Corporate Freedom

Lee Carleton's recent Back Page editorial (“Unincorporated Rights,” Feb. 24) was endearing in a high-school, social-studies essay kind of way. He naively believes that corporations have “the same rights and protections that we have as individuals.” It's true that some constitutional rights enjoyed by individuals are extended to corporations and they probably should be. For example, a corporation is allowed to own property, enter contracts and it is protected from unreasonable search and seizure. Yet other rights are denied to corporations: They can't vote, they can't claim Fifth Amendment protection from self-incrimination and they don't have the right to bear arms. It's cute that Carleton doesn't think corporations should have the right to free speech. His essay was published by Landmark Media Enterprises, Style Weekly's owner and a multibillion-dollar corporation. Does Carleton think that Landmark, or The New York Times, or Fox News should be denied free speech rights? Should the Richmond Times-Dispatch be able to opine on the health-care debate, but not Bon Secours?

Jim Mitchell



Forget Noise Law - What About Courtesy?

I found the undertone of this article to be a little ridiculous (“Audibly Illegal?” News & Features, Feb. 10). I am a firm believer in liberty and small government and in that respect, I can understand why this new proposed noise ordinance is considered an outstanding encroachment of residents' rights. One must also bear in mind, this is a city full of diversity, to be politically correct.

I live on the North Side, by way of Brookland Park Boulevard. I am one of those young, nonurban residents that moved into this part of town mostly due to opportunity and convenience. I remember my mom's face when she drove down from the lovely Alexandria to help me move in. The closer we got to my new place, the deeper her frown lines became. Nevertheless, I love the little bungalow which has been my home for the past year and a half. My neighbors are pleasant enough and I have never been bothered aside from having some personal property stolen, which I had foolishly not bolted down and chained twice.

There are those occasions, where what used to be common courtesy has fallen to the wayside. Let us say that Tom is picking up George to go hang out with friends at 11 p.m. Instead of Tom pulling up to George's house, parking the car and walking up and ringing the doorbell to alert George of his presence, Tom parks in the middle of the street, honks his horn three times and yells like a banshee to let George know he is ready to roll. Then when George seemingly has not heard his first cry, honks another six times and hangs half of his body out of the window to yell all the louder. This is just one hypothetical situation that this proposed ordinance might be able to begin to fix.

It does not account for the guys who hold weekly stomp-and-drop-heavy-objects parties above my girlfriend's apartment, or for those who play nonsensical PlayStation 3 games at top volume on the floor below. If this ordinance gets passed by City Council, it will not leave the City of Richmond a barren wasteland with tumbleweeds blowing by after the hours of 11 p.m. While the class 2 misdemeanor may be a bit hefty as far as punishment for this disruptive behavior, perhaps it's not. What is it going to take to educate people on common courtesy? Maybe I should get my head out of this “good-old days” mentality and starting living in this faceless, touchless, respectless modern age.

Jaclyn Beasley



Old Mayors, Old News

Can we let the florid prose of Roy “I-never-met-an-adverb-or-adjective-I-wouldn't-use” West be the final word on L. Douglas Wilder (“Inglorious Bastard,” Back Page, Feb. 17)? I appreciate Mr. West's reason for fulminating so forcefully, but at this point Wilder is nothing more than an old hack without a platform or a constituency, and there just doesn't seem to be much value in anything he says anymore. Let's let the old bastard fade away gently, ignore any proclamations he issues forthwith, and turn our attentions to more current and productive endeavors.

John C. Ficor

Whom is Roy West trying to impress? It is obvious to me that he lives in the dictionary and the thesaurus. Is he writing to the general public or to English majors? The common man would find it very difficult to understand what he has written and the educated would need a dictionary and a thesaurus close by. In my opinion he is the prime example of the teaching of Willie Lynch, a slave owner. Willie Lynch met with other slave owners on the banks of the James River in Richmond in the year 1712, and offered his fellow slave owners a program that, if taught, would keep the slaves enslaved for the next 300 years, and if taught correctly maybe two thousand years. It would appear that Mr. West endorses those teachings.

What I read was nothing more than hate, jealousy and envy. For Mr. West to have the audacity to refer to Gov. Wilder as “inglorious bastard” was totally disgraceful, distasteful and reeking of hate. [Editor's note: This was the editorial's headline, not West's words.] For Mr. West to suggest that Gov. Wilder, while in office, should have done more for Afro Americans suggests a racist mindset. The governor's job was to represent all the people of Virginia and not just a segment of the people, and to compare him to Clarence Thomas is really comparing apples to oranges. If Mr. West feels that Gov. Wilder should have done otherwise, then I question his motives.

If Mr. West wishes to get his message across then he should keep it simple and leave off the verbosity. The past is past, we can't change it, but we can learn from it. If Mr. West has a solution for the problems, he should spell it out or keep quiet.

John & Yuvonne Hewlett



West Isn't Budging: Wilder Was Disaster

In his defense of Gov. Wilder's indefensible antics, Michael Byrne's comment, “Former Mayor Is Like a Bully With a Dictionary” (Letters, Feb. 24), was incoherent and twisted. His ignorance of Wilder's lack of compassion and common sense was obvious.  With his pimped mind he is oblivious to Wilder's mean-spirited tactics.

Byrne and others of his ilk are challenged to fact-check their blind loyalty to Wilder. A self-absorbed, selfish and uncaring individual will be revealed. They will also find immense human carnage in the aftermath of his endeavors. The state and city have suffered unimaginable harm. I further challenge them to disprove my previous facts.

It is apparent that Byrne and other minnows of Wilder are plagued by arrogant incuriosity. Some questions beg obvious answers. As governor, what did he do for his so-called beloved city? What did blacks gain from his historic election? Was it his cold absence of racial pride that precipitated his attempted destruction of the Richmond Public Schools? His callousness was shocking.

Byrne's accusation of my “race-calling” did not compute with honesty. Failure to prove this vitriolic assertion makes him a bold-faced liar. I make no apology for my efforts to ensure respect for the American birthright of blacks.

I do, however, agree with Byrne that the at-large election of the mayor “was not such a bad idea.” I supported this change. My eternal regret will be the nightmarish election of Wilder. Hope became a headache with his concurrent recklessness to destroy public education in Richmond.

My response to Byrne's nonsensical tirade violates an ageless admonitory tenet: “do not argue with a fool, people can't tell the difference.” His comment epitomized the essence of ad nauseam. For Byrne's benefit, this means Wilder is utterly disgusting.

Roy A. West


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