Not easy being Green
We at The Greening of Detroit read your cover story ("Down a green path, Metro Times, Oct-31-Nov. 6) with great interest. The article on the University of Detroit Mercy’s Adamah project was very interesting and the Adamah project’s vision of a green near-east side is exciting, but we were dismayed that you chose to use our name on your cover without regard to the important work that The Greening of Detroit has been doing in Detroit for the past 12 years. Our mission is to guide and inspire the reforestation of the city of Detroit through tree plantings and environmental education. We focus 100 percent of our efforts 365 days a year on making Detroit a cleaner, greener, healthier and more beautiful city for everyone. We work tirelessly to promote our name and our good work because we rely upon donations from individuals throughout the metropolitan Detroit area to fund these projects. Your readers include some of our most valued supporters and some of our most important prospects. We’d like to invite all of them to find out more about the real Greening of Detroit by calling 313-237-8733, visiting www.greeningofdetroit.com or stopping by our offices at 1418 Michigan Ave. in Detroit. —Rebecca Salminen Witt, Executive Director, Greening of Detroit, Detroit
New use for old city
The Adamah Project is sensible. It takes Detroit's situation as it is — lots of open ground and little prospect of conventional demand for it — and represents a reasonable and intelligent response. This is why it is unlikely to reach fruition.
Marie Farrell-Donaldson, then city ombudsman, once suggested a similar approach: Close off some areas where sparse population drains city money and find nontraditional urban uses for the land. She was roundly excoriated, mostly for the sin of "not having faith in Detroit." In my experiences in and out of the city government, a frequent objection to such ideas, or even the general idea of dealing with the state of the city as it is, not as we would wish it, is "have faith and good things will happen," and never mind such cramped, small-minded objections as cost and likelihood of success. Whenever I hear this I remember being 6 years old and my mother plopping me in front of the TV set. Mary Martin told me that if I clapped my hands three times and proclaimed, "I believe in fairies," then Tinkerbell would live. This strikes me as a poor approach to urban planning, but it seems to be what we have. George Bernard Shaw once wrote that, "in a democracy, people get the government they deserve." With respect to Detroiters, how insulting if true. —Alex Bensky, email@example.com, Detroit
No room to criticize
Here we go again, another armchair critic of U.S. policy ("To kill or convert?" Metro Times, Nov. 7-13). I suppose Voas and Lessenberry attended the same school of journalism, since they both rely on name-calling and degradation to get their point across. What idiots like Voas fail to realize is that American soil was violated. This diffuses his attempt to liken this effort the Vietnam conflict. It is difficult to understand his rationale that criticizes any U.S. policy to react, including carpet-bombing a country that harbors the perpetrators.
It seems easy for Voas to make his observations from 80,000 feet with a miniscule knowledge of world political relationships. However, he charges full-speed ahead, offering up half-assed solutions and observations on how our government is all wrong. If he were anywhere near the expert that he believes he is, he would share his insight with the politically needy and run for some office that would allow him to impart this great knowledge on the rest of us. But it is much easier to sit in front of his PC all warm and fuzzy and bang out these epistles that are perforated with bullshit and name-calling. —Gene Rawlins, firstname.lastname@example.org, Dearborn
Once again, great column by Jack Lessenberry ("We’d better start asking," Metro Times, Oct. 17-23) regarding the post-Afghanistan realities that are sure to come. The piece was clear and to the point. The points he brought up are painful but are the truth. As he stated, better to ask these and other hard questions now than later. —Terrence German, email@example.com, Detroit