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Letters to the Editor


Tell It Like It Is

Brilliant! At last someone speaks (i.e. has written) what has been obvious since the storm. The only other exclamation point you could have added to your article ("The Perfect Double-Agent," Sept. 5) was the photo of "Clarence R." in New York last week begging for dollars with the Rev. Al Sharpton in the background!

Larry Dietz


Kudos to Clancy! Good grief, it's great to hear the truth spoken so eloquently ("The Perfect Double-Agent," Sept. 5). He is right on target regarding Nagin's pathetic lack of leadership ability and its consequences to the city's recovery. Nagin is an embarrassment not only to the city of New Orleans, but to the entire state of Louisiana. New Orleans will never rebound as long as he's in charge.

To say he's inept is putting it mildly. Every time he opens his mouth he spews ignorance. No wonder the money isn't making its way to New Orleans. He may have his "chocolate city," but by damn he's losing businesses and taxpayers by the day. Obviously he intends to further divide the races, but does Nagin even have a clue as to the definition of "tax base?"

New Orleans needs businesses and taxpayers -- not to mention a good rapport with "the powers that be" who hold the necessary funding so desperately needed for the rebuilding of New Orleans.

Casey Crosby

The Right Spin

I'm honored to have been included in Alison Fensterstock's recent "Sounds" column ("Spin City," Sept. 5), but I must clarify one thing.

While I'm not a turntablist or "scratcher," I'd hardly classify myself as a "selector" DJ. Selectors, like other specialty DJs, do pay attention to their song selections, but only with less emphasis on transitions. I, on the other hand, pay very close attention to and work hard at creating seamless blends and beat matching, in the tradition of the original disco DJs, in order to make 30 or 40 records sound like one nonstop song over the course of an evening.

I love DJ culture and respect all turntablists and selectors, but I'm especially proud to be one of many DJs, locally and internationally, who believe in the art of true DJ mixing, not just selecting.

Melissa A. Weber aka DJ Soul Sister

Hateful Words

In his hateful and revealing words (in an interview with Yussuf Simmonds published in the Los Angeles Sentinel, Aug. 17), Andrew Young's name and life's work has been discredited. In response to a question addressing the issue of Wal-Mart driving out mom and pop stores, Mr. Young responded, "But you see those are the people who have been overcharging us ... First it was Jews, then it was Koreans and now it's Arabs; very few black folks own those stores."

Though Mr. Young may indeed be a black rights activist, he can no longer be called a civil rights activist. To earn that honorable label, one must view people as people and work to end discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin.

An individual who fights solely for a single (falsely constructed) segment of society is better labeled a supremacist.

Kari Dequine

What About Tolls?

I cannot tell you how disappointed I am with the lack of debate regarding the idea of tolling the I-10/I-12 corridor. We've all asked our state leaders to think out of the box when it comes to issues such as raising state revenues. Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) Secretary Johnnie Bradberry and his crew have done just that.

The concept of tolls, public/private partnerships, privatization and other innovative financing means are not new or out of the box. These concepts are already being utilized in other states: Indiana, Texas, Virginia, Oklahoma, California, Missouri and New Mexico to name a few. Are tolls the answer to all of Louisiana's transportation needs? No. But are tolls the answer to increasing capacity on the I-10/I-12 corridor? Possibly, and that debate ought be had.

We cannot afford to add capacity to this well-traveled corridor without innovative thinking. Federal transportation funds are spread thin. Adding lanes to I-10/I-12 may only be accomplished by tolls. These tolls would be dedicated to the improvements and maintenance of that corridor. Additional lanes would provide faster, easier and safer means of travel from Mississippi to Texas. They would also allow for more contra flow traffic in cases of a hurricane evacuation. I'm sure DOTD would close the toll facilities for such an event. Has anyone bothered to ask the motoring public going westbound through Baton Rouge on Friday evenings if they would pay an extra $1 to zip on through in stead of sitting there for two hours? What does it cost truckers to sit in that kind of traffic? Has anyone discussed two new dedicated truck lanes on I-10/I-12?

As proposed, local traffic would not pay a toll to use the interstate. However, if you travel to Lafayette it would be suggested that a $1 toll be charged.

I applaud DOTD for their innovative thinking. I just wish there could have been more public debate on the toll issue as well as future highway funding ideas.

Ken Naquin
Executive Director Louisiana Associated General Contractors Inc.
Baton Rouge

Help the Poor and Uninsured

You are to be commended for a generally outstanding issue of Gambit Weekly ("Still Water," Aug. 22). Clancy DuBos' "Measuring Progress" summary of the Council For A Better Louisiana (CABL) 11-page report was also decent. Yet I am wondering about the CABL position DuBos did not mention, that of "redesigning health care delivery in New Orleans." Reading further into "CABL's Framework For Identifying A Trustworthy Plan For Rebuilding Louisiana and New Orleans," I believe that CABL needs to be truthful about what it really desires in achieving comprehensive and accessible universal health care for the poor and uninsured.

What exactly is meant by "institutional care"? What about "the two-tier system"? CABL does not explain. It does endorse the PriceWaterhouseCoopers Report -- which essentially calls for the state to finish the job Hurricane Katrina did not, by dismantling our state's only safety-net providers -- the Charity Hospital system. This would be nothing short of disasterous.

CABL cites Louisiana's singularity in its state-run system. Yet do we really want to go the route of the rest of America, with the poor and uninsured in massive fiscal debt, or worse, being relegated to the proportionately few county hospitals that care for the indigent? The problems of the LSU Charity Hospital system largely stem from the rounds of massive cuts in the Mike Foster/Bobby Jindal administration, which shuttered the very primary health-care clinics CABL now calls for, albeit in a fashion where they will remain out of financial reach of the poor and uninsured.

Then we have the apparent attempt of the LSU system to use the hurricane to keep big Charity shuttered, even when New Orleans-area private hospitals admit they neither desire nor can care for the massive numbers of uninsured patients.

CABL needs to hold itself to the standard of truth it says it desires for New Orleans and Louisiana. Stop speaking in code. If you really desire an end to the "two-tier health system," then follow the lead of the nation so many seniors go to for prescriptions: Canada and its comprehensive, affordable and truly universal single-payer health-care system. '

K. Brad Ott Region 1 Health Care Consortium
Co-chair, Care For the Uninsured subcommittee

No Answer Yet

Your commentary ("Time To Answer the Call, Aug. 29) was another plea for Mayor "Noggin" to step forward and lead. I think this is the third or fourth one I've seen from you, in addition to many more requests from others. And, no movement yet.

My question is: How much time do the citizens give him before we give up? Another one: Does the city charter permit a recall of the mayor? What's it going to take?

There's an old saying: "You can lead a horse (we're dealing with a donkey in this case) to water, but you can't make him drink." It appears he refuses to drink, traveling around the country, thinking he is a rock star, while the city languishes. Last question: We survived Katrina and Rita; can we survive four years of this donkey?

Louis A. Blaum

Put a Sock In It

Calling Ray Nagin a loudmouth overlooks the vile and vulgar diatribe spewing from his mouth, a man whose management style is to throw up a white flag when trouble presents itself and cry out, "Someone needs to do something," forgetting he's in charge.

He will cross any boundary, including race baiting, in order to extort money for his fair city, failing to mention that of the people who perished during Katrina in New Orleans, 44 percent were white, 51 percent black. He pronounces his city will be a "chocolate city" again, making one wonder if he is representative of his entire population.

Now Mr. Mayor, who is soft when it comes to criticism but full of his own, lashes out at New York, likening the devastation at Ground Zero to a "hole in the ground." Both are horrible catastrophes -- one natural, one hate-inflicted -- but it was audacious to compare the tragedies. It could just as easily be said that 3,000 perished in the World Trade Center attack, how many in New Orleans?

What has Ray Nagin done to encourage his city to "pick itself up by the bootstraps" with whatever resources it has available, namely manpower. Crime has made a robust comeback, while good people pick up queue from their Mayor and cry out "poor, poor pitiful me."

If the people of New Orleans want to know why they are in such dire straits, it's because they vote for incompetents like Ray Nagin. Thus they only have themselves to blame.

Here's some advice Mr. Mayor -- shut your mouth and DO YOUR JOB.

David DiBello
New York

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