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Letters to the Editor

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Dead Wood

To the Editor:

Regarding Denise Parkinson's article, "Respect Your Elders" (October 21st issue): Anyone doubting Central Gardens' commitment to the preservation and renewal of trees in our neighborhood need only be aware of the following: Since 1999, the Central Gardens Association (CGA) has purchased and planted 195 native hardwoods and a few select ornamentals valued at over $35,000. These trees were provided to homeowners at their request and at no charge. Another 10 trees have been donated by CGA and planted at businesses along Union Avenue to beautify our northern boundary.

The neighborhood association has spent several thousand dollars on maintenance, pruning, and removal of dead wood from trees in the Belvedere and York medians.

Central Gardens residents annually volunteer hundreds of hours planting and cleaning the common areas and streetscape. Beautification and planting efforts in Central Gardens have been recognized by the preservation organization Memphis Heritage.

We consider trees vital to our neighborhood, and the loss of a century-old tree to save an equally old house is clearly a last resort in an extraordinary situation. The citizens of Memphis can be assured that we will continue to preserve Central Gardens and help it live up to its name.

Ted Morton

Chairman, Historic and

Beautification Committee

Central Gardens Association

To the Editor:

As a resident of Central Gardens, I wish to commend and support Ben Duke for undertaking the precedent-setting project of moving the house at 1792 Peabody to the now-vacant lot at Peabody and Rembert. Duke's action will enable the district to retain a one-of-a-kind home. The house would have faced demolition but for Duke's willingness to take such an innovative step.

Lila Beth Burke

Memphis

A Party of Intolerance?

To the Editor:

When I was growing up in north Alabama, my father was an electrician, my grandfather was a machinist, and most of the people we knew were blue-collar workers. We, like the majority of people in our small town, were middle-class, Christian Democrats.

The Democratic Party back then was the party for the working stiff; the party that stuck up for the little guy who struggled to provide for his family; the party for the women who dared to think for themselves; and the party for the people of color who were, at best, relegated to second-class status.

Republicans were the guys my dad and grandpa hated -- insurance salesmen, lawyers, and a few business owners. "Republican" was a bad word in our house.

As an adult now, having lived in Memphis for 13 years and currently residing in Mississippi, I've seen a big cultural transformation take place. The South has become more and more Republican, to the point where no Southern state is expected to go for John Kerry.

What has happened? Even though George Bush has given break after break to the rich and has lost more middle-class jobs than any other president since the Great Depression, poor Southerners are voting Republican. Why are they seemingly voting against themselves?

I'll tell you why. Some people do not want social progress. Some "good Christians" would prefer not to breathe the same air as a gay couple in the supermarket. Some people want to go back to the days when the white way was the right way. And that's a large part of George Bush's foundation. A vote for Bush allows you to discriminate with a clear conscience in the name of Jesus and Bush's own particular brand of patriotism. Exclusivity and intolerance have become acceptable policy.

Somehow I think Jesus might respectfully disagree.

Kevin Mitchell

Gulfport, Mississippi

No Spanking

To the Editor:

We need to keep violence out of education ("Final Report," October 21st issue). If the teachers and guardians of children cannot demonstrate an ability to effectively solve problems without resorting to violence, how can we expect our children to learn to do so? Corporal punishment disavows the use of constructive nonviolent means for resolving conflicts and differences of opinion.

We need to demonstrate the trust and respect we wish others to learn. Those who are hit, learn to hit. Those who are listened to, learn to listen.

Patricia R. Robinson

Weddington, North Carolina

Editor's Note: Next week's Flyer will come out a day later than usual (on Thursday, November 4th) so that we may provide complete coverage of the 2004 election.

-- Bruce VanWyngarden, editor

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at letters@memphisflyer.com. All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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