Letters to the editor

Of the minorities, by the minorities and for the minorities

I see that someone has not only shown me that there is only one group of people that resides here in this city, but that they are the only ones being hired for civil-service jobs as well. I am referring to the minority group of which Ms. Laura Gordon is speaking [Letters, Aug. 8]. This tells me that I shouldn’t even consider applying for a job with city, county or state agencies — [since filling these jobs is] solely based on hiring the minority people.

Darn, I always thought that “equal opportunity” meant regardless of color of skin, race, religion, ethnicity, etc. Seems that this lady has bent the federal guidelines to suit only the hiring of minorities and not any other ethnic group residing in this city.

When [Abraham Lincoln] stated, “of the people, by the people, and for the people,” it got twisted to “of the minorities, by the minorities, and for the minorities.”

What in the hell is happening to society? Has it completely gone blind? This woman is more racist, as she refers only to minority groups, and not the work force as a whole.

I am waiting till every office, position or whatever is filled solely with minority people, and then we will see who helps who. It is coming to that eventually. With people like this woman in such a position that she holds, [the rules] might as well say, “Hey, all nonminority people, elderly, etc., we don’t want you working for us any longer; we only hire minority people.”

This attitude went out in the Middle Ages, when only certain people could hold rights and title(s) to land, when only certain ones could be elected to positions within the kingdom. And I thought that the Middle Eastern countries were far behind; this is going to put the United States so far behind them that there will be no chance to advance or progress.

I ask her to clarify herself in regards to this letter, and to provide her sources as well, as I do not think that she can do either.

In regards to the “good ol’ boy” system: Well, when all those who have held jobs within civil service stop trying to get their daughters, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law, and all of the rest of the kinfolk in good with city, county or state jobs, then [things] might be different. Nepotism — if any of them even know the meaning of that word — by federal law, is highly illegal, and is punishable by fines, etc.

And since when did the state Fire Fighters Association start fighting for me? I have never seen them fighting for veterans, veterans’ rights or benefits, or even equal placement in jobs. This tells me that the entire state of North Carolina hates its veteran community, of which many hold [jobs] and operate businesses within Asheville as well.

The last time I saw minorities do anything was when they walked out of a veterans’ rally in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., and turned their backs on their supposed comrades in arms, ’cause they knew all they had to do was use the color of their skins to get jobs.

I do know that most city employees are either related, married to, or dating people within the system, and that is how they get their jobs — thereby pushing those who are more qualified out of contention. Then the city, county or state has the damn audacity to send letters, stating that they hired the one who was “most qualified” for the job.

— Lori Anderson

Pot’s prohibition: Letting fear vanquish love

What is it about this plant (cannabis)? Why is it some people in our society punish and abuse people who grow and use this plant? Is it really about the psychoactive effect of cannabis, and the very debatable risks of using it? Or is it about the petro-pharmaceutical companies’ conspiracy to keep Americans dependent on their synthetic, profitable products?

I think the above plays a big role in prohibition (which we know doesn’t work). Look at alcohol: The conflict between prohibition and tolerance has been happening for many years. It’s a competition between love and fear. Love acts from a self-confident center, solving problems with intelligence and creativity. Fear is reactive, producing hate, violence and aggression. Ultimately, prohibitionists’ ideology is a manifestation of their own fear. They’re trying to control others because of their own loss of control.

Marijuana can serve as a learning tool for [people] to better understand certain aspects of themselves. Those who appreciate cannabis find a beneficial experience, which leads to tolerance of diversity, individual acceptance and self-understanding.

Cannabis has become, in our society, a symbol for natural medicines, herbal healings and resistance to pharmaceutical dominance. It’s also a symbol for nontoxic farming in all aspects of human needs: food, fuel, fiber, medicine.

Cannabis has always had these attributes. But the common perception of cannabis has been dominated by the negative symbols created by fear, by our own people in government.

We must stop believing the lies and search the truth, for it is out there.

— David Mittler

Pack flashes Asheville

I was sitting in Beanstreets the other day, staring at the hideous sign in front of the art museum. Hideous, ugly. Tacky, tacky, tacky. Words fail me. Here we have a show from the Whitney, the absolute top museum of American art in the world, and we advertise it with a highway sign.

From a purely business point of view, consider that just one of the Edward Hopper paintings in the last show was valued at over $12 million dollars, and we show this caliber of art our respect by hawking it with flashing lights more suitable to advertising the Extreme Games. Of course, with the mentality of the people in charge, they will probably post three rings of armed guards around the museum, now that it’s known how valuable the stuff is. (Not that you could ever fence them, so if you are of the felonious bent, forget it.)

Who, I wonder, is the intended audience for this sign? Me, who obviously knows more about art than the guys who bought the sign will ever learn? Or a random driver, a tourist perhaps, coming into a five-street intersection? I sit with my latte as “Kandinsky … Jasper Johns … Jackson Pollock” flash across the screen. Step right up, two for a dollar.

I find this flashing sign so embarrassing. I hope no one from the Whitney sees it. I wouldn’t blame them one bit if they never sent us another painting. This sign has done for Pack Place what Disney has done for art.

For the thousands spent on the sign, couldn’t we have found some local artists to give us something just a tiny bit more creative? Asheville seemed to be doing so well with its public architecture and the growth of art. We had even become an art-buying destination, from the street booths of Bele Chere to the Southern Highlands Craft Fair and the beautiful downtown galleries. Art — now there’s a good, clean industry. No clearcutting, no asphalt. Just art.

How easy it would be for us to back up just a bit and turn the other way around that last corner. Let us hold the image of the city of Asheville as an art-and-music center.

So why not just sell that sign and put down a payment on the vacant lot on Biltmore and make it a pocket park, so the kids will have somewhere to play music and not be driven from the center of their own town? And I am sure that some highway project could really use the gaudy blinking sign now marring the center of our city.

— Elizabeth Eames

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