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Exorcise Thyselves! 

Letters published March 21, 2007

Would the real bad guys please stand up? I have followed the Gravelle controversy since its inception, and I must say that this is the most repulsive excuse for an article I have read ["The Exorcists," March 7].

Jared Klaus accepts the self-serving claims of the Gravelles as if they had been proven true. Actually, in both the custody and criminal trials, neither judge nor jury believed the ridiculous stories that demonize the children. The current foster parents, who have had custody for more than a year, have witnessed none of the animalistic behavior the Gravelles allege.

Equally significant, the Gravelles failed to rear any of their combined five biological children to adulthood without serious problems. Four of the five were forced out of the home. Two testified against the Gravelles in the custody trial.

Last, but definitely not least, the race of the children has a lot to do with the eagerness with which the Gravelles and their supporters dehumanized them. (Indeed, the Gravelles referred to the children as "monkeys" and other racial slurs.) Klaus has revealed his own racism by joining them in treating the children as subhuman. Not once in four pages of writing is there even one sentence in which the Gravelle children are referred to in a humane manner.

Shame on Jared Klaus for having written this. And shame on Scene for not having the insight and sensitivity that would have resulted in a decision not to publish such biased material.

Julia Gomez
Seattle

Seven Hills Story Vetoed
Candidates with busy calendars need not apply:
As a politician, I can be criticized for things I do. What I can't comprehend is being criticized for things I did not do. In "Seven Hills Soap Opera" [First Punch, March 7], a proposal to ban public employees from holding elected office was presented as my doing. This measure was introduced and passed by city council. I vetoed it, guaranteeing that political opponents can run against me in November.

I am thrilled at the prospect that my competition for mayor will likely be candidates that have full-time jobs working for the county. My first campaign literature is going to be a copy of my daily schedule, showing all of the mandatory places I need to be to be an excellent mayor. Those working full-time jobs for the county will then be asked to explain how they plan on running a city from the county engineer's office.

I'll spend a good deal of my time talking about how Seven Hills has $1.5 million more in cash than when I started, how we have made millions of dollars of street and sewer repairs, and how after 30 years of other people's failures, my administration is making the $350 million Rockside Terrace project a reality.

This is the third story in which Scene has attempted to marginalize me by mentioning that I collect "Superman stuff." I can assure you, the collectibles are not what define me. Rather, it is my efforts on behalf of my constituents. Since I won't hold my breath on you ever writing that story, why don't you flush out this two-master and conflict issue? Instead of wasting time writing on a $14,000-a-year mayor, why don't you help the community by exposing this very legitimate issue and its impacts on a dying Cuyahoga County?

Mayor David Bentkowski
Seven Hills

Opera News a Dead Carcass
This fat lady's no TrimSpa spokeswoman:
No news is no news when you have a flamethrower like Lisa Rab. Her scare headlines about Cleveland Opera's demise ["The Fat Lady's Finale?", March 7] is followed by a shabby story that's weeks, even months old.

If you're going to give us juicy tidbits, please do. Don't give us dead meat. I hope you're not trying to convince Scene's audience of the area's cultural collapse (like every other naysayer).

Rice Hershey
Cleveland

Sheep in Wolf's Clothing?
What big teeth Uncle Sam has!
In "The Devil Wears Wal-Mart" [February 28], Pete Kotz is not very astute. Prior to Wal-Mart, most rural and inner-city areas had poor retail services. In Cleveland, the corner grocery stores offer aged and expired food. In rural areas they were charging outrageous prices for extremely limited selections of clothing and nonperishables.

If you were to go into five randomly selected non-chain restaurants in Cleveland and five corner grocery stores, you would find many employees getting public assistance.

The fall of Wal-Mart stock is a clue, as is the recent firing of the CEO of Home Depot and the loss of Tops, that the retail industry does not have money.

Basic economics indicate that if Congress or the states mandate health care or permit unions, the number of chains will be sharply reduced and most medium-sized stand-alone stores and smaller chains will disappear. A good lesson is what happened to A&P, which was once the largest grocery chain in the U.S., with 15,000 stores. It was regulated out of existence by a lunatic congressman.

The same thing happened to the auto industry when Congress went regulation-happy in the late 1960s. At that time, General Motors had 100 factories in Michigan and 60 in Ohio. It will be a shock, but not a surprise, if one or all expire.

Franz Zrilich
Medina

Kotz done the deed right: The article by Pete Kotz was well-written, thoughtful, supported by facts, important, and timely. I criticized him last week for an article on Kucinich, and I stand by that criticism. But I must congratulate Pete on a great article this week on Wal-Mart's dirty deeds.

This is journalism in its classic best form. Nice job. Scene rocks.

Gerald Seidel
Cleveland Heights

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