The "Best Doctors" (January 6th issue) are the ones who see patients promptly when unexpected illness or work schedules complicate getting good medical care. I was pleased to see two of my doctors, Robert Kaplan and Val Vogt, on your best doctors list, because without them, I might not be here. But to get to a good specialist, one has to have a great primary doctor who can see patients as soon as the illness becomes serious.
I am grateful to Dr. Carol Mitchell (internal medicine) and to Dr. El Sakr (GI specialist) and their caring staff members who have always arranged for me to be seen promptly during acute illnesses, so that I did not have to go to an ER and take valuable time from someone who might be in critical condition. Mitchell and Sakr are not on your best doctors list, but they should be, and they are certainly at the top of my list.
Regarding the surrendering of its charter by the Memphis City Schools board ("Bombshell," December 23rd issue): Some people are claiming that this issue is about race. I think that the issue is culture.
There are blacks and whites (Asians and Hispanics, too) who support certain cultural values and get slammed every time critiques are waged against inner-city black culture. Some of the most prominent attacks on this urban culture have come from President Barack Obama, Bill Cosby, and Oprah Winfrey. Cosby, for example, critiqued members of this cultural community for not valuing education. The response from some urban cultural leaders was to call him "Uncle Tom."
I agree with Cosby that the kind of culture that condones a lack of personal improvement is not what former American slaves such as Josiah Benson or Frederick Douglass intended for "free blacks." I also doubt that people of any race or creed in Shelby County would complain if the children of Obama, Cosby, or Winfrey wanted to move in next door and attend Shelby County Schools.
The statement in Michael LaRosa's column on the Dream Act (Viewpoint, January 6th issue) that the successful illegal immigrants who would otherwise qualify under the Dream Act will have to have a "clean" record is not true. The Dream Act allows an applicant to have up to two misdemeanors. Are you really surprised that gang members can stay in the U.S. under the Dream Act if they are lucky enough not to be convicted three times on misdemeanor charges?
The writer was clever to avoid using the word "illegal" in describing the so-called immigrants who will benefit under the Dream Act. America is foremost a country of laws. Illegal immigrants, no matter how young they are, cannot be rewarded for their illegal presence in this country.
Kudos to the Flyer for publishing columns such as "A Dream (Act) Deferred." Lost in all the heated anti-immigration rhetoric we hear so much of these days is the simple fact that we are wasting millions of lives and the contributions they could make to our society by suppressing hope for young people who have done nothing wrong. These young people just had the misfortune of being born to parents who came here illegally. Giving these young people a chance to earn a piece of the American dream is the right thing to do.
Haspel's Top 10
I often read the Flyer during my lunch break at work. I laughed out loud reading Randy Haspel's Top 10 Most Annoying People/Events of the year (The Rant, January 6th issue), especially his comment, "The husband owns every gas-powered lawn device on the market, including a riding mower with a headlight so he can cut his postage-stamp-sized yard at night."
This may have been Haspel's first attempt at a Top 10 list, but he has my vote to make it an annual event. Thanks for the laughs.
Carolyn R. Jones
Regarding Lindsay Jones' story, "Memphis Fire Union Opposes Department's Plan to Buy SUVs" (January 4th, memphisflyer.com): It was a good article. However, I should point out two inaccuracies: 1) The eight ARVs will cost approximately $500,000, or $62,500 each; 2) an ARV is not an SUV. It will be more like a utility truck. Thanks.
Alvin D. Benson, Fire Chief
Memphis Fire Department
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