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For the record

Re: Brian Smith's article on the demise of local independent record stores ("Out of the Groove," Metro Times, May 10), I'd like to add a few words.

There was a brief mention that Neptune Records of Royal Oak would be closing at the end of May due to waning sales. With a knowledgeable and genuinely friendly owner, Brett and the guys at Neptune have offered a mix of alternative, electronic, and other obscure music available nowhere else in the Detroit area. Perhaps their niche was too small, and the move off Royal Oak's main drag probably didn't help, but I admire that they have lasted this long. This is a loss.

On the other hand, not all indie record stores are worthy. A case in point is Young Soul Rebels Records. Despite being named by the usually estimable Mojo magazine as the best independent record store in Detroit (!?), the store had a generally dingy and unfriendly atmosphere and not much stock to speak of. People will not beat a path to your door just because you think they should. —James Dantzer, Detroit

 

Papers silent about peace

Mr. Lessenberry: Thank you for your forceful column chiding the local media for neglecting the Governments and Peace Forum at Wayne State University ("Why journalism is failing us," Metro Times, May 10). I felt the same way, and I wrote the news editors of local print and broadcast media. Since I don't believe it will be published, here is an excerpt:

I want to commend the Detroit News for its Sunday electronic coverage of the May 6 visit to Dearborn of 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. Do you know, however, that Ms. Ebadi also visited Detroit the previous day, where she participated in a public forum?

Do you know that two other Nobel Peace Prize laureates also visited Detroit and participated in this forum (Jody Williams of the United States, Nobel laureate in 1997, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum of Guatemala, Nobel laureate in 1992)? Do you know that a fourth woman Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Betty Williams, from Northern Ireland (1976), who was unable to attend personally, submitted a video presentation in order to be able to participate? Do you know that Michigan Supreme Court Justice Maura Corrigan presided at the forum and that one of the most important members of the U.S. Senate, ranking Democratic senator of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, Sen. Carl Levin, also participated in the panel discussion? Do you know that Mrs. Ebadi and Ms. Williams simultaneously read, respectively in Farsi and in English, a Declaration of Peace that they wrote, enjoining their two countries, Iran and the United States, not to engage in another war? Do you know that not a single representative of any Detroit media organization attended or expressed any interest in this event?

I would have thought that any of these items would have merited the attention of our local news media and would be at least as worthy of coverage as any of the other local news items in recent editions. Do you know how often people of this international caliber give us this kind of opportunity to interact with them and participate in public discussion on the world stage in something besides the Super Bowl? —William J. Kupsky, M.D., Grosse Pointe Park

 

Peace talk hit home

Thank you for a wonderful article. I too attended the forum at Wayne State and was appalled that it was not front-page news. Three Nobel Peace Prize winners speak publicly at Wayne State and not a word of it in the papers (or on the tube).

The forum's new viewpoints and matter-of-fact information on U.S. foreign policy brought to me a clearer picture. This is not just something that happens far away, that our policies destroy families and women and children. I am ashamed to say I am a citizen of the United States, a country so deeply engaged in killing.

Keep up the good work. I appreciate your voice in bringing to metro Detroit's attention important topics and events. —Elizabeth Notarangelo, Grosse Pointe Park

 

We're afraid it's the latter

Jack Lessenberry's piece on the mass media's endless repetition of the same old shallow trivia ("Natalee is dead, and I don't care," Metro Times, April 26) — right on, Jack! I just want to ask, do the media actually believe all this garbage is enlightening or are they just playing with an increasingly ignorant audience? —Carol Piligian, Rochester

 

Sparring words

Wow! Andrew Churchman draws out a big ol' ax to sharpen on Jack Lessenberry ("It's called satire," Letters to the Editor, Metro Times, May 10). While I don't agree with everything Mr. Lessenberry opines, he has always spoken in favor of the city (though not necessarily its leaders) and its denizens. One can only suppose that Mr. Churchman doesn't much appreciate Jack's praise of, and dream of, a greater Detroit.

That, or Jack pissed in somebody's Wheaties.

P.S. Sarah Ryley ("Transit liberates"), take me with you! —Jamie Walker, Garden City

 

A straphanger remembers

Re: Your piece on the history of Detroit's streetcars ("Back track," Metro Times, March 29), as a 65-year-old native Detroiter, I remember fondly our streetcars of old. They were a joy to ride and, more importantly, clean and efficient in many ways. With the decades-old flap surrounding light rail in metro Detroit, I found the picture of the PCC streetcar passing Ford's Highland Park plant particularly ironic, and indicative of the basic problem.

Ironic because those of us who have long witnessed this saga know full well that it was the automobile companies that "scotched" the use of streetcars in Detroit in order to sell buses and cars, and that suppressive lobby continues to date.

I have little confidence that this situation will change unless the general population revolts and demands that its politicians create a comprehensive light rail or rapid transit system in the area. Fuel prices will never again be what they were, and reworking road and infrastructure in Wayne and adjoining counties will be costly, less efficient, and not a permanent fix.

Metro Detroit needs to get "on track" for the 21st century. —Kenn Cox, Detroit

 

Erratum: In our story "Rock Candy" (Metro Times, May 10), a Capitol Cities song was misidentified. The name should have read "Electric Frostine Queen."

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