Letters to the Editor 

Time for a new issue

Re: “It’s time for a new navigator” (Metro Times, Jan. 26), I would have never thought that you would jump on this stupid topic as well.

Would everyone please stop talking about this stupid SUV? There are more pressing issues in this city than what the mayor and his wife desire to drive.

Yes, I understand that he is the mayor and that taxpayer money was used for this SUV. Well, buy out of the lease and move on already.

Does anyone complain about the many leased/bought cars that many nonprofit and corporate executives are given and that the common employees pay the price by getting no raises or having their benefits cut or being laid off to ensure that the executives can continue to have their car? (Not to mention that regular employees need a complimentary vehicle more than anyone?)

Let’s talk about unemployment, health insurance, rising gas prices, the ongoing gentrification that is sneaking up in the city, the need for community and solutions, or the useless monies being allocated in the city of Detroit ... anything but this crap. —M. E. Erkkila, Harrison Township, maerkkila@yahoo.com

 

Fight the corruption

Being born and raised in Windsor and still within broadcast distance of Detroit, I have watched with interest this appalling situation unfold and be reported. Your article is great, and the next thing for the people to do is to remove Kilpatrick from office now or when they go to the polls the next time. It seems that together with the yoke of office comes the right to raid the public coffers to one’s own advantage, and then hide behind every conceivable entity to try to cover up one’s wrongdoing. It doesn’t seem to matter where we turn, whether it be schools, government or industry, there is someone pilfering the public coffers. (And, believe me, as a Canadian, America doesn’t hold any franchise on this.) It seems that with all the good that democracy brings there are people willing to use their positions for their own personal gain. Keep up the good reporting and keep hammering on things like this. —David Logan, Blenheim, Ontario

 

Belaboring the point

Re: “Outside the box” (Metro Times, Jan. 26), I was disturbed that Lisa Collins would promote the right-wing agenda of union busting and privatization for Detroit as a solution to our problems.

Studies show that privatization is often more expensive than doing work “in-house.” Corporations, banks and neo-conservative think tanks push privatization because it is they who will get to milk the cash cow. Our experience in Detroit is that many contractors come in and then city workers have to train them to do the jobs. Later they come back to the City asking for more money.

What can be done? The banks, corporations and politicians got us into this mess. We should demand they give us the same consideration they gave some nations — forgive 25 percent or 50 percent of the huge debt they foisted onto Detroit. Back in the 1930s Detroit’s mayor proposed a moratorium on paying interest on the debt. Today that would save Detroit hundreds of millions a year.

But the biggest drain on Detroit is the war in Iraq. Lansing-based Employment Research Associates calculated that the Iraq war cost Detroit $429 million last year alone! That’s twice the estimated deficit. Ask people if they’d rather have money for education, housing, health care, jobs and pensions or the war in Iraq, because that is the choice.

Our union is part of the movement demanding “Money for our cities – not for war. Feed the cities – not the Pentagon.”

That’s really thinking “outside the box.” —David Sole, President, Sanitary Chemists & Technicians Association, UAW Local 2334, Detroit

 

Let ’em have it!

Re: “Outside the box,” I propose a sixth radical idea. Why not give back the areas Detroit annexed in the first place. Returning “Fairview” and “St. Clair Heights” to Grosse Pointe, giving Delray its autonomy, giving old Greenfield and Springwells townships to Livonia and Dearborn. This would provide much-needed lebensraum for these suburbs, allowing them to develop and cultivate neglected and blighted areas of Deroit. The constriction or implosion of Detroit might help it in the long run. The resources stretched thin in the big city will be replenished with suburbs that have a smaller area to concentrate on. Tax money will be better served on the “New Detroit” with boundaries that are more governable and manageable. The suburbs, with their new additions, can develop and expand, garnering a new tax base. Everybody wins, Detroit, smaller and leaner in size can be an example to other major cities in the country with similar problems. Give back the land to the communities that had it in the first place. —Nicholas P. Sinacori, Detroit

 

Light rail can unite

Re: “Idea 3: Move the masses” in “Outside the box.”

During the Auto Show and Winter Blast, I noticed that there are many activity clusters in downtown Detroit. At the foot of the river you have Hart Plaza. Go north a couple of blocks on Woodward and there is the newly refurbished Campus Martius with the Hard Rock Cafe, Greektown and St. Andrew’s within walking distance. Travel further north and there’s the Fox Theatre, State Theatre, Detroit Opera House and the stadiums. Another mile north is the Max M. Fisher Music Center, the Majestic complex, and a slew of good restaurants. Up further is the DIA, WSU, CCS, the main library and many art galleries.

But what holds them together? In between these places are vacant lots and abandoned buildings. There is nothing to unify them or give reason for suburbanites to stay or walk the strip. But if there were a light rail system to connect them all, people would come down to an event and possibly stay the afternoon traveling to nearby restaurants and cultural events.

Light rail could begin small. It could be designed inexpensively. Stay away from expensive elevated ideas like the People Mover and lay a track down the center of Woodward instead. The first link could be from Hart Plaza up to the New Center area. Then as time and finances dictate, extensions to Eight Mile Road and the State Fairgrounds could be added, then on to the Zoo, finally culminating with rail running from Pontiac to the river.

The rail might take away the left turn lane of Woodward, narrowing the drivable road, but less traffic would be using the road anyway. A station that links up with the People Mover would enhance the system. Let’s get started! —Allen Salyer, Royal Oak, salyerallen@hotmail.com

 

Star-crossed

I was saddened, but not surprised by your article covering Confusion 2005 (“Partying in an alternate universe,” Metro Times, Feb. 2). The reduction of science fiction culture to a freak show is something to which we are quite accustomed.

However, with such a rich pool of eccentrics from which to paint such a picture, there was really no reason to impugn Br. Guy Consolmagno’s professional credentials.

Br. Consolmagno is in fact the astronomer to the Vatican. Astronomy, as your Mr. Fortune seems to not be aware, is the scientific study of the stars and planets. Astrology is a system of fortunetelling based in the belief that objects millions of miles away can affect whether or not you will be hit by a truck next Tuesday. As far as I know, Br. Consolmagno does not subscribe to these teachings.

Please take the time to instruct Mr. Fortune in the difference, that he may avoid embarrassing errors of this type in the future. —Erik Wessing, Evanston, Ill.

 

Taking us to school

Brother Guy Consolmagno is a meteorite expert and one of the foremost astronomers in the world. He is not now, nor has he ever been, the astrologer for the Vatican. He is, however, the Vatican astronomer.

Too bad your article didn’t focus more on the amazing science programming at ConFusion. We had pictures from the Huygens probe on Titan (the moon of Saturn, in case you’re not familiar with the solar system), and from Cassini far above. Bill Higgins from Fermi Labs (a premier physics lab in Illinois) presented them with Brother Guy.

We also had, as one of our guests of honor, scientist Christian Ready, who used to work for NASA with the Hubble Space Telescope. He brought some recent pictures from far out in the galaxy, including some recent discoveries made only in the last few months.

I am sorry your article was unable to refer to these premier scientists, as well as to the 30 other high-ranking authors and hundreds of other published authors and artists who participated in programming and attended the convention. Their contributions to the programming give it the excellent reputation that ConFusion enjoys amongst regional conventions. —Krysta December, Programming Wrangler and Liaison to the Hotel, 31 Flavors of ConFusion, Ann Arbor

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