Look at the numbers
Jack Lessenberry and Keith A. Owens both covered the Trent Lott fiasco ("Why Lott matters a lot" and "Lott’s true colors," Metro Times, Dec. 18-24). All of the mention of racism and segregation refers to the Southern states. What about Michigan? Master Engler and company just decided that democracy can't work for the Detroit School Board. Since 1999 the Detroit schools are still failing, still underfunded and still in shambles, but the buck was already passed. Ten years after Proposal A the spending curve is still upside down.
Keith A. Owens questions why black youth suicide rates are up 114 percent over the last 20 years. We don't have books for second graders to learn reading, but we have a road map for their future. —Geof Owen, [email protected], Waterford
On the way back
I wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed Casey Coston’s last "Rubble Rouser" column ("Lofty residential visions," Metro Times, Dec. 18-24). I am a resident of the Lofts at Woodward, and I am encouraged by Detroit's obvious growth more and more as each day passes. It really seems like something is finally getting done around this town. —Ben Gaffield, [email protected], Detroit
Stop the hate
Thanks for the column by Jack Lessenberry ("Meet a real American," Metro Times, Dec. 11-17). I actually heard Schlussel give that hate-filled rant on local radio station WKRK-FM 97.1. I was shocked at the deep hatred she spewed, calling this man a terrorist without any evidence whatsoever. She just wanted the audience to know that all Arabs and Palestinians are terrorists. Will Metro Times let readers know she broadcasts on this station so they can write and tell them to take her off? Maybe we in Detroit can prevent one more hate-monger on the radio. —Ed Sarkis, [email protected], Troy
Live like them
In calling for a ban on living-wage ordinances, State Rep. Andrew Richner (R-Grosse Pointe Park) and members of the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce need to undergo sensitivity training ("Dying to kill the living wage," Metro Times, Dec. 11-17). As a legislator, Richner is paid $79,650 a year, along with a generous benefits package that includes $12,000 for expenses. We can assume that the Chamber’s Jeffrey Hunt is similarly well-compensated.
To understand the human impact of their opposition to living-wage laws, Richner, Hunt and others should try getting by on the minimum wage of $5.15 an hour, without benefits, for a week or, better yet, a month. This experience may illustrate for them the misery that they plan to inflict on people who are already much worse off than they are.
Human misery aside, opposition to a living wage is also economically short-sighted. When a person who receives low wages is paid more, they are going to spend more money. This increase in demand, in turn, is good for economic growth. —Dave Hornstein, [email protected], Southfield
More to the story
Your reporter didn’t talk to everybody when he or she wrote about the billboard erected by grocery store owner Ron Vitale to block the artwork advertising All Star Books on Mack Avenue on Detroit’s east side ("Billboard, magazines," Metro Times, Dec. 18-24). The article reports only the objections to the artwork by residents in the area served by the Yorkshire Market and their discomfort with All Star’s adult offerings.
The All Star Books mural is cheerful and harmless. Plenty of people in our neighborhood are glad to see a spot of color in the dreary gray Detroit landscape. As for the objections to that so-called pornography, attempts to rally demonstrators against the store for "corrupting" the neighborhood felt flat on the first day.
Come on, folks! We’re just glad to have a viable new business on the block, and one that attracts all kinds of people for all kinds of innocent amusement. Lighten up, Ron Vitale, and all of you stuck in your ruts with no sense of humor. —Amy Rose and Ed Sackett, [email protected], Detroit Send comments to [email protected]