Letters to the Editor

Divided we stand

Since the election there have been many calls for America to unite behind the president.

It is easy to make this sound poetic and noble, but we must not forget that the views of the losing side still have merit. Those who have legitimate concerns about issues should not abandon them in the name of national healing. We cannot. We must not.

Democracy requires the expression of views including strong opposition. If contrary opinions are not expressed, then we no longer have a democracy. If “healing” means not voicing opposition, then the cure is worse than the disease.

The people who voted for Mr. Bush did so for a variety of reasons.

Not every Bush voter selected him for “moral issues,” some voted for him in spite of those stands. Not every Bush voter was in favor of his foreign policy; some voted for him in spite of those actions. His election is not a mandate on all of his policies, and there is no reason we should all “unite” behind all of them. —Laura Lee, Rochester Hills


More Election Day blues

I’m a little late thanking Jack Lessenberry for the clearest explanation of how the Electoral College works and why it is a bad idea to switch to popular vote. However, in today’s (Nov. 2) issue of the Detroit Free Press, Washington Post columnist Neal Peirce gave an opposite view. He referred to small states’ alleged advantage. I would like Jack to expound further. As I sit here, waiting for the polls to close and biting my nails, I’m wondering if I’m going to have to sneak out to the garage early in the morning and peel off my Kerry bumper stickers. This is one election I’m not going to be willing to let bygones be bygones if my guy loses. I’m 76 and the thought of having Bush for president for four more of my remaining years is just too much. —Jean Barnard, Sterling Heights


Comments not up to code

Thank you for publishing the article concerning the problems that I and my fellow Venn Manor residents have had with getting our developer, Robert Slattery, to bring our building up to code and secure a certificate of occupancy for our building (“Condo Clash,” Metro Times, Nov. 3). However, I would like to correct a statement made by Mr. Slattery: “Like the basement. It’s a 100-year-old basement, and you want me to replace it? Go buy a new basement?” We never asked for a “new basement” — we just wanted him to repair the drainage problems that have existed since we bought our condos, and were cited by the City of Detroit Buildings and Safety Engineering Department on numerous occasions, and which still exist. We want to be able to use our basement storage areas without everything stored there getting wet and moldy, or walk through puddles of water every time that it rains. The statement that “Slattery deserves the residents’ patience” is absurd. We have been waiting five years for our certificate of occupancy. During the five years, we have lived in our building illegally. As a law-biding citizen, I do not like to live or do anything illegally.

Finally, I also share Mr. Slattery’s vision for Midtown — that is why I live here. This neighborhood is the best place to live. However, no one, not even in Midtown, should have to live in a building that “has never met city occupancy standards.” —Leslie Malcolmson, Detroit


Blacks left behind

I loved reading your commentary on “Hiding the sausage at city hall” (Metro Times, Oct. 27). The real question is why would anyone make this stuff up concerning Kay Everett? Could it be karma? What is unfortunate and truly irritating to me is while she is taking bribes due to her position on the council, what about us, the black citizens of Detroit? She has done nothing to benefit us out of the bribes, yet when the issue of “AfricanTown” comes up she isn’t in favor of it, in fact she voted against it! Why do I bring this up? Well, she got something out of being a black councilwoman, meanwhile she can’t even give us the opportunity to see if the “AfricanTown” plan could work. Was that a bribe too?

I am a young black woman who is intelligent, in college, no children and struggling. I’d love the opportunity to work in the city, in a new vibrant area while making my money the right way; spreading my positive energy to others in my community. Meanwhile, this black woman who is supposed to be a positive example has displayed through her conduct what most black women become when put in authoritative positions. They look out for themselves; all the while saying they are for the advancement of all black people. I used to wonder why people in the city, when they made it, would move out, but now I see — just look at what we have representing us. —Tiffiny Elise Shipp, Detroit


Jazz roots run deep here

I read with interest your article on the Ford Detroit International Jazz Fest, formerly the Montreux-Detroit Jazz Festival, and I’m obliged to offer up the following errata regarding James Carter (Metro Times, Sept. 1). I submit that James Carter did not study under Marcus Belgrave, as was proclaimed by Charles Latimer, but rather was a student at Northwestern High School under Mr. Ernie Rodgers. Rodgers is a native Detroiter, “first call” working musician in his own right, as well as being a hell of an educator.

Equally as important, though, James Carter was a member of the infamous Bird-Trane-Sco Now group, a group founded by former Detroiter Donald Washington. This amazing group of youngsters, who ranged in age from 6 years old to 15, produced not only Carter but Rodney Whitaker, Elreta Dodds, Cassius Richmond and a host of remarkable young Detroit musicians who are considered “marquee artists” today.

I might add that our own saxophonist supreme, Larry Smith, gave Carter his first real platform for performing, and thus qualifies as a “real mentor.” There are others who also supported this young lion, all of whom Carter has and does acknowledge like the “good son” that he is. I and many like me depend upon and appreciate the Metro Times reporting on those things considered esoteric by the daily blurbs, but I also expect the Metro Times to be accurate in its reporting. I found this article to be particularly upsetting because we now have woefully few people who know anything about real jazz or its history, much less the history of jazz in Detroit. It is not just a matter of oversight, but a great injustice to overlook people like Washington, Rodgers and quite a few others who have attempted to pass the mantle of our jazz tradition on to the young people.

In short, our veteran jazz musicians are dying at a fast enough rate; we don’t need the press to bury us before the fact. —Kenn Cox, Detroit


Feeling a little Vietnam déjà vu

I enjoyed the article “What do we do now” (Metro Times, Nov. 3) and thought it made some very good points. The war will be a failure in terms of the Iraqi people and in hopes of setting up a government favorable to the United States. The real reasons for the war, however, have been somewhat successful. You can bet military contractors hope this thing goes on for a long time. Just like Vietnam, this war is about revenue for political buddies and, oh yeah, oil. Sure Dubya wanted some revenge for his dad and getting Saddam out of there was a good enough reason the public could swallow. Weapons of mass distruction and revenge for 9/11 were all ideas the public embraced but were not real reasons. Why do you think civilians were brought in so quickly in such a volatile arena? Because they want to get their oil infrastructure in place. Believe me, American oil companies will be a part of the new Iraq until the civil war and fundamentalist Islamic regime mentioned finds a way to throw them out. Like most wars, money and power are the goals. One other thing I have to disagree with is the idea of “hunting down the last desperate remnants of al Qaeda.” Al Qaeda is anything but desperate. We could get bin Laden tomorrow and still be far from victory. They have people ready to replace him and every other member if necessary. Things are going exactly the way they want. Bin Laden’s latest taped message states their plan is to financially bleed America. And they’re doing a pretty good job of it. All they have to do is increase the chatter over al Qaeda communications and a security alert goes out. That costs lots of money, and the way were foolishly trying to protect everything plays right into their hands. We need to be vigilant, but we also need to use some common sense in identifying what is at risk. One of al Qaeda’s best weapons is patience. They have all the time in the world. Do we? —Dan McClelland, Farmington Hills, [email protected]


Errata: In "Shakin’ Street" (Metro Times, Nov. 3), the date and phone number were incorrect for the Detroit Artists’ Workshop shows at the College for Creative Studies Center Galleries lobby. The works are on display through Nov. 27. Call 313-664-7800 for information. Also, in "Volunteers of Amerika," the photo caption for KMFDM should have identified Sascha Konietzko as the person on the left in sunglasses.

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