From the week of Nov. 29 - Dec. 5

I am not involved intimately enough with NAILEM to verify or deny most of the article's "facts," but I do take exception to one allegation made. In the article, the author implies that NAILEM may be a clout-inducing smoke screen, an organization purported to include many for the purpose of edifying only one. However, this conclusion and its underlying reasoning are specious when the author also states that NAILEM was created loosely on purpose. Indeed, just as the acronym suggests, the Neighborhood Activists Inter-Linked Empowerment Movement is an information, resource and alliance network for individuals and groups with common objectives. From that perspective, no one is a member in the traditional sense, nor does NAILEM act as a formal lobbyist on behalf of organized groups; however, most organized groups and interested individuals do send and receive crucial information through NAILEM. From that vantage, membership is indeed substantial and active. Further, we rely upon the considerable draw of NAILEM-sponsored events; for example, NAILEM featured a city council candidate forum that was well attended, uniquely formatted and genuinely informative. I personally have not met any community activist who does not interact with NAILEM.

I am not an apologist for poorly managed organizations of any size or prominence. However, it is important to recognize the unique challenges that community organizations must face. Usually under-resourced, they typically rely upon the charismatic leadership and zeal of a handful of "people-people" who may not be, true, brilliant business managers or even attentive to administrative details. They are instead attentive to the details of identifying social problems and organic solutions. I hope that this article will not deter neighbors from supporting grassroots efforts, but will instead underscore the fundamental need for volunteers who have administrative expertise.

Marlena Hanlon

BOB Bailout

Insight into stadium predicament: A very small and quick investigation on your part will reveal nothing prevents Bank One Ballpark from being used by the Cardinals the few times a year they actually need a stadium.

It has been used two years in a row by Insight.com for its bowl games, so we know BOB can handle football just fine.

If we can bail out Mr. Jerry Colangelo to the tune of $6 million ("Ballpark Bailout," November 15,online), the very least he can do for the taxpayers is to make a copy of the stadium key for Mr. Bill Bidwill, thus ending all this insanity about finding a site for the Cardinals and giving much-deserved tax relief to taxpayers who couldn't care less about baseball or football.

Name withheld by request

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