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Letters to the editor 

Movie magic, Beltline goes grassroots

Keep Dreaming

Before reading your article (Headcase, "God is a goat," Feb. 1), my partner and I saw Pan's Labyrinth. After the movie, we had dinner where we couldn't stop talking about what we had just seen. The movie was as magical as you described. Your article captured much of what I loved about the film. In fact, I liked your article so much that I cut it out and am keeping it on my bulletin board. It will help remind me to listen to the inner voice of my imagination. Thank you for that.

-- Joe Horne, Atlanta

Wrong train of thought

In his article (Metropolis, "Does the train have wheels?" Jan. 25), John Sugg sounds like an emissary for Keith Mason. When the citizens of Atlanta bought into the Beltline concept, we never expected transit to be built within the next few years.

The Friends of the Beltline may have been disbanded, but it's been replaced by the Beltline Network -- a more grassroots-based effort that Cathy Woolard initiated and helped nurture, and the Citizen's Advisory Committee, which institutionalizes public involvement with broad geographical and special-interest participation. The fact that the city refused to rubber-stamp Mason's proposal shows the impact of grassroots involvement.

Research shows that people who are good at delaying gratification will be more successful than their peers. The Beltline is a tremendous opportunity for Atlanta -- and it's well worth waiting until we have comprehensive rezoning so that we get the Beltline right and prevent it from damaging our quality of life rather than enhancing it. Sugg's suggestion that Mayor Franklin should set a deadline for when the trains roll is absurd. A goal might be inspiring, but a deadline would be meaningless.

-- Sally Flocks, Atlanta

Your math makes me gassy

Once again Creative Loafing has allowed some terribly inaccurate math to see print. In the recent cover story ("The middle-class squeeze," Jan. 18), the transportation issue was illustrated through the example of Dan and Janet Fox. They claimed that their weekly gas expenditure has risen from $30-$40 per week to $100 per week, even after Mrs. Fox began carpooling, and that at one point they were spending $200 per week.

These numbers are wholly outrageous, to the point of being imaginary. Prior to their 2005 increase, gas prices in Atlanta were about $1.50/gallon. Right now, gas is selling at $2/gallon. At their absolute maximum (except for the couple of days after Hurricane Katrina when people panicked), gas prices were about $3.20/gallon.

This is nowhere near the increase the Foxes allege. They claim their gasoline bill has more than doubled or tripled (despite carpooling to save money), even though current prices are only 33 percent higher. They claim that at its peak their gas bill was at least five times as much, when in fact gas prices never got as high as even two-and-a-half times their earlier level.

If the Foxes' gasoline expenditures have risen nearly as much as they would claim, then it would have to be because they're doing a lot more driving, or because they've started using vehicles with half their old fuel efficiency. Either that, or "Before the gas prices went up..." refers to what they were spending on gas in the 1990s.

-- Loren Collins, Atlanta

The more perspectives, the better

Did Ken Edelstein actually read President Carter's book (Soapbox, "Making it look easy," Jan. 11)? In his column, Edelstein calls the book "dangerous" because it encourages people to consider the Palestinian point of view. But Carter's point is that the U.S. news media and government's unwillingness to consider the Palestinian experience is what is dangerous, mainly because it has tragically delayed peace. Carter's personal experience with Middle East leaders, and his familiarity with the relevant Middle East history, give his perspective and recommendations a credibility that his critics' mainly ad hominem diatribes lack. Squelching open debate on this subject is much more dangerous than Carter's book will ever be.

-- Felipe Nunez, Smyrna

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