for reform as well under new president Richard A. Liddy. Mr. Liddy, chairman, president and chief executive of General American Life Insurance Co., has put together a small group to examine Civic Progress' work and role. A critique solicited from a diverse group of St. Louisans says Civic Progress must open itself up to a far greater extent to women and to people of color. If there was ever a significant way to begin to end factionalism and attack racism at the highest level, such a broadening of the power base would be it. Desmond Lee, retired businessman and any-thing-but-retiring civic entrepreneur, has challenged the business community by underwriting preliminary expenses to bring together leaders of small to mid-sized businesses to con- tribute directly to real civic progress. When the public doesn't feel fully engaged, it no longer defers to leaders to make the best judgment for the region. The recent referendum defeat for MetroLink expansion was in large part a rebuke to Mayor Harmon and County Executive George R. "Buzz" Westfall. They couldn't sell the notion that the best route had been picked and that the transit authority had made the most efficient use of tax revenues. There is abroad in the Mound City region an energy for getting things done, even if some risk is involved. The region, like the nation, is enjoying the benefits of a robust economy, with regional unemployment at 3.6 percent and inflation at 1 percent and national economic growth at 3.8 percent. A better time will not come for a bold rebuilding. While the spirit of St. Louis is moving us toward renewal and rebuilding, let us seize the moment. Say Happy New Year, St. Louis, and mean it. Stacey Flegel I) I KNOW THAT MY RETIREMENT WILL MAKE NO D1FEERENCE IN ITS . v CARDINAL PRINCIPLES. THAT IT WILL ALWAYS FIGHT FOR PROGRESS AND REFORM, NEVER TOLERATE INJUSTICE OR CORRUPTION, ALWAYS FIGHT DEMAGOGUES OF ALL PARTIES, NEVER BELONG TO ANY PARTY, ALWAYS OPPOSE PRIVILEGED CLASSES AND PUBLIC PLUNDERERS, NEVER LACK SYMPATHY WITH THE POOR. ALWAYS REMAIN DEVOTED TO THE PUBLIC WELFARE, NEVER BE SATISFIED WITH MERELY PRINTING NEWS. ALWAYS BE DRASTICALLY INDEPENDENT, NEVER BE AFRAID TO ATTACK WRONG, WHETHER BY PREDATORY PLUTOCRACY OR PREDATORY POVERTY. ii .... v y- xy THE POST-DISPATCH PLATFORM JOSEPH PULITZER, APRIL 10, 1907 7 HI I NUMBER, I II i vhA ) vwv)&vm 1 i l NiM? MUMB& ANN TELNAESWasflington LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Developing countries are reducing emissions It is astounding how the controversy over global warming is creating so much misinformation about the commitment of the developing countries. Having been an erstwhile citizen of one of the countries constantly named in the debate and more vociferously in the commercials being put out by the industry, I'd like to clarify a few misconceptions being propounded by the doomsday pundits. When I was visiting my folks in India in January last year, the following things came to my notice: The government had ordered 3,000 blatant polluters in the capital city of New Delhi to either switch to a more efficient fuel or simply close shop. The pro-active India supreme court upheld the government order and the result surprise was that most of the industry immediately started working toward improving the emission standards imposed by the law; and, more surprise, the result was an impressive gain in jobs. But the bigger eye-opener was the lurking suspicion in the general public about the bonafides of the affluent developed countries. Here is a country that is just awakening to the prospect of some prosperity and is suddenly required to make huge changes at an immense cost. The countries that have enjoyed the fruits of creating the most pollution are using it as a whipping boy to either scuttle the treaty or escape any consequences of their own misdeeds. The rampant feeling was that, as in ages past, the West is still psychologically committed to economic hegemony and imperialism. While I also got the feeling that the people, albeit reluctantly, were willing to make substantial changes in the energy consumption, they were not willing to be economically shackled again. The logic is quite simple you have done the damage; you repair it. Having stated the above, my own feelings as a proud citizen of the United States are simply that we ought not to relinquish our world leadership for the sake of a few profit-hungry corporations. If not for the sake of the world then for the sake of our own future and the future of our children and this Earth we call home, we must act and act decisively. After all, if with only 4 percent of world population we have managed to produce 25 percent of the harmful gases, does it not fall to reason that we are simply not responsible? And in the words of many a conservative staunchly opposed to the Kyoto protocol, accepting responsibility is the key word. Oh, well, maybe for others and not for their protagonists? Satinder Gambhir Florissant TWA's troubles The recent brief job action by the machinists is just another nail in TWA's coffin. I'm a 34-year battle-scarred veteran of the labor-management wars between Eastern Air Lines and its unions. I worked 25 years as a member of the machinists and nine years in senior management. As a result, I've seen the war from both sides of the line. If you think that men and women live on totally different planets, the airline unions and their management are residing in different galaxies. , With the local and national news media pounding TWA daily over Flight 800 and the state of the airline's dismal financial situation, why in the world would William O'DriscoIl and the other towering geniuses in the machinists decide that now would be a really neat time to stage a walkout and outrage the few remaining passengers who are loyal enough, desperate enough or dumb enough to fly their airline? And how about Gerald Gitner and his stable of management thoroughbreds? I find it incomprehensible that senior management staff would allow contract negotiations to drag on and deteriorate to the point of triggering a rank-and-file job action at the most critical time in the company's history. Excellent application of advanced management skills, guys. Look behind you, folks, and see the smiling faces of Southwest, American, Delta and the other sharks who are ready to finish off TWA and feed on its carcass when it goes belly up. Unfortunately, I don't think that labor and management have what it takes to do the job. Based on my experience, I believe that if they do not make an immediate 180-degree course correction, the employees of TWA and the St. Louis metro area could face this dismal scenario: Several thousand people will be dumped into the unemployment pool over a relatively short period of time. The local real estate market will take a hit, as these folks begin to unload their houses, when and if they are able to relocate. Numerous divorces and family breakups will occur. There will be a- few suicides, (I know of at least four at Eastern, two from the LAM and two from management). A wise person once said .that if we cannot learn from the mistakes of history, we'll be doomed to repeat them. TWA management and their unions are once again proving how true this axiom is. Unfortunately, fools never learn. Gregory Matheny Kirkwood Psychiatric abuse The Dec. 19 article, "Psychiatrist is guilty of assault of his patients," was a good summary of the situation. But we should reflect at this time on the wider situation. Psychiatric rape is not an isolated incident but a growing criminal trend among psychiatrists. It has been estimated that at least 150,000 patients in the United States have been sexually abused by their psychiatrists. Although only 10 percent of psychiatrists admit to sexually abusing patients, 65 percent say new patients tell them of being abused sexually by their former psychiatrists. This shocking toleration of sexual abuse comes right down from the top. A past president of the American Psychiatric Association was reluctantly disciplined for the inappropriate use of drugs; what he was not disciplined for was raping his patient after inappropriately giving her drugs. In recent years, more and more cases of psychiatric rape have come to light. But even though growing numbers of women have won court battles with their psychiatric rapists, the sad fact remains that most victims are still tied up by their rapists, not with ropes,' but with the spiritual and mental shackles employed by the psychiatrist. If someone you know has been abused by a psychiatrist, call the Citizens Commission on Human Rights Psychiatric Abuse hot line at (314) 940-3070. Moritz Farbstein Creve Coeur Educational equality The ideals of democracy are freedom and equality. We're still a long way from achieving those ideals even though the vision and the framework have been in existence for more than two centuries. One of the more glaring inequities in our society today afflicts one of our most basic needs: education. Recent coverage in the Post-Dispatch disclosed wide variations in expenditures per pupil in the school districts of Missouri. There was also the revelation that almost 50 percent of our people are less than functional in arithmetic and reading. I suggest that this ratio is not a true reflection of basic individual ability Vut due in large measure to failure.-; of administration and technique. We should be able to come much closer to the ideal of equality in education with attainable modifications of conception and structure. Why shouldn't every child have approximately equal opportunity t6 learn and to develop at least through the secondary level? The first step would be more equitable distribution of assets in support of essential educational pursuits. The individual states must begin to make this a reality by legislating a change in the tax structure and the power to distribute assets so that every school district will have approximately the same basic resources for equal educational opportunity for all children. This also has a very practical side. It should tap unused human resources leading to greater individual fulfillment and a more productive society. James D. Crowe Ballwin Avoidable tragedy Regarding the tragic accident Dec. 2 on Highway 30 that took the life of a young girl, I find it completely unacceptable that the Missouri Department of Transportation is unwilling to install a traffic signal at the intersection where the accident occurred. I travel to and from work on Highway 30 every day and have witnessed many near misses at that same intersection. Exactly how many more people have to be killed or injured before MODOT will install a traffic signal? The latest victim was a classmate of my daughter's and it was difficult enough to explain to my child why this tragedy occurred, let alone why our state refused to put in a traffic signal that could have saved this child's life. Leslee C. Schrader Fenton PfP'fff Bp Send letters for publication to: Letters to the Editor St. Louis Post-Dispatch Letters must include name, address, and daytime phone number for verification; addresses and phone numbers will not be published Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Due to the volume of mail, letters cannot be returned. MAIL FAX E-MAIL fl 900 N. Tucker Blvd St. Louis, Ma 63101 (314) 340-3139 letterspdstlnetom I X.

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