A union united
Your recent story about the American Federation of Musicians and Nashville's Local 257 needs some correction and clarification ("A power shift within Nashville's musicians union signals changing times on Music Row," March 19).
The local musician's union election was about much more than the "RMA vs. AFM" battle that writer Brantley Hargrove describes in lopsided fashion. It was my decision alone to run for office and I was not drafted or backed by anyone. Nashville and the AFM have been very good to me and I felt it was time to give something back.
After years of increasing stagnation and falling behind the technological curve, all segments of Local 257 now have a chance to be properly represented in the rapidly changing music business.
Despite Harold Bradley's repeated claims to the contrary, there is no conflict of interest in my new position as 257 president. I answer to absolutely no one except the musicians of Nashville and all of Local 257, which includes orchestral musicians, the Nashville Symphony, touring and club players, retired members, music educators and all recording musicians, not just those who are RMA members.
Whether I serve on the RMA International Board or in any other position, my goal is the same. My only agenda is to urge all leaders to communicate openly and seek peace and reconciliation within our union.
Local 257 is now part of the solution. In less than three months, we have already begun to create a new level of interest about our union, instituted a health care plan for our members and have a number of new recording agreements in the works. We are holding monthly think tanks to develop new ideas and have restored our long neglected rehearsal space.
We lobbied in Washington for performance rights and locally to keep WMOT on the air, and are working to have members visit Metro schools on a daily basis. We are also working on new pension options for road musicians and are cleaning up the loose ends left by the Bradley administration, who gave us no transition assistance whatsoever.
Throughout the article, Mr. Bradley's allegations and opinions regarding my statements and actions are inaccurate and misleading. In particular, Mr. Bradley's persistent claims that I or RMA Nashville are somehow involved in or control lawsuits filed by individual Los Angeles musicians against the AFM is absolutely false, and his statement that I did not take authorship of the "no confidence" resolution is also untrue. I acknowledged that I was one of more than a dozen authors on the day I submitted it on behalf of 188 Nashville musicians.
Mr. Hargrove extensively quoted "current Local 257 member" Rick Blanc, who is in fact not a current member. He joined in October last year and resigned two months later, immediately after the election. Mr. Blanc's comments are not even about Nashville and have no place in this article.
To recycle Blanc's paranoid "RMA operative" description of Craig Krampf is just plain wrong, as was choosing not to include a single word from Craig, our new secretary/treasurer, who was interviewed for the piece. He is a 20-year Nashville member and AFM member since 1962, and an articulate, passionate spokesperson for our local. We both respect the history and tradition of Nashville immensely and made those feelings very clear in our interviews for this article, but unfortunately those sentiments never made it to the paper.
Local 257 is no longer divided—we are united, and moving into the future!
President, Local 257
Cowardice, not courage
Mark B. Leedom, grow up and get your head out of the sand (Love/Hate Mail, March 26). To even equate courage to those cowards is foolish, stupid and shows what kind of weak person you truly are. I suggest you go back to school or, better yet, study the history of this nation in detail.
Do not listen to sound bites from professors or the media and read about the founding of this country. If it weren't for our military, we would be speaking German, Japanese or some form of Russian. We are the only country on the face of the earth that does not keep real estate if we are at war.
I would suggest you talk to those of us who have been shot at, and you might begin to understand. It is about service, not self. Our military hates war and understands that the only way this country can be at peace is through strength, not weakness. Why is that so hard for you people to understand?
Do not honor these cowards, for their desertion only means some other man's son/daughter might not come back. If you think hard enough, you will understand that cowardliness is only surpassed by ignorance. And by the way, if I had WMDs, I would not advertise them on eBay or give directions to where they are. Remember, Saddam Hussein used them against Iran and his own people. It is so easy to forget facts you do not agree with. That sand will suffocate you!
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