Problems with representative democracy Hammer’s frustration with America’s power structure (Hammer, “The Sound Of Breaking Glass,” March 17-24) is clearly understood, though I vehemently disagree with his shaky resolve that voting will take care of these pesky “few” power hoarders. The problem isn’t just that we have poor leaders in positions of far-reaching power, but rather that these positions of power exist in the first place. Any intelligent, free-thinking individualist should feel uneasy, if not outright enraged, with a system that allows others to decide for them how best to live their life. The ability to control others’ actions despite their protest is the essence of representative democracy. Another troubling aspect of representative democracy is the blanketing cover of its power. Instead of laws consented on by small communities, we have rulers enacting control across national and international boundaries despite cultural, environmental and political contradictions between regions. Again, I share Hammer’s frustration with the outright denial of our voices as citizens and protesters (though protests have MANY more goals than the immediate broken resolve of power holders, so it’s not always a failure) and that denial SHOULD be the glaring inadequacy and barrier to true freedom of our system. So no, I don’t think voting in new rulers is the answer to our society’s complex troubles, but rather, I’d like to see a very direct transformation in the way we choose to live and an outright denial of the power structures we have allowed to be put in place. Voting is a minor way to affect change, but it’s also a crapshoot rather than an absolute outcome. Look at voting as not the sound of breaking glass, but more so just wiping it cleaner. Small scale direct democracy and the denial of authority is truly the sound of breaking glass. Scott Spitz Indianapolis Panhandling through time I just finished the NUVO’s cover story (“Shaking a Cup,” March 3-10) and I thought I might share a few anecdotes from the panhandler’s prey of choice. I am a resident of downtown Indianapolis and have been for most of the last six years. I’m going to take a ride on the wayback machine to 1994. I had just scored a new job making significantly more than my previous employment, just south of downtown. Walking cross-town I encounter a sorrowful looking man who asks if I can spare a dollar. I give him two (the extra for the bus) and the address of my former employer. I write down a note for him to give as recommendation to fill my recently vacated position. He’s been on the same corner ever since. I asked. He never applied. We’ll fast-forward to 1999. I’m in the car outside a gas station near my downtown apartment. There is a running question between myself and my neighbors. Often we are panhandled for “gas money” at this gas station. Our standard policy has been to, if anything, fill the panhandler’s gas can and move along. There is a knock on the window. Exasperated I roll it down and am confronted by a man with a gas can. “I’ll sell you a gallon of gas for a dollar,” he says. Fast-forward to about a month ago. The same man I tried to give a job asks me for a dollar. I lose it. “You’ve been asking me that same question for 10 YEARS!” I harass him; I actually follow him for 20 minutes through downtown and cut him off before he can say two words to a “customer.” Eventually, he flees to a metro and escapes. I feel like a boy scout who’s done his good deed for the day. I know I sound like a bitter and angry man. I’m not. I’m usually a fairly easygoing guy. To explain I’ll have to rewind a few years. After a failed winter out West I am back in Indianapolis at the Greyhound bus station with $20, a duffle bag and a list of old phone numbers. At 5 a.m. the next morning I’m signing in at a day-labor outfit on the Eastside. A year later I have a full-time job. In between I slept in some interesting places and ate some interesting things. And I didn’t panhandle once. So when I get hit up on my walk downtown I don’t give them any money. I give them the address of the day-labor pool. And the address of some cheap weekly renter downtown. Well, OK, usually not half that much. They generally leave by the time I say “work.” Paul F Buche Jr. Indianapolis Lacking in public transportation I enjoyed your rather short article on IndyGo (Cover, “Missing the Bus,” Feb. 18-25) but had it been longer I realize it would have been more of the same. I too ride an IndyGo bus and I live in Carmel. When IndyGo came to the ’burbs with a bus at the Target store in Fishers, it was wonderful. Later, they moved it further east and the extra commute became laborious. In addition the stretch of traffic on 69 till it reached 465 was like riding the back of a snail. Now, I drive to the back of the Glendale Shopping Center and pick up a bus to come downtown. It’s great. It’s fast and they drop me off right in front of the Bank One building. Is it well used? NO. IndyGo has not promoted it at all and the ridership is low ... even though they have almost continuous service at 15 minute intervals from 6 a.m. till 8:45 a.m. every day. It’s just $2 each way and that is cheaper than parking in most instances. It is my belief that IndyGo is operating these routes because of a federal grant of some sort and it will run out and when it does, the service will cease? Why? I believe that if it is promoted then IndyGo will need to continue to service the crowds that would in fact increase ... without the federal money. You can guess why they don’t promote the service. Nevertheless, keep up the pressure. We as a city of our size are woefully lacking in public transportation. My partner commented that the auto industry has 12,000 people employed here and “why bite the hand that feeds us?” Bernard J. Lally Indianapolis Be more tactful I think someone should review your reviews. I feel you were very rude to come out and say, and I quote, “And as Judas, Tim Garland’s performance makes a case for why there should be understudies available” (Culture Vulture, “Three Deaths, One Savior,” March 17-24). I realize that Tim was fighting something off; he did an outstanding job. The only time understudies should be used is when it warrants it. Have you ever thought about being a little more tactful? Oh wait, tactful isn’t in your vocabulary is it? It’s also obvious that you didn’t really like the show. I gather the reasoning behind my statement is that you really didn’t review the show. Do you even understand the show, or how many long hours the cast and crew have put into Superstar to entertain theatergoers. No, from my understanding you don’t understand much when it comes to the nature of shows like this. I truly hope you find a way to be tactful with your upcoming reviews of other shows even if you don’t like them. William Jackson Indianapolis Full disclosure “Last September everybody was talking about how lopsided public opinion was against the city building a new stadium for the Colts” (“A (Retractable) Dome of Our Own,” Public Interest, Feb. 11-18). David, I work for a market research firm. Unethical entities often misrepresent results of a study to appeal to their own interests. I encourage you to offer full disclosure on this comment of “public opinion” and who constitutes “everybody.” If this is referencing a study sponsored by a media outlet(s) who asked respondents to consider a dome vs. public services, you’re not helping the cause for responsible journalism. I enjoy your articles and commend your approach to this extremely complex and sensitive issue. Chris Babbitt Indianapolis

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