Paper won’t fold
Jack Lessenberry speculated in last week’s Metro Times that The Detroit News will be closed in three years (“Our changing newspaper world,” Metro Times, April 27). Nothing could be further from the truth.
The Joint Operating Agreement that allows The News and the Detroit Free Press to share business operations guarantees that there will be two independent editorial voices — two separate newspapers — here for the length of the agreement. That means The News will be here for much longer than Mr. Lessenberry need be concerned.
Lessenberry called his prediction an “educated guess.” It’s too bad that Lessenberry, a journalism teacher, didn’t follow the basics of reporting. All he had to do was read the JOA agreement or make a phone call to discover the truth. Instead, Lessenberry’s guess was dead wrong. —Ed Humphrey, president and CEO, Detroit Newspapers, Detroit
Re: “The Harris Manifesto” (Metro Times, April 27), wow! He said it all! As a resident and Detroit-based business and real-estate investor, I have repeatedly said, although not as eloquently, what Mr. Harris put forth in his message to City Council. I know there are other people out there who can see the same as me, but Joe Harris is in a position to positively affect the mind-set of anyone who lives, works or invests in Detroit and the tri-county area. His message should have been plastered on the front page of The News and Free Press. It was put in some obscure position way back in the paper where you had to almost be looking for it or it would be missed. And then only a few picked comments were published. What a disservice to the public! Thank you, Metro Times, for printing the full message. You’re a lone voice in the world of newspapers and your voice is greatly appreciated. —Sandi Kanakis, Detroit
Harris for receiver?
To the editor: After reading Auditor General Joe Harris’ manifesto and seeing the refusal of Detroit elected officials to face up to reality, it now looks like there is a good chance the city of Detroit will wind up in receivership. If that occurs, the perfect candidate for receiver would be Harris himself. He knows the city’s finances backward and forward, and has made many excellent recommendations, which, unfortunately, have been ignored.
As receiver, Harris would finally be in a position to implement his recommendations and put the city’s fiscal house in order. He appears to have the integrity, professionalism and dedication to get the job done. His priorities are in the all the right places and his proposed solutions make perfect sense under the circumstances. —Dave Hornstein, Southfield, dhornstein152309MI@comcast.net
Fine people, poor government
Re: “Motown booster about to go bust,” (Metro Times, April 20), I couldn’t agree with Keith Owens more. Detroit has been home to me for almost 60 years, I love Detroit, my home and my neighbors. We live here in harmony, with no regard to age or skin color. It’s friendly, people are helpful, teens are respectful; it is a quiet, clean neighborhood. Folks still clean the street in front of their homes and cut grass at the empty houses just because.
Then I look at the bulk trash that remains long after bulk pick up date, potholes that don’t get repaired, burned-out streetlights, taxes and insurance that keep going up and I wonder if I have stayed too long. —DeeAnna Kay, Detroit
Detroit: Worth struggling for
Your article hit home. I too moved to this city for its character. Cool cars, good tunes and wild times prevail in this city. I would not mind the taxes if something were getting done with them that the people of Detroit could see. Our mayor is surrounded by bodyguards because he knows he may be shot for being cruel to the people of Detroit. Kwame Kilpatrick has done nothing to help us. He is a buzzard picking off the last scraps of meat on the decaying carcass of a city called Detroit.
If this city were easier to live in financially, it would be flooded with young people wanting to buy houses. If something is affordable people will put up with certain things (gunshots, crackheads, wild dogs, abandoned cars and drugged-out ravers). The houses in this city are beautiful old homes that can be purchased reasonably cheaply and fixed up to be great places to live. But taxes and insurance, like you say, are holding people back.
This city needs new leadership — not a Super Bowl — to save it. This city sits on one of the last great places to build a thriving city in the United States. What other location has water access, an elaborate highway system, borders another country and has real cheap real estate? This place could explode with the right direction.
Don’t lose hope in Detroit. I don’t think it can get any worse — we can only go up from here, slowly or quickly. Besides, would you rather be one of those people who live around Detroit that have to drive a distance to check it out and only have an idea of what’s going on? When you give up and move to the ring around the city you can also claim you live in Detroit to people who don’t know any better.
If you can, try to fight the system. For example, buy your car insurance though a Detroit company or branch; support the lowest bidder. If that is not low enough, raise your deductible. When insuring your home, insure it for what you paid for it, not double its price. As far as taxes, go downtown and protest them; even if nothing happens, at least you bothered somebody. Heckle the city — let them know you’re pissed. Too many people in this city bend over and take it. If everybody would stand straight up and complain it would not be so easy for those in power to wield their swords of greed. —Ray Kondel, Detroit, firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding your article on the Motor City Music Conference (“Motives, money & MCMC,” Metro Times, April 27), I do have more to add. Coming from a musician’s standpoint, not only this music conference, but all music conferences, are completely self-serving and a waste of time.
Our group, along with others, were alerted through Sonic Bids that we were playing Alvin’s. Many of the groups that received this notification did not end up playing at that venue. Some ended up in tents, others in places that usually don’t have music, and, lucky us, in a casino. So as people pulled on their one-armed bandits and the casino raked in the dough, we played for free to disillusioned musicians who had driven hundreds of miles waiting their turn to take a stage where people weren’t the least bit interested.
Even though we got our “money” in right away, we were not on most of the promotional materials (which is why we did it, being that we have a new record). Of course this is after each band member shelled out $10 to $15 to park, and most had to take the following day off work because we went on so late.
I played the South by Southwest Conference in its infancy and later, after it had become a parody of itself. I played in one of the best venues, on a great night, opening up for a national act and received a glowing review the next day on the front page of the paper. It still didn’t amount to a hill of beans. It is not fair to the musician to have 80 venues, 450 bands and because you didn’t allow the conference to grow in an organic way, causing these rooms to be empty. Like a musician needs to experience that again.
If you are under 25, are edgy, maybe, just maybe, a label might come and check you out. But as far as I can tell you are better off staying at home, honing your music and having your entertainment attorney submit you.
All in all, all conferences are self-serving, under the guise that they are here to help their community. Me, personally, I have had enough. —Kate Hart, Detroit
Remembering the Brain
I just wanted to drop you a note to say thanks for the article on The Hungry Brain (“Before punk broke,” Metro Times, March 30). It was a great blast from the past for me to read and relive those wild nights of hanging out in Delray and hearing cool bands.
I used to co-run one of the venues that was listed, called The Asylum at the time. It was only around for a brief period of time also (1984-1985), like many underground clubs in that day, they were fun while they lasted.
Thanks for the article! It was great tribute to Al’s place! —Sue “Static” Summers, Static Records, Detroit, www.staticrecords.comSend comments to email@example.com