Inbox — Oct. 12, 2011

Letters to the Editor

Oct 12, 2011 at 5:00 am

Mea Culpa
LEO Weekly failed to credit two photos that accompanied last week’s cover story about author Ed McClanahan; both the cover image and inside photo were taken by Guy Mendes. More of the photographer’s work can be seen at the exhibition “Guy Mendes: 40/40” at U of L’s Hite Art Institute, Oct. 14-Nov. 13, in conjunction with the Louisville Photo Biennial.

Real People
Thanks to Anne Marshall on her recent piece, “Rise and Fall” (LEO Weekly, Sept. 28). In her brilliant story on the Sheppard Square public housing complex, Anne captures not only the rich history of Smoketown but gives us an amazing account of the actual lives that will be affected by the upcoming forced relocation of residents due to the HOPE VI project.

In this piece, Anne has encapsulated the all too important human element that is often grasped at but never quite captured by academics, nonprofits and community activists dealing with the Sheppard Square community. Anne reminds us that the residents of Sheppard Square are actual people, with real life stories — not statistics, not “residents in need of development,” but people whose lives will continue even after the shattering of their community.

While HOPE VI is judged by self-fulfilling criteria such as aesthetic quality of the new mixed-income housing complex that will replace Sheppard Square units and tenants (most of who will not return), area median income, and “economic development” in the form of new faces and places to spend income from imaginary jobs, Anne’s work will be judged by those residents whose stories she has recorded in perpetuity, those of us who have worked closely to protect the community already in place in Sheppard Square and its history. To put oneself in front of such critics, as Anne has, is the utmost of bravery.

Amazing work, Anne, you are a gift to this city, and we thank you.
Drew Tucker, Clifton

One Perspective
I have a problem with Joe Manning’s “Trouble believing in anything? Join the club” column in the Sept. 21 LEO Weekly. Instead of whining, and justifying, if not flat out promoting, unbridled apathy amongst LEO readers, and making fun of their bumper stickers, he could consider a more mature approach.

He could accept that life is not always formatted into tidy oversimplifications. With that acceptance, when given multiple, complex options, he could take well-reasoned positions on important issues by focusing on what is the best possible option. Then Manning could use his formidable writing skills to help other people see his perspectives, instead of his lack thereof.
Curtis Morrison, Schnitzelburg

Due Process
Councilwoman Judy Green was given public notice of the charges against her, was afforded two hearings at which she was represented by counsel to respond to those allegations, and was afforded an entirely separate trial before a jury of her peers, namely 20 members of the Metro Council, to determine her punishment for the already determined violations of the ethics code. Based on the evidence presented, there was a unanimous determination that she should be removed from the Council. Every legal protection available in our system was afforded her.

As was reported in LEO and elsewhere, many individuals, typically identifying themselves as part of the local “civil rights” community, have made entirely offensive allegations. The community as a whole has been maligned by the suggestion that the process for removal of a Metro Council member does not provide due process. There were offensive suggestions that this process was somehow about maintaining “white privilege.” We have heard accusations that members of the media, members of the Metro Council and highly respected attorneys retained to apply their skills in this challenging situation are all racists.

It is unfortunate that those who have made these offensive allegations are not now required, in order to provide due process, to present evidence to support their claims.
Tom Rutledge, Germantown