Handy Environment

To the Editor:

Regarding Andrew Wilkins' article "Parks for Sale," (May 24th issue): I've been on Beale Street since day one of revitalization 18 years ago. The former Handy Park was run-down, full of vagrants sleeping on benches, bands playing on corners with little if any dignity, and skateboarders everywhere, running over patrons.

The new Handy Park has public restrooms (badly needed), a visitor's center, a stage with a professional sound and light system, security cameras and lights, dressing rooms (so we don't have trailers parked on Peabody Place), and, yes, picnic tables to sit on, not sleep on, and concessions that folks enjoy. Sounds American to me.

I'm glad I don't have to call the police every morning to clear the park of vagrants sleeping on the benches. The new Handy Park means the city and Beale Street can put their best foot forward to the tourists of the world. I see improvements, not the past problems.

Preston Lamm, President, Beale Street Merchants Association, Memphis

Pay It Backward

To the Editor:

As I understand it, President Bush's newly approved tax relief plan will provide refund checks for all American taxpayers for up to $300 for singles and up to $600 for married couples. That sounds great for all those who believe in lower taxes and getting nice checks in the mail. However, in a political climate of an "unpopular president" there might be some who disagree with this plan.

I propose to start a grassroots movement for those who oppose this tax relief. This movement is easy to take part in, will get the point across, and at the same time provide extra funding for all the government programs Bush's adversaries want to continue.

A one-time $300 to $600 per household refund for any (except the very poor) is negligible. What would happen if all of the proponents of the government programs and funding corrections that the previous administration wanted to save and/or revive decided not to cash their checks? That money would instantly become available for these programs, and as Americans taking this action we would be taking control of the situation in a way that no government official could "spin" or negate.

This is a call to action for anyone who wants to send a clear message to President Bush. Save Social Security! Eliminate the national debt! Eliminate budget deficits for good! Tear up those refund checks!

Michael Naya, Memphis

Judgment Call

To the Editor:

Kudos to the Memphis Bar Association and its survey on judges (City Reporter, May 24th issue). Hopefully a greater percentage of Memphis Bar Association members will participate in the future and more importantly, the survey results will continue to be made public.

Douglas R. Bergeron, Esq., Memphis

No Taste

To the Editor:

My wife and I are from the Orlando area and attended what we expected to be the grand finale of barbecue events in Memphis. As we strolled the rows of massive and ingenious cooking booths at the world championship barbecue contest, we discovered that we would not be allowed to taste the "Q." Why should I ever come back to such a show if we are not allowed to second-guess the judges?

The reason given to us for the lack of tasting was a health department ban. If this is true, I say the health department is lazy and not operating with the best interest of the people it serves.

We have been to numerous cooking events where a book of tickets was purchased and could be redeemed at the booth for a sample of the cooking. If the cooking was sanitary enough for the judges it is surely sanitary enough for the public.

Ray Means, Lake Mary, Florida

Editor's note: We're just taking a guess here, but we suspect that requiring all the barbecue cooking teams at the MIM cooking championship to provide enough food to feed the entire crowd might be a bit much to ask.

Last Place on Earth is Gone

To the Editor:

Chris Walker's Last Place on Earth's imminent closing is a loss to a scene that has existed since the Sex Pistols came through town in 1977. Musicians local, national, and international have played LPOE's stage, offering sounds ranging from Delorean's beauty to Diarrhea of Anne Frank's noise. No more will the pleasant smell of baked bread greet us as we exit a concert at LPOE. We owe Chris Walker our appreciation. Thanks, Chris, for the rock. Not to mention the roll.

Jon Fox, Memphis

Editor's note II: Due to the fact that none of you had anything remotely new to say on the subject, we are declaring a moratorium on NBA letters this week.

The Memphis Flyer encourages reader response. Send mail to: Letters to the Editor, POB 1738, Memphis, TN 38101. Or call Back Talk at 575-9405. Or send us e-mail at All responses must include name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters should be no longer than 250 words.

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