Letters to the Editor 

The Charter

The Flyer is usually accurate in its stories and editorials, but the editorial "The Big Guns" (September 30th issue) had a significant error.

In referring to a statement by Thaddeus Matthews, the editorial says: "He was referencing a decision by the citizen framers who put the [metro charter] document together to gain the favor of the residents of places like Germantown, Bartlett, Millington, and Collierville by allowing these municipalities to keep their city charters while Memphis would be surrendering its own."

I am sure that is an accurate depiction of what Matthews believes and said. However, in the editorial it is presented as fact that the charter commission allowed the suburban municipalities to keep their charters in the proposal. The state Metropolitan Government Act makes it quite clear that only the suburban municipalities themselves have the power to determine whether they would give up their charters and be involved in the metro government.

Charter commission members had no power or authority to include them without their consent. That consent, of course, did not occur. Memphis officials gave their consent to surrend the Memphis charter by approving the formation of the charter commission.

Jimmie Covington

Memphis

Word

Thank you, Memphis Flyer, for Halley Johnson's "Write Right" article (September 30th issue). I received five new volunteers and an offer for a television interview the day this article appeared in the Flyer. This proves that the Flyer gets response. Many, many thanks,

Emma Connolly

Memphis

A Taste of Mexico

I was happy to read about a new cuisine featured in Memphis — Cuban ("A Taste of Cuba," August 12th issue).

I was disappointed, however, to read the generic description that Mexican food is always spicy and "cheese laden." It is unfortunate that true Mexican food is difficult to find in Memphis, or the United States, for that matter. Many Mexican dishes are not piled with loads of cheese or always hot.

Here are some examples of dishes without cheese: mole, chicharrones en salsa, chiles poblanos rellenos de carne en salsa, steak tampiquena, tacos de barbacoa (or various tacos), menudo, etc.

My mother, born in Torreon, Coahuila, Mexico, cannot stand spicy food and always left peppers out when possible.

I can guess that the reason Americans think Mexican food is spicy is because they are not as used to spice as Mexicans may be. And it's possible that Mexican food prepared north of the border is "cheese laden," because Americans love cheese, and restaurants prepare what sells.

I don't mean to criticize but only to educate. One of the main reasons Mexican food is different from many Latin American cuisines is that a Mexican food staple is the tortilla, and in other cultures bread is more common.

Lillian Gonzalez Hagerty

Memphis

The GOP Pledge

I recently read the 48-page Republican "Pledge to America." What I discovered was a broken pledge that makes no promises and treads on constitutional traditions.

As an Independent, I'm a huge fan of individual responsibility. Therefore, I was disappointed that, unlike the 1994 Contract with America, no actual bills or signed candidate endorsements were attached to the document. Reading on, I agreed with one of their first pledges, "Give Small Businesses a Tax Deduction." However, their position puzzled me, because almost every Republican voted against the latest jobs bill, which provides loans and cuts capital gains taxes for small businesses. Were these conflicting positions a reason why candidates didn't sign the pledge?

Finally, I was disturbed by the motivations behind their pledge to continue the modern practice of legislating legal interpretations: "We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified."

Like their presidential cousins, these congressional signing statements blur the lines of separation set forth in our Constitution. The power to determine constitutional authority has traditionally rested in the courts, not Congress. Their goal to bypass "unelected judges" represents a lack of faith in America's most fundamental principle: checks and balances.

Their pledge asks Americans to trust — but don't verify. I encourage others to read the pledge, verify my claims, and come to your own conclusions.

Brandon Chase Goldsmith

Memphis

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