Letters to the Editor 

Support Stax Music Academy

I attend the Stax Music Academy after-school program, along with high school students from all parts of western Tennessee and nearby states. The program consists of four different musical groups: the Premier Percussionists, the Rhythm Section, the Street Corner Harmonies, and the Soulsville Swing Band (in which I play the flute). These programs provide kids my age with an opportunity to expand their musical knowledge and their intelligence pertaining to life outside of Stax. This after-school program not only gives students an opportunity to prevail in their dreams and musical studies, it also provides a mentoring program to those who have no one to speak to at their homes about problems.

Stax is a nonprofit organization that receives funds from donations and revenue from the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. With the recent economic crisis, donations and museum visits have declined, causing the music academy to terminate some extra programs, including the Soulsville Spring Break and the Summer Soul Tour.

I was lucky enough to be selected last summer to travel to Australia to play in three cities for 11 days. That experience not only changed my life but also allowed me to make 15 new friends. All I ask is for some assistance in aiding this wonderful program before further cuts have to be made. Young Memphis musicians deserve to experience the great activities Stax has to offer.

Mikaela Allen


Police Hiring

The Memphis City Council has finally decided that it may be necessary to recruit police officers from outside the city (Editorial, February 5th issue). Local attorney Javier Bailey has filed a lawsuit to prevent outside hiring on the grounds that it goes against the will of the people. Supporters of the lawsuit are using words like "disenfranchisement" and "unconstitutional."

A few years ago, local voters passed a referendum to impose term limits for elected officials. County commissioner Walter Bailey (Javier's father) filed a lawsuit to thwart the will of the people and remain in office. I don't remember the vocal supporters of the recent lawsuit being worried then about being disenfranchised or violating the Constitution.

Victor Chalma


While some members of our inept City Council try to decide how to make sure there are more African-American policemen hired (without coming out and saying that's what they want), our city languishes in a crime wave. What is so insane about this rush to increase the numbers of the police department is that it will have no effect whatsoever on the crime rate. What it will have an effect on is you and me in a rush one morning getting a speeding ticket.

While watching The First 48 recently (set in Memphis), I observed that the man they were looking for, who had just brutally killed two innocent young people, was 20 years old and had five felony convictions. Felonies require a sentence of no less than one year. If this thug had five felony convictions, then why wasn't he in jail?

It doesn't matter how many police there are if you don't lock these animals up and keep them there for the length of their sentence. They will be right back to doing what they do best: preying on the weak and innocent.

If we had spent over $200 million on a huge jail, instead of that Heisley Palace called a "forum," and then proceeded to fill it up and keep the thugs there for the whole of their sentence, we'd truly have a safer city. Increasing the ranks of the police department will only increase local government's control over law-abiding citizens. It will have no effect on how many more store owners and cashiers are shot to death.

Frank M. Boone



I want to address the post-inauguration ranting and raving being done by conservatives (The Rant, January 29th issue). As always, the only things that seem to matter to conservatives are religion and abortion, which in no way, shape, or form belong in the political arena. My religion or lack thereof is my business. My body and what I do with it are also my business. (And we are not going to kill babies to get stem cells. If conservatives knew their biology, this wouldn't even be an issue.)

What does matter now is that we finally have a president we can be proud of — a president who, when he speaks, we can understand; a president who reads, who is educated and articulate, and who can move us beyond the "git 'em" mentality of the prior administration.

Yvette Rhoton



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