Education: Voters don’t care
Mr. Lessenberry: Your “Choosing Michigan’s future, for dummies” (Metro Times, May 4) article was very interesting. But the article fails to mention that Michigan (like many other states) is struggling financially in part from a lack of federal funding thanks to our president and his “say one thing, do another” policies. And speaking of education, Livingston County voters recently declined a slight tax increase to help fund their schools, by a 2-to-1 margin. This is a county currently considering pay-to-play sports and limiting bus service because of financial woes. These people clearly do not value education enough to pay for it.
What kind of message does this send to children? I believe that all levels of education should be supported and choose to live in a community that shares these values. Unfortunately, not all Michigan residents share this attitude and this seems like another case of Bush and Republican voters getting just what they deserve: crappy schools. —Aaron Pilat, Ann Arbor, email@example.com
He’s no Shelby Strother
Having just read the Jack Lessenberry article “Our changing newspaper world,” (Metro Times, April 27) regarding the “botched” attempt to save face, again, at the Freep, I have to agree with the notion that the rules for Albom are different from the rest of the staff. We all know about the bottom line; however, when did the Freep turn into a “rag”? It is interesting how many references, over the years, Mitch Albom has made about “other” papers being interested in his services, but he chooses to stay in Detroit. I absolutely believe he stays because he would not enjoy the same “huge” notoriety in other areas as he does here. I saw his Angel play in downtown Detroit; ticket prices were unbelievably reduced for the show. We found that Mitch Albom himself was there and came on stage to allow the viewing audience to ask questions of him. I will tell you that I have never in my life heard a person pontificate endlessly about himself when, at times, questions were directed to the Freep. It was such a bore, that he only stopped talking about “all things Mitch,” when the crowd just got up to leave. I remember a good family friend, [Detroit News writer] Shelby Strother, who also wrote books, inspiring and reflective, but never with the grandstanding that Mitch Albom feels the need to do. My daughter sat for the Strother boys and found her inspiration for writing from Shelby, selflessly giving of his direction, when asked, without push, to stay true to herself. She has never wavered and believes in the power of her words. I would pose the question, “Is that true for Mitch Albom?” —Kathi Farkas, Clinton Twp.
As a newspaperman of most of the last 35 years, I say good job (high journalistic praise, it always seemed) on the Albom column today (“He’s so sorry,” Metro Times, May 4). Making it up is one thing, but whining when people criticize you for it — jeez.
By the way, I was Red Smith’s last editor in his years at The New York Times. He and thousands and thousands of others never wrote them where he or she ain’t. —Arthur Pincus, New York, N.Y., firstname.lastname@example.org
We don’t need you
Re: “Contrived cool,” (Metro Times, May 4), for someone who is a self-professed lover of Detroit, one would think that Kristin Palm would be a little more supportive and less critical of any organization that is trying to do something positive for the city. I do disagree with the CreateDetroit ambassador on one point: I do not want haughty people like Ms. Palm to move into my city. —Matthew Roling, Detroit, email@example.com
Uh, ‘Stinks on ice’?
Gary Blackwells’ review of the new Jim Verraros album (“Weekly fecal,” Metro Times, April 27) just plain stinks on ice. I don’t think he even listened to the album. Sounds like he has a personal vendetta with Jim.
I think the album is a hit that just needs to be heard. The songs are catchy, fun, smart pop. Sure, there’s no hint of Dylan-esque lyrics, but for a pop album, this one’s a gem. It’s also nice to see an American Idol finalist come out with an album that’s not cheesy or easy-listening pop. Jim also actually writes on the album — a rarity among Idols. —Brian Greenley, Santa Barbara, Calif., firstname.lastname@example.org
Critics or boosters?
I read Kate Hart’s letter (“Conference call-out,” Metro Times, May 4) about the Motor City Music Conference. One thing I noticed at all the venues was very low audience turnout. I saw Rachel Sage, a brilliant pianist-vocalist (think Tori Amos doing jazz) who drove all the way from New York, perform to an audience of less than a dozen. Venues such as Fishbone’s, which are normally packed standing-room-only on Fridays and Saturdays had one-third the usual turnout because one had to have a badge or $15 to get in. My concern is many venues may pass on second MC2 because there is no money in it.
I also read the Music Hit Singles column entitled “Blah Blah Blah” in the same issue. One would get the impression that music writers at Metro Times think the local music scene is overloaded and “boring,” which is a shame, since I find local music to be vibrant and lively. Yet Metro Times is going to have their own music awards with nominees judged by these same writers? Are the music writers at Metro Times advocates of local music or just critics? Because I don’t want to read about what they think is crap or what a bad time they had (unless it’s written with humor and wit versus cynicism and contempt) but what is new, interesting and exciting. —Allen Salyer, Royal Oak, email@example.com
Respect for Harris
Joe Harris for mayor! Joe Harris for mayor!
The story on Detroit’s auditor general (“The Harris Manifesto,” Metro Times, April 27) provided me (and, most importantly, Detroit residents) with much-needed information. The current financial situation has left me and many other concerned individuals a bit foggy. I hope and pray that the Detroit voters pay attention and vote wisely. “The Auditor General’s recommendations have lost out to the desires of groups of individuals who have their own biases and are unwilling to accept the facts when presented to them.” Hear! hear! I have such respect for anyone who is not afraid to speak their mind, especially when it’s based on facts and when everyone in this metro area knows that this BS goes on and only hurts the Detroit residents, and the metro area as a whole. This is one person who was actually doing his job. Why didn’t anyone listen to him five years ago? Why won’t any leaders in the city fess up to their mistakes, stop making issues personal and move on with business? They’ve all been to college and taken basic economics haven’t they? —M. Erkkila, Harrison Twp., firstname.lastname@example.org
Saddened by the truth
Thank you for devoting extensive valuable space to publishing Joe Harris’ report to the City Council. It has been a long time since citizens could rely on either The Detroit News or Free Press to adequately cover local politics in a reliable fashion. I greatly appreciate Metro Times’ effort to inform the public of important controversial issues. Joe Harris has my deep respect for reporting fiscal reality in the fashion he did. I have long suspected that receivership could be preferable to the current state of political affairs. I found it sad that, in his closing statement to the council, Harris said, “Although this city will little note, nor long remember what I say here, the importance of the issues in this message cannot be overstated.” I for one am clipping and keeping his report for the day the city implodes to remind disgruntled politicians and union workers that this could have been averted. —Susan Mikulak, Grosse Pointe Park, email@example.com
The Harris Manifesto does not mention that the auditor general does not evaluate the performance of the projects. For example, Detroit Water and Sewerage Department in a five-year period borrowed over $5 billion through bond sales to finance unnecessary and even unsanitary constructions, such as new chlorination facility instead of UV disinfection or retention basins to control combined sewer overflows instead of separating sewers from rain pipes. The result is that half of water and wastewater revenues go to pay the debt service. It is like coming to the doctor and getting the wrong medicine or wrong surgery. —Saulius Simoliunas, Detroit, firstname.lastname@example.org
Flipping off Detroit?
Re: Keith Owens’ “Motown booster about to go bust,” (Metro Times, April 20), this article was really powerful. He articulated what I’ve thought for years. We’re on the edge and about to crash to the bottom. What renaissance? The city is filled with a sense of apathy and defeat. Last person out, don’t forget to turn off the light. —Peggy Everts, ClarkstonSend comments to email@example.com