Jan. 14 2009 12:00 AM

’Eyesore’ and eyesore

First of all, thank you for the work you do to prepare an informative, interesting free weekly for the Lansing area. My husband and I recently moved to East Lansing, and when I first visited the Lansing area I sought out the free local paper. To me, the free local paper IS the face of the city.

From the first time I read CityPulse, I was bothered by one of the sections of the paper and now it has reached a level of irritation that I have decided to write to you. The section “Eyesore of the Week” is, in my opinion, in extremely poor taste.
When I moved to the area, I knew well the problems caused by the economic slowdown. But, the last thing I expected in the free local paper is a section featuring dilapidated buildings. The buildings featured are usually already condemned, so drawing attention to a blighted building one time in a free local paper seems insignificant compared to the fact that passersby, everyday, can see the "scarlet letters." Even more problematic is that the feature fails to suggest ways community members can get involved to change the plight of these “eyesores.”

There are many cool buildings, interesting places, and, most of all, extraordinary people in the area that you really shouldn’t even have space for the Eyesore of the Week. Let alone place it in the front matter of the paper. It reminds me of the "broken window" maxim that is espoused by law enforcement — just one broken window in a neighborhood can affect how an entire neighborhood takes care to maintain their homes and the neighborhood. Your "Eyesore of the Week" feature is like saying to the entire Lansing area, "Hey, everyone, look over here at the broken window!"

—K. Bieda East Lansing

Sleeping workers article ’rubbish’

I wanted to give some feedback on the article published Jan. 7 titled “Sleep Working.”

I found it extremely offensive. As you noted in the article, the employees weren’t working or being paid, they were on break.

You also questioned why they were so tired since it hadn’t snowed three days prior. This does not take into account everything a city worker does to make them tired. In December, the Lansing area had snow for all but three days. Additionally, these workers are called out to replace road signs, etc., when needed. I don’t have figures for November, but neither did you — this would play into being tired on Dec. 3.

A city worker is not required to come in and do extra work, but they do. I know because my husband is a city worker. Our phone may ring up three times a night through winter and all year for signs. This makes a worker tired from disruption of sleep. Believe me, you don’t catch up that fast; it’s a bit like having a newborn as an elderly person.

I am a nurse and am mandated to be on call, but it’s at least expected and not every night. It is a proven fact that people who work shifts, like afternoons and nights, you are ill and tired more. This is for regular shift workers; it’s much worse when adding it onto a full workweek.

I am surprised the citizen who submitted this wouldn’t submit a name if they felt so strong about the sleeping workers. Usually people don’t submit an identity because they feel they are wrong or out of cowardice.

In a depressed economy with downsizing everywhere, it is socially irresponsible to make someone’s job more challenging.
It didn’t expose anything but people’s ignorance of the working class shift lifestyle.

These workers have the right and duty to take a break — it’s a free country, last time I checked, if they want to sleep. More power to them and hopefully it will enable them to make it to retirement in good health.

I will end by saying it’s refreshing to see a supervisor stand up for his workers with his name in print. He knows he has a skeleton crew and is facing budget cuts and that all his employees should be valued. We wouldn’t be driving today if not for the commitment they provided in clearing the roads these past few days, which is not mandatory. I feel the workers’ privacy was invaded and a total lack of etiquette was displayed in publishing this rubbish.

—Dianne Mixon Lansing

On last week’s Palestine column "This is a war by the world’s fourth largest military power on a detention camp " — an excellent definition. I’d say the closest event in world history is the Nazi offensive against Warsaw getto at the end of WW2.


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