Letters to the Editor 

Complete control

Thanks for your column “Down With Sex!” (Metro Times, Aug. 17). The American hysteria about sex is indicative of the small-town puritanism that has taken over this country. These repressive, controlling types want to control our bodies, brains, bedrooms and even deaths. I recently stumbled across the 1998 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech by Northern Ireland’s David Trimble. The sentence from this very good speech that jumped out at me was:

“A political fanatic is not someone who wants to perfect himself. No, he wants to perfect you. He wants to perfect you personally, to perfect you politically, to perfect you religiously, or racially, or geographically.”

That is what all of these control freaks, most of them Republican, by the way, want to do — control others, from birth to death. They want everything tidy and restricted. With those restrictions decided by them, if you please, or even if we don’t please. —Kathleen Cunningham, Berkley


On casting stones

As a religious right (sorta) conservative (fiscally, anyway) Republican, I found Jack Lessenberry’s column right on target. We have become so enamored with celebrity and gossip in this society that we wouldn’t know substance if it bit us on the leg. While I would prefer that those in positions of responsibility would be faithful in their marriages and live otherwise moral lives, their sexual habits, mores and dalliances are between themselves, their spouses, the person(s) they are involved with, and God.

In other words, if the president were pursuing and enacting policy that was in the best interest of the country, I might be disappointed if he slept around, but I would not be calling for impeachment or voting him or her out of office over sexual misbehavior other than rape or sex with a minor. Then again, I am having a difficult time imagining a rapist who would otherwise seek common good.

Like the rest of us are perfect. —Jack Keck, Redford


Lansing’s lesser evil

Re: Jack Lessenberry’s column on Jennifer Granholm (“Profile without courage,” Metro Times, July 27) is all wrong — at least from a Democrat’s perspective. How about this vision: Dick Devos as governor, Wayne Kuipers as Senate majority leader and Craig DeRoche as speaker of the House? You can forget about education funding with that trio — hell, those clowns would love to start a war with Canada, get rid of business taxes and make sure that government is out of our lives for good, except for vouchers for private schools.

The Cherry Commission may have made recommendations, but I really don’t think that money is the problem with our education system in this state. I’m all for spending more on higher education, but there is no political will for a governor running for re-election to raise taxes — you know better than that — and if you think it would be better to have DeVos than Granholm, you need to realize just who you’re talking about. There are models for higher ed funding that work, but you have to start to talk about cutting business taxes and other things that liberals just can’t stomach. And besides, divided government probably is a good thing, because at this point I think that conservatives and liberals both have it wrong. Neither is in touch with the mainstream family in Michigan. —Dan Smith, Clarkston


Not easy being green

It’s old news, Jack: Al Gore lost the election. It’s time for you and your therapist to work on accepting that fact instead of name-calling and blaming everyone else for your own troubles.

Meanwhile, here in Michigan, prison spending is up, school spending is down and we’re No. 1 in the nation in unemployment, but you can count on blind and deaf Democrats to start chirping that Dick DeVos, Dick Posthumus or any other Republican Dick would be worse, although I’m not sure how that’s possible.

Three years ago, the news media and Democrats were all in a tizzy because Michigan had elected its first woman governor – one who’s tall, trim, blonde, perfectly coifed and looks good on TV. Three years later, we’ve all learned that there’s more to good governance than possessing a vagina.

So who, exactly, is this “democratic wing of the Democratic Party” you refer to? Paul Wellstone is dead. Teddy Kennedy, John Kerry and Hillary Rodham Clinton voted to spend $82 billion to escalate Bush’s war. How exactly is this mythical “democratic wing” going to mount a credible challenge to a sitting incumbent who’s the darling of the Michigan Democratic Party, raised $14 million to get elected to a $160,000-a-year job and started fund-raising and campaigning almost two years prior to next year’s election?

That $82 billion, if diverted stateside, would make a pretty big dent in state and local deficits.

Do the math: It would be a billion dollars for each of the states and the District of Columbia and a billion for each of the 31 most-impoverished cities — without raising taxes a cent. All it would take is bringing American troops and contractors home, but all I hear from this supposed “democratic wing” is how important it is to escalate this war and extend it to infinity. Or don’t you read Curt Guyette?

And who, exactly, is going to challenge the Democratic Party’s darling princess? Nobody who wants to remain part of the Democratic Party, that’s for sure — or does realpolitik escape you?

So that leaves independent and third-party challenges, which are hobbled from the word “Go.” The United States Supreme Court may have ruled that “separate but equal” is both unconstitutional and fundamentally unequal in schools and public accommodations, but Michigan election law remains separate, unequal and unchallenged.

First of all, independent and minor-party candidates aren’t permitted to participate in primary elections. So right off the bat, we have half the exposure, half the coverage, half the legitimacy and probably worst of all, half the money. That’s right: half the money. Michigan election law permits Democrats to raise double the money from each contributor that it permits of independents and minor-party candidates.

Next is the systematic exclusion. There were three televised “debates” between Granholm and Posthumus but only one to which all the candidates were invited, and that one was way up in Traverse City. A Detroit daily allocated a half-page to the Republican and the Democrat, a footnote to everyone else on the ballot, and no coverage at all to the write-in candidates.

If you really want a strong independent challenge to Granholm next year — or to any other disappointing incumbent any other time — you might want to lobby your fellow journalists and broadcasters for equal coverage and your state legislators for a level playing field.

And let the 2000 election go. It’s history. —Douglas Campbell, Co-chair, Green Party of Michigan, Ferndale, naderladuke2000detroit @yahoo.com


Building the blues

I’m writing to express my agreement with Keith Owens column (“Blues and good news,” Metro Times, Aug. 10). I’m elated that Mr. Owens has alerted the rest of the masses of what is going on at Cobo Joe’s. My band (the Chris Canas Blues Revolution) has had the pleasure of hosting the jam twice now, and I can truthfully say that it was a blast. Every single person I have met (and played with) was wonderful. My wife and I were at the Motor City Music Conference events at Cobo Joe’s and had a fantastic time. We knew right away that we would be returning soon, and not only for my bands’ appearances. We left believing that Cobo Joe’s was in good hands and, given time and patience, the club would do well.

If the downtown Detroit entertainment scene is to thrive, it is indeed folks like Tressler and his business partner Dick Cadreau that will make it happen. Detroit needs more of these guys around, period. —Kevin Schoepke, Jackson, kgshep@compuserve.com


Who’s in the bunker?

While I agree with most of your commentary regarding candidates to become the next mayor of Detroit, (“What Detroit needs and what Detroit can get,” Metro Times, July 20) I must comment. You make the statement that Detroit needs “... a leader who can go to our suburban neighbors, not with hat in hand, but as a strong cooperative partner. That person must be willing to drop the hateful baggage of old grievances and come out of the racial bunker looking forward.”

I happen to agree with this statement but I have a question. How can the mayor come out of the racial bunker with the suburban neighbors when those neighbors are not willing to do the same? I find it amazing that so many suburbanites (including elected officials) have negative thoughts about anything within the city of Detroit. I work downtown and hear comments about what’s wrong with the newly completed river walk, what’s wrong the new Jefferson entrance to the RenCen, what’s wrong with the park at Campus Martius, what’s wrong with just about everything. I sometimes ask the nay-sayers what their opinion of the RenCen would be if it were located in, let’s say, Troy. The conversation usually ends on that note. Their eyes glaze over, which suggests to me they are just spitting out some negativity that has been drummed into them that all things Detroit are bad.

Most of the local “news” outlets participate in spewing the negativity. I recently heard a report that almost 30 percent of Detroit residents would leave Detroit if they could. Based on those statistics, a full majority, 70 percent of residents would remain in the city, but this is reported in the negative.

What mayor can overcome this kind of negative spin? We have non-Detroiters reporting on Detroit. I wonder what would happen if the situation were reversed. What if Detroiters were given the opportunity to report on the suburbs? What if Detroiters were handed microphones and newspaper columns, permitting them to pick apart the design of Somerset Mall, Great Lakes Crossing or the interchange at Northwestern and 14 Mile Road?

So long as mentalities and feelings that Detroit is a bad place are condoned and perpetuated, I fear the mayor of Detroit will not stand the slightest chance of changing the racial divide that holds southeast Michigan in its negative downward spiral. Cooperation must work both ways.

I have yet to experience a Detroit mayor who was not willing to be cooperative with suburbs. It would be pure suicide not to. I see the problem as the suburbs failing to do their part in cooperating. But then, it seems such cooperation would require that Detroit bow entirely to the political will of the suburbs, proven by the misguided notion that Detroit should not maintain control of its own water system. Now that story tells a lot about “cooperation.” —Marlene Brownlee, Southfield


People, not politicians

I’m surprised you were soft-serve with your endorsement for mayor. As a lifelong Detroiter, I’ve seen administrations come and go. Seen some good and bad in each. Each group has had its share of missteps. I’m a believer that the best and brightest should be the clear choice. I’m a supporter of the current mayor, Kwame Kilpatrick.

Although there have been some issues — issues can be corrected. If we are to judge the candidates on their past deeds and associations, none of them need apply. As a resident of Detroit, I am pleased with the progress that I see: new housing, rebuilt infrastructure, youth programs, new businesses, a cleaner enviroment, etc.

Many of the ills this city faces come from a source totally nonpolitical. The revitalization of Detroit is not in the hands of mysterious outside forces. The answer is in our residents. One by one, each resident has to take responsibility for themselves, their families, their communities, and finally their city. Regardless of whom the mayoralty is awarded to — this formula rings true. The talent and resources are within our boundaries. If the answer to Detroit’s survival is sought from outside — the battle has already been lost. —Reginald G. Howard, Detroit


We lost Detroit?

I agree with the review of The Island done by Jeff Meyers, but where is this guy from?

Didn’t he see all the movie sets built up downtown? Didn’t he see all the weird cars and buses downtown? Didn’t he see all the extras running around and the fog machines?

It was great to see all the cool old buildings from downtown Detroit in “The Island” interspersed with digital buildings. It was cool to see the cars racing on the streets of Detroit. It was even cool to see the inside of the old train station. Next time, get a reviewer that is turned on to the city and gets out of the cinema once in a while to see the city. —Glenn Maxwell, Detroit, glenn_maxwell@msn.com


Injurious behavior

I would just like to express my complete distain and utter shock for the horrible bad taste of Mr. Brainard (The Comix, Metro Times, Aug. 3). In your comic, there is a drawing of a soldier with the caption, “Use your imagination to draw injuries on this wounded soldier.” Is this somehow funny? Is something going over my head here? Do you really think that making jokes about our soldiers being injured is at all humorous? You, sir, are an asshole. There is not another word that describes you more fittingly. Some advice, you may want to get the hell out of the country before someone draws injuries on you. —Kurt King, Clinton Township

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