Believe in change

To Keith Owens: I read your article, “Bullet holes & torn lives” (Metro Times, Jan. 12, 2005). Thank you for a great article!

I’m very sorry to hear of the loss of your Aunt Jean, and for the loss of her grandson. My sympathy and love to you and your family.

There are so many tragedies every day in the city. My boyfriend, also the father of my soon-to-be-expected son, just lost his cousin to violence in the hood on the West Side. His cousin was shot 11 times. He was only 21 years old.

Almost two years ago, my very good friend lost her best friend — her brother — to gunshot wounds in Highland Park. His case was never solved — like many of the cases in Detroit that are sadly never solved.

As women we suffer such pain to bring life into this world, and so much of that precious life is taken away by common tragedies — like gunshots and other violent acts.

I agree with you with regard to Sharon McPhail, and her comment on cutting crime in half — it sure sounds too good to be true!

As for Kwame, his group of ministers, and community leaders on their prayer vigil … well, I very much understand you didn’t vote for a pastor four years ago. Prayer is good, but prayer only will not resolve things.

I don’t disregard Kwame’s attempt or his faith either — I just feel more needs to be done than praying and praying only.

It is said that only G-d can judge, not any of us. There are so many once-innocent lives that were not fortunate to be blessed with healthy environments and positive, loving surroundings.

In that case, education needs to come into the picture. Educators and community leaders need to step up and offer their love, support and insights to those who spread disease and darkness throughout the city.

If we want to “change our culture”, where four people per day are shot, we need educated people, we need leaders to step up. Most importantly we need people to believe that change can happen. —Melanie Mifsud, Hamtramck,


A country correction

Dear Mr. Bohy: Regarding your column about (“The whack pack,” Metro Times, Jan. 12, 2005), you stated the following:

And in Jonesboro, Ga., where elections apparently are more contentious than they are here, the new sheriff fired 27 department employees, took their badges, told them to hit the road and posted rooftop snipers to keep an eye on them as they left. The sheriff is one of “a spate” of black officials recently elected to replace a long line of country whites in a town not far from DeKalb County where a newly elected sheriff was assassinated a few years ago.

By omission, you imply that the assassinated DeKalb county sheriff was killed by an ousted “country white” official. In truth, both men were African-American. The former Sheriff of DeKalb County, Sidney Dorsey, was arrested for the murder of Sheriff-elect Derwin Brown and was subsequently found guilty by a court of law.

Although I am not associated with county government, I am a DeKalb County resident. DeKalb County is one of the most racially integrated, racially inclusive local regions you may find anywhere. As a Caucasian male, I take pride that DeKalb County includes one of the most prosperous communities of African-Americans in the country.

While the same cannot be said for Jonesboro and Clayton County, DeKalb County is neither “country” nor predominantly “white,” nor have we been for some long years. —George Buckley, Decatur, Ga.


I think he’s for Freman

Re: Jack Lessenberry’s “Getting Detroit back on the road” (Metro Times, Jan. 12, 2005), I want to thank Mr. Hendrix for having the courage to run for mayor of the city of Detroit. He must have a great deal of love for this city to have, as you’ve acknowledged, given up a lucrative private sector executive position to pursue the most difficult and thankless job in the state. He’s accepted the challenge, knowing that he will inherit a gigantic mess that could take years to fix.

What Mr. Hendrix brings to the table is a proven track record of success. There will be no need for this man to gain on-the-job training because he’s managed the city as the city’s chief operating officer. With the city being on the brink of receivership Mr. Hendrix is the only candidate in the mayor’s race who can step into the city’s top post and immediately hit the ground running.

Mr. Hendrix also brings honestly, integrity and, above all, a touch of class that has been absent from the mayor’s office over the past three years. The current mayor has literally brought shame and disgrace upon this city. He successfully duped the citizens into thinking that the future for this city would begin with him. He never told anyone that his vision of the future only included his friends and family “right here and right now.”

Mr. Lessenberry, if I were you I would immediately cease and desist from listening to “smart money.” Let’s face it, “smart money” doesn’t vote in this town. If it did, the mayor’s attempt to gain control of the Detroit Public Schools through Proposal E would have succeeded. “Smart money” backed that proposal and it went down in flames as the citizens of Detroit decided for themselves, without the assistance of “smart money,” what was best for their children!

Mr. Lessenberry, it might come as a surprise to you, but I, like the hundreds gathered at Marygrove College, won’t be at all surprised come November 2005 when Mr. Hendrix makes his victory speech as the newly elected mayor of the city of Detroit! —John W. Marks III, Novi,


Another supportive reader

Thanks for an excellent column on former Deputy Mayor Freman Hendrix’s announcement of his candidacy for mayor of Detroit at Marygrove College on Jan. 9th. 

Although you captured much of the excitement of a very important evening to the future of Detroit, I’m not sure why you think Freman has a name recognition problem.  

Jack, if a lack of name recognition looks like a theater filled to capacity with over 400 people, and an estimated 300 or more outside the theater trying to get in to support their candidate for mayor, name recognition must look like the Palace at Auburn Hills during last year’s Piston’s championship run. 

 I don't know about you, Jack, but this is the first campaign announcement that I’ve ever attended that had this kind of enthusiastic response.  This response, I believe, is largely the multiplier effect of Freman's connecting to Detroiters in their living rooms, back porches, back yards and basements and infusing them with the commitment and  outpouring of energy needed to transform this city. —Larry Hightower, Detroit


Mighty white

Re: “Getting Detroit back on the road,” I’m not sure I can argue with Jack Lessenberry’s blurb comment on the inherent inferiority of the white race. We (as a race) have many issues, and probably own as many embarrassments as accomplishments.

On the positive side, though, I can state definitively that this race is capable of tolerance, despite rumors to the contrary.

Case in point: The comment of “the inherent inferiority of the white race” can be written and published without fear of reprisal. At most, a few angry letters might filter in, but that’s about it.

I doubt very much Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, the Arab Action League, or even the ACLU will be pounding down your door, demanding an apology on behalf of Caucasians for what appears to be an unmitigated slam-dunk.

Imagine the firestorm that would erupt had the Bush twins been, oh, say, Hispanic, Arabic or American-Indian, and that lovable little chestnut instead stated, “The contrast between Erin and Stephen Hendrix and the giggling Bush twits last summer could convince (anyone) of the inherent inferiority of the (Hispanic) (Arabic) (Indian) race.”

How mind-blowingly quickly the lynch mob that would form outside the office of the Metro Times! —Jonathon Kecskes, St Clair Shores,


You missed a stop

While Jack Lessenberry made some excellent points about the need for one community-wide bus service, he failed to explore why there hasn’t been a merger between DDOT and SMART. Surely, this should be a no-brainer by now. Where is the leadership and political will from Gov. Jennifer Granholm, the mayor of Detroit and the county leaders to make it happen? Do any of them have the courage and foresight to address the racial divisiveness that stands in the way? Until they do, Detroit will continue on its dysfunctional downward spiral on this and other issues. -Dave Hornstein, Southfield,

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