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Letters to Artvoice

refresher course

in Ecology 101

Thank you, Mr. Niman, for your article on overpopulation (“Getting a Grip,” Artvoice v6n18). It is satisfying to see someone bring up the idea that there just might be too many people on the planet. It is equally satisfying to know that you have put your mind to the task and have presented a solution to the problem. I want to take issue with a lot of the things you said, but there is one item you ignored and I would like to bring it to your attention, and to the readers of your article.

We as a species will always be a part of the community of life on this planet, even if some of us ignore that fact. We are not exempt from the laws that govern life on this planet, even when they stare us in the face. One of the recognizable results of these laws is the correlation between food availability and population growth.

When a population expands beyond its food base it inevitably declines. This can be witnessed in every species on the planet, including us. For example, if there are too many deer in the forest, they eat up their food base. Once they eat up their food base their population declines. While the population declines, the food base replenishes itself, and then the population has enough food to sustain growth again. This occurs daily, and it occurs invariably.

With this knowledge in hand, let me present a viable solution to the population problem on this planet. Stop increasing food production. There was enough food to feed six billion people on the planet last year, and how do I know this? I know this because there were six billion people last year. If you want population growth to halt, don’t increase food production.

Population growth has nothing to do with “global social inequality”; it has to do with the systems of biological control inherent in the community of life. We are not exempt from these laws, and the quicker we see this, the quicker we can implement change, and our growth will stabilize. Then, we can try fixing the other issues, because you were right about one thing, runaway population growth is at the center of our environmental problems.

David Wade


school board elections

Good article on recent school board elections (“The News, Briefly,” Artvoice v6n18). I was happy to be an election inspector in Delaware district, Central school board, take a break for lunch and vote in my own precinct, Delaware district, North school board. We did have a lot of write-ins. Worst that happened was the official pencil got dropped on the floor rather than in the works, and we had to hand in an official ballpoint until it was found.

Fred Yellen’s campaign letter included good instructions on how to write him in. Some election instructors used this letter as an under-the-table instruction sheet. Jayne Rand and crew made up an instruction sheet from this letter. No candidate names were included, so it could be used openly.

While packing up the papers to go downtown, we noticed a few of our voters had written in candidates for the wrong school district for the polling place where they voted. What happens to these votes? Voter confusion is not completely rare. In last November’s general election, a few of our voters apparently listened to too many radio ads and wanted to vote for a representative for another district from where we actually were.

All of us election inspectors wonder—why not combine school board elections with primary elections, for example? Seems a lot of money to drag out machines and people for so few votes. I, like my fellow inspectors and our voters, enjoy participating in democracy.

Dave Gaeddert


music is art

belongs in buffalo

For the last 20 years, the Goo Goo Dolls have professed their love and loyalty for their hometown, Buffalo, New York. It is profound that we can honor our hometowns and have such pride in the values and spirit of our communities.

The Goo Goo Dolls have carried Buffalo in their pockets around the globe, through every success and accomplishment. As fellow Buffalonians, we have enjoyed the magic carpet ride on their coattails. With every Grammy, MTV award and the like, we were allowed to share in their accolades as if we too were a part of their success. There hasn’t been an article written, any national or international interview granted, that didn’t boast that the Goo Goo Dolls are from Buffalo.

There is an abundance fine artistic talent originating in Buffalo. There just may be something in the water. The Goo Goo Dolls’ front man, John Rzeznik, calls us “the toughest city in America.”

The Music Is Art annual festival celebrates all forms of that wealth of local talent from which the Goo Goo Dolls and their like sprang. The Music Is Art festival showcases not only local music but every form of art imaginable. Music Is Art is unlike the arts-and-crafts festivals that circle the country every summer offering garden plant holders and affordable mementoes of the summer.

Unlike these art festivals, the extraordinary and unique Music Is Art Festival does not solicit vendors; it supports and pays tribute to local painters, sculptors, photographers, performance artists, dancers and musicians. The profits from the artwork donated by the participating artists are raised at auction with the support and collaboration of our pride and joy, the world renowned Albright Knox-Art Gallery. At the annual Rockin’ at the Knox music event, local artists and dancers of the Music Is Art festival have been recognized and celebrated by Louis Grachos, the gallery’s director. What the Music Is Art festival means to so many aspiring young artists is a rare opportunity to work collectively as a community, displaying their many talents, bringing innumerable people together.

My heart sank when I read the Buffalo News article announcing that this year’s Music Is Art festival has been forced out of Allentown and relegated to the Erie County Fairgrounds, excluding the city of Buffalo, its birthplace, entirely.

Six years ago, under the generous guidance of Robby Takac of the Goo Goo Dolls, Music Is Art began its mission to celebrate Buffalo’s treasure, an abundance of artistic talent in all genres. The front man for the Goo Goo Dolls, John Rzeznik, was instrumental in bringing awareness of and support for the importance of music in our school system, an integral part of education that has been threatened by budget cuts and ignorance. Musical instruments were donated to such local schools as the Performing Arts Academy. The Music Is Art Foundation, supported by generous donations, has succeeded in bringing music back into schools. The Music Is Art festival features artists, sculptors, photographers and performance artists alongside as many local musicians as possible in the allotted time. For the last several years, hundreds of local bands donated their performances to a CD to be sold, with all profits benefiting the Music Is Art Foundation.

The Goo Goo Dolls and Ani DiFranco have teamed up to raise funding for important research to learn the correlation of music to the breakthrough treatment of autism. The research is exciting, important and invaluable. Another major cause of the Music Is Art Foundation is the teenage suicide prevention campaign taken to high schools throughout Buffalo.

Instead of appreciating that the Goo Goo Dolls, along with hundreds of volunteers and artists who collaborate for the good of the community as well as the future of our children, we snub the Music Is Art festival and push it far away. Every year since its conception, Robby Takac has fought tooth and nail for city permits for the Music Is Art festival. This offspring of the Allentown Arts Festival should be welcomed and appreciated for its gallant efforts. It has never been a competitor to theAllentown Arts Festival but rather it has brought new life to a segment of our community that has been ignored and underappreciated.

Music Is Art will not be allowed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of what has become one of the largest arts-and-crafts shows of vendors. The Allentown Village Society defends their position stating that “Music does not belong at a fine arts festival.” I beg and plead to differ.

The curator of the Music Is Art festival, Jon Simon, carefully chooses Buffalo’s cream-of-the-crop artists. If you were to interview the participants, as I have, you would learn the profound impact and influence such support has had on our young people. What is the significance of all of this to Buffalo? Well, let’s see: Keeping people from fleeing our hometown directly after college is a great starter. There are examples of young people who have come to Buffalo for their college education and chosen to stay because of the support and enthusiasm of the local arts community.

Artists are flourishing in this town like never before. Art galleries are popping up all around and local musicians are working with a new sense that they are a part of a scene to be proud of. A side note is that the Music Is Art Foundation has also collaborated with the University at Buffalo and televises local musicians alongside artists, sculptors and dancers weekly.

Why else should our local government support this labor-of-love festival and foundation? I sure would rather have the Goo Goo Dolls as our very own ambassadors. They are known around the world for their benevolence, compassion and charity. Music Is Art is their way of giving back to the town that made them who they are today.

The Goo Goo Dolls chose to come home to write and record their latest album, Let Love In—a great success—and are planning to return to write yet another new album. Thank you, Goo Goo Dolls, for choosing Buffalo to make your spectacular Fourth of July video in 2004 on the stairs of City Hall, and thank you for including the whole town in your great moment. People around the globe now know just how cool our city is. You could have made that DVD anywhere but you chose your beloved Buffalo. If our local politicians won’t thank you enough for your great service to our hometown, please allow me to express gratitude for your altruistic intentions. If I could talk with our mayor, I would try to express to him the treasure we have in our city’s ambassadors, the Goo Goo Dolls. New Jersey had Bruce Springsteen. We have the Goo Goo Dolls.

We will all miss the Music Is Art festival this June, which for the last five years has contributed entertainment and unrivaled spirit to the Allentown Arts Festival.

lorraine simon