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Letters to the Editor (2) - July 19 2006

Dallas Austin, John Sugg's Metro Man

DUBAI DOES DALLAS

I know that I am only one person, but I feel that Dallas Austin (cover story, "Golden touch," July 13) should have sat his butt in jail for four years — because he broke the law of another country he was visiting. I feel the city should drop his Atlanta theme song he wrote and produced. This sends yet another clear message that [the] black entertainment community is above the law.

-- Timothy R. Marrs, Atlanta

I'd like to thank you for the excellent article on Dallas Austin and his debacles in Dubai. Considering all of Austin's contributions and loyalty to this city, it's appalling how quickly Atlanta's local leaders have turned their backs on their former chum. It really is unfortunate that all his behind-the-scenes work for Atlanta and the music industry has been overshadowed by this one incident, which has the potential to place him, in the public eye, in the same league as rappers with long histories of violence and drug use. I hope the people of Atlanta can look past this slip-up, which Austin himself seems to be fully repentant for, and realize that what he's done for Atlanta should have earned our forgiveness.

-- Liam Greenamyre, Decatur

I am gravely disappointed in the July 13 cover story about Dallas Austin. It's a shame that Creative Loafing feels a successful African-American in the music industry is only worth putting on the cover when he has been arrested for drug possession.

While reading the piece, I noticed several statements that were incorrect or unclear. For example, you noted that Orrin Hatch came to Austin's aid due to Austin's popularity. But in actuality, Hatch simply did a favor for Austin's attorney who also has served as Hatch's attorney.

It's time for CL to start putting minority success stories on the cover instead of only stories of their failure.

-- Thyrsa M. Gravely, Atlanta

FAIR AND UNBALANCED

John Sugg's sycophantic pandering to Wayne Mason in his recent article "Towering ambition" (Metro Man, July 13) reads like a press release for Mason's rezoning applications. The slim section of property he owns at 10th Street and Monroe [Drive] should not be rezoned at all. Piedmont Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the most significant public park in the Southeast. The tree line at this slim section of property should remain intact, with park space available for all. This location is the last place in the city of Atlanta that these towers should go. Although one can see that Mr. Sugg attempted to remain "fair and balanced," it was clear that the pro-developer slant came across as something more appropriate for Fox News than for a community newspaper like Creative Loafing.

-- Cary Aiken, Atlanta

CAGED HEAT

Strangely, John Sugg's arguments support [U.S. Rep.] Lynn Westmoreland's position on the Voting Rights Act more than they discredit it (Metro Man, "'Caging' voters," July 6).

First, Sugg fails to define Westmoreland's proposal. The portion of the Voting Rights Act in dispute requires certain states, counties and municipalities to get "pre-clearance" from the Justice Department for all changes to their election law. Who is subjected to this scrutiny is based on discriminatory behavior in the 1964, 1968 and 1972 elections.

Westmoreland has proposed that the act be amended to instead look for discriminatory behavior in the three most recent elections (1996, 2000 and 2004). Sugg says that would "deep-six the election law."

Sugg points specifically to electoral misconduct in New Jersey in 1981, in Ohio in 2004 and in contemporary Florida. Presumably, he cites these instances to illustrate why the Voting Rights Act shouldn't be changed ... except that none of those states are currently covered under the VRA provision in question. Ironically, their discriminatory behavior is too recent to subject them to heightened federal scrutiny.

Meanwhile, Sugg cites only two examples from currently covered states: Arizona's misconduct from 40 years ago and Georgia's current voter ID law, which, Sugg fails to note, the Justice Department approved.

Westmoreland's proposal is sound. Focusing on misconduct from a generation ago betrays the original purpose of the VRA.

-- Loren Collins, Atlanta,

write-in candidate for U.S. representative, 4th District