Jack Lessenberry's column on declining newspaper quality ("Rags and ruin," Metro Times, Aug. 30) hit the bull's-eye. As editor and publisher of The Oakland Press for a quarter-century, and the person who hired the three veteran editors who were shown the door rudely the other day, I shake my head in wonderment. Most downsizings are done by reverse seniority or buyouts. Journal Register chose the no-class method of dumping its most experienced (and higher-paid) journalists, losing in one day about 85 years of local knowledge. This, in effect, destroys institutional memory. In addition, Neil Munro was the "face" of the paper to its readers and an accomplished opinion writer. What happened to the classic method of building a newspaper: Cover the news well, which leads to higher circulation, which leads to more advertising? This is going backward poor journalism will lead to fewer readers and fewer ads. All this from a company that is selling a bunch of its papers because its 20 percent profit margins aren't up to its "standards." These are sad days in the newspaper business, but this story isn't just sad, it's sickening. Bruce McIntyre, Orchard Lake
Cancel my subscription
I dropped my subscription to The Oakland Press the day when Ann Coulter's column appeared and asked for a refund of my prepaid subscription fees. I also e-mailed Glenn Gilbert about not knowing a damn thing about the neighborhood that he just showed up in. Oakland County is not red, it's purple and trending blue. If he thinks that adding her column is going to draw additional subscribers, he's definitely out of touch. I had to wait on the phone for about 20 minutes that morning to cancel apparently I wasn't the only one.
I really liked The Oakland Press and I discovered it when the Detroit newspaper strikes were going on. My wife was a subscriber for 30 years. Although I didn't agree with a lot of what they printed in the opinions and guest columnists page, I was interested in the viewpoints. However, adding this sick, hatemongering, xenophobic idiot to this page was the final straw. What's next, a guest column from a KKK grand wizard? Better yet, maybe they can get Osama or one of the Taliban to write weekly for them. Ron Wasczenski, Groveland Twp.
Ban lindane now
I read your story about lindane ("Of lice and libel," Metro Times, Aug. 23) with great interest, as I am a parent with a child who began to have neurological problems after being dosed with lindane. I have been working along with many groups here in New York to get a bill passed to ban lindane for medicinal use. We have many assembly members signed on to the bill, but Morton Grove hired a lobbyist who swayed the vote.
I have my own Web site (snipurl.com/lindane) though not very professional-looking, it has great information, and I also have statements from Morton Grove and Alliant Pharmaceuticals and I have put valid scientific information disproving Morton Grove's statements.
I am glad that Ann Arbor's Ecology Center is not backing down. As for me, if Morton Grove wants to file suit against me or any of the hundreds of concerned parents and groups that want lindane banned, let them. I am not afraid of Morton Grove; I am in fear of what their product lindane has done already, and what it will do to children in the future. Pam LaBrake, Schenectady, N.Y., founder, Parents Against Lindane
Detroit and the Delta
Larry Gabriel's "How I learned to Second Line" (Metro Times, Aug. 30) was a masterful story, told the way a person who lived the tradition could tell it. It was evident, as I sat through the closing set of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, that the story helped Detroiters understand the tradition and flavor of New Orleans jazz. The other story, suggested in Gabriel's subtitle, "Connecting Congo Square to the Detroit Jazz Fest" was told more completely by the remarks of some of the New Orleanean entertainers.
I've made three trips, and spent more than five weeks in the last year, working, learning, witnessing and volunteering (and still spending a lot of time enjoying myself) in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. In those travels, I heard countless musicians, businesspeople and residents of New Orleans express righteous anger. Neighborhoods are turned into mountains of demolition debris. Outside of town, acres of unused, unavailable trailers stand, settling into the mud.
In Detroit, a different, more gradual devastation goes on. Our flood is the rushing torrent of jobs flooding out of town, but the consequences are much the same. One difference, most evident in New Orleans, is a kind of organized anger not evident in Detroit. Al Cholger, Madison Heights
Big buzz for Detroit
Re: Christina Hill's letter to W magazine ("Rag on the mag," Metro Times, Aug. 30), I am so offended by her response.
W magazine should be thanked for giving Detroit any editorial at all, let alone 30 pages. Sure, everyone is a jealous Kate-hater, but her random appearance created more "buzz" in the scene than any rocker event this past year.
Every real Detroiter knows that there is no way to give Detroit the cred it deserves unless you live and breathe it, and I would never expect W magazine to give it the authenticity it deserves, but they did it a lot better than most people.
As a response to that spread, several friends of mine in the New York and the international arts industry e-mailed me that they needed to come to Detroit because it looked so "cool" just because of that article. Too bad they will be met by haters like Christina who will only bring them down. No wonder everyone is leaving Detroit. Ben Johnson, Ann Arbor
Boot that bony Brit
Kudos to Christina Hill and her article "Rag on the Mag" for pimp-slapping the insufferable, anorexic Kate Moss and W magazine's condescending Motown photo shoot. At one point, I actually saw Moss posing in front of one of Tyree Guyton's Heidelberg Project open-air works on TV. Yuck! "Authenticity meets mere facade" indeed. Hell, if the fashionistas had snapped the coke-sniffing supermodel sipping on Vernor's Ginger Ale, reading Coleman Young's Hard Stuff on the Detroit People Mover as she wore a Red Wings jersey with some Nike Air Force One low-tops on her feet, I'd still tell Moss to take her bony butt back to Britain. Bollocks, mate: She's a wankster. Ronald Clark, Detroit
Send letters (250 words or less, please) to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your telephone number for verification. We reserve the right to edit for length, clarity and libel.