I am glad John Branston likes the efficiency of the Riverfront Development Corporation (City Beat, May 31st issue). The board of directors and staff are dedicated to maintaining the Memphis riverfront at the highest level of quality possible.
While providing citizens with the outstanding service Branston mentions in his article, the RDC is also saving the city of Memphis $1 million annually by freezing the city's cost at what was being spent on the riverfront in the year 2000.
As a board member of the RDC, I appreciate the Flyer pointing out the great work of the RDC.
R. Kemp Conrad
It's the time of year when gas prices climb. Some complain about $75 fill-ups or try to blame someone else (Letters, May 31st issue). But the real culprits are traveling the roads of this country. It doesn't take much to see all the V-8 powered SUVs and trucks carrying only one person. In many cases, the owner's needs can be achieved with a vehicle that gets at least double the gas mileage of the one they're driving. My wife and I manage quite well, even on road trips, with a mid-sized sedan. A year's worth of gas came to under $700 for over 13,000 miles of driving!
JT's New Label
Regarding the news about Justin Timberlake's new non-Memphis label: Memphis should not sully its proud heritage by prostrating itself before a former Mouseketeer. To take Timberlake seriously is to slap our real cultural values square in the face like a Bar-Kays snare drum.
When Sun, Stax, and Hi did their thing, there was no herd of bottle-blond publicists or MySpace. You had to sing like Al or Elvis, write like Isaac and David, or play like Booker or Reggie. In short, we are simply of a higher pedigree than the plastic puppy mill that is L.A.
To lament Justin is just embarrassing. Jack Oblivian is way cooler.
Our glory came from a better day, when real talent emerged based on popular response. When entertainment choices amounted to three networks and a couple of radio stations, you had to be talented. Now that media conglomerates are clamoring for anything to fill the bandwidth, talent is an afterthought.
Fundamental changes in the distribution of music have media conglomerates passing record divisions around like hot potatoes. In this climate, only the tried-and-true methods are worth the money. That means more cookie-cutter, lowest-common-denominator pop milled out for Clear Channel like cans of Spam.
We are simply better than that.
The Party of Fear?
The new chairman of the Arkansas Republican Party recently stated in an interview with the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: "At the end of the day, I believe fully the president is doing the right thing, and I think all we need is some attacks on American soil like we had on [Sept. 11, 2001], and the naysayers will come around very quickly to appreciate not only the commitment for President Bush, but the sacrifice that has been made by men and women to protect this country."
Is this what Republicans are now hoping for? The death of U.S. citizens in a terrorist attack similar to 9/11? Is that the only way they see themselves winning power back from Democrats? If so, then all they can offer to Americans is fear — something that any proud American should reject.
Regarding Bruce VanWyngarden's statement that Bush is a cheat and a liar who should be dumped, I say, "Amen" (Editor's column, May 24th issue).
Not only is Bush unscrupulous, so is the Republican National Committee — or at least its fund-raising branch. My fundamentalist father was a generous supporter of the Republican Party. When Dad's health and wallet failed him, he came to me, his liberal heathen of a daughter, for care. The Republican fund-raisers followed, calling all hours of the day and night, in spite of my pleadings to stop. Dad was in a great deal of pain during his last months, and uninterrupted sleep would have been a blessing to him (and me). Nothing I did or said, including writing letters and reporting the calls as violations of the "Do Not Call" list, slowed the harassment. Apparently, like their leaders, the Republican Party is exempt from both the DNC list and from common decency.