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Falwell, but Not Far 

Letters published the week of December 26, 2007.

"Jesus for Sale," October 31

Jerry put his foot in his mouth, not your money in his pocket: These types of exposés are long overdue. The scamming of people in the name of God is still going on.

However, I didn't like you putting Jerry Falwell in that crowd. True, he has raised a lot of money and famously founded the Moral Majority, but he didn't do this by promising people something that he knew he could never give. These people pervert the truth of God's word — Jerry just tried to stir people to action. His church is a member of the Southern Baptist Convention and is accountable to the members. All Southern Baptist churches operate this way.

Old Jerry was indeed a lightning rod for a lot of criticism and even said some silly things at times, but I'm sure he never scammed anyone like Humbard, Roberts, Hinn, Crouch, Popoff, etc.

Mark Borzillo
Hermann, Missouri

"The Wild, Wild West Bank," December 12

Ghetto Blaster
Let's just hope justice isn't a Mirage: The Flats ghetto bars may as well consider their days over. My friend, Daymon Mumford, was killed by the quality crowd attracted by these fine establishments, Metropolis and Mirage.

You messed with the wrong people this time. Cleveland's lack of patrols and regard for the safety of its citizens created this problem. These two bars will not be in business, once we are done with them. They keep saying it was a stray bullet, not intended for him. What the fuck? There shouldn't have been any bullets, regardless of their intended path — the path that took my beloved friend from us.

Wake up, Cleveland — it's called broken-window syndrome. Look at all those pieces of shit walking our streets in the place you call home. Cleveland, you allow them to do so, with their deadly weapons of choice. And through ignorance and pure hatred, those pieces of shit took one of the best people this world had to offer. Meanwhile, those pieces of shit continue to walk our streets. You had better be on your knees, begging for mercy, because God will hunt you down and justice will be served.

Angie Woodman
Lakewood

It's my party bar, and I'll cry if I want to: In order to take a look at this situation logically, let's look at some facts. Much violence that stems from the downtown-area nightclubs comes predominantly from those who are black. Is it wrong for urbanites to celebrate their livelihood, listen to chart-topping music that most young and old white people listen to, or dress up their cars with twenty-inch rims? No.

What's wrong is everyone pointing their fingers at them. There are so few downtown hip-hop clubs that when one appears, people don't know how to act. The Cleveland police need to be involved. It is the city's job to ensure the safety of others.

Still, freedom of speech should not be taken away from the club-goers, and everyone in this situation has made a choice that entails some good outcomes and some bad. So it is their job, too, to take responsibility.

Take the girl who was allegedly shot at Mirage. She chose to go to a club known for violence and chaos, and should not cry about it — just like the rest of the people.

Michelle Haas
Cleveland

"The King of Spin," December 5

Cosmic Consciousness
Story raises awareness higher than an alien spacecraft: My disillusionment with Dennis Kucinich probably began around the time I learned that brain-addled New Ager Shirley MacLaine was one of his biggest champions. After reading "The King of Spin" by the estimable Denise Grollmus, I realize that my awakening should have happened sooner. The talented Ms. Grollmus provided an excellent crash course on the man's rise, fall, and many inexplicable comebacks.

Brian W. Fairbanks
Lakewood

At least we didn't quote our interview with Britney: I've never voted for Dennis Kucinich. And I respect Brent Larkin. He treated me well when I was the head of a labor organization. I worked against Dennis in his first comeback attempt, when he ran for State Senate against Dale Miller. I worked for Dan Brady too — the guy who beat Dennis' brother Gary for a council seat in '85. Have I established my credibility yet?

God knows there is plenty to criticize Kucinich about, both then and now. But it's clear the author is so far removed from those days and the political dynamics of the time — and the political dynamics on the West Side to this day — that it was folly to write an article based on an interview with Brent Larkin, an interview with the former public-relations director for CEI (you're kidding, right?), and one Cleveland magazine article. Scene quoting Cleveland Magazine is akin to The New York Times quoting People. I have now officially seen everything.

I spent a decade working in city politics with people who were there and were not questioned for the story. Why not talk to Councilman Jay Westbrook, Councilwoman Donna Brady, former State Representative Pat Sweeney, and Ward Leader Lori Jones? Or the Chudner family, who received death threats for having Carl Stokes signs in their yard, yet found a way to support Kucinich in his fights against George Forbes?

The fact is, Dennis' City Hall was a disaster. And yes, there is a strong undercurrent of racism among white West Side populists. But the allegation is made without any interviews of people who worked on the campaigns or citing any campaign literature.

What bothers me the most is the contention that history is being rewritten. The fight against tax abatement was a fight against corporate domination of public policy. The fight to save Muny Light really was a fight to keep CEI from gaining a monopoly with assistance from Cleveland Trust. Did the author even read the transcripts of the congressional hearings on the subject?

Talk to a few more people who were actually there. A different story will emerge.

Ken Ilg
Aurora

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