Letters to the Editor 

A fairer shake

I don’t know much about exterminators, but I do know something about arbitration and your story ("Sprayed away," Metro Times, Feb 6-12) was a bit unfair. The story mentioned that pre-hearing exchange of information is more limited in arbitration than in litigation, that arbitration decisions are not a matter of public record and that they generally can’t be appealed. That is all true, but it represents only one side of the story.

Largely because pre-hearing discovery is limited, arbitration is less expensive than litigation. That opens the courthouse to claimants who could not afford litigation or who could not otherwise attract counsel. Because arbitration proceedings are private, parties are able to seek resolution of matters they would be reluctant to raise in a public forum. And because arbitration awards are final, the parties are not subject to endless, expensive appeals.

Unlike judges, the arbitrators who will sit on a case involving pesticides will be chosen by the parties themselves. Unlike jury members, the arbitrators are likely to be experts on the subject of pesticide use.

In many cases the decision to arbitrate rather than litigate is a rational tradeoff — for plaintiffs as well as defendants. —Barry Goldman, arbitrator, Bloomfield

Watch the small print

Thank you for an excellent article. There are many of us who have been injured by chemicals. Hopefully, awareness will create change. This problem has been going on for a very long time. Educating the public is key, especially what to be wary of in contracts. I plan on sharing your articles with our board and my neighbors. —Toni Temple, president, Ohio Network for the Chemically Injured, ohionetwork@netzero.net, Parma Heights, Ohio

Poisoned dreams

Please continue doing environmental stories. My life and many dreams have been ruined from being poisoned by pesticides and other toxic chemicals. Each day is a (barely) living hell because of it. It is a budding epidemic of sorts, but no one really seems to care. —K.M. Kendall, Shelburne Falls, Mass.

Fond farewell

I'm sad to see Melissa Giannini is leaving Metro Times. Detroit has a very talented pool of female music writers and Melissa is certainly near the top of that list. I loved her writings, and I've stuck up for her more than once when her writing ability had been bashed around town (mostly by people in bands she didn't write about). I'll miss her column and her voice in Metro Times. —Melody Licious (Baetens), local musician and music writer,

Detroit

Missing in action

While your story on war movies contained an interesting discussion on the subject ("Hell is for heroes," Metro Times, Jan. 30-Feb. 5), there was a noticeable error in it. James Keith La Croix stated that Three Kings was the only movie made on the Persian Gulf War. He apparently forgot about Courage Under Fire, which starred Denzel Washington, Meg Ryan and Matt Damon. Washington played a colonel investigating whether a posthumous medal should be awarded to the Ryan character, who had been killed in action. Damon, in one of his earliest roles, played her drug-addicted medic. —Dave Hornstein,

dhornstein152309mi@comcast.net, Southfield

Lay of the land

Allow me to commend Keith A. Owens on that magnificent column, "Ken Lay & his posse" (Metro Times, Feb. 6-12). His comparison of Lay and his Enron executives with Milton "Butch" Jones and the infamous Young Boys Incorporated was very skillfully done. Keep on telling it like it is, Keith. That's what good journalism is all about. —Joe Maddox, jnmaddox@webtv.net, Detroit

Erratum

The recent News Hits item "Brushed Aside" (Metro Times, Feb. 6-12) incorrectly referred to an organization in the Brush Park neighborhood. The article should have said that Gwen Mingo is chairwoman of the Brush Park Citizens District Council, also known as the Brush Park CDC.

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