Letters to the Editor

Limited appeal

Jack Lessenberry’s recent column on term limits (“Repeal term limits now,” Metro Times, Sept. 28) illustrates well the arguments of those of us who have opposed term limits all along. We told you so. That doesn’t sound very good, but the term limits issue was a political trick from the beginning and the trick worked well enough on the federal level to give the GOP control of Congress. Of course, once in the majority the Republicans dropped term limits like a hot potato.

America’s Founding Fathers took up the issue of term limits during the Constitutional Convention, since they were included in our original Articles of Confederation. They were brought up and defeated, with opposition centering on allowing the voters to decide who should represent them. Any “strict constructionist” should have discarded the idea immediately. Unfortunately, like term limits, “strict constructionism” is just another political trick dressed up as a philosophy to win votes and legitimize the right-wing takeover of our courts.

Term limits deserve to hit the dustbin of history, but they won’t without efforts by regular citizens. Let’s follow Jack’s example and plea, bring this back before the people and work to end what was a bad idea in the first place. —Jim Nash, Farmington Hills


No harm, no foul

Regarding Jack Lessenberry’s column about the evils of term limits, I’d like to add a couple of points. First, on Off the Record with Tim Skubick recently, even Bill Ballenger said that term limits had a negligible effect on the Legislature and state. The question he raised, and a good one, I think, was, “What specific harm has been done by the adoption of term limits?”

Second, I favor term limits because of the built-in advantage in elections that incumbency gives. Career politicians bend the rules, spend the dollars, lay out the pork and skew the system for their own purposes. A great example is the recent transportation bill: U.S. Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) does not have to justify the “bridge to nowhere” in Alaska, he just gets it due to seniority. At least term limits, on a state level, keeps the “new” career legislators from doing too much damage.

While we’re at it, let’s look at the legislative calendar, the long breaks and the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday sessions with Monday and Friday off. I understand that it used to be difficult to make it home from Lansing to Iron Mountain in the ’50s, with no bridge, but we have modern transportation. Why such a light schedule? —Scott Brodie, Saline


Political reruns

I congratulate columnist Jack Lessenberry on his column on the issue of term limits for state legislators. I’d like to add another dark side I see to the term limits constitutional amendment. Many term-limited legislators don’t merely return to private sector jobs, they just run for another, usually higher-paying elected position. It appears that term-limited legislators spend most of their six or eight years in office preparing and posturing for future elected office. I’m sure detailed search will reveal that many of our incumbents were former state legislators who were term-limited. It seems the public isn’t really getting “fresh new faces” in our elective offices, but just retreads. —Leonard Poger, Westland


Read no evil

I just wanted to say thank you for publishing “See No Lethal” (Metro Times, Sept. 14). It is comforting to know at least someone is willing to publish information that other media sources ignore.

However, I have to admit I was a little disappointed in the choice of articles. All of the articles chosen were about Bush, Iraq and the like. I can’t turn on the television or read a newspaper without seeing the retarded hillbilly that we call “president.” It would have been refreshing to read about local stories that go unpublished or otherwise censored. As an alternative newspaper the Metro Times does succeed with this. But there are many more issues where Detroiters are left in the dark. Please turn the light on. —Jennifer Sugg, Ypsilanti


So tired

I am tired of paying my tax dollars to the state and the federal government to carry on this useless war. The National Guard should be at home carrying on the duties they were meant to carry on. Not the duties of an administration that took us into a needless war using falsehoods. Home comes first, not some corporate need to secure resources to pad their pockets. —William Rice, Detroit


Chamber orchestration

As someone who covered the state Capitol during the time when term limits took effect, I wholeheartedly agree they should be repealed. And I do think there is an ounce of merit to what the Michigan Chamber of Commerce is proposing. However, there is an element to this story that nearly everyone seems to be missing: Why is the Chamber (a group of people obsessed with money and profits) prepared to spend $3 million for this thing. The Chamber is not being magnanimous. They have a very real political objective here: to continue the Chamber’s hegemony in the Michigan House of Representatives. —Matt Mazur, editor, michiganliberal.com, Ottawa Lake


Banking on Freman

Ric Bohy: I was disappointed by your comments in the article “Time to Talk, Freman” (Metro Times, Sept. 28).

I am a supporter of Mr. Freman Hendrix and I have had the pleasure of getting to know him over the years. During that time, I have never had a reason to doubt his integrity or honesty. It is unfortunate that today’s politicians, especially Kwame Kilpatrick, have created an environment of distrust for all politicians.

Mr. Hendrix has done nothing to deserve the criticism he has received for entering into a legitimate business loan with a highly regarded and highly regulated banking institution. Clearly, you disregarded the facts and committed an act of irresponsible journalism by calling this very legal and ethical business deal a bribe. Why would Comerica bank want to bribe Freman Hendrix and risk its right to exist as a bank? What did it have to gain from it? Comerica had much more to risk than it had to gain.

Furthermore, Comerica finally has an example of an African-American being treated fairly by its industry and everyone cries foul. I think we should applaud their willingness to give Hendrix a loan instead of criticizing it.

This campaign for mayor demonstrates that the people are looking for someone to believe in.

Freman Hendrix has proven that he’s that man. Can Kilpatrick say the same? —M. Kent Jones, Detroit


Allegations groundless

In this town, with the lack of true journalism and the ultraconservative, not to mention biased, nature of the mainstream print media, Metro Times since its inception has represented a breath of fresh air. As far back as I can remember, this weekly publication has reported the type of news that the mainstream media either did not have the guts or the aptitude to deal with. For instance, Metro Times was on the cutting edge in exposing Mayor Kilpatrick’s lack of leadership, incompetence and lack of integrity long before the major dailies and electronic media had a clue of what was going on.

This is why I’m extremely disappointed and dissatisfied with your most recent editorial in which you make an absurd claim: that Mr. Freman Hendrix owes an explanation to the voters of this city of an obvious aboveboard loan involving himself and Comerica Bank.

This might come as a surprise to you, but citizens are not talking about the Comerica loan. The ridiculous insinuations and false accusations centering on the loan have had absolutely no impact on the campaign since Mr. Hendrix continues to maintain a sizable double lead on our soon-to-be-one-term mayor. The citizens in this city who continue to show strong support for Mr. Hendrix see this as nothing more than another one of Mayor Kilpatrick’s desperate smear tactics aimed at cutting into the decisive lead that his challenger — who has run an outstanding grass-roots campaign — has over him.

The citizens in this city are instead focused on real issues such as jobs, public safety, the city’s budget crisis and education. I’ve lost a tremendous amount of respect for Metro Times since, with one stroke of the pen, you have allowed the Kilpatrick administration to take your focus off the issues near and dear to the citizens of Detroit and readers of Metro Times. You have effectively fanned the flames of deception and subterfuge that appear to be the one area this mayor has almost been successful in.

Comerica Bank is one of the largest and most respected banks not only in this state, but also in the country with a glorious 100-year-plus history which began right here in this town. Comerica, like all other banks, is a highly regulated business, and it is audited on a yearly basis by one of the largest independent certified public accounting firms in the nation, Ernst and Young. I’m a CPA, worked for the largest CPA firm in the world, and find it almost laughable that the Kilpatrick camp has made these ridiculous attacks of both Mr. Hendrix’s impeccable reputation and that of Comerica Bank.

A small amount of common sense might go a long way here. It’s truly inconceivable that Metro Times or any other self-respecting news outlet would repeat such nonsense. This, my friend, is the equivalent of journalistic malpractice! —John W. Marks III, Detroit


That sinking feeling

In your News Hits piece, “Budget Holes” (Metro Times, Oct. 5), you compared the budget crisis in Detroit to the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Pretty unprofessional to make a comment like that. Twenty-nine men died while trying to make a living and you coconut-heads make wise about it? Pathetic!

I had the pleasure to have worked with two men that are currently in that watery tomb during the previous shipping season, and I had seen one on Nov. 8, two days before his demise. Please show more professionalism next time you are looking for something to compare a story to. —Robert G. Hutchinson, Danville


Leader, shmeader

Jack Lessenberry’s column on the insensitivity, ignorance, ineptitude and unfathomable callousness of the fool in the White House was well-written and wholly on the mark (“Waiting for a leader,” Metro Times, Sept. 7). My friends and I are still depressed about the unquestioned election irregularities in the past two presidential contests. We’re still upset about the unjustifiable deaths of thousands of American soldiers and innocent civilians in Iraq. We’re still disturbed by the decision to spend billions of dollars a month in Iraq and give tax cuts to the wealthy, while basic services and necessities are disappearing for lack of funds in communities throughout this once-great country. But Bush’s cavalier, shallow, almost incomprehensible bungling of the federal government’s response to Hurricane Katrina’s devastation takes our disdain and frustration to a whole new level. Maybe now people will listen to Lessenberry and others who’ve been pointing out that not only does this jerk not have what it takes to be leader of the free world, but he’s a bigger threat to the safety, health and comfort of Americans than any foreign despot or other religious fanatic. —Patrick Diehl, Lansing


Strip, please

I was shocked to find out that you are not going to be printing Tom Tomorrow’s cartoons anymore. I am an avid reader of Metro Times and have been ever since I discovered your publication as a freshman at Eastern Michigan University. Believe me when I tell you that Mr. Tomorrow’s cartoons were the highlight of the paper every week. He combined perfect timing and satire in a package that even the most ignorant conservative could understand. Please, I implore you to reconsider and keep printing his fine cartoons every week. —Matt Mazur, Ottawa Lake

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Metro Times Staff

Since 1980, Metro Times has been Detroit’s premier alternative source for news, arts, culture, music, film, food, fashion and more from a liberal point of view.
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