Letters to the Editor

West Indefensible

Curtis Whatley’s column defending Kanye West (“More than just a rapper,” Sept. 8, p. 5) is perhaps the most ridiculous Bush-bashing column I’ve ever read. Whatley defends West’s comments that “George Bush doesn’t care about black people” arguing that West is head of his time. Actually, it appears that West is behind his time as the election was held 10 months ago with a majority supporting our “racist” president. West’s comments in no way helped the hurricane victims and likely hindered the efforts of the Red Cross to raise money. West should be on his knees apologizing to the victims of the hurricane, President Bush and the rest of the American people.

Whatley goes on to compare West to Muhammad Ali. Whatley writes, “Like Ali, West’s outspokenness and cocky swagger probably won’t be appreciated for years to come.” Whatley goes on to say, “Today, we say Muhammad Ali was head of his time.” What’s frightening about this statement is that Muhammad Ali was an advocate of racial separatism. Knowing this, I find it extremely offensive and irresponsible for Mr. Whatley to say Ali was ahead of his time. Thank God Ali’s views on racial cohabitation are not implemented today. I’m so appreciative of the fact that Americans no longer live in a society where blacks and white are forced to live separately, but according to Whatley, my views are obviously behind the times.

-Peter Glessing, sophomore

Circulator farce

Included in Thursday’s edition of The Hatchet was an “article” on the new Circulator buses that was, in fact, nothing more than an advertisement (“D.C. launches bus service,” Sept. 8, p. 11). A bit more research into the situation would have revealed that the creation of the Circulator evidences pervasive attitudes in the District that merit deeper discussion.

It should be noted that the Circulator’s yellow line is entirely duplicative of the D6 bus line. Its red line merely connects two stops on the Metro’s green line and follows a route already served by the 70 bus. Clearly, the purpose of these routes was not to connect previously inaccessible parts of the city. Rather, the Circulator merely provides a shinier, fancier way for tourists and residents of the newly gentrified areas that will soon be teeming with upscale condominiums to commute to similarly upscale shopping districts and events. Meanwhile, less affluent residents of the district still wait for failing buses and walk up broken escalators.

The Circulator system is the result of a complicated subcontracting relationship through which Metro has evaded the spirit of its agreements with its workers. Most Metrobus drivers are members of the Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689, which has negotiated with Metro to ensure that these employees have fair wages and health care benefits. The agreement for the operation of the Circulator buses was carefully structured to ensure that while Metro would oversee the new bus system, it would not directly employee the bus operators. Thus it would avoid the obligation to pay the previously negotiated salaries and benefits to these employees.

Clearly The Hatchet’s article contained some truth. The Circulator may well be an added convenience for those of us so fortunate that we can afford to spend a significant portion of our time in these highly priced parts of the city. It is unfortunate, however, that the “Independent Student Newspaper” did not take advantage of the opportunity presented by the Circulator to contribute to the debate over such issues as gentrification, union rights, urban economic development and the privatization of traditional public goods. By choosing instead to merely present an article focusing on the convenience of reaching the Georgetown bars on Friday night, The Hatchet has done its readers a disservice. In any event, I encourage my fellow students to research and understand the deeper issues surrounding the Circulator and make an informed decision whether to ride. For those who choose not to, I’ll see you on the D6.

-Shane Farthing, graduate student

No parking, no way

“University drafts site plans” (Aug. 25, p. 1) pertains to “Square 54,” the site of old GW Hospital.

There is still much in fighting and debate from the community, the D.C. Office on Planning and Zoning, developers and from GW itself. Everyone’s spinning their wheels for the proper use of this vast site, but noteworthy is your report of the GW draft of plans to include “underground parking and loading docks.”

This letter does not take the position of anyone of the affected parties or of the participants; instead it cites a position of no parking – absolutely no parking – underground or otherwise. We will not effectively combat congestion or the degradation of the quality-of-life by allowing yet more parking for more traffic and for more road “improvements.” We should emulate the European model for restoring, rebuilding and expansion, by – hold your breath – offering no additional parking.

As a member of the community, I do not view control over student population, mingling and “crowding” as critically as dodging some right-turn-on-red motorist yapping on a cell phone while searching for a parking spot.

-Edward Abramic

Long Island lament

I am writing in response to a new feature in The Hatchet titled “It ain’t Long Island.”

As someone from Long Island, I find the title of this column insulting. While I cannot deny that there are many students here who are from Long Island, that does not make it okay to insult people who are from Long Island. I, for one, came here without knowing a single other person who had come to GW. I had no idea how many Long Islanders attend GW. But the amount of ridicule I get for being from Long Island just makes me literally cringe every time anyone asks me where I’m from. As a student from Long Island who has been dealing with this for two years, I have to protest the name of this new column because it is just another way of ridiculing students from Long Island. We don’t get to choose where we grow up, we are simply told where to.

-Stephanie Pimentel, Junior

True charity

In response to the article “University offers assistance to displaced students” (Sept. 2, p. 1):

Our school can only offer to pick up the tab for late registration fees for displaced students from Tulane? I suppose the students will be obtaining free knowledge when they have to learn how to rent an apartment in D.C. It is shameful for the University to believe this is truly charity.

-Harry Mushlin, Junior

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