Hit and Miss
Your piece on Brandon Darby ("Grounds for Suspicion," News & Views, Jan. 27) was impressive, not only in its timeliness and getting Darby to go on the record, but also because the story went totally unreported elsewhere. That said, it fell into two journalistic quagmires, one minor, of superfluity, the other a more flagrant and libelous one of omission.
The first pops up at the outset; it is the qualifier that mainstream media reserve purely for anarchists. If the reportage is to be believed, there are no self-proclaimed Democrats, Republicans, Communists, Socialists, Trotsyites, only self-proclaimed anarchists. Political labels aside, it seems like a strange thing to emphasize. While Common Ground was formed in the absence of government, and certain members of its leadership may have foreseen or rooted on the eventual overthrow of the U.S. Government, it was obviously not anyone's ground-level program.
Toward the close of the article, something stands out as a more serious, conscious omission. Mr. Winkler-Schmit, when referring to Herman Wallace, describes him as "Herman Wallace, who along with two other prisoners, was accused in the 1972 stabbing of an Angola guard." This description is insidious because, though I'm sure Winkler-Schmit knows Wallace as a member of the Angola 3 whose politically motivated arrest and conviction have been thrown out by a federal judge and whose treatment in Angola has been the subject of international outcry, the lay-reader who may or may not know of the Angola 3 is even less likely to recognize Mr. Wallace's name by itself. Thus, the man Scott Crow visited for years in prison is just a guy who stabbed a prison guard with some other guys. This is what I believe is referred to as "slant."
On Their Own
The French Quarter and New Orleans East need to consider becoming cities. As such, they would be free to elect their own mayor, make their own decisions, protect their own citizens with their own law enforcement, apply for their own grants, guide their own development and be responsible for their own economy.
What I see in Orleans Parish are frustrated communities trying to find a voice within huge government. I see local activist groups trying to find answers to violent crime while having to deal with a tired bureaucracy. I see individual neighborhoods threatened with development where they are too small to be noticed. I see commissioners trying to please their constituents, yet bound by their commitment to serve the needs of the entire parish, all within a government that is just too big, too unwieldy.
Orleans Parish once had a variety of cities, including the City of Carrollton. Somehow, through the years, the benefits of being part of the larger government must have been beneficial to the small cities. I would like to propose that the citizens living in communities within Orleans Parish that are able to support their own city economy, consider that the benefits of being part of a larger government are now a disadvantage.
I see many New Orleans residents sickened by the murders and violent crime, unwanted development and not having their voice heard.
A letter to the editor of The Times-Picayune by the aunt of murder victim Wendy Byrne laid the blame on a lack of city leadership and no commitment to solve the crime problem.
Since this is right on, I wonder why there hasn't been more outrage by citizens against Ray Nagin and Warren Riley. They seem to prove on a daily basis that they can't cut it. The whole world can see this.
I don't understand our complacency. Why don't we push for (Nagin's) resignation? We don''t deserve one more year of this. Perhaps the business, political, legal or religious leaders could set him down and explain how his resignation would be a blessing for the city. Isn't there something we can do? We've survived three years of his idiocy. Do we really need to suffer through one more? Please, Ray, do us a favor.
I missed the article "The Incredible Shrinking Plate" (Cover Story, Nov. 11, 2008), but I couldn't resist writing in response to Myra Foster's letter in the Dec. 9, 2008, issue.
Every person in the world has a diet, and mine is based on the number of flavor units found in the foods available to me. For example, chocolate has 1,000 flavor units per bite; rice cakes have zero. It's a very easy diet to follow. If it tastes good, I eat it; if not, I don't. Nothing disappoints me more than to go to a restaurant for dinner and leave hungry.
One of the most fortunate events of my life was to be born in this city, where the typical citizen shares my fondness for tasty food, a high percentage know how to cook it, and the professionals set standards for the entire world. In my little universe, sugar and butter are vitamins.
Food makes me happy, happiness makes me dance, dancing keeps me from getting too fat. If I die from this lifestyle, throw my carcass in the lake so the crabs will get good and fat for the next generation of true New Orleanians.