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Letters to the Editor 

Democracy for Dummies

Regarding 'The Power and the Pulpit' (June 1), I suggest that Eileen Loh Harrist and the principal subject of her story, Raymond Busche, get and read a copy of Democracy for Dummies. Busche professes to be 'shocked' that Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock's vote apparently was influenced by 'pressure' from her pastor -- the very same type of 'pressure' Busche attempted to exert by writing Jefferson-Bullock in the first place and informing her that she would not have his support in the next election. Not to mention his forwarding her response to Gambit and the subsequent publication of the article in question, both obvious attempts to exert further 'pressure' on Jefferson-Bullock to change her vote.

Busche's only real complaint is that he was overmatched and lost the battle. Why? Because the vast majority of Jefferson-Bullock's constituents no doubt favor the legislation which she voted to support (even if that was contrary to her personal beliefs). That's how democracy works in this country and how politicians get reelected in this town or anywhere else for that matter -- by recognizing the preferences of the majority of their constituents and voting accordingly. Duh!

Gambit's well-known liberal bias is evident by its running this non-story as if it were a big deal. It's a good thing for Gambit that the magazine is free, since I doubt you could get anyone to pay to read this kind of stuff on a regular basis.

B. Richard Moore Jr.

A Refreshing Politician My congratulations to Rep. Jalila Jefferson-Bullock for voting the way her constituents want. That is refreshing in a politician. She is never going to get 100 percent approval on any vote. But if she votes the way most of her constituents want her to, I predict a long and excellent record as a politician.

I don't see her vote on a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriages as giving in to her pastor. I believe her when she says her vote was for her constituents. It is up to the people to throw out of office those who continuously vote against their wishes.

Again, kudos to Jefferson-Bullock. We can use more like her.

Wayne Blankenship Jr.

A Lack of Leadership

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to Gambit for consistently providing provocative and timely articles to its readers. In particular, I would like to thank Eileen Loh Harrist for her important June 1 article 'The Power and the Pulpit.' I, like many others I'm sure, was infuriated at the lack of leadership our elected officials are showing toward one of the biggest civil rights issues of the century. Thank you again for raising the standards of journalism in this region.

James Merriman

What's wrong with politics Jalila Jefferson-Bullock epitomizes everything that is wrong in politics today and everything people of all ideological stripes despise about politicians: They're completely beholden to polls or to special interests -- or to the church -- and they're completely spineless ('The Power and the Pulpit,' June 1).

Second, we can argue for days whether one's sexual orientation is biologically determined or a matter of choice, but Bishop Morton's argument that gays and lesbians don't deserve rights because 'I can't change the color of my skin, but you can change your lifestyle' is still specious at best and dangerous at worst.

If people only deserve rights because of things they can't change, why should the First Amendment guarantee freedom of religion when you can always change your religion? Better yet, why should civil rights laws offer protections for 'creed,' or political beliefs, since you can always change what you believe? Or marital status? After all, we can choose whether or not to get married -- well, most of us can, anyway.

Perhaps we should repeal some of these protections and see how we like living without them.

Gina Forsyth

Remembering Breaux

On behalf of the family of Daniel Breaux, we would like to express our deepest gratitude for your gracious handling of the news reports regarding Daniel's death (May 11). Family members and friends are typically the only ones to know and feel the hurt and sorrow of someone close who has been violently taken away. Gambit Weekly captured Daniel's spirit and his belief that everyone can make this world a better place. Our community responded with heart-warming tributes to Daniel's life.

Thank you also for your sensitivity and insight into Daniel's many and varied talents. The letters to the editor and community response and support as word spread of Daniel's untimely death brought much needed consolation to our family and will continue to console us during the long healing process. We now face a long and painful period of mourning and can only hope that some good will eventually come from the senseless act that took our beloved Daniel from us all. The Daniel Breaux Family


A New Approach to Arts

Thank you for publishing the important series of articles by Lili LeGardeur about arts education inside and outside of New Orleans Public Schools. We appreciate being cited in your June 1 commentary, in which you call for a new comprehensive approach to arts education for our young people.

The articles confirm what we have believed for years: New Orleans is home to some of the country's leading practitioners of 'community-based arts education,' arts education connected to grassroots social change. For this reason, the Building the Code project and Xavier University Art Department are partnering to create a new national center for art, learning and social change in New Orleans.

In the coming years, we will document and produce model arts projects; provide professional development for teachers, artists and students; and publish instructional materials for schools and community organizations across the country. One of our main goals is to help New Orleans' community-based arts educators get the support and attention they deserve from a national audience.

We invite Superintendent Anthony Amato, Gambit readers and anyone interested in community-building to stay in touch with us and our evolving project.

Ron Bechet
Xavier University Art Department

Mat Schwarzman
Building the Code

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