LISTEN UP, CARTER
John Sugg's story about election night 1976 (Interview, "Listen Up, Democrats," April 19-25), which recounted how his newspaper became one of the first to report Carter's victory, was an entertaining bit of nostalgia. I was a freshman at the University of Georgia that year, and voted for favorite son Carter.
Since then, however, I've grown up, seen a few things, and developed a sense of history. Jimmy Carter may be a compassionate man. As a human being and as a man who has lived in the public eye for more than a half-century with nary a whiff of scandal about him, perhaps for that he should be celebrated.
But he was an ineffectual president. Worse, he was a president who made this country and its government weaker and more likely to be tested by rogue nations and international thugs. Sugg says that Carter now brags that among his achievements are that he never went to war as president, and that he never ordered an execution as president or governor. Some of us cite these exact "achievements" as evidence of his inability to engage the tough but necessary duties of executive leadership. True peacemaking is not pacifism. Sometimes the true peacemaker is the one who stands up to, and fights, the true destroyers of peace.
Carter may never have taken this country to war, but most of the military operations we've undertaken since his presidency — including those led by fellow Democrat Bill Clinton — can be traced back to Carter's weakness. And because of the strength of the man who beat Carter — Ronald Reagan — the one war that many in Carter's day thought was inevitable, a war with the Soviet Union, never (thank God) came to be.
ANOTHER IDEA FOR THE ARMORY
I enjoyed your feature on the Armory redevelopment project (Political Whore, "Wrestling for the Armory," by Wayne Garcia, April 12-18), and would like to add my two cents. I represent one of the groups that submitted an original Letter of Interest back in late 2004, and now am scrambling to get a full-blown proposal completed in only six weeks (which is absurd). Our group's proposal will be to keep the use of the facility as an entertainment venue for concerts, plays, trade shows, boxing/wrestling matches, dances, political events, proms, etc, while utilizing the south facade that faces Gray Street as a plaza-type area providing commercial/retail space for a dozen or so small businesses such as a barber shop, coffee shop, deli, bodega, cigar store, with an outdoor area with tables, benches, etc. Our hope is that it would turn into a gathering place of sorts where you could get a sandwich and the paper, sit for awhile, maybe play cards or dominoes with other folks from the area, and what-not. We are even going to propose giving the city back enough square footage for a small community-based police station on the site. As you pointed out, however, the financial burden of moving the Guard to another site is an absolute dealbreaker. Our proposal will have the Guard retain possession of the northern portion of the site, while we would take control of the southern part that the Armory building itself sits on, along with the parking areas around the building. This is the only feasible option. There is no possible way to incorporate another $5 to $6 million into this project, not to mention the potential EPA issues resulting from the northern site's current use as a motor pool (oil, gas, diesel, other contaminants). Our proposal also meets the requirements of the Department of Defense Standards regarding standoff and separation zones in their anti-terrorism guideline manual. We already have the estimated $5 million in acquisition/restoration costs, and would need no money from the city to complete our project. And one need look no further than the Channelside district to see evidence of what an active entertainment venue can do for an otherwise blighted area.
Terry J. Trekas