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Letters to the Editor

'Reaching Out' a Reach

I feel it is important to correct the factually wrong assertion Joe Sullivan made regarding me in the May 31 issue. Mr. Sullivan's statement [in the cover story] that I am "reaching avoid the gentrified urbanist stereotype associated with that neighborhood" is incorrect. It is with great pride that I call the Fourth and Gill neighborhood home. I feel that as Knoxville considers the larger subject of downtown revitalization, my experience is a model for other parts of our city.

I have been a resident of the Fourth and Gill neighborhood since 1979. My wife, Carol, and I have been raising a family here since 1985. The business I started in 1977 is also located in this neighborhood. The company provides jobs and benefits for 20 citizens of our community.

When I moved into this neighborhood it had one of the highest crime rates in Knoxville. Buildings were deteriorating under the negligent ownership of absentee slumlords. There was no civic identity or pride of place. It was in freefall. There was no political voice. Schools and other public assets were being abandoned, and there was no capital investment in anything. Due to these conditions our older neighbors were trapped inside their homes. They were afraid to go outside and, unable to sell their only asset., their homes, to consider living elsewhere.

Since that time we have created, as measured by calls to the police department, one of the safest parts of the city. The decline of the housing stock is being addressed—houses are being restored. Young families with children, the next generation of champions for urban living, are moving in. And our neighborhood, I'll submit, is as attentive and civicly engaged as any in this county.

I am proud of our neighborhood and what we have accomplished. My view is [that] it is a worthy enterprise, not one that I would consider distancing myself from.

Jim Cortese

Playin' [at] 'Possum

Gosh, I do love your magazine and can't wait each Thursday for the next issue. However, I do have my own opinion since this is America and I am older than dirt, about George Jones, the subject of a recent [May 31] article by your Matthew Everett.

Just a little info that Matt failed to mention in his syrupy, devotional fan letter to Mr. Jones and his "heartfelt singing." Bull. The man is, was, and always will be, a drunk. That is spelled D-R-U-N-K. Poor Tammy Wynette. While she was singing "Stand by Your Man," Ole Possum himself was...[doing her in in unprintable ways].

What a man! Wish all of us gals could be so fortunate as to marry such a great talent. Ha.

M.L. Wilson

No More Melting Pot

For your article [May 17 cover story] on illegal immigrants in East Tennessee, why didn't you also talk to those most affected by cheap immigrant labor, American blue collar workers? Cheap immigrant labor depresses wages for everyone. That is why business favors the high immigration levels we have now. It is a myth that Americans will not do the less-desirable jobs, but they will not do them for the low wages that employers can get the immigrants for.

One can sympathize with the immigrant wanting to earn more here than he can in his native land. However, just as he puts his own and his group's self-interest first, so do we Americans have the right to look out for our self-interest. It is more than jobs and wages. It is cultural suicide to let our country be swamped by tens of millions of immigrants of a different language, culture, and traditions, many of whom have little interest in assimilation into the larger American society. We should be alarmed at the America we are in the process of leaving to our children and their children.

Has anyone noticed that almost all of the conflicts and wars around the world are racial and ethnic, or religious in nature, and that they are taking place in countries and areas of social diversity?

Our biggest environmental concern is rapid population growth, which exacerbates all environmental problems. U.S. population growth is being fueled primarily by immigration. Do immigration advocates want to invite all of them here? Actually, the invitation has already gone out.

K. Haun