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Going Postal 

On the record
(In response to News, "Murky water for aquarium development," Nov. 28): In the referenced article from your publication, certain statements are attributed to me concerning the discharge from employment of Ron L. Sack. The attorney for Mr. Sack has written to me demanding a retraction and threatening to sue for libel and defamation. I enclose a copy of Marie Harkins' Nov. 29, 2001, letter in this regard.

I would like to clarify for the record the reasons for Mr. Sack's termination from employment. Mr. Sack was terminated from his employment with Morris-Shea Bridge Company Inc. primarily as a result of lack of work. That is not to say that job performance considerations were not a factor, because those considerations normally are part of employment decisions and they were in this case as well.

Nonetheless, I do not recall stating that "poor work ethic" was the reason for Mr. Sack's discharge and hereby retract such statement and ask that you consider doing the same in your next publication. I can and categorically do say that Mr. Sack's complaints concerning the Atlantic Station site had absolutely nothing to do with the termination of his employment.

-- Brian R. Brown, safety director, Morris-Shea Bridge Company Inc.

Editor's note: Staff writer Michael Wall accurately recorded his conversation with Mr. Brown.

Culture crash
I just wanted to tell you that I was so impressed by the thorough and candid article you wrote about the disparity in arts support in our community ("Mind the arts gap," Dec. 5). I agree wholeheartedly with arts consultant Arthur Brooks that the Orly plane crash, while a tragedy, should not be a crutch for our community in discussing our lack of patronage. It was actually the inspiration for building the Woodruff Arts Center, and helped establish the institutionalization of our arts community. And despite this great loss, there are thousands upon thousands of individuals out there who aren't being reached who are potential patrons.

Rather than continue to talk about what we lack culturally in Atlanta, we need to support and grow what we have and find a way to help those organizations elevate their efforts. We are a world-class city, we just need leadership, education and awareness to inspire our citizens to pull together and demonstrate it.

I think we should also recognize that many of Atlanta's organizations have heard this call to action and are working to help define that leadership. And these organizations very rarely get credit. The ACVB and the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce are both exploring ways to be of greater support to the Atlanta arts community, are open to ideas and suggestions and welcome the opportunity to provide leadership. I think we will see great things coming from both organizations in 2002 that may help define the role of leadership in the arts in Atlanta. I hope both individuals and companies in Atlanta will hear this call to action and contact leaders at these organizations as well as at local arts organizations and will ask how they can be of service. They may be surprised at the answers.

-- Laura Nix, Atlanta

Atlanta outshines New York
I am an artist and a native Georgian. Just like each person, each city has its assets and liabilities ("Mind the arts gap," Dec. 5). So, maybe it's true that Atlanta doesn't have all the great financial sponsorship that New York City has, but guess what else we don't have that NYC has: We don't have a legacy of Mafia. Nor do we have the ridiculous rent prices. And while Atlanta is no stranger to police corruption, it pales to NYCPD.

And since it seems you've been sleeping the last 15 years, I'll go on to inform you of this. Atlanta has a very high concentration of native New Yorkers. Could it be that Atlanta is a great place to live? Furthermore, I just so happen to have lived in Manhattan, and there are plenty of other unsavory things I could say about that. While I must admit, New York is fabulous, it is not the last word.

But alas, I live a very busy life, so I don't have time to school ill-informed pecker heads like yourself. But, let it be known that Atlanta is a very rich and culturally diverse city. All who chose to say otherwise can go straight to hell! The next time you get a hankering to start rambling, do us all a favor and keep it to yourself.

-- Max Caldwell, San Francisco, Calif.

Gone to the dogs
While it is true that the Maple Place Properties are in disrepair and poorly managed, the "poor-me" tone of your story leaves much to be desired (News, "Shoot first, evict later," Dec. 5).

I lived on the property for close to five years and moved out last year due to several factors, including the poor maintenance of the property and the aggressive nature of my neighbor's dog Stormy (a telling name), the dog that was shot during the eviction. The dog displayed very aggressive behavior not only to other animals, including my own much smaller dogs, but to people who did not live in the apartment.

This type of dog had no business living in a close community. It is irresponsible dog ownership that got the dog shot, not any overreaction on the part of the building's management or the city official.

As far as building maintenance is concerned, I grew increasingly frustrated with my neighbors when I could not get them motivated to call building management or the codes violation department during several incidents.

Rocking the boat alone is dirty work. This is more than likely why there were no reports of violations to this department in 2001, because I have lived elsewhere for the past year. While it is true that the system does little in Georgia to protect tenants' rights, it is an inarguable fact that until tenants get motivated enough to demand their rights, nothing will change.

-- Melissa Maiorano, Atlanta

Big things in small packages
The presence of Atlantans Kojo Griffin, Robin Bernat, Chris Verene and Ruth Leitman in last year's Whitney Biennial was, as Scott Henry says, a triumph for our city's arts community ("Mind the Gap," Dec. 5). However, Henry overlooks the fact that this success resulted directly from the efforts of one of the arts organizations whose difficult situation he so informatively details, namely Art Papers Magazine. In 1999, we invited the director of the Whitney Museum, Maxwell Anderson, to give a lecture in Atlanta. This visit prompted Dr. Anderson to ask curator Valerie Cassel to visit Atlanta artists, and led to the inclusion of these four Atlantans in this major exhibition.

The Woodruff Art Center's high profile organizations are important to the community and deserve its backing. However, Atlanta's achievement at the 2000 Biennial shows that smaller organizations, too, can have real impact and thus are equally deserving of this city's respect and support.

-- Charles Reeve, editor-in-chief, Art Papers Magazine

Corrections
Oops. Last week's cover story, "The King and Why," did not identify the three gubernatorial candidates shown on pages 34 and 35. They are former state Sen. Sonny Perdue, state school Superintendent Linda Schrenko and Cobb County Commission Chairman Bill Byrne.

Last week's Grazing column put us in the hot seat over Red Chair's phone number. The correct number for the new restaurant and club is 404-870-0532.

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