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We were simply appalled at “Bottled Fury” in your 3/14 issue. This was not the kind of fact-finding exposure of graft, corruption, and craziness we look forward to in Washington City Paper. This was not journalism. This was someone writing with a conclusion in mind, which he then sought to prove by only interviewing a targeted and limited number of people.
Karen Currie and Stew Harris are two of the most dedicated people we have ever met in over 30 years of involvement and life in the inner cities of Chicago and Washington. They are devoted community builders who seek out and make friends with all their neighbors and willingly give of their time and energies to make the neighborhood work. As anyone who has actively participated in a neighborhood and its issues knows, this takes dedication of an extraordinary degree.
Of course Trants has been here for a long time. But cities have changed. Perceptions of what is acceptable behavior have changed. The dangers presented to residents by young men loitering, or men who used to drink and who are now doing drugs, have changed. The hassle factor of unruly behavior swiftly alters to holdups and worse as young men fight to get or keep drugs. North Lincoln Park has tried to work with Trants and the ABC Board to define alternatives to allow them to stay in business. They worked out an agreement to allow Trants to sell a line of groceries in addition to liquor in their storethereby making it possible for them to make ends meet without selling liquor by the drink or can.
To assert that North Lincoln Park is a racially divided community of poor blacks versus yuppies is wrong. All neighbors, black and white, middle-class and poor, participate in community activities.
The ties built by Karen and Stew and their neighbors extend far into other Capitol Hill neighborhoods, as experiences and techniques are shared, help is sought and given monetarily and otherwise, and friends are made.
Accurate reporting on these kinds of activities is what our city needs, not limited interviews with the negative segment, which exists anywhere, slamming people who work hard to promote a decent quality of life for everyone. Feeding racial divisiveness will not contribute toward helping our city to heal.
We trust you will be more responsible and more selective about running articles that verge on the character assassination of truly good citizens in the future.