Letters to the editor

Your help needed

The 415 inmates of the Buncombe County Detention Facility (BCDF) would appreciate donations of paperbacks and games. We are isolated in individual cells [for] 17 hours per day and never have access to the outdoors, or to physical recreation.

Please mark donations “To BCDF” and bring to [the administrative offices of the Asheville-Buncombe Community Christian Ministry at] 30 Cumberland Ave. Especially desired are newer nonfiction, women’s biographies, humor, classics, teen and children’s easy readers, Korans and Bibles. Games desired are UNO, Clue, backgammon, Monopoly and Life.

Thank you.

— B.B.

[Ed. Note: The letter writer is a current resident of the Buncombe County Detention Facility.

For yet another means of donating books to inmates, contact the local Prison Book Program at 254-3025, or visit the organization’s Web site (www.main.nc.us/prisonbooks/).]

You go, Cecil! You go, Xpress!

Hats off to Cecil and the staff of the Xpress. You are WNC’s best.

Since Cecil Bothwell became managing editor of the Xpress, the weekly has become a major contributor to the health and vitality of our community. We are blessed with magazines and weeklies like Asheville Global Report, Spirit in the Smokies, New Life Journal and Rapid River, but the Xpress does it all, from the spiritual and [the] arts, to the tough political reporting.

Keep up the great work.

— JoAnna and Richard Fireman
Mars Hill

[Ed. Note: Cecil Bothwell has been with Xpress since our Sept. 11, 2002, issue. We like him, too.]

Rosetta’s roasts Rabey in recycled fryer oil

This is a response to [Frank Rabey’s] “Best Place to Get a Snoutful of Hippie” article in the rants-and-raves section of the Mountain Xpress’ Best of WNC 2003. Did Rosetta’s win anything? No! Then, what is up with the negative publicity in your weekly?

Your stereotyping is biased and unjournalistic. Frequenting Lexington Avenue daily, as well as being two unhippie Rosetta’s employees, we are disappointed in your write-up. Where did you get those pictures, for starters? Second, pigeonholing children’s names and discussing violence in the same breath is a dangerous relationship, not to mention the parents who named those kids were very upset. Have you ever been to our establishment, or are you making assumptions from an outsider-observationalist perspective?

Did you have fun doing your research on patchouli, because [we’ve] never smelled it within these walls? Perhaps if you were a writer of some caliber, you wouldn’t be reduced to playing off hackneyed and inaccurate stereotypes, maybe even [finding] something worthwhile to say. But it’s so easy to regurgitate all of the mainstream’s fears of nonconformity, and kowtow to the corporate ideals of American corporate society.

Here are some facts that you somehow missed: We compost 100 gallons of waste per week; our used fryer oil is recycled into biodiesel; we have a wide variety of styles in our food, customers and employees; Rosetta (who is named after her grandmother) is a second-generation vegetarian; we stay open till 3 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday; we offer a free double feature every Monday night; tip coin change (at $700) goes to a different local nonprofit each month; [and that’s not to mention] many more components that encompass most of humankind. We hope we can still be The Little Restaurant That Could after your horribly discriminating exposure [of us] to the public.

Hot under our collars and chokers:

— Gabe Johnson and Sari Janczlik

[Ed. Note: Frank Rabey responds, again: One rant deserves another, and I certainly appreciate yours. I would, however, ask you to go back and look a little more closely at my own. The piece was never meant to malign Rosetta’s; its language was intentionally inflated in large part because I think we, as a town, take ourselves way too seriously. The piece is satire, nothing more.

Let me reiterate: Your Little Restaurant That Can, and Does, was never intentionally attacked — nor would it be, since all of us at Xpress are very fond of the place. In fact, you’ll often find me there, honing my insider-eater perspective — I’m the one with the T-shirt that says Corporate, Stereotyping Hack With Fears Of Noncomformity.

The pictures, by the way, were taken on lower Lexington Avenue.

None of this, however, changes the fact that patchouli still makes my eyes water. Apparently, even my sinuses wear a suit and tie (and carry a briefcase).]

Best Of: You’ve got to be kidding

I’m sorry? Who got “Best Of” in seafood? Red Lobster? Well done, Asheville. Kudos to our local seafood connoisseurs for discovering Asheville’s best-kept secret. Red Lobster is indeed the best local seafood available. However, the Filet-O-Fish was a close second, and Long John Slivers had the heat on ’em all.

It seems strange to me that out of all the local restaurants, that’s the “best” we could find. I must admit, I like [Red Lobster’s] cheese-and-butter-biscuit things. I know it’s not seafood, but I’m trying to understand. Oh! And they’re expanding, too! More elbow room for the discerning seafood lover in you.

I also noticed [that the] “Best Of” children’s restaurant was McDonald’s. Is this “best” as in food quality, or is it just referencing those strangely erotic pools of plastic balls and Easy Bake climbing tubes surrounded by wrought-iron gates from McHell? You know you wanna dive in!

Thanks for smiling … they love that.

— Kie Cochran

Get on the bus … to Washington!

While our tax money is being diverted to corporate partners in Iraq and American needs go begging, the president is out raising zillions of dollars for re-election. It looks as though Bush plans an over-exposure next year that would make Arnold Schwarzenegger blush. Even ordinarily stoic television sets may gag.

But all is not lost. The answer to this sort of power has always been a campaign that raised people. And isn’t Profit vs. People at the root of our current national debate? Regardless of political party, those who value people more highly can make a statement of their own by joining the National March on Washington on [Saturday], Oct. 25.

President Bush doesn’t care what we think. But other Presidential candidates, timid members of Congress and, most importantly, average Americans do care. A big turnout in D.C. this month will encourage more of our fellow citizens to step up for the answer they also carry in their hearts. Throughout our history, party politics has rarely caused American social greatness. It was forged by abolitionists, suffragists, worker’s rights activists, the civil rights movement, and other mass risings that insisted on the sanctity of people over profit. Previous generations bequeathed us a rich heritage. It is our turn to live up to it.

National sponsors for the march are United for Peace and Justice, and ANSWER [Act Now to Stop War & End Racism]. Locally, the WNC Peace Coalition and Veterans for Peace are sponsoring a bus. Let America know where you stand. Call 680-9387 or 350-7934 to sign up!

— Michael Hopping

Xpress election questions fair

I object strongly to the idea — forwarded mainly by [Asheville City Council] candidate [Terry] Bellamy, but to some extent by [candidate Dave] Goree — that some of the questions asked by Mountain Xpress [“13 Vie for 3 Council Seats,” Oct. 1] are not City Council issues, when they obviously are. City Council could fund abortions, refer [people to] them, cover them in health insurance, and teach about them in schools. Many cities can and have passed resolutions opposing or supporting the occupation of Iraq, and capital punishment. The city could also place the Ten Commandments in city hall.

Also, all public offices are potential stepping stones to other public offices, strongly including the state legislature. This makes both of Goree’s “state’s-rights issue” [answers at www.mountainx.com/news/2003/1001questions] apply to him perhaps even more than to federal candidates. All this is in addition to the bully pulpit inherent to public office. A competent politician should really know better than to honestly believe any issue can ever be irrelevant to any office.

— Alan Ditmore

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