Letters to the Editor 

Our readers sound off on Lessenberry, the arts, the bridge and derby girls

Gutless media

Re: Jack Lessenberry's article "Dems: Gutless cowards" (April 27), while I agree with Lessenberry most of the time, here is where I disagree. The problem isn't the Democrats not being able to put forth an alternate plan or vision for the state; the real problem is the lack of coverage this governor and Republican controlled state House is getting by Lessenberry's friends in the media. Have channels 2, 4 and 7 talked about what's going on in Benton Harbor? Hell no. Have the local media educated Michiganders about what Snyder and the Republicans are rushing through the Legislature? Hell no. All the local media want to talk about is Michigan's ties to the royal wedding and other forms of BS. Rachel Maddow, Ed Schultz and Randi Rhodes spent more time covering what's going on here than the entire media in Michigan. So why are national media figures finding the events in Michigan more important than media people here? Lessenberry should check out Mark Brewer's visit to Off the Record — it was like watching one person debating the Rick Snyder fan club.

Another problem: When people in the media do talk about what's going on, folks like Huel Perkins spend too much time trying to play devil's advocate for Rick Snyder or they give vague explanations why people are protesting the Snyder's budget. So, Lessenberry, it ain't the Democrats you should be talking to — it's your buddies that write the news articles and put on makeup before going on TV. —John Conner, Detroit


Detroit: Open city

Re: "Wax prophetic" (April 13), about the Rust Belt to Artist Belt conference — thank you so much for a thoughtful, truthful and informative article about Detroit's unique art scene. I loved the way Detroit was described as so open to new ideas — much more than any other urban center. And I think that Tyree Guyton started it all years ago with his in-your-face Heidelberg Project.

If I were a young artist, I would come here in a minute. As it is, I'm not young and I'm not an artist, but I can certainly appreciate all the neat things being done here. Thanks for writing about it so well. —Suzanne Antisdel, Detroit


The real truth

Although I detected an element of belated redundancy in your issue devoted to outstanding local attractions, I must salute you for a superb and appropriately chosen cover photo. The Detroit Derby Girls personify everything that is best about Detroit. —Robert del Valle, Royal Oak


Build the bridge

I read with interest Jack Lessenberry's, "Laugh along with the Moroun family", (April 27) and I must say: No one person should have a monopoly on the international travel and commerce between Canada and the United States. At present there's only one bridge — the Ambassador, owned and operated by Moroun — handling all the local traffic between the two countries. There definitely needs to be a second crossing in case a disaster disables the existing bridge. Don't let the greed of one man, Moroun, stand in the way of a win-win situation, the building of a second bridge, publicly owned, to Windsor. —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit


Clinicalize it

Re: John Sinclair's "What war has wrought" (April 27), there is a middle ground between drug prohibition and blanket legalization. Switzerland's heroin maintenance program has been shown to reduce disease, death and crime among chronic users. Providing addicts with standardized doses in a clinical setting eliminates many of the problems associated with illicit heroin use. The success of the Swiss program has inspired heroin maintenance pilot projects in Canada, Germany, Spain, Denmark and the Netherlands.

If expanded, prescription heroin maintenance would deprive organized crime of a core client base. This would render illegal heroin trafficking unprofitable and spare future generations addiction.

Marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol, only without the ubiquitous advertising. Separating the hard and soft drug markets is critical. As long as organized crime controls marijuana distribution, consumers will come into contact with sellers of hard drugs like cocaine. This "gateway" is a direct result of marijuana prohibition. Drug policy reform may send the wrong message to children, but I like to think the children are more important than the message. —Robert Sharpe, Policy Analyst, Common Sense for Drug Policy, Washington, D.C.


Let the nerd lead

Everyone knows the state's budget needs to be corrected, so it is disappointing that so many people are standing in the way of the governor. No one likes change, and everyone wants the other guy to make the sacrifices. It doesn't matter what plan or combination of changes was proposed, people would complain. We should encourage the governor in this difficult job that needs to be completed, otherwise it will be an impossible job that does not get completed. The more energy he uses battling noise and resistance, the less he'll have for productive purposes. —David Chamberlain, Dearborn


Beer & Politics

It's an issue that has drawn national media attention to Michigan, the newly revamped Emergency Financial Manager law that expands the powers the appointed managers have in municipalities and school districts. Is it a necessary tool to get communities back on financial track? Or a way to dismantle democracy, privatize services and bust unions? At this month's Beer & Politics session we'll hear from Fred Leeb, the former Pontiac EFM, and Fred Timpner, executive director of the Michigan Association of Police. At 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 11, as always, at the Anchor Bar, 450 W. Fort St., Detroit; 313-964-9127.

Errata: In our mammoth Best of Detroit issue, we got a few details wrong. When we mentioned the Detroit Party Marching Band, we should have mentioned that its founders included the talented Rachel Harkai. We misspelled the name of the guy who runs karaoke at Dino's in Ferndale. His name is Michael Shea, and he's been at it for seven years at Dino's (and 15 years before that). And, for the record, Hot Pot Thursdays at Motor City Wine are on Thursdays, not Wednesdays as we had it. We regret the errors.

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