Perhaps a better name for this article would be "Betrayed Always." Black people in the South have no illusions about where we stand with whites, Democratic or Republican. We will always be third class citizens that are still free slaves in the minds of many. I urge all black people to consider the Green Party and end this blind loyalty to a party that doesn't care about us in any meaningful way. The Democrats are doomed anyway, as the recent election poignantly demonstrated.
--George W. Thompson Jr., Charlotte
Creative Loafing typically serves as the sole beacon of reason among Charlotte-Mecklenburg media. But your recent erroneous cover story on white Democrats opting not to vote for Darrel Williams ("Betrayed Again" by Tara Servatius, November 13) reduces you to the same race-baiting tactics as your less-enamored junior, The Rhino Times. Although your article makes for interesting reading (so does much of the Enquirer) -- and no doubt has prospective County Commission chair Bill James dancing on his kitchen table -- the truth is the article's primary victim.
It would be premature to address the Williams race because the voter files are not yet available from the Board of Elections (as of this writing). However, we do know that in Jim Richardson's 2000 loss for a County Commission at-large seat (and for which the same misinformed allegations surfaced), Richardson actually received more votes than the total number of Democratic votes cast in almost every precinct. There is no reason to think the same will not be true of Williams' race. For James to insinuate that white Dilworth and Elizabeth liberals are the modern-day Klan is the height of absurdity, and Creative Loafing would be more responsible if it were investigating how someone who thinks that way could get elected to anything in the 21st century.
In addition, the writer's bias can be seen in the story's sources, which included Mecklenburg County Republican Party Chairman Mary Kay Ulsamer, right-wing Republican James and Dr. Ted Arrington, a political consultant usually on behalf of or lobbying for Republicans and Republican interests. No member of the Democratic Party's Executive Board is quoted at all, even though James directly attacks the party's leadership. This rather convenient oversight ensured that the facts would be ignored.
--Michael D. Evans, Huntersville
Oh No Mr. Bill
Admin: Creative Loafing. May I help you?
Bill James: Tara Servatius, please.
Tara: Tara Servatius. How can I help you?
Bill James: Tara, Bill James here.
Tara: At your service, Mr. James.
Bill James: We kicked some Democratic ass in the recent election, but I'm not done yet. We can make the local Democratic organization irrelevant.
Tara: What do you need from me?
Bill James: OK. We've pretty much succeeded in pitting Blacks against Hispanics. But that was only Phase 1. Now we've got to pit White Democrats against Black Democrats.
Tara: OK, Mr. James. And how will we do that?
Bill James: We need a story that blames Darrel Williams' loss in the County Commission at-large race on White Democrats failing to support a Black Candidate.
Tara: But that's not true.
Bill James: What does that matter? You run the story. The Black leaders will get angry at the Whites in the party. And who knows what will happen next? Maybe Blacks switch their registration to unaffiliated. The moderate Whites become Republicans. And the lefties flirt with the Green Party or the Communists, or hang around to preside over the shell of what was once the Democratic Party. Who cares? No matter the result, the infighting will ensure that Democrats get nothing accomplished. Call it the "Bill James Strategy."
--August de Cleyre, Charlotte
Was It Racist?
Congrats to Tara Servatius for wasting six pages (including the cover) of newsprint to discuss the defeat of Darrel Williams.
Everyone, especially the black population of this county, wants to make Darrel's defeat a racist issue. This is the same county who voted in a multi-term mayor (Harvey Gantt), a racially balanced city council, and a representative county commission. What was missing was a voice for the Latino community, and Dan Ramirez's victory now assures that representation.
Voters are not beholden to their parties -- we have the sacred right to vote for whomever we feel is best for our interests. Darrel could have campaigned more and the Democratic Party could have reached out more to white voters, but that did not happen.
What did happen was this: compassionate liberals (that's us, the white folks in Dilworth) showed their compassion for our growing Hispanic population. We each did that, one vote at a time.
I guess that still makes us racist -- voting for a Hispanic -- huh? As Jerry Seinfeld once said, "Is it racist if I like them, or if I don't?"
--Jeff Gregory, Charlotte
Income Taxes Not Solution
Tara Servatius, no doubt you're aware that President Bush has proposed looking at ways to improve earnings on Social Security accounts ("Fear Not, Granny," November 6). While the stock market's performance since 1998 has not been stellar (an understatement), its performance over the last 20 or 30 years has been. Mutual funds and bonds have also done very well so re-directing a small portion of the Social Security deduction to a better performing account is certainly not a bad idea...although not necessarily a complete solution either.
Another source of income would be a flat tax on goods shipped interstate via e-commerce. Individual states are doing little or nothing to tap this resource and the value of e-commerce is well into the billions of dollars. E-commerce usually offers consumers access to goods at a lower cost and almost always tax-free. (Your state tax return has an entry line where you're supposed to declare these purchases and pay the state its due taxes. Yeah, right.) A federally mandated tax on these goods, redirected to the social security fund, would not only bolster the account but it would help to level the playing field for local retailers who have difficulty matching prices with their internet competitors.
The crisis you've outlined is real. The solution doesn't have to lie in the burden of higher "income" taxes that will only deter the progress and productivity of America.
--John Price, Charlotte
Doing What They Can
I take exception to the article on breast cancer published in your last issue ("The Breast Cancer Money Go Round," November 6), but I'm going to begin my letter in a rather unorthodox way, by agreeing with the author. There is corruption within the non-profit organizations when it comes to the appropriation of funds. I've read a fair amount about this, and I know that the article published last week was well researched. What I take exception with is the tone and the implication all of those involved are feeding that corruption. After my battle with breast cancer at 34 I felt compelled to find a way to reach other women with a message. I had heard stories of top-heavy organizations and kickbacks. Then I met the local volunteers and began to work directly with them. These people have hearts of gold and a work ethic to go with it. The women and men who tirelessly organize, speak and walk in events to raise money for breast cancer awareness or any causes are only doing what they can. Despite where the money may go, every year attention is drawn to a disease that people still believe "won't happen to them" and that is a good thing. So is the feeling that the participants get while carrying the photographs and memories of those who have passed on. Sometimes great good can come from less than perfect circumstances and I believe that is the case in this situation. I'll be back next October and hope others will join me.
--Lauren Brower, Charlotte
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