Letters to the editor

All in a day’s job?

This letter is in response to your article [“What’s in a Name?” Nov. 17] on Sheriff Medford. I am not writing to badmouth anyone, I just want the record set straight.

I am a former employee of the sheriff, and until I started getting transferred around, the sheriff had always been good to me. He even held my job for me when I was involved in a wreck on my way to work, [from] which it took me months to recover.

I am a good officer. I loved my job and loved the kids that I worked with as a school resource officer for most of my career. I have no idea why I was transferred from an SRO to patrol, but two days before school started in 2003, I was called into the sheriff’s office and transferred.

I went to my new assignment, but the patrol schedule put me in a very stressful situation at home because it took a lot of time away from my daughter. The stress landed me in the hospital with chest pains. Fortunately, it was only stress and not anything more serious.

One month later, I was transferred to another patrol squad. Two of my supervisors tried unsuccessfully to keep that transfer from happening. After many tears and prayers, my husband and I made the decision that I should leave my career that I had worked for so hard. I turned in my resignation. I have gone on with my life.

Then your article was published on Nov. 17. That very day, the sheriff filled out the paperwork to drop my law enforcement certification with Buncombe County. That action resulted in me losing another job which required that I be a sworn officer.

I feel like the sheriff is under the impression that I had something to do with your article, due to the fact that, at the time, Brenda Fraser and I were employed at the same place. I would like for you to make it known that this letter is the first communication I have had with your paper.

I was a good employee for Buncombe County. I did nothing to warrant what I was put through. I guess my problem was that I did not play “politics,” and unfortunately that seems to be the name of the game.

Thank you for setting the record straight.

— Marcia L. Dies
Weaverville

Vincent’s spirit lives on

After all is said and done, Vincent’s Ear lost the battle, and its demise has left many displaced, myself included. Since its closing, I have found myself wandering up and down Lexington Avenue, hungry for something I used to take for granted — not simply a smiling face, but a friend or acquaintance greeting me by name. (Ironically, the Lantzius family wanted to curtail the loitering on Lexington, and I, who never before did so, have [loitered] on a few occasions since we lost the space to hang out amongst our community.)

But why am I writing this now, since it won’t do a damn to save Vincent’s? Because I want to remind the rest of the community — especially the artists of all kinds that used to call Vincent’s home — that our fight is just beginning. We cannot sit by and let this event become a distant blip in the media. Any person or entity contributing to the destruction through gentrification of Asheville must be held accountable. They may have won the battle, but the war ain’t over. We must not forget that, and we must not let the media forget.

The Asheville Community Resource Center recently found a new downtown residence. There is hope. I am not harboring some naive notion that Vincent’s Ear itself will reopen; I am simply suggesting that if we continue to let our voices be heard, perhaps we can salvage what we have left, and if we continue to plant the seeds of our creativity, a new stage for that community might again take root downtown. It might not be another Vincent’s Ear — but who knows? I’ve heard quite a few displaced Vincent’s patrons suggest that we could turn this into a good thing.

Could we? Will we?

P.S. Thanks again to Joanie and Rick for everything.

— Erin Socha
Asheville

Congress should heed the call for voting integrity

On Thursday, Jan. 6, Sen. Barbara Boxer of California joined Ohio Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones and other House members in objecting to certification of Ohio’s electoral votes. Theirs was a courageous display of true leadership, bringing to light important problems in our electoral system and, in particular, those that took place in Ohio this November.

These representatives fought on behalf of all of us — insisting on integrity in our electoral process. They did this while faced with a hostile and disrespectful Republican majority. Time after time, the representatives made it clear that their objective was not to change the outcome of the election in Ohio, but to shed light on the widespread irregularities and voter disenfranchisements that were reported leading up to — and on — Election Day. Instead of affirming the spirit of the Democrats’ concerns and engaging the issues raised, the Republicans who spoke ridiculed these Democrats, accusing them of partisan maneuvering and dismissing their complaints.

Republican pundits are certain to stick to the Republican message that the Democrats who objected are sore losers, [thus sidestepping] the real issues being raised. I want to make sure that the voices of those calling for accountability and integrity in our elections are heard and that the problems witnessed in Ohio are investigated and addressed. I urge you to investigate this issue yourself so that you may support the people in the Senate and the House who want to ensure the future of our democratic process.

— Arami Bolick
Asheville

Take note

I was just going home about 3 a.m. after finishing a bittersweet gig at Jack of the Wood. The band I play in (Laura Blackley Band) would be taking a hiatus.

When I first saw the note, I thought maybe one of our tear-filled fans had left me a sweet message. Obviously, I was wrong. I thought the note did, however, deserve some attention. So here it is, and I quote:

“I see That you where a kerry saporter You don’t have aclue do you. Just another dumbass That did not Take The Time To learn aboat That coward. you are Just another idiot who can’t read or does not have The I.Q. To gather all The Facts and learn The Truth. Pluss you most like Queers since you are a Jhon Kerry Fan. Get The facts Fool.”

So, I guess they saw my Kerry bumper sticker … missed the gay rainbow, though.

— Julie Couch
Fairview

Your choice may change the world

The tsunami reminds us how good it feels to open our hearts to our fellow human beings. Yet, while our eyes are turned toward the Indonesian people, we must not lose sight of the violence going on daily in Iraq.

America’s “warriors” have killed over 10,000 unarmed Iraqi civilians (men, women and children), and have seriously wounded many more. … Our power-hungry administration wants to control Iraq and Iraq’s vast oil reserves. The Bush administration knows the industrial world is totally addicted to oil, and whoever controls the majority of the world’s oil supply will control Asia, China and ultimately the world. We see our tax dollars go to totally destroying Iraqi cities … . And [then] our tax dollars go to the companies (owned by friends of the Bush family) to rebuild the Iraqi cities our military destroys.

So, what can one do? To start, turn off this nation’s most popular electronic drug — the television — and listen to Democracy Now on 103.5 FM. The truth may begin to set you free.

And, stop listening to others who tell you how to live your life. Choose. You may want to be miserable or angry. You may want to feel good, even when things are difficult. It is up to you. You can stop living in deep fear of what might happen, or what others may do to you.

You can begin doing what you love doing, with passion, joyfully. You can focus here, not on those who worship money and having power over others. You can commit to not harming yourself, or others, or our beautiful home, the Earth. You can enjoy yourself and feel deeply grateful for your life, as it is. You can serve others and help out in your community.

From small steps, big things sometimes come. It is this energy that will change the world. It’s up to you.

— Kim Cajkowski
Asheville

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