Letters to the Editor

Jan 17, 2001 at 12:00 am
Brush backed

Thank you very much for shining some light on the fight for Brush Park ("Brush Park and hope," MT, Jan. 3-9). Although I am only 24 years old, I have always been amazed at the immensity and beauty of Brush Park, and could never understand how Detroit had let it slide so far into decay. How could a small area so close to the epicenter of downtown excitement, and so close to Woodward be so overlooked by police and residents?

Even with the new condos and the raised property values, Brush Park is still quite a frightening place to be once the sun goes down. Without a renewed police effort the decline will continue. Also new condos do nothing to "restore" the historic atmosphere. New homes can be built inside the brick shells of the old ones. That is "re-building." —Benjamin Igrisan, Ypsilanti

Brushed off

I read with great interest and sadness about the revitalization of Brush Park. It was still a somewhat restorable community 25 years ago. It certainly is not worth preserving now. The incompetence of the City of Detroit administration saw to that by discouraging homeowners from improving their properties, refusing to sell tax-foreclosed homes to people willing to restore them, and never dealing with the crime situation which still exists in that neighborhood today.

Detroit's problem is that it always expects one big project to be its salvation. It was keeping those lots for a distant new development — not realized for another 10 years or so.

It would be better to move the remaining salvageable homes to another area. The condominium project is better than burned out shells or weed-infested lots, but doesn't fit in with the few existing homes. A better project would have been to build new Victorian-style homes that would complement the existing homes. Anyone who has seen the intact Victorian neighborhoods in Chicago or St. Louis, or some small Michigan

communities, would agree that Detroit's approach is doomed to failure.

Until the issues of crime, lack of city services, and areas to shop at are dealt with, there is no hope for Detroit. —Jim Skelly, Dearborn

Property theft

The article "Brush Park and Hope," was met with hostility and disagreement by residents, community, environmental and labor activists, as well as incumbent and aspiring politicians. The consensus is that it is a "fluff" piece that joins several other future development articles previously run in mainstream media and business publications. Wary Detroiters, having lived through the theft of residents’ properties in Graimark, downtown Detroit (sites for permanent casinos), Cass Corridor and the GAR building, are well informed in the ways of the "developer machinery" and mechanisms that justify the theft of residents’ property. This education has afforded us the ability to determine how this theft is carried out and the parties that assist in making it happen.

Residents whose properties are being taken under eminent domain, supposedly for public good, know that they did not fail their communities and cause the blight that exists there. The City of Detroit should take full responsibility for causing it and failing to treat it, resulting in homeowners properties being taken from them, only to be turned over to big business and housing developers.

I wish Brush Park residents and the Brush Park Citizen District Council nothing but the best. They are putting up a valiant fight. Kudos, also, to the Brush Park legal defense team. —Brenda Smith, Detroit

Cold shoulder

In an article entitled "Anti-Freeze, if you please" (MT, Jan 3-9), Keith A. Owens writes of rock and roll pianist Johnnie Johnson, who co-wrote all but a very few of Chuck Berry’s songs: "In a sad and all-too-typical development, Johnson sued Berry in November, charging that Berry registered the copyrights to all the songs in Berry’s name alone, therefore giving him all the royalties while writing Johnson out of the picture."

What, exactly, is all-too-typical about co-writing some of the world’s great rock and roll songs — among them "Maybellene," "Rock and Roll Music" and "Wee, Wee Hours" — and getting nothing from them? What is all-too-typical about watching your so-called partner live in the lap of luxury while you end up driving a bus, as Johnnie did before his well-deserved resurgence sparked by the film, Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll?

Owens should do some research before making such flippant, hurtful and bafflingly idiotic comments, and the Metro Times should demand journalism from its writers; make sure that the opinions are left to the columnists.

Johnnie is one of the pivotal forces in rock and roll. He deserves more than a nasty, unexplained putdown to welcome him back to our town. —Paul Martin, Farmington Hills

Keith A. Owens responds: Mr. Martin should familiarize himself with the English language a little better before he spouts off. Either that or read the article first. Since this apparently has proven difficult for him, let me say that the article in no way implies — or meant to imply — that Johnny Johnson was somehow wrong for suing Chuck Berry, or that he isn't responsible for the majority of Berry's best-known tunes. What was "all-too-typical" was that Jones got ripped off and was forced to sue to get his due. Learn to read, Mr. Martin. Reading helps. Honest.