Letters to the EditorNews


Dear Flagpole: Thank you for your excellent coverage of the Great Walmart Controversy. Especially over the last two weeks, you have been the voice of reason in an increasingly divisive conversation. It saddens me that people who should be able to debate this issue with open-mindedness and restraint are turning against each other. Diverse groups of people are being lumped into broad categories and demonized, as if you could paint everyone who is either for or against the development with one brush.

I would like to take this opportunity to defend the musicians who make this town their home and add so much to the culture of the Classic City. Most of the musicians in this town are not wealthy, elitist snobs who don’t care about poor people and are trying to push their agenda on everyone else, which is how some have portrayed them. Most of them are poor, struggling artists who are following their passion and sharing it with the rest of us.

All the musicians I know are the first to line up to organize or play benefit concerts for whoever is in need. Of those who have succeeded in the music business and chosen to make Athens their home, Patterson Hood stands out as a shining example of someone who donates his time, money and musical talent to countless projects that benefit the poor and disadvantaged, from Nuçi’s Space to the Whatever It Takes coalition. He has truly given back to this town that has given so much to him. How anyone can say that he and the other musicians and artists that have made our once moribund downtown revitalized and vibrant don’t care about poor people is beyond me. Most of them are poor themselves!

I realize that I am preaching to the choir, but my hope is that we can all slow down and really listen to each other as we debate the pros and cons, and come to a realistic compromise in which we can all welcome a development that not only brings jobs and tax revenue, but also complements our existing downtown and fits in with our long-range goals. Let’s not sacrifice the heart of this great town because we are desperate to recover from the “Great Recession!â€

Rebecca Zahn, Athens