Editor's Note: Due to a glitch in an email program, the following letters to the editor were not received in a timely fashion, through no fault of the letter writers themselves. We publish them here in full because these issues are still very relevant.
Ruling not so bad
Regarding your article “We the Corporations,” I think you make a couple of huge assumptions that make the Supreme Court’s decision look like some kind of political windfall for U.S. corporations.
Money has always been and will always play a role in politics. However, all money spent on politics does not lead to corruption, vote buying, nor disrupting free speech. Prior to this decision, were there not 527’s, unions or groups such as Move–On.org or Media Matters, supporting politicians with money, advertising, and endorsement support? Are we to assume that because a corporation donates money (you use Exxon Mobile to epitomize this potential evil–doing) to a campaign then something unethical has happened? If that’s the case, I also have to assume that organizations like the Sierra Club are doing the same thing, and that ultimately, the donator is only interested in their own self interests. I’m not that cynical.
Furthermore, if this were to happen, you assume that our voting public is a bunch of rubes and can’t figure out that they’re being had. I think the past year has shown that the internet is the largest alternative source for political fact checking. Chavez’s Citgo or bin Laden’s influencing the political process in this country would be exposed by connecting the dots. It doesn’t take an investigative journalist to do these things anymore. Anybody with a computer and a drive to do some research can connect the dots.
Finally, regarding the Brown election in Massachusetts; you are right to be annoyed with the Democrats for losing this election, however, you seem to have the same attitude regarding Scott Brown that they had: that he’s just a former Cosmo centerfold. As a result, Martha Coakley ran a lazy campaign assuming she could coat–tail ride into another Democratic victory, simply because of Massachusetts’ voting history. Saying the Democrats “let” Brown win the seat implys that he didn’t work hard and Coakley’s screw–ups were the key to victory. When you’re working with less money and from 30 points down and still win, it’s a little more than that.
In fact, the Scott Brown victory against a candidate with more money,connections and position just might show how big money doesn’t guareentee a victory. No matter how much money gets donated to a campaign, it’s the peoples’ vote that determine elections. To think other wise, well, you might as well stay at home at election time, because your cynicism will have already told you it doesn’t matter.
Fight the power!
Jim, you truly hit the nail on its proverbial head with your editorial “We the Corporations.”
Now, here’s a way in which Connect readers can help in this fight. If they’ll just cut and paste the below link to their browser, it will take them to a petition they can sign which is to be sent to President Obama and Members of Congress. I encourage each and every reader of this publication to do this, to let your feeling be known concerning this very important matter which will affect each and every on of us negatively if left unchecked.
For, the corps would like NOTHING better than to take over this land of ours.
Cindy from Wilmington Island
Holly Days of our discontent
I’ve been a resident of Savannah for over 7 years now. I have both worked in and managed downtown galleries and stores for nearly 5 of those years. This August I was fortunate to see my dream come to fruition when I was able to open my own art gallery downtown, Liquid Sands Glass Gallery. As a Broughton Street vendor I have quite a different take on Savannah’s Holly Days.
First off I’d like to mention that my husband and I brought my parents downtown to last year's event. We wanted to check it out and to get an opportunity to skate on Broughton Street. I like that you clarified that it should be called plastic skating — for it was certainly a huge disappointment when we realized a sheet of plastic placed in the road was to be “ice skating on Broughton Street.” Ridiculous and a tad bit of an insult to some of us northern transplants.
This year when the Chamber of Commerce came to tout the upcoming event and to get my signature for approval of closing Broughton, I was even more disappointed to learn that the 300 West block would be filled with a stage and Santa Claus. Not the right fit for most stores in this block. I was assured the Friday Night wine tasting would be great for my gallery and bring my demographic downtown.
I do not understand how the City and its affiliates figured that closing one of downtown’s main thoroughfares on the biggest shopping weekend of the year would be good for retail business. I have been in retail for nearly 20 years and am dumbfounded by the lack of insight into retailers’ minds that takes place here.
A few key points missed by the local media. First off the goal of the event is to help local merchants. I don’t see how many of us are helped by people sitting in chairs and watching stage performances or waiting in line for Santa. Nothing quite like watching kids play cornhole in the street to make you wonder where the organization went.
I’m also confused as to how so many non-Broughton merchants were able to get a table in the street. Which then leads to the question of why were about half of those merchant tables empty throughout the day?
The crowds seemed to be on East Broughton and except for a few stores (closer to Bull Street) the storeowners I’ve talked to all had disappointing sales.
As for the actual set-up of the event, on Friday the 300 West block was completely closed off. However, no one began building Santa’s stage or doing anything in the street until after 6 pm that night. As for the Wine Tasting — well, it was not on our block and since we were all blocked off with police at either end – you could see people turn on Jefferson and assume our block was not involved.
And who wants to pay a fee for a wine tasting? Seemed like there was a convenient fee to go with any activity. Certainly weren’t any fees to help local merchants.
Saturday brought one of the most pathetic setups for a Santa stage I’ve ever seen. As a professional merchandiser I have to agree with you that the lack of decorating downtown and the crappy blue and silver bows tied to lampposts don’t speak of holiday spirit to me — more a mockery of it.
Santa’s stage was not even 1/3 filled and Santa sat on a chair in the road, not even on his stage. I realize some parents and kids had a good time, and that’s wonderful, but that’s not what the event is about. It’s about promoting, supporting and sustaining the local merchants.
I certainly saw an abundance of shopping at the corporate stores — looked like Gap and Banana Republic fared well. So much for us locals I guess.
It’s not that I’m a scrooge or am against such an event, quite the opposite. It’s that the event is not planned for the retailers and is truly detrimental to a majority of us. Yes, downtown should be decorated to the nines right now. Yes, perhaps the event is a good idea but why not plan it for an already slow weekend? Why try to kill one of our main hopes for a largely profitable weekend by closing Broughton and confusing the already fun parking issue for locals?
Which means it’s time for the City and the Chamber to realize there’s more at stake than filling hotel rooms. Here’s hoping we can start some constructive criticism and make Holly Days an event we can all be proud of — or it’s time to stop wasting money on it.
Maybe the City should make Holly Days an event to take place on several squares, like the Telfair’s Art Fair or the Wright Square Merchants Holiday Opening. Time to think outside the box Savannah! We can do better and I plan to do what we can to ensure that for next year.
Liquid Sands Glass Gallery
319 W. Broughton St.