Letters for November 22, 2007

Sick story
Re “Vital Signs” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

After reading your most recent article, “Vital Signs” I was left confused and appalled. Mr. Thompson, while encompassing a variety of those involved in all aspects of the live music scene, failed to consult with more than two or three actual artists. He wanders aimlessly downtown with more than a negative slant towards tourists. Does this man even enjoy Reno?

I’m sure if he had read RN&R’s calender of events, he could have attended any one of the local venues and had a conversation with those performing after the show. I imagine they might have had something to say regarding their scene.

Almost every evening of the week, one can find a show that they would like to see for as much or as little as they wish to pay. Not to mention that during the summer families can attend concerts every day of the week almost anywhere in the Reno/Sparks area.

Sadly, “Vital Signs” was more concerned with those like Kevin McGehee, owner of the Green Room, and his personal issues and adopting a condescending tone toward “spoiled … jazz kids.” He shows off a million-dollar expansion on one hand and complains of a request for $750 to be paid for services rendered with the other.

Neither Mr. McGehee nor the author make any specific requests and/or suggestions to fix the local live music scene. They mention vague terms like, “Gel together,” and something along the lines of, “Say thanks.” The Reno music scene is in a world of hurt if these are the only cures offered.

Perhaps the disease was diagnosed without consulting the patient. Perhaps the critics need to step out of the, “Please me, I’m great,” attitude and ask for the opinion of the men and women who devote their lives to creating and performing for us night after night and venue after venue here in Reno/Sparks.

Laura Wills

No new billboards
How many ways can the Reno City Council and the Washoe District Health Board find to circumvent the law? It seems as many ways as they deem expeditious to their goals. The controversy over the Clear Channel billboards on West Fourth Street and the 216 Unit Apartment complex proposed by Fore Property on the Old Reno Dump are the hot topics right now.

When the Reno City Council enacted the 278 billboard limit approved by the voters in 2000, they apparently saw fit to allow that new billboards could be erected so long as an existing billboard was taken down to keep the billboard count consistent with the law. There seems to be no “comparable size” restriction so that new billboards would be limited to the same square footage as the one being replaced. I could be wrong but I don’t believe these two concessions were the intention of 2000 statute when the voters approved it.

In August, the Reno City Council, over the objections of 85-plus Reno residents present, granted permission to Fore Property to develop a 216 Unit Apartment Complex on top of the old Reno dump. This is in clear violation of a Washoe County statute prohibiting “the construction or residential housing on top of or within 300 feet” of the edges of a landfill. In so doing, they handed off their responsibilities to the Washoe County District Health Department.

Scott Adie

Dad rocks
Re “Columnist bows out” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

I’d like to thank Dennis Myers for his spot-on article about the departure of my father, columnist Cory Farley, from the Reno Gazette-Journal.

As a fellow employee of Gannett, I’m not about to comment on the company’s personnel matters. However, as a community member and a guy who’s been immersed in journalism since before he could read the funnies, the exodus of experience from the local news media during the past two years scares me to death. I worry that someday not too far off, one of us newbies will make a stupid mistake in print or on the air and there will be no wizened sages left in the newsroom to call us on it.

Still, I’m proud of my dad for sticking it out in this town and this business for nearly 30 years and for compromising only when his job (and my next meal) depended on it. Though the thought makes me slightly nauseous right now, I hope I have what it takes to last even half as long. I wish him luck and eagerly await the day when he hooks up with a medium that values cosmic justice, informed debate and a well-crafted sentence as much as he does.

Matt Farley
via e-mail

Missed the story
Re “Vital Signs” (Feature story, Nov. 8):

Who knew you could write an entire article about a local music scene with one’s head fully up one’s ass? But there it was, a three-page hack job of an article that interviewed not one but two musicians from not two but one band! Did it ever occur to Peter Thompson to interview any of the bands or staff members who got screwed by Kevin McGehee? Did Thompson ever think about interviewing one of our great local song writers instead of a guy who charges five bucks for an open mic and calls said open mic “Reno’s best” as if the other three open mics in town have their eyes on the title?

It’s true we’ve had a couple rough months this year after the city screwed the Holland Project out of its first space by donating a building that had no hope of passing even the most lax of fire codes. We’ve lost a lot of artists this year to bigger cities where there is hope of making a living as musicians. And you know what? We are still here.

Name withheld