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Letters to the Editor 

They are so!

I've gotten a tremendous response since you published "Atlanta's 11 Least Influential People" (Aug. 18).

A multitude of metro Atlanta Democrats have called or e-mailed me to ask why I would allow myself to be associated with a Libertarian (bud boy), a bunch of Republicans, and a mutt (Fred the dog). Many others have scolded me for putting you on the way I did.

After some thought, I figured the latter bunch were probably right, so I decided to offer a clearer picture of the Cobb County Democratic Committee in 2005.

First, I need to reiterate that we outgrew that old phone booth where we supposedly held our meetings more than a decade ago. Last year, Cobb County came in third among all Georgia counties in the total number of Democratic votes cast. So I reckon I'm not quite as outgunned as I may have led you to believe.

In addition, 10 years ago, we only managed to elect one state senator, one state House member, and were skunked altogether in the Cobb County Commission. Last year, we elected five state House members, two state senators, and our first county commissioner in many years. We also have a Democrat serving on the Cobb County School Board.

To be sure, we haven't reached majority status yet. But based on the information provided by some of my moles who continue to operate in the upper echelons of the not-so-loyal opposition, I stand by my statement that we will become the majority party in Cobb County by the year 2010. Of course, we will not rest on our laurels when that happens. We will continue working to stampede those pachyderms northward out of Cobb County -- preferably all the way to Canada.

Oh, and thanks for taking such a good picture of me.

-- G.W. Hall, Marietta chairman, Cobb County Democratic Committee

I must protest the inclusion of John Naismith in your recent "least influential" list. As one of his ad agency's clients, I've found John to be indispensable to execution of some of the daily work I bring to the agency. John is like a heat-seeking missile when it comes to tracking down answers when all the other agency folks are out to lunch or otherwise engaged. Clients are prone to panic attacks; John's assistance has more than once stopped me and my colleagues from going off the deep end. So, although his band may be a bust and his artwork may stink, sorry to inform you that there's another part of his life at least a few people deem "influential."

-- Michael Ianzito, Sandy Springs

Pros and cons

In addition to the excellent points Felicia Feaster raises, there are other issues to consider from the SCAD perspective (Arts, "The business of art," Aug. 18).

First, I find it hard to believe that Savannah College of Art and Design sees the Atlanta College of Art as competition. They are two completely different types of art schools, with different priorities and with students who have different interests. Rather, I would think that SCAD is using the take-merge-over of ACA as a way to build an instant partnership with the largest and highest-profile arts institution in the city of Atlanta, the Woodruff Arts Center. That partnership could help immensely in building its own image in Atlanta and in recruiting students. And there is nothing inherently wrong with that partnership idea, except, of course, that it would come at the expense of the ACA, a highly valued arts institution, at least by the students, faculty, artists and advocates who have voiced their support of ACA in the last month or so.

Second, the take-merge-over of ACA, and consequently, the partnership with Woodruff Arts Center, would offer a second big benefit to SCAD -- namely, allowing SCAD to establish an instant foothold against what will be its main competitor in Atlanta, the Art Institute of Atlanta. And again, among for-profit institutions there is nothing wrong with trying to establish a competitive advantage, except, of course, that it would come at the expense of the Atlanta College of Art, the oldest and arguably most prestigious art college in the city of Atlanta.

Within that context, Feaster's observation is even more insightful: "Atlanta has proven yet again that it doesn't mind being known as the kind of business-first city that offers up its cultural legacy to the institution with the fatter wallet."

In addition, Feaster does a good job of pointing out what the Woodruff Arts Center might have to gain from the merger. But the companion question still needs to be explored: What might the Woodruff Arts Center have to lose from the merger?

OK, the obvious answer is this: The Woodruff Arts Center stands to lose the Atlanta College of Art, one of the five organizations under its institutional umbrella.

But what else might the Woodruff lose without the ACA? Does it see the partnership as a burden? Do the interests of the students and the college conflict in any way with the mission of the Woodruff? Does it see the loss of the ACA as an opportunity to expand its newly added partner, Young Audiences of Atlanta?

I don't have answers to those questions. But answers to those questions need to be considered by those who hope to articulate an argument that will convince the ACA board and the WAC board that ACA should remain an institution under the umbrella of Woodruff Arts Center, independent from SCAD.

-- Allen Bell, Rome, Ga.

For an update on the ACA vote, see the Arts section.

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