Letters to the Editor 

Wayne's world

Re: "Returning to the scene of the crime" (Metro Times, June 7), I am interested in Wayne Kramer's history and current practices relative to the MC5 because I worked as a graphic artist with the band from 1966 to 1971, and subsequently with all of the members in their post-MC5 musical incarnations. Wayne's blame-shifting for the breakup of the band from himself to Rob Tyner and Fred Smith, neither of whom are alive to defend themselves, is a new low for him. Wayne's characterization of himself as a victim of the Tyner and Smith estates in the courts just rubs salt in the wounds he has opened. The families of Rob and Fred simply want an accounting of the money received by Wayne for works that Rob and Fred co-created with him. This is not unreasonable. Nobody appointed Wayne the sole agent for all things MC5, but for decades he has represented himself as such in the music business. He needs to be accountable and fair, and — since he has been neither — the courts are the last resort.

Wayne's business practices with myself and other artists who have been inspired by the legend of the MC5 are a whole other ugly batch of stories. Wayne has a serious public relations problem that he's attempting to talk his way out of instead of just dealing with correcting his behavior and making amends where due. —Gary Grimshaw, Detroit



Re: "Legislation imitation" (News Hits, Metro Times, June 7), to suggest that state Sen. Samuel "Buzz" Thomas was "ripping off" legislation from me is to completely misunderstand the legislative process in Lansing. In June 2005, I introduced HB 4867 to better manage and develop Michigan's border crossings, so that the state takes full advantage of our strategic location as an international trade leader. The bill was introduced after months of research and discussion and was co-sponsored by every state representative who either had a border crossing in their district or whose district was included in the Detroit River International Crossing study as a potential location for a new crossing, if one is needed.

At that time, in June 2005, I provided Sen. Thomas what is known as a "dual blueback" of HB 4867, with the hopes that he would introduce the same bill in the Senate. This is a common practice to maximize the chances that a proposed piece of legislation moves through the Legislature. By introducing the same bill in both the House and Senate, one doubles the likelihood that the bill will be given a hearing. Most bills introduced never get through this first hurdle.

Sen. Thomas, whose district is much broader than my own, has not had the opportunity to focus on border issues that I have had. In 2001, I served as local legal counsel to community organizations, churches and residents opposing the expansion of the Ambassador Bridge plaza further east into the neighborhood. Additionally, the proposed new crossing in the DRIC study lands in the Delray neighborhood, a portion of my district that is represented by Sen. Hansen Clarke in the Senate, not Sen. Thomas.

I believe that Sen. Thomas introduced SB 1278 after a year of thoughtful consideration of these issues. In fact, I offered the "dual blueback" to Sens. Gilbert, Clarke and Basham in June 2005 and only Sen. Thomas has seen it fit to introduce it in the Senate, for which I am extremely grateful. While other politicians have sat on the fence, only he and the co-sponsors of HB 4867 have sought to move forward to address the serious public policy questions posed by our borders, while others have engaged in much more of a circus. Instead of criticizing him for plagiarism, he should be lauded for looking into the issue and demonstrating leadership.

Finally, News Hits should know better than to criticize the introduction of the same piece of legislation in each chamber. It happens nearly every day and it is a strategy that the original author of the bill employed here, as well as in other matters of public policy importance. —Steve Tobocman, State Representative, 12th District, Detroit


Native voices

Dear Jack Lessenberry: I wanted to email a big thank you regarding your comments about Native Americans living in urban areas being denied health care ("What are we for?" Metro Times, June 7). My name is Jeri, I am an American Indian who is one of the 27,000 without health care services. Your comments were so very true! Sometimes I think Afro-American people feel that they are the ones who have experienced the most abuse in life. Not true. If I was unable to use the American Indian Health and Family Services, I might not be able to write you this e-mail; they have saved my life at times. Please, please keep supporting my people, for some, they have no voice that can be heard. Peace and blessings —Jeri Cherette, River Rouge


Short and tart

Re: Jack Lessenberry's comment that "Ralph Nader's candidacy, for example, led to the disaster in Iraq, and at least 40,000 dead. He didn't intend that, but that's what happened" ("Needed: A third party," Metro Times, May 31).

This is the stupidest statement I have ever read in my life. —Jurgen Vsych, San Francisco


Out of tune

Re: "Hit repeat, ignore" (Metro Times, May 24), the scathing Luke Allen Hackney story on the Detroit Music Awards: Why so bitter? I'm left wondering why the editorial staff would give the assignment to somebody who was so obviously blatant in their disregard for the event.

As for Mr. Hackney's disdain for the Hard Lessons, hey, they were just trying to breathe some life to what had been, up to that point, a mostly lackluster evening and their energy was greatly appreciated by those in attendance. And by the way, Mr. Hackney, it was the MC5's legendary MC Jesse Crawford and Rob Tyner that would address the crowd as "brothers and sisters," not Wayne Kramer, as you said. If you're going to make a reference, at least get it right. —Marc Goyer, Royal Oak


Praise for the griller

Jeff Broder's recent Q&A with Matt Prentice ("A consuming passion," Metro Times, May 31) was really a super insight into a really super guy, the kind of gutsy doer that metro Detroit needs lots more of! His honest and frank assessment of Detroit's restaurant scene should be read and reflected upon by all of our supposedly gutsy leaders who presided recently on Mackinac Island. —Richard Thibodeau, Waterford

Send letters (250 words or less, please) to letters@metrotimes.com. Please include your telephone number for verification.

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