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I know from experience what the Vietnam veterans are going through in their many attempts to obtain their park ("Give vets their park," July 14). Politics are strong and well at City Hall. I volunteer with an inner-city youth choir, and we receive a yearly grant. You would be surprised at the hoops we have to go through with the Planning and Development Department every year.
Personally, I have attended Detroit City Council meetings to voice concerns. My suggestion is that a representative attend City Council meetings. They are generally held on Tuesdays at 10 a.m. Any speaker for veterans should inform council, when they sign in, that they wish to make a short comment at the end of the meeting. Three minutes would be given for them to present their views. —Marian Sligh-Coleman, Detroit
Re: Jack Lessenberry's "Give vets their park," why replace meaningful forgiveness with liberal (and conservative) revisionism? The Nazis wrongly used Jack's assertion that "they followed orders they had no choice to obey," and when you use it for the proclaimed good guys, it doesn't make the lie any truer. Your patriotic Nuremberg defense of Vietnam vets has become quite popular since the Reagan-Bush era, but it disregards the war as a collective atrocity. Your echoed rationale also mocks those who protest the war(s), and, even worse, it can be used to justify the current debacle.
Some vets don't want parades or any celebrated exoneration, they actually desire a more profound atonement, with a park that also remembers the more than 1 million, mostly civilian Asians slaughtered in the name of empire. Only more honest reflections, however painful, can end self-serving ideologies that persistently whitewash history and unintentionally support the latest examples of barbarism. —William Boyer, Detroit
Two scoops in one
Metro Times scored again with Curt Guyette's excellent article about the demonstration last month against the Canada-to-Texas pipeline for Canadian tar sand oil ("Scenes from the social forum," June 30) and the issue of pollution from Marathon's Detroit refinery and serious environmental issues in producing tar sand oil ("Crude awakening," July 14). If the Free Press covered the issues I missed it. The Detroit News did cover the demonstrations and Marathon's environmental issues but not nearly as well as Curt Guyette! —Ralph Deeds, Birmingham
Issues with issues
Re: "Fighting the power" (July 21), Hansen Clarke says he's running for Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick's seat "because it's the best way he can think of to do something to help one of the nation's poorest districts, and to push his signature issues, which include delaying foreclosures and reforming the auto insurers and banks to limit discrimination against the poor."
This is it? These are his issues? We have two totally needless wars going on in Iraq and Afghanistan, troops are getting killed, and we're pouring billions of tax dollars in defense spending down a rat hole and Clarke wants to "delay" foreclosures? Tens of thousands of people are out of work with no real hope of getting a decent paying job and Clarke's priority is "reforming the auto insurers"?
Jack, I think you've finally lost it. You're so bent on getting rid of a Kilpatrick that you'd settle for a term-limited politician looking for another government "job." —George Corsetti, Detroit
Errata: Our story on the Sheila Landis-Rick Matle jazz duo ("Sheila & her 'left-hand man,'" July 7), stated erroneously that Dizzy Gillespie offered Landis a job in his band. Our writer misunderstood Landis' comments about an encounter with Gillespie. Plus, our story "Rebuilding the temple" (July 14) was overly sweeping when it said that the Isaac Agree Downtown Synagogue was the lone house of worship for Jews in Detroit. There is at least one other in the Reconstructionist Congregation of Detroit, which meets on the mezzanine level of 1300 E. Lafayette, an apartment building near downtown. More at jrf.org/recondetroit.