Save ourselvesUpon reading “Searching for a Savior” (April 17), I was disappointed by the political gamesmanship and apparent lack of seriousness being applied to the process of selecting a new director of schools. I am running for school board because I take this process seriously, and my impression is that we need more stakeholders who do. No more turf wars. No more excuses. And no more searching for a savior.
What we need most right now is someone who can listen and make decisions. Leadership is crucial, but the parties in this story hoping to score political points too often misrepresent the characteristics of a leader. A good leader knows a lot but also knows how to listen. A good leader gets buy-in and inspires people to live up to their own potential. We need someone whose instincts from the classroom are balanced with strong instincts from the boardroom.
I am glad that the mayor wants to offer us more than just a line item in the budget. I agree with Metro Council member Jerry Maynard that this process should not merely be punted to the next school board. I agree with the Chamber, the NAACP and MNEA: We do want this process to involve the whole community, because the decision will affect the whole community, whether we encourage its participation or not.
At the same time, I disagree with efforts to cut the school board out of the loop. The responsibility for the success of the director falls squarely on the board’s shoulders. The board should listen and represent the community in order to set priorities and standards for the director to pursue. Now is the time for important conversations with and within our school board.
The hard work of educating children can only be accomplished when our entire community plays its part. We don’t need a savior; we need a city of disciples.ALAN COVERSTONECANDIDATE FOR SCHOOL BOARD, DISTRICT firstname.lastname@example.org (Nashville)
Unsound systemsThank you for your informative article “Not Playing Here” (April 10). I understand the venue owners’ concerns, as I have been a partner in many music venues myself over the years. But your article failed to discuss what I feel is the main reason few artists want to play here more than once and why more people do not attend shows. It is very simple: Nashville has the worst sounding venues in the country. When I moved to Nashville in the early ’80s, I could not understand why there were no great nightclubs in Nashville, as I grew up in south Louisiana, where every small hole-in-the-wall was a great music venue. Over time, several venues appeared on the scene, and I thought things would get better. But for some reason, the venues here have no vibe at all, no warm or cozy feelings; acoustics and sound are, at best, a second thought or, more often than not, no thought at all. The first priority of a performance venue must be the acoustics and the sound system.
I have never heard live sound so butchered as it is in this town. Even the Ryman, which has the most beautiful-sounding natural room in the world, has the most unnatural-sounding sound system. If the performance space at the Ryman naturally sounds like a fine acoustic guitar, the sound system sounds like an out-of-tune banjo. With the exception of a couple of venues, the operators are arrogant technicians who have no concept of what live sound should be and spend most of their time looking at a computer screen instead of listening to the performance. I am not alone in this opinion. Not too long ago, there was an article in a national music trade magazine in which a group of bigwig music people was in Nashville for a convention and they were asked what they thought of the music scene here. Nine out of 10 said the same thing: the worst-sounding venues they had ever been to. Very few enjoy a group of amplified people screaming at them. It is the dynamics and subtleties that make a live performance exciting. My hope is that if we bring this forward, someone may begin to take the desires of the performers and audiences into account when opening a live performance venue. Until then, I never venture out without hearing protectors and a couple of cocktails.STEVEN DURRstevendurrdesigns@msn.com (Nashville)
Breaches in a wadIn “Security Breaches” (March 20), you referenced all security guards/officers as “rent-a-cops.” I found this to be very offensive, as we have to go to classes and pass a thorough background check to even get a license. In my case, I had to go to extra classes to become armed. Do you even know what you have to endure to become armed? First you have to go to the gun range to learn about how to use their gun. Then there’s more. Have you ever been Tased? Pepper sprayed? Have you ever been taught to use a baton or handcuffs? Have you ever had a gang member shooting at you? I bet not. So for all the security guards/officers, I feel you owe a huge apology! There’s more to being a guard or officer than merely putting on a uniform.
When you have done all these things, then come back and talk to me. I personally have worked through the night at various hotels to ensure that your valuables, as well as your person, are kept as safe as possible. Not to mention the various grocery stores, pharmacies, workplaces in general. We Nashvillians have an outstanding police force, but they seriously get maxed out from time to time. Thus the private security companies do their best to help out.
Come back and talk to me when you know more about what you are talking about!DIANNE BERTRAM203 E. Due West (Madison)
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I thought we were too passive aggressive to be rude:)