They Let George Do It
Stupids get the government they deserve: David W. Martin's expose "Thanks a Lot, George" [January 14] was an outstanding journalistic gem, pulling the cover off Teflon George Voinovich. But in my case, Martin was singing to the choir. As far back as 1990, when he was mayor of Cleveland, I was aware of Voinovich's phony persona as the all-American good-guy politician.
Too bad the easily duped electorate is so dense and gullible that it must suffer years of endless deception and corruption, turning a blind eye to exposés such as "Voinovich Not Big on Integrity" [Plain Dealer, November 2, 1990] and "Thanks a Lot, George." So why blame the corrupt politicians? The stupid electorate and media also allow this to happen.
Punishment perks: David W. Martin's well-written story "Thanks a Lot, George" contained a brief item that prompted a smile, despite the overall depressing information.
Speaking of Gino Zomparelli, former Ohio Turnpike director, Martin noted that one of the goodies that vendors gave to turnpike officials was tickets to Browns games. That's funny -- Martin considers Browns tickets to be a perk.
The Browns would have to pay me double the face value to attend a game. The "new era" Browns are an enormous scam. Carmen "Salary Cap" Policy has convinced thousands of fans to believe that we have a bona fide NFL team.
The organization displays nowhere near the level of character, integrity, maturity, and work ethic of the original Browns under Paul Brown and Blanton Collier -- and never will, as long as Carmen Policy is in charge.
Year after year, we see the same scenario. After the end of each disappointing season, Policy makes a few on-the-field and off-the-field personnel changes. Then, during the season, there are some injuries -- real or imagined -- that provide excuses for yet another lackluster season. It amazes me that otherwise intelligent people allow their wallets to get sucked into the Browns' marketing Cuisinart.
The team's a joke, and the one laughing most is Carmen Policy -- all the way to his estate in Hunting Valley.
Louis H. Pumphrey
Cheers for Chandler
English teacher gets an E for effort: In response to "Poetry Man," January 14: I had always thought that Scene stood for the kind of justice that long ago disappeared from the pages of corporate newspapers. But I discover that Scene would rather do a hatchet job on a beloved English teacher than investigate how a man comes to be fired for committing an act that in most institutions would call for a slap on the wrist.
Reporter Aina Hunter suggests that Dr. Chandler is a beloved teacher, but she doesn't pursue that line of inquiry. Why did faculty members stick out their necks? Why did students take the trouble to shower CSU's president with accolades of support? Why were donors unwilling to work with a replacement? Why didn't your reporter ever find out?
Why did Hunter get basic facts wrong? Neal and Becky Chandler edit Dialogue: The Journal of Mormon Thought; they don't compose a magazine called Reflections. When Chandler won any awards, Dialogue was edited by someone else. Dr. Chandler did not award himself any awards.
Why does Hunter want to smear Dr. Chandler's reputation by suggesting that because it's out of print, his book of stories is bad?
I've worked with Neal at the Cleveland Public Workshop, and I'm in a writers' group with him. I've watched needy, inexperienced writers listen attentively to his every word, and I've watched novelists who've published three or four novels listen with equal concentration. Neal reads carefully, he reviews a work with sympathy to the aims of the writer, and he honestly suggests ways to revise the work. Anyone who's taken creative-writing courses or sat in a writer's workshop knows how hard it is to come by this degree of depth, respect, and honesty.
If Hunter had done her job, she would have found that Chandler's claim to being director of the Creative Writing program was not an obscure little lie printed on an application. It was a title Neal thought he had, and it was printed on every CSU document that listed Chandler's relationship to the university. In other words, for years, any department chair or any college dean could have said, "Hey, Neal, that's wrong. Stop it." Did anyone do that? No.
A good alternative magazine would have smelled something fishy, when its lead quote is provided by a bureaucratic henchman who seemed to relish destroying someone's career.
Cleveland's lucky: Neal Chandler is the best English and writing teacher I've ever had. Cleveland is lucky to have his intellect and enthusiasm in its classrooms.
Lori Valyko Weber
The people have spoken: Aina Hunter's smear job on Neal Chandler is so distorted and one-sided, it's almost comic. If Chandler is such a bad guy, one wonders what could have inspired hundreds of people from all over the country to write letters protesting his dismissal. The real story here is that the Cleveland literary community really banded together to protest an injustice, and it worked. Neal is back, and I don't know of anyone, except Ms. Hunter, who's upset about it.
Departmental best: For several years now, I have been trying to pass myself off as very rich and very eligible, but now that Aina Hunter has announced it in Scene, no one will ever believe me. One thing that your tabloid did get right: Neal Chandler probably is "the best-loved staffer in English department history."
A writer's writer: As with most aspiring writers, when I first tried my hand at the craft, what I produced was simply horrible. Chandler read it anyway and gave me the best advice he could. I have never been a student at CSU. I met Chandler through the free public fiction workshops he conducted on Thursday evenings at Mather Mansion. Now we share a writer's group.
My first book is slated for publication in 2005. Chandler's been with me all the way. The only things that have passed between us are manuscripts, advice, and support.
Neal Chandler is a writer's writer. I just wanted to set the record straight.
Bad Slant on Dan
Kvetching at the ink-stained wretch: Once again, Thomas Francis has dipped his pen in yellow ink to attack Eastlake Mayor Dan DiLiberto and the stadium project ["City on the Brink," December 17]. Just what is this guy's problem?
If Francis got out more, he might realize that Eastlake is far from alone with its financial problems. Numerous cities are suffering budget deficits and layoffs. The stadium project has been hugely successful, with the team drawing more than 400,000 fans last season. Since stadium funding is separate from city operating expenses, the fact that the team mascot has a job, while some city workers do not, is completely irrelevant to the situation.
Scene should be backing officials like DiLiberto, who show vision and leadership in attempting to upgrade their cities -- not attacking them with inflammatory and misleading articles like Francis's.
Stumping for Stompcore
A slice of nice from the Knife: Fred from Kitchen Knife Conspiracy here. Just wanted to thank D.X. Ferris for the review ["Regional Beat," January 21]. Whether good or bad, any press is good press for a local!
The review was good, and that makes me very pleased. Just wanted to drop you a line and tell you we appreciate it.