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Letters to the Editor 

Irons Responds
I appreciate that your writers and your readers want to know that I am sincere when I say I am going to take the "for sale" sign down from City Hall ("Off and Trotting," Dec. 11). I think my full quote delivered to the Chamber underscored my commitment.

Since my announcement in September, I have made it clear "we're going to have an open, we're going to have a fair, we're going to have a competitive process where people can see why individuals got a contract." This was the full quote I made to the Chamber audience last week.

I don't see how much clearer I could make the statement, other than to add that I included contracting reform in my written economic plan. So far, I am the only candidate to put her commitment to reform in writing and distribute it to voters and the press.

What I intended to emphasize last week is that in an Irons' administration everyone will be able to compete in a fair and transparent bid process, be they supporters or opponents. Right now, there is no formal "process", only a political one. The people who are really scared of me are those who benefit from the status quo and who know I will change the very way City Hall and the City Council do business.

State Sen. Paulette Irons

Candidate for Mayor

Nomc Responds
Rob Lucas' recent accusation ("Airing Differences," Dec. 4) that the New Orleans Media Center (NOMC) attempted to censor educational programming on public access television is an outright falsehood with no basis in reality. At no time has the NOMC ever attempted to dictate the content of any programming offered by NOETC, the consortium of higher education institutions which enjoys free access to Cox Cable channel 76. Lucas' negative comments are in apparent reaction to the quality and technical standards required of all access producers.

Further, while Lucas may feel "insulted" by the transfer of NOETC programming from access channel 6 to access channel 76, the move was fully justified by the NOMC's policy decision that a broader array of fresh, new and creative access programming deserved higher profile on a lower-numbered channel that did the canned, stale, repeat and limited "educational" programming then-scheduled by NOMC.

With respect to the claimed entitlement to annual grants of $25,000, the decision to phase out such funding was a function of the City Council's comprehensive review of the then-existing access system and a determination that the money would be better spent on state-of-the-art equipment and studio facilities to benefit all access programmers rather than a favored few. A further consideration was the appropriateness and legality of subsidizing private educational institutions' tele-course offerings with public money.

The Board of Directors of NOMC and its staff are hardworking and qualified individuals who believe in the NOMC's mission to make available to all comers the chance to produce and air diverse programming and to expose young people to career opportunities in broadcasting and communication technologies.

These folks deserve better than Bob Lucas' cheap shots and Gambit's superficial report.

Michael W. Tifft
Board member and secretary, NOMC

'Stealing'Land, part one
Robert O'Connor accuses that "the Israelis have been stealing Arab land and continue to do so" ("Letters," Dec. 4). There is not a single square inch of inhabitable land on the face of this earth that hasn't been "stolen" from someone. The only ones who can be acquitted of "stealing" would be the first settlers of any given region and, even then, they probably "stole" it from the animals that had inhabited the same turf previously. So what is O'Connor's solution to this thorny problem of land theft? Give all six inhabited continents back to the cavemen?

Israel came into existence as the justified response to the worst attempt at mass extermination in recorded history. If ever a nation deserved to exist, this is it. When Israel last existed as a nation, thousands of years ago, it gave the world the monotheism that more than two-thirds of this planet's population adheres to. It gave the world the book that is the foundation of three primary religions, and it gave the world a standard of culture and civilization that never previously existed. And what did the Jewish nation get for its great contribution to the civilizing of our world? Persecutions, pogroms, exile, dispersion and, finally, a holocaust.

Despite being reviled, hounded and slaughtered, the Jews have been miraculously resilient. Now, 50 years after the Jews reestablished themselves in their ancient homeland which God Himself had promised them, others want to take it away. For nearly 2,000 years, the Jews had no home of their own. Now they are back where they belong and others still want to steal the little 7,000 square miles they claim as their own. No wonder Israel is so fiercely determined to defend what's hers.

Dean M. Shapiro

Stealing'Land, Part two
In Robert O'Connor's letter in the Dec. 4 issue, he ignorantly concludes that the real reason for Sept. 11 is that Israel has and continues to steal Arab land. Just how much land do the Arabs need in the Middle East? And of the lands they possess, do any one of them approach a first-world status?

Donald Grodsky

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