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Letters to the Editor

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"Worst Neighborhood?"

I read with much interest Mary Cashiola's "In the Bluff" column (July 2nd issue) citing Annesdale-Snowden as being among the country's worst neighborhoods. As a fan of the area, I appreciated the well-balanced attempt at handling such a delicate story. As a former resident and past president of the Annesdale-Snowden Neighborhood Association (1995-1996), every word hit like a dagger. Back in the day, we rode the neighborhood spotlighting prostitutes and their johns. Then we pulled out all the stops to run off a crack house. MLGW cut off their pirated utilities, Joe Birch got a news crew live on their front porch, and even Judge Potter slapped them with environmental infractions. They eventually gave up and left.

But our biggest issue was being naive enough to think our government was on our side. Through my state representative, I learned that our U.S. representative at the time was intentionally allowing the crime rate to escalate in the district west of Bellevue as a prerequisite to qualifying for the Hope VI federal monies that funded the recent reconstruction of the old Lamar Terrace housing project.

Seems fairly outlandish, I know, that a public servant would use crime as a political tool, but it was one of the realities we had to deal with. Only through sheer perseverance were we able to build upon the successes of past association efforts and maintain the stability of the neighborhood, even while our fearless leader got his multi-billion-dollar grant.

Aaron James
Memphis

Lamar!

Tennessee's senior senator has had some type of government-paid health care for most of his adult life. Since his parents were teachers, it's possible he may even have had a state or county health-care plan as a child. Yet after all that, Lamar Alexander still is against health-care reform that involves the government. Through his years in the Senate, he has been awarded a zero percent rating by the American Public Health Association for his lack of support for public health care. This group is the oldest and largest group of health professionals in the world.

Alexander describes himself as a moderate and claims he is for bipartisanship. The truth is, he cultivated that image when his party was in power. Since the 2006 elections, the real Alexander has come forth. Not once has he voted with the new president or even agreed with him on the smallest issue.

The senator has also been quiet about the coal-ash disaster in East Tennessee. A longtime supporter of the TVA, Alexander has made one visit to the site of the worst coal-ash spill in U.S. history. Since the TVA would not allow the media to accompany the senator on his visit, there is no reliable coverage of what he saw or discussed while there.

We do know he has not asked for government assistance to move the families that live near this polluted mess. It is more proof that Alexander is either clueless about people's health or just doesn't care.

Jack Bishop
Cordova

TARP

In his vitriolic and farcical letter to the editor defending Mayor Herenton and attacking Congressman Steve Cohen (July 9th issue), Tommy Volinchak alleged, among other things, that Cohen "brought home zero TARP money." Is he kidding? Is he really that uninformed?

For the record, TARP funds are for financial institutions, as anyone who has read anything about the issue would know. Banks, insurance companies, and other financial corporations must apply for TARP funds from the Federal Reserve. And they are required to pay it back. Members of Congress have absolutely nothing to do with the dispensing of TARP funds.

I don't normally write letters to the editor, but an error this egregious should be corrected. Mr. Volinchak, in the future, may I suggest you actually learn something about a subject before you go spouting off — and showing your ignorance — in a public forum.

L.C. Green
Memphis

Herenton

So Mayor Herenton thinks a "duality" of whites and jealous blacks are conspiring against his magnificence (Politics, July 2nd issue). I don't know about a duality, but I would bet a significant "majority" of Memphians, black and white, will be glad to see his pompous butt leave City Hall. If that ever actually happens.

Jay Morrison
Memphis

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