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What’s Your Issue?

To the Editor:

As a Green Party member, I was both amused and angered by Tom Leighton’s and Edmond Day’s letters to the editor [Sept. 5]. Mr. Leighton, as many may know, is attempting to start the Marijuana “Reform” Party, a single-issue party whose goals at this point seem to be the permission of medical marijuana and hemp growing in New York state. It is obvious from his letter that he is attempting to defend a middling position, for the Greens already call for complete legalization of marijuana use, decriminalization of other drugs, and complete repeal of the Rockefeller Drug Laws. This is the problem with single-issue parties: They are interest groups taken to getting votes. Mr. Leighton and the MRP would seemingly allow continued arrests and incarceration for marijuana usage as long as their (read: middle and upper-class) doctors can write “prescriptions” for cannabis.

Single-issue parties like the MRP are explicitly against expanding their issues to a theory of society’s ills and how to change our world. The MRP will not speak out about revitalizing the labor movement, about American and European imperialism, or the fight for real social gains—for their main interest is getting their single demand answered. They would then promptly fade out of existence.

His economic-reform plans for New York simply include growing hemp; he seems to have no understanding that if enough struggling New York farmers grew hemp, then the saturation of the market would cause a collapse of prices, leaving farmers in the same boat as before. The MRP and Leighton can say nothing to the hundreds of communities around New York who need real industry and jobs.

On the other hand, Mr. Day’s arguments amount to nothing more than the creation of a straw man via red-baiting! The Greens are a party with members whose ideologies vary enormously; we have many proud “pink” and “red” members, myself included. We don’t hide this; in fact we celebrate that the American left has a party once more that can hold so many disparate ideas and people. The meat of his argument, though, is that the Greens have no time to talk and thus are uninterested in everyday people; he says this on the basis of witnessing a leafleting of one event. Unfortunately, the Greens have very little money or access to mass media, unlike his Republicans or the Democrats, who not only get millions of dollars from large corporations, allowing them to buy airtime, but are usually given free publicity in the mass media. We don’t have this luxury: The Greens are usually blacked out from the media no matter what we do. Thus, every second we have to reach a large audience (which we supposedly don’t care about) is spent getting to as many of them as possible.

Peter LaVenia
Treasurer, Albany County Green Party

Don’t Stop There

To the Editor:

Having read the letter to the editor by Jeremy Freedman [Sept. 5], it makes one wonder why he points only to Arbor Hill. The city of Albany has many areas like Arbor Hill. Hudson-Park, the South End, etc. etc. Albany has lost population, and its real estate market has lagged behind our neighbors. Freedman correctly points out a fact that the neighborhoods have been neglected.

When I moved to Albany, the first place I visited was the Albany Police Station on Central Avenue. I wanted to know from the Police what was a good area. I was told there were none in Albany and to look at Delmar.

Freedman is right on many points, but it’s not just African-American neighborhoods. The creatures walking the streets and in their cars with the loud noise (not to be confused with music) do scare people who would want to live in our fair city and raise children. We see constant drug dealing, muggings. Garbage up and down the streets, practically everywhere one walks (just walk Madison Avenue from Dove to Lark). What a scummy, trash-strewn derelict gateway to our crown jewel, Washington Park. Hooray for Mr. Freedman for sparking a heated debate. Albany’s troubles need to be dealt with. People have to stop blaming and start working. It is really scary how this city has gone downhill.

Doug Peek

Sullivan’s Travels

To the Editor:

I want to express my sadness in learning that Erin Sullivan has left the staff of Metroland.

While I was saddened, since I would no longer read her articles and letters, I understand that her moving on goes not only to her credit as an excellent writer, but to Metroland itself for offering such a forum to writers like Erin and many others that have passed through its doors.

I remember an article that Erin wrote a while ago that still sticks in my mind: the time she did a ride-along with the Albany Police Department. Her accurate portrayal of the emotions and fears that accompany every police officer was felt through her words. My heart was racing after I finished the article.

I am sure she will be missed by many, but with her leaving is an opening to other opportunities and a chance for Erin to touch others as she had touched us.

R.A. De Prima

Editor’s Note:

Erin Sullivan, formerly Metroland’s managing editor, now is news editor at City Paper, Baltimore’s alternative newsweekly.

Metroland welcomes typed, double-spaced letters (computer printouts OK), addressed to the editor. Or you may e-mail them to: 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

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