Ridgeway's track record

For 30 years, James Ridgeway has, in his person, his politics, and his writing, defined what makes the Voice a special publication. From Three Mile Island to 9-11, Ridgeway has provided some of the nation's most incisive and insightful coverage of government misfeasance and malfeasance. He was one of the first journalists in America to spotlight the threat posed by a resurgent racist and neo-Nazi movement, an issue he hammered away at in the pages of the Voice years before anyone ever heard of Ruby Ridge or Timothy McVeigh. His reports on escalating environmental abuses exposed corporate lawbreakers and bureaucratic indifference. Ridgeway's writings on conflicts from Bosnia to Baghdad to Haiti have always provided the otherwise unreported flip side of the world according to the mainstream media, in short reporting that jibes precisely with the exact mission of the Voice. Over the past few years, Ridgeway expanded onto the Web, filing regular nuggets of breaking news and even posting video reports on the 2004 elections. In light of this distinguished track record, the decision last week by the Voice's new ownership to terminate Ridgeway is shameful. It also sends a terrible message as to the sort of coverage that the new ownership portends. We call on Voice Media executive editor Michael Lacey and chairman and CEO Jim Larkin to reverse his discharge.

Tom Robbins
J. Hoberman
Lynn Yaeger
Nat Hentoff
Jarrett Murphy
Kristen Lombardi
Ed Park
Chuck Eddy
Robert Christgau
Nina Lalli
Elizabeth Zimmer
Dennis Lim
Tricia Romano
Aina Hunter
Corina Zappia
Jorge Morales
Wayne Barrett
Michael Musto
Jennifer Gonnerman
Darren Reidy

Exit interview

I've been reading the Voice since the '60s, but please inform the owners that I will no longer be buying their paper. The reason: the news that James Ridgeway has been fired. Ridgeway's reporting has for decades been the primary reason I've remained a loyal reader. I am stunned by the stupidity of whatever management people ordered Ridgeway's exit. I hope they will rescind their misguided order—lacking that, I shall read the Voice no more.

Sandy Mitchell
Mt. Shasta, California

Media virus

David Ng's report on the French riots ["Paris Loves a Riot," villagevoice.com, March 30] is, sadly, more of the same bogus anti-collectivist tripe that characterizes every U.S.-centric perspective. Despite Ng's assertions, there is no gangrene in the French social system. Instead, there is a virus in the reportage of it. The result is a view that cannot possibly conceive of a world where life can be organized (a) by governments for citizens' betterment, (b) without the domination of U.S.-style capitalism. Come on, guys, get with the program and think outside the boring old American mind-set.

Marcus Breen
Newton, Massachusetts

Open invitations

As a West Village resident, I take offense to some of the letters ["Pier Pressure," Letters, March 29– April 4] written in response to Kristen Lombardi's article on Christopher Street and the pier. I invite anyone to visit our neighborhood on a warm late night, especially Thursday through Saturday. The sidewalks are full of prostitutes, drug dealers, and youth who have no respect for anyone. My husband and I were attacked by a group of 10 of these youth—my wallet was stolen and my husband was slashed with a razor blade. I once caught two men about to engage in anal sex on the steps of my neighbor's home—a home where two children live. No one should have to live with these conditions—excessive noise all night, urinating in our doorways, marijuana smoke filling our apartments. This has been turned into an issue of race and sexuality, and that is ridiculous—it is about unruly street behavior, safety, and quality of life.

Karla Mayol

While I'm sure that letter writer John Lugo of London, England, has the best intentions, I feel his removal from the situation in the West Village has put him at a distinct disadvantage. The problem is that these youths have virtually taken over and terrorized the neighborhood. At present, the piers and adjoining streets are being used for a never ending party. Drug dealers prey on these youths—members of the Crips have moved into the neighborhood to supply them with illegal substances. Last week, after an eight-month investigation, NBC news aired an exposé on teenage male prostitution on Christopher and adjoining streets, an area known to them as the Stroll, where they spend their nights being picked up by older men in cars.

So before Lugo condemns us for wanting to live in a safe neighborhood, I suggest he come here and walk these streets at night and see how safe he feels.

Jay Jeffries

Metal breakdown

D. Shawn Bosler's review of the Opeth concert ["Forest Metal," the Sound of the City, March 15–21] was so well written it took me almost three minutes to realize I'd just been insulted. I can't understand why Bosler had to write the entire review with his nose so high in the air you'd think someone dropped a turd in his martini. He spends more time deriding the audience and the trappings than he does reviewing the band or its music. How about a little more about the musicianship? Bosler casually mentions how great Opeth are in a sentence or two and then spends the rest of the text having a pseudo-show-off hissy fit about metal.

Mark Kohler
Webster, New York

Bring it on

The Voice has an immediate opening for a staff writer. We're looking for journalists who understand the difference between magazine-style reporting and the hurried factoid-finding of daily papers. The ideal candidate must have the ability to create in-depth and compelling stories that explore issues, events, and people.

We offer competitive salaries and benefits. Send cover letter, résumé, and clips to:

Ward Harkavy
Interim Editor in Chief
The Village Voice
36 Cooper Square
New York, NY 10003

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