Teaching for America
In John Branston's article ("Teaching for America," August 3rd issue), he doesn't report how they plan to keep these fine young people from being assaulted by their students, some of whom may be 19 or 20 years old. (A few of my seventh-graders were 19; one was 20.) Some will have criminal records.
Been there, done that. Left with my life back in 1992.
Bringing bright young minds here to teach is a great idea, but this constant lunacy of throwing more money, more minds, and more people at a system that is corrupt and immoral is just stupid.
To write articles about it, as if this is the great idea that will save the day, makes me think nobody at your publication lives in the real world. Go fill out a substitute teacher form at the Memphis City Schools and be on call for one semester. I urge you to send a few reporters to do just that.
Best and Brightest?
Not long ago, voters in this country aspired to elect the "best and brightest" to high public office. Sadly, current standards have diminished to the point where mere competence seems almost unattainable.
This election cycle ("The Big One," July 27th issue), however, Tennesseans have a historic opportunity to elect one of the most capable young men ever to offer himself as a candidate in this state. By sending Harold Ford Jr. to the United States Senate, we can signal the rest of the country that we have moved beyond the stereotypical perceptions ascribed to our region through the years. We can demonstrate that we recognize the forces and agents of positive change in our society, and that we are willing and able to rise above the "lowest common denominator" mindset in which negative political discourse seeks to entrap us.
We can be proud of the leadership that Ford, one of our best and brightest, will provide for us all.
Garage Gate redux?
John Branston's column, "Garage Gate, Part Two," (August 3rd issue) accurately exposes another major fantasy of the Riverfront Development Corporation, which seems to seek projects to justify its continued existence.
Branston's idea of adding trees, water fountains, and a concession stand to Tom Lee Park makes sense and develops the riverfront for us all. If the city can plant trees on the median of newly extended Sam Cooper (where there are never any pedestrians, joggers, or picnickers), surely they can plant them at Tom Lee Park. Let's hope the RDC can accept practical advice to improve our riverfront for much less money in much less time.
Congratulations to John Branston. He is the first journalist to "get" what is going on with Beale Street Landing. It would be nice if Memphis leaders could better appreciate the historic cobblestone landing. Improvement of that area would be much less expensive and far more attractive.
Beale Street Landing will finally give Memphians and visitors a place to connect to our city's greatest asset -- the Mississippi River. The structure will also serve as a modern docking facility, which is desperately needed, since the cobblestones are neither pedestrian-friendly or acceptable for long-term multiple dockings. The Delta Steamboat Company calls Memphis "the worst landing site along the entire length of the Mississippi River." Delta Queen has agreed to increase its dockings in Memphis by 50 percent next year because of RDC's commitment to riverfront improvements. Over the past three years, Delta Queen's annual economic impact on ports of call was approximately $23 million. Don't we want more of those dollars spent in Memphis?
Branston takes issue with Memphis attracting more federal dollars than New York or San Francisco. I would think that Memphians would be happy that we are leveraging our local dollars and that the federal government is funding 35 percent of this important project. Don't we want Memphis to be recognized as one of the premier waterfronts in the country? Would Branston rather see these dollars that our senators and congressmen fought so hard for sent to other cities?
Beale Street Landing is a worthy project that will enhance the Memphis riverfront, increase tourism and the dollars that come with it, and improve access to the Mississippi for all.