Jack Lessenberry's amusing commentary regarding Royal Oak's upcoming May 15 vote on a discriminatory, so-called "gay-rights" ordinance ("Human rights and Royal Oak," MT, Feb. 28-March 6) included at least one misstatement of fact that Jack knows to be false — that being his inaccurate characterization of Christian bookstores as "nonprofit" or "religious" institutions.
This would no doubt come as a surprise to the owners of such bookstores, who derive their own livelihood and ability to pay the salaries of others from the profit they earn on the sale of books and other materials. Royal Oak happens to be home to one of the largest such bookstores in the metro area. Since such stores are clearly "for-profit" enterprises, under Royal Oak's proposed discriminatory ordinance, they — like all other businesses — would face the threat of a $500 fine and litigation for refusing to hire an individual who is openly involved in homosexual behavior, even though that behavior is in direct conflict with the store's mission and the owners' First Amendment-guaranteed religious convictions. Such violations of the owners' Constitutional rights is itself discriminatory, and just one of many reasons Royal Oak citizens are likely to vote "no" to stop the discrimination before it starts. —Gary Glenn, President, American Family Association of Michigan, Midland
Jack Lessenberry’s column in the Metro Times ("Pontiac Central's crime," MT, March 7-13), brought back fond memories of when I was a senior at Wylie E. Groves High School in Birmingham in 1979. That year, seniors whose grades fell just short of the cutoff for Phi Beta Kappa were encouraged to go back to teachers from previous classes and request that their grades be changed so that they would qualify for Phi Beta Kappa. Apparently, only one of the students who was approached thought there was anything wrong with this. This student, Dave Crane, brought the matter up before the Birmingham Board of Education (his father, Wade Crane, was a member) during a meeting that the Groves principal, John Rolf, happened to be attending. I was there with Dave, and, unlike your Pontiac Central example, everyone was suitably indignant. Still, it just goes to show that this type of meddling can occur anywhere, and the objects of the meddling are not limited to coddled sports stars. —Julio C. Mazzoli, [email protected], Plymouth
I read Jack Lessenberry’s article with great interest while online today. I graduated from Pontiac Central in 1960 when standards were much, much higher and discipline was used to motivate rather than injure. Having spent 20 years as a classroom teacher in America and Australia, I can assure you that we teachers are under constant pressure by parents, school administration officials and students to "ease up" on standards for passing and discipline. Social promotion became the trend of the day because, "we shouldn't hurt poor Johnny's feelings and make him feel a failure." I was forced, in my first year of teaching, to give passing grades to all my senior English students because the superintendent was afraid of a lawsuit if precious little Suzie wasn't allowed to graduate with all her friends. After all, she was the cheerleading captain, what difference does it make if she can't read?
The saddest commentary on this whole sordid affair is that we demand far more from those that care for and handle our money than we demand from those who care for and handle or most precious possession, our children. Wake up parents, you only have yourself to blame because Johnny or Donte can't read. Pontiac Central was a wonderful and good school in 1960 and it can be good and wonderful again, but only if parents demand it from their children and from the teachers. —Raymond Lanham, [email protected], Dallas, Texas
In regards to Jon M. Gibson’s admirable article on Web design ("Design this," MT, March 14-20), my experience paints a different picture than age not being a barrier when it comes to the web design business. As a 17-year-old student and web designer (www.akolson.com), my age is a continual problem. Regardless of what level of skill you have, or any portfolio to back it up, age is a definite block in getting beyond rare freelance jobs for a few open-minded individuals. I have been physically pushed out doors, and on several occasions denied a job immediately after an employer discovered my age. I really cannot say I blame these companies. Few so-called teenage Web designers can skillfully draw digitally, code to perfection, design eye candy and jockey a server. Many so-called adult Web designers can't do that, either. Maybe that is why most Web design companies can't last longer than my senior year of high school. —Adam K. Olson, [email protected], Rochester
My partner Anthony Garth and I would like to thank you for the write up in the Metro Times ("Captains of video," MT, Feb. 28-March 6). We are very wary of articles written on us, since in the past our work never came across to the writers or the readers, and a lot was misunderstood or lost. This article is the first to give Chrome Bumper Films its credit. Thanks very much, we appreciate the thought. —John Quigley, Chrome Bumper Films, Ferndale