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Letters to the Editor 

Going to Batt

To the Editor:

In their great good wisdom, Gambit Weekly readers selected Jay Batt as "Best New Orleans City Councilmem-ber" (tied with the Honorable Oliver Thomas) in your Best of New Orleans survey (Aug. 27).

Too bad the staffers in your "Writers' Picks" section weren't as astute.

To directly quote your writers' survey, the section amazingly titled "Most Gracious Loser": "Scott Shea pledged to run a clean campaign to retain his City Council spot, and he did. His opponent Jay Batt made the same pledge and didn't honor his promise, running 11th-hour attack ads against Shea. Shea could have pointed fingers at Batt and made the race especially ugly, but instead served as the model of grace and composure -- especially on election night, after a narrow defeat."

I can't imagine how you could cram any more erroneous, toxic information into a paragraph if you tried:

1. Shea did point fingers, in paid TV ads, print pieces and in a press conference days before the election, whining "Jay broke his pledge! He went negative!" In fact, Shea had put out campaign ads and literature inflating his own public record and misleading voters re: accomplishments for which he sought to take credit. Doesn't his campaign putting out misleading info qualify as negative? We just successfully challenged his version of the record, made him accountable, and he didn't much like it. By the way, ever notice how crying "negative campaign" about your opponent is, in itself, an all-too-common form of negative campaigning?

2. On a more disgusting note, on election day thousands of fliers adorned with skulls and crossbones -- viciously attacking Jay Batt and his family as racists -- found their way into black neighborhoods in the district. Gambit staff members have seen this piece of garbage, and they know that my description of this piece is both accurate and true.

3. To say that Shea was the model of grace and composure on election night may be partly accurate: after all, he could afford to be gracious, since the guy who introduced him at the podium for his TV concession speech trashed Jay and cried for five minutes on live TV about how "dirty campaigning" did his guy in. He should know.

For his part, Jay was a gracious gentleman in victory, choosing not to show the New Orleans TV audience the fliers he and his loved ones were forced to endure, instead offering his hand to Shea in order to put all animosity on both sides in the past. To their mutual credit, I understand that they have. I also understand that Jay has even endorsed Scott's dad for judge. Jay Batt is a good, decent and hard-working husband and father who deserves far better than your writers' survey offering. And he's doing a pretty damn good job on the Council as well.

Sidney L. Arroyo

EDITOR'S NOTE: Sidney Arroyo was campaign manager for Jay Batt's District A City Council race.

Dread and Circuses

To the Editor:

I enjoy reading Gambit Weekly, and my week is never complete unless I read it every Monday. However, I was unable to even pick up the Aug. 19 issue because the cover disturbed me so ("The Clown Prince").

"The circus is coming to town" may be an exciting cheer for many, but if animals are involved, it only sickens me. Until the magnificent Cirque de Soleil entourage came along, circuses have always been associated with animals. The fact that Barnum & Bailey (as well as most other circuses) still includes animals is a horrifying reality. The tortures these animals suffer for the sake of "entertainment" are unspeakable.

I am so happy that Cirque de Soleil, and other circuses like it, are as popular as they are because it proves that animals in circuses should be a thing of the past, a thing of which we should be ashamed. The entertainment that Cirque de Soleil offers is truly extraordinary and, most importantly, humane.

In case anyone is wondering, I am not an employee of Cirque de Soleil, nor do I know anyone who works for them. They have just given me hope that animal abuse and cruelty will be abolished and that it will become illegal to use animals in circuses.

Anyone who is a vegetarian, has pets or even just cares about animals and the Earth in general should never attend Barnum & Bailey circuses or any others of its kind. Let's send a strong message to them that this kind of torture and abuse will no longer be tolerated!

Kara Tschetter

Horns of a Dilemma

To the Editor:

I would like to thank you first of all for running the article "Sour Notes" (News & Views, Aug. 27). I can't begin to tell you how deeply saddened we were to hear of Mr. Kerr and Kent Jordan's resignations from NOCCA. Our son has been a student of Mr. Kerr for four years and of Kent for three years. During this time he has gained valuable experience from two extremely giving and knowledgeable teachers. I have heard on many occasions of the lack of respect directed to the jazz department from numerous dedicated jazz students. How sad that all the departments could not display earned respect for one another's arts. I appreciate the fact that John Otis has respect for these two wonderful teachers, but it is obviously not enough to rectify a situation that has been evident to everyone for many years. I hope that Mr. Kerr is right and this is all it takes to remedy this matter.

How unfortunate it had to come to this. We are looking forward to the new school year at NOCCA and are optimistic about the changes that have been made. NOCCA is a wonderful school, and we are thankful for all that it has given our son and family. Good luck and best wishes to Mr. Kerr and Kent; your new students are very lucky and indeed you will be greatly missed.

Robin L. Davi


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