Letters from the week of March 11, 2004

Robert Srinivasiah

Reverse racism: I had to laugh at this black man who is yelling "racism" because his own kid didn't make the basketball team "because he's black." I laughed out loud at that one!

Then this idiot claims the school doesn't have a "black student union," which would, of course, exclude all other races from joining! Talk about racist, this guy is a walking definition of it, just with a different skin coloration.

Then finally, he yells racism because the school doesn't devote every minute of the month of February to "black history." Why not spend time on "Hispanic history" and "Anglo history" and "Asian history"? Why is this guy so racist that he demands only one version of history be taught?

Sometimes I wonder if the old racist plantation owners died and came back as some of these super-racist black people who base everything on the color of skin they were born into.

Lawrence Pearse
Black Canyon City

Tempe Town Wake
Election follies: I'd like to thank New Times for running John Dougherty's recent exposé on Tempe mayoral candidate Hugh Hallman ("The Mouth That Should've Roared," February 26). Even though I lived in Tempe a few years ago, the extent of Hallman's inconsistencies was unknown. Jeez, for a while there, I thought I was reading about Scottsdale's city council follies!

Seriously, the people of Tempe ought to do themselves a favor and vote for Dennis Cahill. "At least we know what to expect" from a "popular and easygoing retired owner of a masonry company." Good thing, too. Maybe there needs to be some rebuilding of Hallman's governance abilities.

Scott Hume

A facilitative leader: John Dougherty, when you're done bashing downtown Phoenix, why don't you come spend some time with Tempeans to get our views on Valley leadership? Do you really think that DPP and PCA are the only sources of problems in how our metro region is being developed? Do you think the influence of the Phoenix 40 stops at the municipal borders? Do you really think one junior, "outsider" councilman is going to go up against that machine on his own in his first years of office?

Please! Dennis Cahill is a wonderful man who is intelligent in many ways, yet his good-natured attempts to please everyone are not what we need for leadership right now -- collaborative or otherwise. Hugh Hallman may not be the warm and fuzzy type (especially when he feels marginalized), but he can be a facilitative leader when it's called for. Please don't write sarcastically -- vote for the person who we at least know will be a developer's puppet -- just because you can't come out and support the other candidate. Many people don't get the nuances.

Like I said, John, come talk to some Tempeans for a change!

Margaret Stout

Face the Music
It's people who make it happen: I read with great interest the recent article regarding the state of the Phoenix live music scene ("Phoenix Falling," Brendan Joel Kelley, February 19). Although the article was slanted more toward the venues that cater to a younger generation, I think it mirrors what I see, as a 50-year-old live music fan. I have always preferred the intensity of a good live performance. During the last 10 months, I have become a regular at the Sunday night jam sessions at the VFW Hall at 16th Street and Jackson in Phoenix. I have seen many first-rate pro musicians and singers there. The hall seats about 125 comfortably. Some Sundays it is near capacity, but it's sad to sometimes see musicians playing to a half-full (or less than half-full) room. It's even worse to hear that the promoters (Carolyn Clark and Tony Collins) have to sometimes pay the musicians out of their own pocket on the lean nights. They promote these shows out of their love for live music and not to gain a huge profit (as I'm sure is the case for Kimber Lanning). I don't understand how the music fans in a city the size of Phoenix cannot support the existing music scene no matter what type of music, let alone not support a once-a-week jam session that has a $5 admission. The folks at the VFW are not alone in their pursuit to provide the best jazz, blues and R&B in town. One would think that all the other jam sessions around the Valley could easily be supported by the music fans here in the Valley.

Kimber Lanning's words are so true: "People think that a music scene is something that's given to you." It's the musicians, fans and promoters who really make it happen.

Tom Valenzuela

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