Letters: Bataan Park, Live From Reno, Lynette, Occupy, A Beloved Former Staffer Writes In

Honorable Mention

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Your "take" on the City Council action to designate Bataan Memorial Park as a City Landmark [Council Watch, Sept. 27-Oct. 3] completely misses the point. The whole point of the landmark designation is not the park’s lovely mature trees and use by various groups, but rather the beautifully designed and moving memorial to the Bataan veterans found at the south side of the park, which you neglect to even mention.

As for your suggestion of a dog park—such a designation would only degrade the quasi- sacredness of the memorial.


Reporter Carolyn Carlson responds: In no way did I mean to disregard the honorable and humbling memorial at Bataan Park. The trees and grass are often what bring diverse groups to the park. Once they are there, they are drawn to the memorial, where many people pay their respects and learn something about the Bataan Death March.

Letters: Political Postcard Political Postcard

I am in Reno. I am in Republican territory. The newspaper’s letters to the editor are rehashes of the spew from Limbaugh and Hannity. The phrase of the month is "redistribution of wealth." When Republicans object to the redistribution of wealth, they are referring to their tax dollars going to waste when used to pay for welfare and food stamp programs. I’d like to point out to the right-wing parrots that Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are utterly dependent on government defense contracts. I’d also like to point out that all federal taxpayer dollars are involved in the "redistribution of wealth," some to defense, some to social programs, some to politicians, some to buy off foreign leaders, some used as subsidies to farmers and ranchers. The list goes on and on. The redistribution of wealth is the sole reason for our federal income tax.

Letters: Laugh Now, Cringe Later Laugh Now, Cringe Later

[Re: Letters, “Butt-Hurt About Lynette,” Sept. 27-Oct. 3] The Steve Allen Show—and comedy no matter what era—is not a public institution with the power to represent and educate the public. The state of N.M. (i.e., Expo New Mexico and UNM) indeed has been funded to do this exactly; and in this instance, failed. The racist issue is: the power to represent. You continue to laugh while many continue to cringe—harder, hopefully.

Letters: Occupy’s Rad Birthday Party Occupy’s Rad Birthday Party

Hello from Ground Zero, NYC! Happy birthday, Occupy! Reading the dailies in NYC today, you’d think Occupy was dying the slow miserable death of just another underdog movement. But to the contrary, what I experienced in Foley Square on Sept. 16 was a living, breathing manifestation of the wild and loving human spirit.

Was it hundreds of people there, or was it thousands filling that green spot in the middle of lower Manhattan, I couldn’t say. … By the time Tom Morello (Rage Against the Machine) and his guitar army took the stage, the momentum built by other musicians, labor, union and immigration activists had risen to a dizzying crescendo that made that mob mass feel as thought it was a million souls deep.

With the crush of the crowd and the crash of the mosh pit, this organic happening seemed like it was the eye of a vast human cyclone which we have realized stretches all the way around the globe, ultimately tapping into a network of peace-loving freedom fighters worldwide.

The people power was palpable, the kind you feel at a real good rock ‘n’ roll show. But this one was all for free, all for the good cause, no tickets or gates and the only security was each other. The good cause was to empower and educate the folks, the next generation, about political, economic, social and environmental realities. Then teach them (us!) what to do about it.

People have questioned: What’s Occupy about? … To break it down into simple terms, Occupy is against greed, countering all the destructive manifestations of that greed which is destroying our world. And Occupy is for human connectivity, raising the collective consciousness and sharing justly for all the resources of the Earth. I say this not as an official spokesman, but rather a humble participant and member of "Occupy Faith."

So as Tom M. [as] The Nightwatchman led us in song … there was stirred inside of us a profoundly powerful sense of unity. Not just of the radical activists of NYC, but of the much broader human family that populates every corner of our blue and green planet, third stone from the sun. Stay strong, my brothers and sisters, and keep the faith.

Letters: Major-Minor Details Major-Minor Details

The early days of the Alibi—then known as NuCity (before a Chicago publication with a phonetically identical name threatened to rip out all of our editorial teeth)—were the types of days that every flash-of-genius writer chortles over when he’s being interviewed by Oprah about his sizzling debut novel, or every tech guru recalls as she laughingly characterizes her time spent paying her dues before the Big Brilliant Idea that Changed Technology Forever. They were days of subsisting on Fred’s bagels (since we mostly got paid in "bagel bucks" instead of cash); working (sometimes even crashing) in a hot office box with Department of Health condemnable carpet; and simply assuming, with the nearly impervious certainty of youth, that everything would get better, and that we’d have fun in the meantime.

Since I was a bit older (a UNM grad student) than the whippersnappers (freshly minted University of Wisconsin alumni who’d graduated at age 14 after starting the now-famous
Onion, and who then bounded over to Albuquerque to launch NuCity), maybe my perviousness was perviouser. A couple of symbolic events shook my sense of admittedly weak professionalism.

One came in the form of the "serious" debut of our politics issue. We’d worked hard on the format and content. Local pols running for office had been profiled; corresponding election season events had been catalogued; illustrations had been applied to cleverly embellish the stories. I, as the managing editor / editor, along with our copy editor at the time, had the last look through before giving the final approval. Perfect! So proud! So political! So grown up! Too bad about the blaring, mega-point headline that spelled the word "candidate" wrong, as we saw the next day before the issue inexorably hit the stands—a classic minor-major detail. The other folks at the paper who were psychologically healthier than I was just laughed it off, smoked a cigarette and began laying out the next issue.

The second event actually came before the first one chronologically, but it had bigger ramifications at the time. We were applying for membership in AAN, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. A group of us (Chris Johnson, Dan Scott, Landry? Dabney? O’Leary? Jonesy? Petersen?) had flown over to California with our precious offering: An issue that featured a solid, well-researched story by the inimitable Tim McGivern, illustrated by the swashbuckling Jason Waskey. We actually had to appear before a panel of AAN judges in an “American Idol”-meets-the-North Korean Ministry of People’s Security moment. And we were eviscerated. Bomblets like "juvenile" and "unprofessional" and "unworthy" were tossed about casually by people who were supposed to be cool! They had the word "alternative" in their dang title! Where was the encouragement, the pub invitation, the tender promise of mentorship? AAN was important since, through membership, we could use their big stories in our paper, and they could pick up and circulate ours as well. It was the only time, to date, that a professional setback made me cry. One journalist in the judging group did attempt to defend us and spoke to us afterward as well. He was the lone African-American on the panel and commended the diversity of our coverage. Chris and Dan lobbed a few choice expletives, laughed, said we’d be fine and smoked some cigarettes.

They were right. We eventually did make it into AAN, now operating under the expanded 21st identity of Association of Alternative Newsmedia. "Canidates," both in title and in practice, are long forgotten. (Although we did once have an interesting conversation with at-the-time New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, which presaged his perpetual Libertarian presence on the national ticket … but that’s another story.) So while most of us, past and present, may not be Oprah dazzlers or tech zillionares, we probably have better carpet now, and the
Alibi still laughs, spits out an expletive here and there, maybe smokes a cigarette when the spouse isn’t looking and publishes onward.

Letters should be sent with the writer’s name, address and daytime phone number via email to letters@alibi.com. They can also be faxed to (505) 256-9651. Letters may be edited for length and clarity, and may be published in any medium; we regret that owing to the volume of correspondence we cannot reply to every letter. Word count limit for letters is 300 words.

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