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Days of Wine and Gold 

Letters published December 13, 2001

Today's Cavaliers don't deserve our support:

Just read Pete Kotz's piece on the Cavs ["Bad News Cavs," November 8]. I don't like to refer to them as the "Cavs." That was a marketing ploy and an abbreviation to fit on a uniform -- which, by the way, is the worst in the NBA, nay professional sports. (Bring back the wine and gold!)

You were far too easy on the boys at the Gund Arena. You make them seem like we should feel sorry for them. They're supposedly professionals who know far more about basketball than we do. If you listen at all to sports-talk radio, you'll find that hardly anyone calls in to talk Cavaliers basketball, but it's not for a lack of interest in basketball. Clevelanders love good basketball. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers organization doesn't seem to know anything about good basketball -- even relatively competitive basketball.

It's a sorry state this franchise is in, and I don't see it getting much better in the near future. Blowing draft picks (Langdon? Diop? Mihm?) is only the tip of the iceberg. It's like they can't do anything right -- like scout college players, make intelligent picks, sign free agents, or develop young players. If they showed any sign of improvement or commitment to putting a good team on the court, maybe then we'd care about them.

I remember going to the Coliseum and watching teams keep pace with the NBA's best. The place was rocking, from tip-off to the final buzzer. Gund Arena is a morgue these days. I was glad the Cavs came back downtown, but now it's not worth anyone's time or money to see them get killed by even the worst teams. In the words of Jed Clampett: "Pitiful. Just pitiful."

Mark Holan
Cleveland

Today's stores do everything but fill sidewalks:

David W. Martin's piece "Too Hip for Thee" [November 22] is informative and compelling, but I'd like to offer another level of interpretation on the renovation at Shaker Square. One of the realities of modern retailing that Cedar Point Properties has to face is that some of the most robust and exciting retailers insist on incorporating lifestyle components that go beyond their store's main personality. Joseph-Beth, ostensibly a bookstore, incorporates a café and a newsstand. Part of the reason that Feel-Rite had to go was that it would compete with Wild Oats's health-food department. What in the good old days would be separate specialty stores have today become specialized areas within a store.

The upside is that we don't get cold or wet when we walk from, say, the grocery portion of Wild Oats to the café portion. Unfortunately, few people are now out to enliven the sidewalks. When we picture the "happening place" that we all want, we probably imagine a sidewalk full of people shuttling between quirky, specialized stores. Feel-Rite was such a store. We used to be able to browse specialty product lines through shop windows, but we can't do that when they are incorporated into bigger stores. The variety we expect from a "happening place" is muted. Unfortunately, Cedar Point has to respond to today's merchandising schemes.

It's hard for retailers to decode why we change our spending patterns, so they occasionally come out and ask. Once, a woman intercepted me at a mall to poll me about whether I wanted to see cappuccino served in movie theaters. I answered "no."

Bruce F. Donnelly
Shaker Heights

It's about time someone cleaned up town:

What a fascinating article on Timberlake ["A Police State of His Own," November 15]. I am astounded that towns like this still exist. Hopefully, Walt Harris represents a very small faction within the 775 residents. If he represents the majority, they should rename it village of idiots, speeders, perverts, or wife abusers.

Before I move my family to Timberlake, let me make sure I have the facts straight. One, the police department used to spend the majority of its time gathering evidence in the form of pornography. Two, residents expect to speed, park illegally, and abuse their families while the dogs run wild. Three, Timberlake wants to preserve its image as a "country club fueled by beer." Sounds like a place with a ton of class.

Congratulations to Chief Graham and Mayor Santangelo for having the foresight to bring everyone into the 21st century. Imagine a chief who actually thinks the law should mean something, and that the resignation of bad apples is good for the department. Please tell Mr. Harris that, if Graham makes more than double what the previous chiefs earned, it is because he is full-time. Good luck, Timberlake. Hopefully, your future isn't like your past.

Stanley Granger
London, Ohio

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