LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to [email protected] We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.

A Better, Bolder Arena

Here, here for Stanley Collyer in his critique of the arena design in last week’s LEO. Having written two op-eds advocating a bold, iconic design, needless to say, I was bitterly disappointed with what was presented by the Arena Authority at 9 a.m. and approved, without public input, at 11.

Far from an icon — a word that was misused repeatedly during the presentation — this building is not a Sydney Opera House or a Transamerica Building or the wonderful, soon-to-be-completed Olympic Stadium in Beijing. It is a box with decorations and picture windows.

Every architect I have spoken to, to a person, has expressed disdain for the design, but only Collyer has said so publicly. HOK, the lead architecture firm, clearly knows how to make an arena work inside, but this exterior design and their other Web site examples make it clear that they haven’t a clue what iconic architecture is.
Surely we have time to hire a visionary architect to fix this mess. Surely what we will have to look at for the next 30 years is just as important as the luxury suites most of us will never see. Surely we can do better than this for $400 million.
Ken Herndon, Louisville

Character Over Race

“Black America” thinks this. “White America” thinks that. What Ricky L. Jones takes from the whole sordid Michael Vick debacle is that it’s still (no, always) about race (LEO, Aug. 29).

He’s wrong. It’s about character. I’m not a sports fan. I had never even heard of Michael Vick. I believe what he did was inexcusable and vile. He should be prosecuted and lose his position on the team. On the other hand, I believe it’s true that, in many circles, there would be less outrage if he had sexually or physically assaulted another human. Greater outrage over animal suffering than human suffering is a frightening trend. That being the case, my positions (which, according to Jones, reflect both white and black thinking) were reached BEFORE I knew Michael Vick was black. It’s irrelevant to me and to most Americans what color he is. Whites don’t all agree, nor do all blacks.

Where Jones lists others who are also wrong, he mentions white racists but not black racists. Many on the left espouse the self-delusional and itself racist notion that only those who are “in power” (namely whites) can be racist, and that blacks (due to their minority status) cannot be by definition. This view undermines truth, the black community and America as a whole. It’s bad to lie, but it’s even worse to lie to oneself. Furthermore, how would Jones react to a columnist whose e-mail address began with “whitevanguard”?

Thanks to multiculturalism, the continuous fixation on ethnicity only serves to further divide us, delay healing and postpone the day when we as a society can live out Dr. King’s dream where people “will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.” I don’t think many prominent voices in black leadership and academia even subscribe to that anymore. What a shame.
Ray Rieck, Louisville

Right or Wrong
Thanks for the Arts & Entertainment Issue and the opinions and features in it (LEO, Aug. 29). You’ve raised the bar. Several comments (in the issue’s “wish list”) expressed concern about introducing the arts to kids. Of course there are so many in the schools and local institutions that do this so well, and with such energy, it feels perverse to write about a flaw. I can’t imagine being happier with my kids’ public schools, teachers and the programs they have participated in. Your 250-word limit isn’t enough to focus on the upside. But having worked at the Speed Museum, taken my kids hundreds of times, I can’t help feeling that the docent-led field trip I went on with my son’s elementary class (April 6) shouldn’t have been allowed to happen, volunteers or none. It was far beneath their standards — depressing, bizarre, incredible.

It’s bad to tell students there are no right or wrong answers, to encourage them to speak up, if you dismiss their answers in the next breath. It’s worse if you’re wrong and they’re right. Worse still if the fact of the matter is lit up on display behind your back. A modestly intelligent child might get the impression art isn’t a real subject at all. Good thing these kids are exceptionally bright.

Art isn’t science, but observation matters. The Speed might look at the Mad Scientists for a model, pay trained docents or have none.

I think J.P. Begley is right. Local arts don’t need mere promotion, they need more real dialogue.
Frederic S. Miller, Louisville

Sobering September
As a faithful LEO reader, I have often chuckled at the witty musings of your “Bar Belle,” Sara Havens, as she relates her stories of drunkenness, debauchery and dens of drinking. But as a longtime local criminal justice professional and Seven Counties Services Board Member, I have personally seen the disastrous impact that alcohol and drug abuse inflicts on individuals and on our community. It’s not a pretty sight, and it’s not the stuff of clever wisecracks and witticisms.

Alcoholism and drug dependency are national health problems affecting millions of people. Drinking and drugging exacts a heavy financial and personal cost on families, friends and employers of abusers (as well as innocent victims who may be in the path of a drunk driver).

My purpose is not to preach or judge, but to promote the message that the doors to recovery are open. Seven Counties has operated an excellent local treatment facility — JADAC — for more than 30 years. JADAC takes insurance from most carriers, and it always has room for more. September is national Alcohol & Drug “Treatment Works” month. If any reader believes that he or she needs help for substance abuse, I encourage them to call JADAC at 583-3951.

Harry J. Rothgerber, Louisville