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Mercury: Staff is mixed

We were writing to inform you of our concern with Jane Slaughter's review of the Mercury Coffee Bar ("Neighborhood perk," Nov. 12). Jane's introduction was not only inappropriate, it was not factual. She states that we have an almost all-white staff, but only 45 percent (10) of our staff is Caucasian. The rest of our staff is 23 percent (5) African-American, 18 percent (4) Asian-American, 9 percent (2) Latin American and 5 percent (1) Arab-American.

We appreciate the positive comments about our food and coffee program, but we are as concerned with environmental justice and community involvement and worry about any misconception that her words may impart. —Phillip Cooley & Todd Wickstrom, owners, Mercury Coffee Bar


Missing Lisa

How delightful to see Lisa M. Collins' byline again ("Ode to Kilpatrick," Nov. 12), particularly atop an insightful, eloquent reflection on personal lessons learned from L'Affaire Kwame. Her frank acknowledgement of blind spots is admirable, as is the reminder to honor inspired, tireless, fearless journalists such as M.L. Elrick, Jim Schaefer, Dave Josar and others — including Lisa herself. —Alan Stamm, Birmingham


Remembering Mayer

I would like to thank Matthew Smith for writing a nice tribute to Nathaniel Mayer, one of Detroit's rawest soul voices ever. Smith mainly focused on Mayer's post-Fortune Records days, which was refreshing and gave insight into Mayer's tireless love of music. While I was not friends with Mayer, I did have the privilege of seeing him play at the Car Wash Cafe in Detroit a few years back. It was amazing. The showmanship that Matthew wrote about in his piece took me back to that night. R.I.P., Nathaniel, thanks for the music. —Rich Tupica, Lansing


Boiling over

In last week's cartoon (The Boiling Point, Nov. 12), M. Reid really missed the point. The attempt to equate the issue of "gay rights" with the issue of human rights is a ridiculous assertion. The inhumanity and oppression that defines the African experience in America finds no comparison with other forms of discrimination. Making this comparison oversimplifies the dynamics of racism in America. It further demeans the individuals who have suffered in this country because of the hatred of those in power. The cartoon makes the point that the media continually invalidate the struggle for equality of people of color. —D. Arnold, Oak Park


Cell vote short

Regarding Jack Lessenberry's column mentioning the passage of Proposal 2 ("Believing,"Nov. 12), Lessenberry apparently has a flawed notion of "easily passed."

I petitioned in two counties for Proposal 2, and was worried about the money the "religulous" were spending and the possible negative fallout from Proposal 1. Statewide, Proposal 2 passed with 53 percent — not a landslide. In the four Lowell-area precincts "yes" prevailed in only one and lost decisively in Kent County. Moreover, do not blame the "one true church" for everything, a Detroit area bias. There are two competing (Dutch) Reformed churches down at 100th and old U.S. 131. Wanna bet Prop 2 got "special handling" over tea and cookies? —G.M. Ross, Lowell


We have overcome?

I read with interest the article "Believing" by Jack Lessenberry, and I must say that I'm one of those who "believed." I also shed tears of joy as I watched Sen. Barack Obama catapulted past that 270-electoral-vote margin to, become president-elect. I'm African-American, 61 years old, and I never thought I would vote for a man who looked like me. As Sen. Obama said about Iowa, America, "you defied the cynics" by electing Sen. Obama president, which shows that America has come along way and is much better for it. —Thomas A. Wilson Jr., Detroit


Let 'em dangle

As a toolmaker in West Michigan for more than 20 years, I have an opinion regarding the possible bailout of General Motors. Their influence in the passage of trade deals such as NAFTA, GATT and CAFTA resulted in the loss of many American jobs. They showed their "loyalty" to us, and all but openly told their American suppliers to go to hell. I for one feel no loyalty to General Motors, and would be sorely disappointed to see American taxpayers have to keep them afloat. Let Mexico and China do it. —John Raterink, Caledonia


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