is unfortunate that the current regime at Metroland
is more interested in spreading false information than telling
the truth. That’s why I am taking this opportunity to set
the record straight regarding an utterly inaccurate and untrue
“Editor’s note” contained in your coverage of the race for
Albany’s Third Ward council seat [“The Candidates on the Record,”
Trail Mix, May 19].
Frankly, I have never been a rubber stamp politician who just
does what he’s told. Instead, I am a strong advocate for the
people who live north of Washington Avenue. Over the years,
I’ve kept my community informed about actions being taken
by the Common Council and the administration down at City
Hall by using old-fashioned mailings.
In November and December of last year, I sent out two mailings
to the people of the Arbor Hill, West Hill, Sheridan Hollow
and Washington Square neighborhoods. One supported the rights
of inner-city parents to choose where their kids go to school.
The other supported protecting the health insurance benefits
of hardworking city retirees and senior citizens.
Both of my letters were written because of legislation pending
before the Common Council that would have hurt families throughout
my community. They were mailed out more than seven months
after the council’s leadership changed hands not “shortly
after,” as Miriam Axel-Lute incorrectly stated. And, regardless
of when they were sent out, the people I represent will always
have a right to know when the political bosses running the
council are trying to undercut our kids, our families and
If Ms. Axel-Lute had checked her facts, she would have learned
that while those letters were being mailed, I was leading
efforts to protect our seniors from harsh budget cuts that
would have threatened everyone from retired crossing guards
and maintenance workers to firefighters who risk their lives
We won that battle and it’s a lot more important than some
cheap shot about mailings that isn’t even true.
Third Ward Councilman, Albany
Miriam Axel-Lute replies:
Councilman Brown appears to be drawing far more out of my
editor’s note than is actually there. An editor’s note was
necessary for context because Brown’s comments on their own
implied that the council restricted only his own mailing rights,
not the whole council’s, and that they gave no rationale for
it other than what he believes to be their motives. He does
not dispute the cost. If he thinks that calling his colleagues
“heartless political bosses” is not bad-mouthing, that speaks
for itself. I did not say that there was no other content
to the letters, nor did I say anything about what other activities
he was involved in at that time. He is, however, correct that
the phrase “shortly after” is not a fair description of the
time frame involved in the letters.
Be In It to Win It
name is Ronald Bailey. I am a committeeman for Third Ward,
7th District, within the city of Albany. There are 26 committee
people in the Third Ward. Mr. Corey Ellis has never come to
a committee meeting to address any issue that he has to the
Third Ward. Mr. Ellis has only showed up for one meeting that
is the vote for the commissioner for the Board of Election
for the Democratic party, and to nominate and second himself
as a candidate for a Common Council seat [“The Candidates
on the Record,” Trail Mix, May 19]. We, the committee, have
not had a chance to talk to Mr. Ellis. He does not interact
with the committee at any time. You must represent your district
and be involved with the people, not be a ghost, and as committee
people of the Third Ward, we stand by. Let us not wait until
someone does something about it, let us be the someone that
does something about it!
Third Ward Committeeman, Albany
his article “Naughty Bits” [Rapp on This, May 19], Paul C.
Rapp says that under the law that existed even before the
passage of FECA—the Family Entertainment Copyright Act—it
was legal to make any changes you want in something you have
purchased: “Once you have bought a legitimate copy of a copyrighted
work, the law allows you to do pretty much anything you want
with your copy.” He then gives as examples “mixing tapes,
crossing out passages in a book, or tearing out pages of a
magazine . . .”
All that is perfectly reasonable, but somehow he forgot to
point out the practical distinction between changing your
copy of a copyrighted work and then (1) watching it in the
privacy of your home, and (2) charging money for others to
see it. Apparently, FECA makes (2) legal. Presumably, one
can now buy a copy of a copyrighted work, make whatever changes
one wants, and then present it to the public—even for a fee—without
informing anyone that what they are about to see is not what
the creators of the work intended for them to see. One should
at least have to say, “This is not what the author (director,
etc.) wanted you to see. It’s what I think he should
have wanted you to see, if only he had been as moral as I
am.” Presenting modified versions of copyrighted works without
such a disclosure may be legal, but it is hardly ethical.
It’s too bad the law wasn’t entitled the “Family Entertainment
Copyright Act of Law.” Then it could be referred to as FECAL,
which it certainly is.
Josef G. Solomon
of fools, my ass. I was saddened and dismayed by the tone
of Shawn Stone’s “Chain of Fools” [Art Murmur, April 28] report
on PeTA and the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
Circus. Glib statements like “. . . if nothing else, made
a great photo spot for this paper” is endemic of the problem
with the readers he is pandering to: those who know that their
participation is part of the problem, but until the rest of
the herd makes a discernible shift—until it is no longer cool—they
will distance themselves from the “chain of fools” who highlight
their poor behavior (i.e., PeTA), and they will continue
to support disgusting enterprises such as Yum® fast food (KFC)
and animal torture disguised as the circus.
I hope you know, that due to their independent natures, in
order to “break” them and make chimps perform stupid circus
tricks, circus trainers beat the hell out of them. Circus
“trainers” treat other animals no more kindly.
To close his smug little snippet, as if to justify the circus,
Mr. Stone incorrectly implied that the baby elephant
(in bold print, no less) looked very cute. That’s all you
need to focus on here, folks, no issues here that cut uncomfortable
close to home. I wonder if Mr. Stone has every closely observed
circus elephants in person, particularly the young ones. I
have; in them the symptoms of great distress, trauma and unhappiness
are obvious, especially in and around the animals’ eyes. That
is not cute. To see a young mammal obviously upset, confused,
eyes wet and swollen from crying; crying from distress, crying
from pain, crying from loneliness and confusion. Fact is,
Shawn, there is nothing cute about a baby elephant working
in the circus for the entertainment of self-important readers
And I’m wondering if Mr. Stone took the opportunity to see
the rail cars in which the RBB&B Circus animals were stored
and transported—their “homes” if you will. The large gray
cargo cars were discernible as living quarters only by the
presence of entry ramps and passive overhead “vents,” parked
there amid the lifeless paved wasteland at the Port of Albany.
Talk about objectifying and enslaving living creatures. There
is nothing redemptive here.
I guess he doesn’t get it; Shawn, the things we pursue, including
our forms of entertainment, define us as [adult] people. When
Western civilization moves beyond Roman coliseum-style lizard
brain entertainment, we will progress as a culture. Until
that time, we will remain stuck; stuck with the rodeo, the
circus, professional wrestling, football, ice hockey, boxing,
et al., as the way in which many of us spend our leisure time.
What we celebrate is what we are. And you wonder why moral
standards and the value of human life are so low.
It is sad to see that Metroland is no longer the proactive
and progressive voice of the Capital Region. How sad, mainstream,
stuck, defensive, and reactionary you have become. Defending
the circus, even indirectly and smugly, is not OK. To do so
is to defend all that the circus represents: abuse. Perhaps
the time is getting closer, the time when Americans pull themselves
from the pit of denial in which they are immersed. But that’s
OK, Shawn, you can stay right there where you are with all
your fellow Romans, there at the circus, there watching the
monkeys ride on tigers riding on elephants, there with your
Big Mac in one hand and your certified Angus beef fat ass
in the other. Now that’s entertainment.
Shawn Stone replies:
Three eyewitnesses assured me that the baby elephant was indeed
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.