Letters to the Editor 

Zoo Land vs. Parkland

I am totally outraged at the insensitivity the Memphis Zoo showed in its development of its new exhibit ("Up a Tree," March 6th issue). For the sake of expansion, the zoo chose to destroy four acres of old-growth forest in Overton Park. It is environmentally moronic.

I consider myself informed and active regarding environmental issues in our city. I use the park at least twice a week, and yet I had no idea the zoo had plans to "develop" this area. If the nonprofit group Friends of Overton Park knew of this project, why wasn't the public informed? Who is speaking for the trees?

Who did the environmental-impact study on this project? Something like this would never happen in an enlightened city. It is repulsive that we have forever lost one of the last pieces of old-growth forest in the city in exchange for an exhibit that cages wolves and bears.

My fellow citizens, our city power-brokers and leaders are failing us. It's time to break out the monkey wrench.

Billy Simpson


Strip Clubs

I predict we will be reading about strip clubs, legislation, lawsuits, and public-vs.-private morality for the next few years, thanks to the new ordinance passed by our "holier than thou" County Commission ("The Bottom Line," March 6th issue). Governments can try to regulate sexual behavior, but strip clubs and sexually oriented businesses exist in every country that isn't controlled by a rigid state religion. Last time I looked, we don't have one of those in the United States. Stringent legislation will just push S.O.B.'s (which are legal, by the way) underground, where there is even less chance to regulate them. Visit Salt Lake City sometime. It doesn't "allow" S.O.B.'s either, but you can find them.

I agree S.O.B.'s shouldn't be allowed to ruin the area around the Memphis airport. Legitimate businesses have a right to prosper without having to deal with hookers and massage parlors. I tend to agree with Councilman Shea Flinn, that we should create a "red-light district" and confine S.O.B.'s to a particular area. Tax the heck out of them and reap the "bottom line," but don't imagine S.O.B.'s will go away just because you create some tight regulations. This is the "dirty South," and it always will be.

Samuel Martin


Obama and Terrorism

The recent false charges by the Tennessee Republican Party that equate Barack Obama with terrorism and anti-Semitism are an outrage (Politics, March 6th issue). What especially troubles me as a former resident of Tennessee who occasionally voted for a moderate Republican is that Tennessee's Republican leadership, including Robin Smith, would join the national GOP's racist smear campaign against Obama.

I'm disgusted with the grip that the right wing still has over most of the Republican Party. Tennessee used to elect moderate (and occasionally even liberal) Republicans like the late Congressman Howard Baker Sr. (father of former Senator Howard Baker Jr.) who opposed Truman's reckless militarism during the Korean War (our first Vietnam). Baker even helped defeat a draconian military conscription bill in 1952, called Universal Military Training/Service, which would have replaced the Selective Service conscription law.

I hope Tennessee's Republican Party will have the decency to repudiate its racist and slanderous portrayal of Obama and return to its more moderate roots.

William R. Delzell

Springfield, Massachusetts

Oil Policies

President Bush recently chided the OPEC nations for not pumping more oil from the ground and putting it on the world market. Once again, it's someone else's fault for his failed policies. Bush thinks Americans have forgotten the real facts:

In 2002, Vice President Dick Cheney refused to even reveal who was on his energy task force. The GAO sued to try and find out, to no avail. 

When Republicans won control of Congress, they passed a record tax reduction for big oil companies.

Both the president and veep have repeatedly scoffed at the idea of energy conservation. In fact, for the last 27 years, Republicans and a few Democrats have blocked higher gas-mileage requirements for cars and trucks.

Since Bush and Cheney have been in the White House, big oil companies have had record profits while paying less in taxes. Only a small amount of those profits have been invested in renewable energy sources.

Bush's failed energy policies have put our national security in danger.

Jack Bishop



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