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City Shouldn't Blame Homeless

I am responding to "Looking for the Exit" (Jan. 8), blaming homelessness for the failing re-gentrification effort in downtown Richmond.

While I cannot speak for Richmond's downtown in its entirety, I do feel (as a Shockoe Slip resident), that homelessness is not the reason why renovated buildings remain unleased or why very good restaurants/bars fold after a short time.

Richmond councilmen and developers seem to have been "Clintonized" by the Hollywood movie, "Field of Dreams." A baseball diamond is built in the middle of a cornfield, and the line "build it and they will come" is said. Simply building "it" is not enough. The reason is the area lacks vitality. East/West-enders and North/South-siders avoid downtown like a pit bull with AIDS, Friday nights excepted, but even that may soon change.

The homeless are being made convenient scapegoats, and while they are not much to look at, at least we don't have open-air drug dealings or gang activity in the Shockoe Slip area. Count your blessings.

John C. MacArthur III



Better Bread

I've eaten Billy Bread and it's a good crusty French and/or sourdough (Grub, Jan. 22). The best bakery bread in the city is the Italian Peasant Bread from Metro Bakery in the Ukrop's Plaza at Carytown. It is softer and easily pulled apart (or sliced) for paté, soft cheeses or other spreads, for hors d'oeuvre use or meals. Michael Beyzak runs a full-service bakery, but the Italian Peasant Bread is the star in his crown.

Tom Jarman

Corrections

In the Grub column on Jan. 22, we incorrectly reported that Jean-Jacques Bakery, which orders and sells Billy Bread, no longer bakes its own bread. That is not the case. Although Jean-Jacques sells some Billy Bread, it does indeed bake several hundred loaves a day of its own bread.

In the Word & Image story featuring Joe Mansy (Jan. 22), Power Hour should have been called a homework program, not a homeless program.

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