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Color Bind

To the Editor:

Any professional journalist will tell you that mentioning a person’s race in an article is only relevant if it specifically relates to the facts of that story. Erin Sullivan’s piece on Dean the homeless man [Newsfront, March 7], while heartbreaking, portrayed this roving band of black youths like monsters. I’m not advocating what they did, but highlighting their skin color is irresponsible and furthers a horrible stereotype. Would she, or her editors, have mentioned their race if they had been white or Hispanic or Asian? Was the story made any better through the mention of race?

I read Metroland for its alternative views on what’s happening in and around the Capital Region. But, more and more, I notice insensitivity to minority groups’ issues, actions and needs. I can only assume that this is due to an ignorance and apathy that pervades the region’s press as a whole.

Newspapers and magazines have a responsibility to reflect the community in which they publish, not alienate certain groups to make stories more “sexy.” We can all do better.

Kelli R. Parker
Albany

What’s Good for the Neighborhood

To the Editor:

Your article about Grand Street in Albany some time ago was well-written, balanced and informative [“Wouldn’t It Be Grand?” Jan. 31]. Since then you have published two negative letters by a reader from Clifton Park [Letters, Feb. 14, March 21] that may have confused some of your readers. He deals with opinions, and it is your prerogative to print them. But facts will trump opinions anytime, as they do in this situation.

The facts about the Grand Street initiative are these: The Mansion Neighborhood Association (MNA) has tried for years to get empty buildings rehabilitated and occupied on Grand Street (and Trinity Place). The MNA worked closely with the Community Builders (TCB) on the project that was approved.

Most of the buildings in the project have been empty and abandoned for 15 years or more.

Two of the original buildings in the project were demolished by the city because of their unsafe condition.

Some of the remaining buildings are close to collapse.

The money that will be used to rehabilitate and renovate these buildings was not available for sale of the buildings to individual owners. It comes largely from federal tax credits allocated by New York state for rental units for low- to moderate-income families.

The choice was between having 30 to 40 new rental units or abandoned buildings.

Finally, a closing opinion: The Mansion Neighborhood is alive and well. The Grand Street initiative will help make it even better.

Mark P. Yolles
Albany

The Rich Get Representation

To the Editor:

Your article “Nickeled and Dimed” [Newsfront, March 21] did an excellent job pointing out the problem with our current campaign-finance system. Obviously, those with the most money to donate to campaigns get what they want at the expense of the rest of us. The $3 billion in tax cuts for corporations at a time of fiscal crisis is ridiculous!

Besides the need to put those tax cuts on hold, we need to prevent this kind of thing from happening again. Clean money/clean elections campaign-finance reform will accomplish that. Clean money/clean elections gets money out of the political system. Any candidate who can show they have public support qualifies for a limited and equal amount of public funds to run their campaign. This means that when they are elected, they owe no debts to wealthy special interests, but instead only owe their constituents. This proposal would also reduce campaign spending and level the playing field, so candidates who don’t have connections to big money could run viable campaigns. Clean money/ clean elections would prevent big money from having a corrupting influence on our government.

We need to let the candidates for governor know that we won’t tolerate political bribery anymore. They need to know that we won’t vote for a candidate who doesn’t state they will lead the fight for clean money/clean elections. We have the power this year to put the pressure on them. They need our votes, so let them know we need clean elections.

Heather Kim
Albany


Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: metroland@metroland.net. Metroland reserves the right to edit letters for length; 300 words is the preferred maximum. You must include your name, address and day and evening telephone numbers. We will not publish letters that cannot be verified, nor those that are illegible, irresponsible or factually inaccurate.

Send to:
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at metroland@metroland.net.


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