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.
Good for the Neighborhood
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
The choice was between having 30 to 40 new rental units or
Finally, a closing opinion: The Mansion Neighborhood is alive
and well. The Grand Street initiative will help make it even
Mark P. Yolles
Rich Get Representation
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.
welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts
OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: email@example.com.
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.
Letters, Metroland, 4 Central Ave.,
4th Floor, Albany, NY 12210
or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.