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The mouth of babes

I find Christopher Schneider’s letter (Letters to the editor, Metro Times, June 23) concerning the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan particularly interesting as I shared a similar emotional reaction to the one he describes. I was 8 years old and outside shooting hoops when the news came over the radio. The tremendous relief I felt revealed itself in an exuberance I remember vividly. Specifically, I recall bounding up to my dad’s home office to share the happy news. With his best rain-on-the-parade voice, he said, “You should not be happy that the president was shot.” I’m sure my face betrayed what I was actually feeling — that despite what the old man was preaching, I still hoped the president would die and consequently be unable to lead us headlong into nuclear war.

A kid’s sensitivity to his environment can be perceptive to the point of intense clarity. That dude was a menace. —Todd Noonan, Farmington, noonanto@yahoo.com

 

Visions of tomorrow

Keith Schneider’s article about Detroit’s future possibilities (“Driven to destruction,” Metro Times, June 16) was exciting and refreshing. We can have the things Keith talks about, but we have to talk about it loudly and publicly.

Before a sensible consensus can arise, we need to change the corporate culture of the auto industry, both management and labor. Somewhere below the upper level of the corporate and union structure that maintains current technology, there are young engineers, executives and organizers who will take risks to shape the future. I imagine most of them read Metro Times. —Kurt Thornbladh, Farmington, kthornbladh@yahoo.com

 

Restore the core

Your article struck a chord with me because I believe that we should “restore our core.” For years, we have been building more suburban strip malls and subdivisions, which do not constitute what many others and I consider to be culture or a nightlife. Consequently, many young people are leaving for more attractive cities outside of Michigan. I challenge you to ask your kids at the dinner table if they plan to stay in Michigan after graduation; the answer will most likely be no.

As it is now, if you were offered a work transfer to either Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago or Detroit, which would be most likely last on your list? And you live here.

People also need to realize the city of Detroit is Michigan’s face to the world. When asked by out-of-staters where you live, if you say any city in Oakland, Macomb or Wayne counties, they will usually respond, “Oh, you live in Detroit.” This is usually followed by comments on how bad it must be here.

A big part of the problem starts here at home. Many people in our own suburbs refuse to associate themselves with Detroit — and if they do, they have a leased-car mentality about it. When it’s running good it’s my car (Red Wings), but when it breaks down, it’s their piece of junk (run-down neighborhoods and schools). This disassociation is so strong that we can even say “Detroit” and not mean the city.

Our overall attitude is off and, just like a leased vehicle, we won’t have much to carry forward if it continues. —Matt Beaudry, Warren, mbeaudry@omcil.org

 

High-rises & Black Bottom

In your story, Gloria J. Jeff comments that it was a combination of urban renewal and highways that destroyed Detroit. I totally disagree with the urban renewal part. I live in Lafayette Towers, part of Lafayette Park, the urban renewal project which replaced part of the slum known as Black Bottom (I-375 replaced the other part). The rental apartments in Lafayette Towers are attractive, safe, convenient and affordable. Residents with a wide range of incomes live here. And it is also one of the most integrated neighborhoods in the city with black, white, Hispanic and Asian residents of all ages and backgrounds. Actually if they had torn more of Detroit’s bad housing down to extend the vision of Mies van der Rohe and Ludwig Hilberseimer (a former teacher at Germany’s Bauhaus school) further, Detroit would be a more livable place today. —Bradford Allen, Detroit, bradfordallen@ameritech.net

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