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Going Postal

Shoddy story construction
In case you haven't figured it out yet, this story is about a builder that did not succeed financially, not about flaws in the construction process ("Living the American Nightmare," May 30). Regardless of the amount of builder training received or construction inspection performed, this builder could not meet his financial obligations and there were clues available to the homebuyer in 1997.

I am a licensed contractor and continuing education instructor from Florida, the second most regulated state after California, and we still have these kind of stories. There are always going to be incompetent and unscrupulous builders that take advantage of the public, just like in other areas.

I have been told that studies have shown that there is no correlation between licensing and consumer complaints against contractors. If you were really serious about this topic you might do a little research, rather than use an atypical story about a job that went really bad to imply that the typical house being built averages 30 significant code violations or defects.

-- Mike Palombi, Atlanta

Shumate the schmuck
Richard Shumate claims in his column (Think Tank, "Is There Really an Energy Crisis?" May 30) that European Greens support nuclear power. A factual error of this magnitude undermines his credibility. He also dishonestly represents environmentalists as being stupidly against everything and for nothing.

For the record: Even moderate politicians in Europe recognize the fact that nuclear energy is dangerous, creates incredible pollution in the uranium mining process and leaves waste so toxic it must be isolated, no one knows how, for hundreds of thousands of years. Germany and Sweden are committed to phasing out nuclear power. Most thoughtful enviros advocate conservation and wind and solar power, which are quite highly developed AND competitive with the dirty energy forms. There is also the exciting, virtually pollution-free hydrogen fuel cell technology which promises to revolutionize our relationship to energy.

Richard may not profit directly from dirty energy but he apparently identifies with those who do, presently headquartered in the White House.

-- Tom Ferguson, Atlanta

Masses in Midtown
As a resident of Midtown (specifically the Crescent Avenue area), I can only unleash complaints regarding the throngs of yuppies who are indeed creating a scary new Buckhead of "Sex and the City" wannabes in this neighborhood at night ("Is Midtown Threatened With 'Buckheadization'?" May 23). During the day (which I only infrequently view due to the blasted 9-to-5), it is a pedestrian-friendly conglomeration of all types that make Atlanta an oasis in the South and indeed, a business center that keeps the city alive.

However, I abhor the coming of the weekend and the influx of the nightlife of overdressed, status-driven fools who act like spoiled highschoolers leaving their cheap American beer cans and used condoms draped for blocks in my neighborhood--the folks who think standing in a VIP line in sparkly pants means they have "made it." I have laughed at the irony of a past of detesting the Buckhead nightlife, now realizing too late that Buckhead was a necessary evil to keep these schmucks from destroying my neighborhood. And for those damned wannabe professionals who actually live in Midtown, it is nice to pretend that MARTA will be utilized, but these folks do not tend to believe public transportation is for anyone but the masses and their hunger for status will surely keep them off the brown, tan and orange trains and, of course, the buses.

I lived in SW downtown until my rented loft (a historical building that could not be painted) was turned condo (then painted bright purple and branded with a logo) and I was given the choice of moving out within a week or spending a horribly inflated $170,000 on 1,200 square feet in the middle of urban shit. Only the yuppies could be so smart to pay cheap Manhattan prices for an Atlanta area still quite a bit away from up-and-coming. Midtown is bland and shiny in comparison, but I found a reasonably priced place with an eclectic mix on 13th Street that made me happy enough. Now, the area is inundated with the sorry souls who follow their asses and departed from Buckhead in the despicable Second White Flight of Atlanta.

Like America, Atlanta ashamedly ignores its past and fights to be some random ideal of New York in the South, a copied image with little substance, rather than accepting a unique identity. I challenge the developers of Midtown and Downtown who can't see beyond the cash cow of each building to create a better Atlanta -- one affordable to all people: students, artists, professionals, blacks, whites, Asians, etc., in walking tree-lined neighborhoods throughout our city center. I wonder how many others there are who want to take the city back from those who have no true appreciation for what it is historically and (barely) culturally and what it one day could be (I should mention that my only plan thus far is to get as many non-khakis as possible to join me on my stoop to heckle and also to attempt to import anyone who would be considered "undesirable" to the area). The only other option is to continue to ignore the unspoken and passive segregation which is not only ugly and wrong but counterproductive to any future vision for Atlanta. Young, urban and professional, but kill me when this becomes my identity.

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