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Fannie Gets a Spanking 

Letters published the week of July 13, 2000

And maybe a Lewis Lane of her own: In the choice of quotes, profiles, and anecdotes included in the text, the author of "Hough Huff" [Laura Putre, June 29] must have realized the story-within-the-story was far greater than any inconsequential proposal to change the name of an unimportant side street. This is a near-perfect illustration of why large cities such as Cleveland no longer work, of the people who make them not work, and the so-called citizens who entrust such miscreants for no better reason than that said ne'er-do-wells share racial affiliation.

Can one imagine the hoopla the press would make if one side of a street in Parma or Lakewood went out and started whomping on the other side in some sort of dispute? I can hear the cries: Lawlessness! Vigilantism! Inciting to riot! Yet this is what the residents of Prevo/Redell boast in allowing street justice to take the place of law and order. Is it any wonder such a neighborhood cannot attract upstanding, hardworking citizens?

Is there anyone who can intelligently argue the hypothesis that it is the people of a neighborhood who make the neighborhood? If there is garbage -- unsightly buildings, neglected vacant lots -- it would seem that the persons best able to correct the problems, those with a vested interest, are the area residents.

And if we refute this hypothesis and accept the notion that cleaning one's backyard, so to speak, is the proper business of city government, then why has Fannie Lewis been so much less successful at this task than other ward councilmen in other areas of Cuyahoga County? Had she not better apply herself to this task and less to meaningless and disruptive street-name changes?

It is a bitter truth that, in a democracy, its citizens get exactly the kind of government they deserve. By returning Fannie Lewis to the Ward 10 council seat time and time again, its residents demonstrate they approve of and expect the type of heavy-handed, antidemocratic, shoot-em-down, deaf-eared leadership they get. Is Fannie Lewis, screaming at her opponents that they are out of order and cannot be heard, what black culture expects of its government?

Councilwoman Lewis was upbraiding her constituents because they never learned the Black Power Flag or the black national anthem? I don't know these either. Does that make me a less worthwhile citizen? Nor do I know the white national anthem, and if I attempted to learn it or to teach it, I would be guilty of spreading ethnic intimidation and of hate speech, and facing criminal charges.

Lewis is, of course, a master in her own modern brand of Black Power: the power of a loud mouth and an outstretched hand open to receive. She continues to demonstrate as few others do, even in this benighted city that is modern Cleveland, this sort of so-called power -- to the detriment of all she claims to represent.
Name withheld upon request
via the Internet

Fifty petition-signers can't be wrong: What the jack shit is going on with Redell Avenue? It is now to be known as Prevo Avenue? Um . . . why? Through Councilwoman Fannie Lewis, it was declared that City Council unanimously passed a resolution to change the street name? Our City Council is ineffective and basically screwed up, and the only press they get is when they postpone and stall projects until election time. They might make the front page, though, if for once they all showed up at the same meeting. A church outside of the neighborhood proposed the idea and thought it was a good one. Well, maybe I don't like the name St. John's Cathedral, but it's a little late now.

And what business is it of theirs anyway? Apparently, lay minister Sidney Cargle received a message from God on this matter in the choir pit at church. These things don't happen every day, you know. Mother Teresa had her lepers and ol' Sidney has his streets, and if over 50 people signed a petition to leave the name alone, why does Councilwoman Lewis keep it under lock and key? Can you imagine if a street in one of the nicer areas were renamed Janis Joplin Street? All hell would break loose. Maybe God's next revelation will be to change the name of Hough to Fannie Lewis Kingdom.
Randy Sindelar Corturillo
Cleveland

Michael Stanley keeps listeners in the red: I read your article on Michael Stanley in the last issue of scene ["Spin City," June 29]. I haven't seen Michael Stanley for a few years, but I have enjoyed his music and have been a fan of his since the '70s. I went to the Nautica Stage show [July 1] and have just a few comments: First of all, why would Michael Stanley let the two most boring acts perform as he did? Was it to build himself up? And then I had to sit through the most boring show of Michael Stanley that I ever saw. Do I need to hear acoustic garbage and love songs all night? And watch a sax player who plays air guitar most of the time? And a girl who sings one of Michael Stanley's songs? Come on, write your own songs. I guess my days of going to see those guys are finished. If I could only turn back the clock and get my 80 bucks back for the two tickets that I purchased.
R.C.
Boardman

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