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All things to all people
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1 Here’s reader Lee Mallory on the June issue’s epic photosplosion: “Great idea to juxtapose the broad and beautiful ‘Focus on Nevada’ spread (our photo contest) with the equally discerning and more local ‘Visions of Maryland.’” That was our three-shooter photo essay digging into the chewy urban layer cake that is Maryland Parkway. “Thanks for 24 pages of wonder, and the guts to hand a magazine over, so fully, to the world.” Of course, one reader’s paean to worldly connection is another’s wayback machine: “Spent a good portion of my life going up and down that street,” Tamarisk Wood wrote on Facebook after seeing the Maryland Parkway photos. “I bet I could give a blindfolded walking tour of what was there from UNLV to Huntridge.” We may take you up on that, Tamarisk; we already have the blindfold (don’t ask). Meantime, which photo did you most respond to? “The one looking down the arches in front of Cheers toward the plaza where (Café) Copioh was,” she replies (above, bottom right). It whisks her back to a groovy time of “café-hopping, 24-hour donuts and hanging out at or in front of Cheers. Sad that those days are long gone.” Maryland is just as memory-drenched for Linda Alterwitz, one of the photographers involved in the essay, so we asked if she had a moment of vivid recall while shooting. She did. “It happened while I was photographing the couple buildings that remained in Maryland Square … remembering what used to be there — the bank I used to go to with my mom, and the Baskin-Robbins ice cream store on the west corner. Then a security guard appeared, told me that there was no photography allowed and told me to leave. Those precious memories were with me very briefly as I packed them away once again and drove off.”
2 But hold on! Not everyone loved “Visions of Maryland.” Reader Victoria Halfon is “furious to see on Page 65 a full-page photo of a hate-speech nut. I drive by this infuriating man several times a week, and am assaulted by his Nazi rhetoric on his clothing and signs ... It’s media attention like this that makes these nuts start shooting innocent people in their clamor for infamy. So while Palestinian terrorists have three teenagers held hostage in the West Bank area, you are giving a full page photo to the Palestinian flag waving behind this loser on his bike? Is this our guide to living in Southern Nevada? I’m actually ashamed of you and your insensitive behavior.” We’re sorry you feel that way, Victoria, but we can’t apologize for including Aaron Mayes’ photo in “Visions of Maryland,” the point of which was to capture and consider real life on Maryland Parkway — from the beautiful to the bad. To apologize for that would be, well, apologizing for journalism: honestly reflecting and investigating the world around us. It’s absurd to assume that reflecting that world implies some kind of endorsement, sanction or encouragement on our part. Of course, it doesn’t. Ironically, your harrowing interactions with this man reinforce the premise of the photo essay; they affirm that, yes, this guy is most definitely part of the life of Maryland Parkway. Finally, we should consider a multitude of other likely factors that results in “nuts ... shooting innocent people” before pointing a finger at an easy target like “media attention.” That’s as simplistic as wishing that a man ranting on a street corner didn’t exist.
3 The Urban League of Las Vegas, subject of an All Things dispatch in June, is changing addresses and, as Andrew Kiraly noted in his story, dialing up its ambition: “The shift in HQ from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Owens Avenue to west Cheyenne is itself a signal flare for a broader vision. ‘We’re not the Urban League of black people, and not the Urban League of North Las Vegas,’ says (new CEO Kevin) Hooks. ‘In order to show that, we’ve got to expand our footprint.’” Not so fast, says Facebook commenter Lynn Boland. “What’s wrong with being in a black neighborhood? Why not provide a place of ‘dignity’ in the black neighborhood for black and other clients who live there. Urban League’s CEO should be thinking about what’s accessible to clients. About revitalizing at the community’s roots. A beautiful place on Owens would have been very encouraging.” Hooks declined to address Boland’s comments directly, but the Urban League did say this: “The Las Vegas Urban League has eight offices in and around Las Vegas, including two near Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Cary that will continue to serve the entire community.”
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