Love/Hate Mail 

Gerry-rigged

Regarding "The Elephant Never Forgets" (Aug. 18): One complicating factor in redistricting is the requirement to create "majority minority" districts. These districts frequently necessitate artistically constructed districts that make the New Jersey of Elbridge Gerry look like a Vermeer portrait.

Such districts not only create illogical boundaries but they reinforce the idea that only minorities will vote for minority candidates. Not only is that old voting pattern changing, but preserving such districts dissuades voters of all races from confronting the need to see race as a major issue but not the only or even most important issue in an election. Ironically, it is the Democrats who could end the need for such districts by simply nominating and electing more minority candidates in districts that are both majority white and tilt heavily Democratic. They receive the great majority of minority votes, in Tennessee for example, but rarely nominate a minority in a winnable majority-white district.

Mark Rogers
Nashville

Ryder coup

The GOP could face the problem of going too far in redistricting and having it come back to bite them in the ass ("The Elephant Never Forgets," Aug. 18). John Ryder knows what he is doing (sadly) and will draw districts in such a way as to maximize Democratic losses without running afoul of the Voting Rights Act. But no matter what, expect the Democrats to take any redistricting plan to court (as the GOP did when we were in charge). It's likely a federal judge will ultimately decide. Ryder, however, is also enough of an old-guard moderate to keep the Tea Party crazies from getting what they want, too.

Steve Steffens
Memphis

Incumbent upon us

As a constituent in Mr. Holleman's district, I

 enjoyed your article discussing his re-election ("Bulletproof?," Aug. 11). While it was a bit of a hagiography of Mr. Holleman, and perhaps portrayed Mrs. Tally as simply a proxy for the Dean administration, I believe it still managed to neatly crystallize a number of issues around which the election revolved. 

But there was an element to his victory that was, at best, glossed over. 

Though I have not had the pleasure of meeting him, Mr. Holleman has been very responsive to his constituents and knows the neighborhoods in his district quite well. There are a number of vocal citizens in the Richland-West End and Cherokee Park neighborhoods who have called on him with regard to streetlamps, NES tree trimming and other various and sundry neighborhood issues. Even when he didn't have a ready solution, he would acknowledge their concerns, and at the very least, he clearly gave the appearance of caring. He would also send out missives to his constituents updating us on relevant district issues. He comes across as an individual who listens to his constituents and works hard to know them (at least in aggregate). I suspect that many of his constituents have either gotten to know him through his outreach as councilman, or at the very least feel like they know him. 

Mrs. Tally ran a strong race against a very respected incumbent. A hard-fought race is the sign of a strong democracy. In addition to having strong establishment and financial support, she had a strong ground game, in my opinion. She worked hard to meet citizens in the district, and indeed knocked on my door a few days before the election. I suspect that the 59-41 margin of defeat would have been greater if she hadn't worked so hard to meet the members of her district.

The type of support that delivered Mr. Holleman to victory clearly demonstrates the power of incumbency. 

James A. S. Muldowney III
Nashville

Frequent fliers

I'm a resident of District 24, and I voted for Jason Holleman for one simple reason — he listens to his constituents ("Bulletproof?," Aug. 11).

When a group of residents (including myself) opposed the addition of a Chik-fil-A in our neighborhood that would have required a variance to build, Councilman Holleman attended to his district members and did not take a variance before the Metro Council. However, when I was bombarded with fliers from Ms. Tally and called on several occasions to ask that I be removed from the mailing list, my calls and requests went unanswered.

Ciciley Hoffman
Nashville

Chicken scratch fever

Isn't it ironic that Ted Nugent (Critics' Picks, Aug. 18) continues to present himself onstage as a flag-waving, gun-toting All-American when the reality is that he went to great lengths to avoid serving in the military during the Vietnam War? Just google "Ted Nugent/Vietnam War" and read all about it.

Duane Denison
Nashville

Correction

In our Innovations Issue cover story (Aug. 18), we erroneously described the 28th/31st Avenue Connector as a future "home to six new bus shelters, painted by local artists." In fact, Nashville's Public Art Committee will review site-specific artist proposals — including complete design and fabrication — culled from a nationwide search. We regret the error.

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