By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
BYE BAI BLUES
As a producer of numerous shows, I have seen the streaming to the center at PBS firsthand. Programs that I produced in the '80s, like Crisis to CrisisBarbara Jordan, will never be funded again by the czars at CPB.
San Diego, California
Wayne Barrett's article concerning the upcoming municipal elections ["2001: An Election Odyssey," January 16] left me with few expectations for any significant changes. Too many term-limited councilmembers believe their offices are an inheritance to be passed on to family members or staffers. Others are seeking higher office. The same old faces will continue dominating city government.
Why not expand the City Council to 59 members? District boundaries could be coterminous with those of the 59 New York community boards. Delivery of many city services is based upon them. Most councilmembers are part-timers, doing little more than naming streets after the dead. Community boards tend to better reflect neighborhoods than do the gerrymandered City Council districts. Smaller districts could support real diversity in membership.
Also, much work performed by the public advocate overlaps with work done by the city comptroller and other agencies. Why not save taxpayers some money and abolish the office?
In Peter Noel's article about the trial of Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs ["Daddy Under the Gun," January 9], a top witness's connection to the FBI was mentioned only in a quote from Combs's lawyer. Once again, a Voice writer has failed to show the full extent of foul play by police against a rap star. A January 10 article by Barbara Ross and Leo Standora in the Daily News mentioned that the police did a test on Combs's hands to see if he fired a gun, yet didn't send it to the lab for results. The same article also presented the credibility problem of a witness who accused Combs of firing a gun.
Furthermore, although Noel referred to Tupac Shakur's New York trial several times, he failed to mention allegations of police and prosecutor misconduct, such as erasing tapes supporting Shakur, keeping pictures from the defense team that contradicted statements by women who had accused him of sexual abuse, and police links to a codefendant.
Other foul play involving rappers that has gone unmentioned in the Voice includes award-winning Las Vegas Sun crime reporter Cathy Scott's assertion that the FBI was "allegedly watching both Tupac and Biggie [Smalls, who was on Combs's Bad Boy label] the nights they were killed." Finally, Noel mentioned Wu Tang Clan's Ol' Dirty Bastard, but failed to discuss a grand jury finding that undercover police illegally shot at ODB for no reason.
Such repeated actions by the police should lead someone to file suit on what looks, at the very least, to be a pattern of racial profiling of black rap stars.
Re "Confessions of a Gangsta Rapper" [January 23]: For Peter Noel to suggest that Larry "Biz" Pagett is like Sean "Puffy" Combs is ridiculous. I do not admire Puffy or what he stands for, but he is no gangster. All you have [in the Combs case] is a renegade D.A. who wants his name in lights. The Voice would gain more respect from its readers if you did not publish a garbage story about someone who is nothing but an uneducated gangsta wannabe rapper from Flatbush.
Les G. Matthews
I was thrilled to see Carol Cooper's article on artist and comics historian Trina Robbins ["Pretty Persuasion," January 9]. Robbins provided my first instruction in comic art when I was a teenager taking summer school classes, and continued to mentor me during my years as a full-time indie cartoonist. We now work together as editor and contributing writer on Powerpuff Girls at DC Comics.
Whether it's getting quoted out of context in a comics documentary, having an interview mysteriously cut short by misprinting in the comics trade press, or just plain getting slagged for her advocacy of women working in comics, Trina Robbins has always gotten short shrift from the neurotic, inbred comics industry. It's nice to see her getting the critical attention she deserves.
Thanks for Jeff Ryan's piece on female sports reporters [A Woman's Place," January 23]. I'm one of them and, unfortunately, there are still a lot of issues out there for us to deal withwe need a little inspiration now and then.
Re the death of Gregory Corso [January 30]: I remember attending a reading at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado, about 1974. Ginsberg, Burroughs, Ed Sanders, Anne Waldman, and at one particularly quiet moment a scratchy, cranky, nasally voice called out from the dark end of the auditorium for the poets onstage to be real: "Be poets! Not a bunch of kiss-asses." It was Gregory Corso.