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Letters to the Editor
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An angry critic rises


I am writing to express my distaste and disappointment in your cover story, “An Angry Tide Rises,” by Clarence Wilson, and the accompanying cover photo.  I find the feature story objectionable on many fronts, so allow me to share them one by one. 

While the article purportedly takes a look at the increasing youth crime rate, it appears that your pointed choice of the cover photo and every subsequent photo linked to the story are those of black youth.  So either crime is synonymous with blackness or you forgot to mention or display the faces of white youth who have committed crimes. 

There is a disproportionate number of crimes in Savannah perpetrated by youth and adults who are black; that is an undeniable fact. But what you and your paper are doing I have to believe unwittingly, is further ingraining an immediate association between blacks and crime so that every law-abiding young black teen trying to walk down the street in Savannah becomes suspect and subjected to experiences that I call “purse-grabbing” or “street-crossing” by whites who are afraid to come anywhere in contact with them. 

You see I have lived in many other urban cities where as an adult I have experienced this phenomenon following sustained media coverage that saturated the environment with fear and racism (I will give the Morning News partial credit here).  And I am 53 years old, so I’d like to think that my self image was already intact!  

Regarding your cover photo, I could not believe – having seen the alternate photo in the inside page and the larger version of that photo on the feature story page – that you would be so insensitive as to use a photo where the man restraining the teen-ager appeared to be cupping her under her breast. Perhaps that was her father (still inappropriate) or her brother (also inappropriate) but we can be fairly certain that if she is a teenager out of control that it is not her husband (the only case where you might have overlooked his hands near her breast). 

Since you failed to say very much in the article about the photo or the incident, I sincerely hope you can respond and tell me why THIS particular shot – was so callously and insensitively used. 

Did she not deserve any respect because she appears “brazen and bold” and out of control?” This shot could have been cropped just like the photo on the inside page and we wouldn’t have seen her stomach exposed either. 

So if all of your examples of the increase in youth crime are not examples of black youth engaged in criminal activity, would you kindly identify for me which ones aren’t?  But if the discourse was a perpetuation of blackness equated with criminality, then would you sir be so “bold and brazen” as to say exactly what you mean….

In my view, Savannah believes that “warehousing young people and adults to “get those individuals off the streets” will be the answer to their fears and will spend millions of dollars to build bigger jails.  But we have a bigger crisis here in Savannah and we need to help people to understand that it is in their own enlightened self-interest to really educate as opposed to incarcerate young people – if angry tides are rising, there aren’t enough gated or secluded communities to escape that reality.

Alethea Frazier Raynor, Ph.D.



Shot was ‘offensive’

I think that your cover photo for “An Angry Tide Rising” was very offensive and inappropriate. The shot could have been tighter and not place emphasis on the female’s breast and the male’s hand below them. The picture was not explained in your main story. 

Youth violence is indeed a problem but you did not show any in-depth analysis.   I expected an analysis on Savannah; however, you were all over the map. 

Rich Fergerson



Editor’s Note: Savannah is a majority African-American city, so it’s only natural that African-Americans will often be featured on the cover of our newspaper -- in good situations and not-so-good ones - as a reflection of the community in which we do business.

Over the past twelve months, Connect Savannah has featured 17 African-Americans on the cover. Of those, only two cover stories, including “An Angry Tide Rises,” used photos that could be said to portray individual African-Americans in less than a totally positive light. (The other cover story used a stock image not of local origin.) This of course is not counting the literally dozens of articles inside the paper over the past year featuring the accomplishments and perspectives of African-American artists, musicians, activists and leaders.

The cover photo you both refer to was taken by Stephen Morton, a well-respected local photojournalist who has done much work for the Associated Press. The circumstances surrounding the photo were indeed described, if briefly, within the story.

The photo was chosen because it was powerful, evocative and germane to the issue. And in this case the subjects did indeed happen to be African-American.




The bars of New York


Regarding your recent column, “What I did on my summer vacation”:

I just returned from my very first trip to Tybee Island and was reading your Letter from the Editor while waiting for my flight.  The reason I am writing to you is that I am a New Yorker.  I am so sorry that you were not able to find the bars.  That’s because you were looking in the wrong places.  So I thought I would be a nice New Yorker and give several places to visit next time you decide to come to NY.  You were close, but missed them by a few blocks.

Patrick Conways and Annie Maguires - both great Irish bars with excellent after-work crowds.  They are located on E. 43rd between Madison and Vanderbilt. These bars are 1/2 block from Grand Central Station. 

If you make a left on Vanderbilt, off East 43rd, and cross the street, there is a bar at the end of Grand Central Station called “The Beer Bar”.  If you then make a right onto East 45th when you leave the Beer Bar, walk 3 blocks to 3rd Ave., then make a left and walk a few blocks, you will run into many Irish bars, one right after the other.  All of these bars also have extensive food menus if you are hungry. 

Now if you are on the West Side of town, there’s one bar that I went to that was great.  Iguana’s is on West 56th just off Broadway.  There’s an upstairs if you just want to drink, or downstairs where you can drink and dance. There’s also no cover charge. One more bar I recommend you visit is Light, which is on West 46th just off 5th Avenue. 

If you find yourself downtown, near the Seaport, there’s many bars on Water Street. The backs of these bars are on Stone Street, where you can sit outside and drink or eat. There are many bars at the Seaport that have happy hour every night from 5 - 7 p.m. and you can sit outside on the pier and drink.  

Paulette Vabrinskas



Time for Dems to step up


As a life-long member of the Democratic Party, I believe the following is applicable today. Over the years I’ve observed an inherent weakness in its structure, it’s lack of unity of binding together.  Hasn’t anyone heard, “In numbers there is strength?”

Chatham County Coastal Democrats met on August 23rd at a local restaurant.  Skidaway Island Democrats met at the Plantation Club August 26th.  Does their left hand know what their right hand is doing?

An article which appeared in a local publication conceded the State of Georgia to the Republican White House and urged Democrats to concentrate on electing local Congressmen. Does anyone believe Congress has the final say in policy? 

Let’s wake up and smell the coffee.  Unite and elect not only a Democratic Congress but a Democratic White House in the forthcoming elections.

Sal Miceli


Farewell, sweet Red Dot


The Habersham Street Red Dot Special has ended -- permanently.

I got a crushing dose of summertime blues Thursday when I noticed a soft drink company technician removing the Slurpee machine and the drink cooler from the day-old bread shop just north of the Police Barracks on Habersham. It made me wonder if the folks there had somehow lost their grip. When I took a closer look, the horrible, earth-shattering truth emerged.

The little shop of baked mark-downs was closing! It had been there as long as I can remember. It was a great place for downtowners to nip in when a need presented itself.

There was a time when for less than $3 you could walk out the front door of the place with enough (day-old) bread, cookies and breakfast buns to keep a family of four going for almost a week. The place always featured the finest in (day-old) Entenmann’s products -- and after a short blast from the microwave, who knew?

I often saw families stock up their freezers for a month for less than $10, heaving large bags and bundles of goodies into the back of station wagons and vans. The ladies there were wonderfully friendly, offering advice on which tasty wares were the “freshest.”

The place was an oasis in an area with few shops of any kind, always ready with a frosty bottle of juice or water for thirst-crazed passers-by needing a cooling jolt to make it the last couple of blocks to their homes on a broiling summer day. The ladies always had a good variety of wheat breads on hand and at the lowest prices in town. My favorite was always the carrot cake.

I still remember the day I hit the long-sought Red Dot Special. I could feel something in the air when I eased up to the cash register with a handful of Moon Pies, a couple of loaves of bread, a Big Orange from the cooler, and a “mature” Entenmann’s coffeecake. The old 1950’s style register seemed to actually tremble a tad before spitting out that beautiful, yearned-for Red Dot! My order was free!

I walked across Habersham on air until I reached Columbia Square. Then I thought, “Damn! I was an idiot for not ordering more!”

Thanks for everything, ladies, and sorry to see you go. Next time I need sandwich bread at an odd time, I’ll likely have to burn $3 worth of gas to get it.

T. D. Conner