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Haters

Willie Herenton calls himself a "growth mayor" (Politics, August 16th issue). I'm sorry, but the only growth around Memphis is happening in DeSoto and Fayette counties and in Covington and Marion, as people flee a city whose leaders can't seem to get beyond racial politics — no matter what the issue.

Herenton says that anyone who has the "audacity to ask, 'What has he done?'" is "hating" on him. Good Lord. When a leader gets to the point where he thinks people who criticize him and ask probing questions are haters, that's the time to hang it up. A real leader answers the hard questions from those he wants to serve. He listens to criticism and hopes to learn from it. He understands that most of his opponents aren't evil or racist, they just have a different point of view.

Like George Bush, Herenton has insulated himself from the people whose interests he is supposed to represent. Now that it's election time again, he's out stirring up the masses with his message of "us against them" and creating haters. I guess I'm a hater too: I hate what's being done to this city by racial divisiveness.

M.E. Stewart

Memphis

Construction Project

At the top of our driveway, we have a plot that we arbitrarily decided we could improve. After a little discussion, we went to the home-improvement store for some timbers, stones, and dirt, using our good name to put the purchases on plastic. We flailed away for a while, then went to get some more timbers and many more bags of dirt, then a truckload of mulch. Then another truckload of mulch. Then some more blocks. It took much longer than expected, and costs (just say "charge it") continued to accelerate.

It still is not finished. Several insurgent weeds and assorted grasses have blown in from the neighbor's yard. We have more expenses ahead — for various plants and flowers we hope to grow.

We went into it without a plan, messed it up as we went along, don't know what it will look like, and still have no exit strategy.

We have named our little plot "Iraq."

G.E. Hooper

Memphis

Alzheimer's Research Funding

For the 10 million people who are caring for a loved one with Alzheimer's disease, there will be little rest this summer. There are more than 5 million people living with the disease, and that number is expected to soar to as many as 16 million by mid-century, as the 78 million baby boomers enter the age of greatest risk.

Science is closing in on ways to treat and prevent this terrible disease. But the government is cutting back on its commitment to funding for Alzheimer research. Since 2003, federal funding for research at the National Institutes of Health has steadily declined.

The only way to combat Alzheimer's disease is to accelerate the investment in medical research. Our leaders must vote for $125 million in additional funding to restore momentum and pursue the most promising research. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander and congressmen Steve Cohen and Marsha Blackburn can help by ensuring more funding for research and guaranteeing vital supportive services are maintained for the 100,000 people in Tennessee living with dementia.

Write or call and ask them to vote for the $125 million in additional funding to restore momentum and pursue this promising research.

Sheryl Ludeke-Smith

Memphis

Anti-immigration Bigotry

There is nothing patriotic about white anti-immigration groups targeting a whole segment of society — Mexicans, Latinos, and other hard-working immigrants. Discrimination, prejudice, and intolerance characterize the anti-immigration movement, so why does the Republican Party embrace and give sanctuary to these bigots?

Every day, I hear and see angry white folks spew out their hatred toward hard-working Latinos. It's like déjà vu — the 1950s civil rights era when many whites demonized blacks — all over again.

The GOP will use the politics of division as its main weapon in the 2008 elections to shift attention away from the failed war in Iraq. It plays well to core supporters and to the lowest common denominator of the Republican Party.

Ron Lowe

Grass Valley, California

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