Hand Over the Remote, Ronda
Re: "Public Excess" by Mitch E. Perry (Aug. 9-15)
I have been a periodic viewer of Insanity Defense on public access for the decade or so that it has aired, and find County Commissioner Ronda Storms' hissy fit over a single episode of the program to be totally ludicrous. I saw the program in question, thought that the "crotch shot" was mildly amusing and found that the tape of the "whipping" of the young ladies quickly became boring and was hardly obscene or pornographic. Many of the movies shown on "premium channels" on a regular basis contain material that is far more objectionable (not to mention Springer, Jenny Jones, and many other programs shown much earlier in the day than Insanity Defense) so what's the point, Ms. Storms? In some ways, Jerry Cantor's show is the epitome of "reality TV" in that callers to the program (sadly) demonstrate the current state of society. It is dreary but oddly fascinating. Cantor deserves some credit for perseverance, if nothing else, and he is clearly being used as a scapegoat in some irrational attempt to hurt Speak Up Tampa Bay. With talk radio programming becoming decreasingly local, public access is one of the few remaining forums for public opinion and needs to be preserved. Some cliches are quite apt: If you don't like it, change the friggin' channel!
Readers Who Hate Us
And the News They Love to Read
Re: Letters to the Editor (Aug. 9-15)
Man oh man, every time I read the Weekly Planet I see more wing nuts (the right-wing variety) ranting and raving about the leftist tilt of your paper. If these characters hate your paper so much why do they continue to read it? Is someone forcing them to read it? What is the deal?
My advice to these folks is to stick to Rush Limpdick, Chris Matthews and the odious Faux News Network for their news. After all if they are interested in only one side of every story they should be fully content with the aforementioned news sources (such as they are).
Re: "Chamber-Made Trouble"
by Francis X. Gilpin (Aug. 2-8)
This article is a clear example of how one man can mess up a fine organization. Unfortunately, the damage that was done by the fired Chamber CEO, Jay Garner, wasn't limited to the organization's finances and effectiveness. He has to go and besmirch the reputations of honorable men and women who are dedicated to the chamber's mission in his pathetic attempt to shift the blame and save face caused by his mismanagement. The facts speak otherwise.
Within months of Mr. Garner coming to the chamber, one member described him in this publication as "a horse's rear end," and he had threatened to sue another member because he didn't get his way with them. Running a membership organization while alienating your own members, threatening them with lawsuits, spending their money freely and elsewhere, and losing support of your strongest backers in only a matter of months, is the Jay Garner way of doing things. He has only himself to blame for his abysmal lack of success here in Tampa. The unanswered question is, why was he hired in the first place? Especially when red flags existed about his sorry style of leadership, such as the Asheville newspaper publisher who years ago described Garner's actions in print as "bordering on paranoid."
Sometimes, not always, and not as frequently as this paper suggests, things happen in Tampa because of backroom dealings and shady shenanigans by a hidden cadre of community leaders. Not this time.
Sometimes, not always, but often enough to be a source of frequent frustration, things don't happen in Tampa because an outsider comes in and tries unsuccessfully to impose a refreshingly different approach to problems and challenges. Not this time.
Sometimes, not often, and thankfully so, things happen to get so screwed up because one man's stupidity, ego and deficient sense of ethics are a sure-fire recipe for disaster. Yep. This is the time.
Re: "Unsettling Settlement"
by Francis X. Gilpin (July 26-Aug.1)
I was shocked to read about the ridiculous sexual harassment charge filed against Derek Washington. As an art student currently attending University of South Florida, I was even more shocked to discover that the university would even consider pacifying Nicole Ferry with a cash settlement. What's next? A sexual harassment lawsuit against a nude model in a figure drawing class? May I suggest Ms. Ferry reconsider her career in art, or at the very least stick to painting scenic landscapes.
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Oh no! More press for Derek Washington! When will people stop paying attention to this little maggot? Although the sexual harassment claim at USF seems pretty ridiculous, it's just the thing he thrives on. Washington is just another in a long line of "artists" who have to create some sort of bombastic hoopla to make up for his obvious lack of talent. I'd like to clarify one point: Your story stated that back in 1998 city officials in St. Petersburg removed one of his murals (Washington says) because it contained a picture of a black activist. That's a complete farce! Washington ripped-off his own community by not providing the artwork that was commissioned. And to add insult to injury — he got paid for it! His fellow blacks should've stomped the piss out of him. One more thing: This blood clot is pursuing a master's degree in fine arts? Why not try a box of crayons or a paint-by-numbers kit first? I'd hate to think this guy might actually try his hand at teaching someday.
Greg J. Doran
An item in last week's Planet Picks (Aug. 16-22) incorrectly stated the date and ticket price of the upcoming Hank Williams III concert. Williams performs Sept. 21 at the State Theatre. Tickets cost $15.