Diversity on the FM dial
I am writing as a follow-up to your article Jazz.FM Hits Sour Note (NOW, April 21-27).
First of all, I would thank you for quoting me accurately even if you had to leave out some of the context I explained.
I regret, however, that you chose to accept so much of what past and present staffers have had to say on the departure of Tabby Johnson and changes at the station in general.
The tone and content of the article and the assertions of the quoted and unquoted individuals do not in any way reflect the reality of management and hiring practices or policy of the station.
We are truly committed to diversity.
Every staff member knows of the importance of the contribution of black artists and composers to the origins, development, continuance and relevance of jazz music. These are reflected every day in the playlists and specialty offerings on the air.
In that respect, your readers might be interested in these facts: more than 40 per cent of our total 31 staff are female, and 20 per cent are [members of] visible minorities.
I am particularly pained that the article didn't point out that it was through Ralph Benmergui's efforts that Ms. Johnson was recruited to the station. The inflection that she was "playing too much black music" has been totally misrepresented by Ms. Johnson.
In the evolving nature of the station, changes in format on the airwaves has brought new excitement. For example, Latin music is prominently hosted by Amanda Martinez and has been widely acclaimed. In addition, a new documentary series focusing on Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Louis Armstrong will air shortly.
Chair, JAZZ.FM91 Toronto
All that razzmatazz
Now that Ms. Tabby Johnson has told her story to NOW, may I say that Jazz FM stinks like a skunk. I don't think Bernie Webber would be honest enough to admit that there is a negative mentality at the station. That would only make the station look bad.
The issue of diversity at the station is real and should be addressed seriously. I just hope Webber et al. don't parade pianist composer and on-air personality Joe Sealy as the poster boy for station diversity so as to deny that a problem exists.
I was rendered speechless when I read the Upfront item on the teachers' union not supporting the mayor's 20-minute makeover (NOW, April 21-27) - and not because my head was where you said it was!
When a union acts in solidarity with co-workers in another union by respecting their legal job action, they might expect a right hook from the likes of Harris-era rightist Jim Flaherty, but a left jab from progressive NOW comes as a bit of a surprise.
The Elementary Teachers of Toronto did not oppose participation by teachers and students in Mayor Miller's Earth Day clean-up.
On the contrary, we encouraged it, but out in the community rather than in the schoolyards.
President, ETT Toronto
Don of new thinking
Thanks once again to now for highlighting the plight of the Don River (NOW, April 21-27) as well as the opportunities that - with a little imagination - could restore it to ecological health. You have added some welcome new thinking to recommendations the Task Force to Bring Back the Don has been working on for years. Still, I prefer not to focus solely on the long-term, intransigent problems.
I'd like to encourage everyone interested in becoming more active to join our task force members at a planting event or Don walk. Information is available on the Bring Back the Don website at www.toronto.ca/don. These are all hands-on things that we can all do to help dignify the Don.
Chair, Task Force to Bring Back the Don Toronto
Three generations of polish residents of Toronto would be amazed to learn that the Czehoski shop on Queen West was a "Czech butcher shop" (NOW, April 21-27). The Czehoski family ran the store for decades, ensuring that their compatriots and thousands of other Canadians of Eastern European descent could enjoy the delicacies that defined their cuisine.
The Chehoski family is internationally famous for making the best kielbasa in Canada.
Six degrees of degradation
The review of the film Zero Degrees Of Separation (NOW, April 21-27) was more than disappointing. It completely missed the point. Glenn Sumi is clearly insensitive to the larger political issues in the film, referring to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as "the Arab-Jew situation" for starters.
And what exactly is "an anti-occupation rant"? Did you mean when people who are experiencing deep oppression speak out and the (right-wing) media choose to dismiss it as hysterical rantings of the left?
The point of this film was not to provide yet one more intimate portrait of a gay couple, but, rather, to look at the occupation through the lens of the lives of four (queer) individuals who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Sorry not to provide the usual soap opera fodder that this reviewer might be more comfortable with.
Director, Zero Degrees Of Separation Toronto
I was happy to read Wayne Roberts's Money Grows On Trees (NOW, April 14-20). Farmers have long been aware that conservation efforts can be more compatible with farming on a larger scale if there is recognition of and support for their contribution. That's why some of Canada's largest farm organizations are working towards piloting a farmer-driven conservation concept called Alternative Land Use Services (ALUS).
ALUS would offer public support and incentives to farmers for land use activities that enhance the environment. As an urban community, it is in our interest to support such progressive methods of preserving and enhancing the environment that we quite literally depend on for survival.
So the dead pope got flowers and Reverend Cheri DiNovo didn't (NOW, April 14-20). DiNovo mixes in different Christian sects under her diatrash against the Pope and Churches.
What did the Pope have to do with some Malawi tribe's custom in some backward village where women crawl in the presence of whites and males? Did the Pope instruct the village to do this? You may find it astounding that very few of those priests accused of sexual abuse are pedophiles, as the media often report. Rather, they are priests with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, and their "victims" are teenage males who are generally aged 16 or 17. Which means that they can consent to such sex.
Re Who are the real crazies here? (NOW, April 14-20). It's not just Chris Benjamin's "uppity neighbours" who think they have the right to choose who lives on their street. Many citizens - people who wouldn't dream of saying, "I'm willing to accept Jews, but only in small numbers" or "This area already has an over-concentration of Italians" - forget that the Ontario Human Rights Code protects people with disabilities, including mental illnesses.
Community Choice Coalition Toronto
Ben on a bender
Benjamin Boles accuses Autechre of (de)evolving from "reinventing music" (NOW, April 21-27) to the much less desirable status of complete irrelevance (an almost melody-free irrelevance, no less!). I can't help but wonder what's more irrelevant, Autechre's artistic trajectory or 95 per cent of the music Boles writes about from week to week in your publication.
I guess you have reputable sources that Chris Elliot is on crack. (NOW, My First Bicycle, April 7-13). Apparently, you have a little trouble confirming your facts and enjoy jumping to false conclusions without actually giving any helpful criticisms.
I will shift gears for a moment. My employer is a retired racer from Europe, where cycling is huge. I've worked for him for five years, and in that time he's taught me the knowledge passed down from his father.
You, however, can't seem to even bike out of a store without crashing into other new bicycles, and it is because of people like you that we have plywood in the front door instead of glass.
Why would I want to waste your time trying to sell you a bike that doesn't fit you? And why should I drop everything with a customer and run to you? I would've been happy to answer any questions you may have had. And the irony is that NOW has no problem taking advertising money from "probably the worst store I hit."
Passing this buck
Letter writer Araby Lockhart is giving Emily Murphy a lot of breaks that aren't usually given to hate-mongers who spread racist diatribes about minority groups (NOW, April 21-27). I suppose according to Lockhart Ernst Zundel should be on our coins as well. I will wear gloves when handling our new $50 bills.
Where did you get the info for the "grow your own" spread? (NOW, April 14-20). It read like a manual from the 1960s.
It was good to see the emphasis on safety (timers and electrical), but the growing info was outdated! It looked like a school experiment. You have sadly misinformed people about lighting and fertilizers. Fluorescent won't save any money or grow anything worthwhile. Fertilizers specific to growth stages will definitely get results, so lose the Miracle Gro! Great magazine.
Thanks for covering this subject!