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Letters to the Editor 

Letters published April 2, 2003

Flip-flops and foibles of Dennis Kucinich:

What's this ["Hollow Man," March 19]? A "progressive" paper actually had the balls to tell the truth about Cleveland's favorite son?

Kudos to David Martin for stating the facts: It was never about Cleveland Municipal Power or St. Michael's Hospital or LTV. It was about one weird little boy's unquenchable lust for attention. As one of seven children, Dennis Kucinich's need to stand out has driven an absurd run of 18 election campaigns in 35 years. Shouldn't that fact alone make Clevelanders stop and think?

Most of his adult life has been spent in government or academia, drawing taxpayer-funded salaries for essentially talking a lot. Isn't it funny how this "friend of the working man" has been running from anything resembling real work since childhood?

And how about that flip-flop on abortion? Many of us, after years of listening to arguments from both sides, can't completely identify with either the pro-choicers or pro-lifers. But we can identify a spineless coward when we see one. That's someone who will drop any principle, no matter how strongly he's held it, for the sake of his own political ambitions. That's Dennis Kucinich.

David Kolpak
Westlake

In defense of Dennis:

As an opponent of Dennis Kucinich in three congressional elections, I have disagreed with him on many issues. Nevertheless, this doesn't prevent me from coming to Mr. Kucinich's defense against David Martin's attempted character assassination of this caring, committed, imperfect public servant.

The PD has spent gallons of print assassinating Kucinich. Do we really need the alternative press doing the same? There's nothing wrong with challenging him on the issues, but the disdainful attitude does not do service to readers regarding how public business is done.

Here's a news flash: Politicians pander. They reach out to people to connect with them. That's not the problem, and neither is Dennis. The problem is that large corporations have been able to get too many politicians to hop into bed with them. Dennis Kucinich has the guts, like Sherrod Brown and Stephanie Tubbs Jones, to speak truth to power (most of the time). He's a gutsy guy who clearly believes in the power of the people and believes that he has the qualities to lead.

Mr. Martin's criticism of Kucinich's foreign policy ideas shows Martin's ignorance of the issues, not Kucinich's. Maybe the article should have been titled "Hollow Story."

C. River Smith
Cleveland

This hatchet job calls for good hair:

After reading "Hollow Man" my first question was: Who is David Martin, and what motivated his article? This type of political attack should contain a background on the writer. The narrative sounds like the same old tripe the Republican Party has been trying to hang on the Congressman.

As far as the "little man" comments go, most of the country is little men, middle-class or lower. Unfortunately, the fat cats are running the country, and their wealthy, surgically corrected talking heads are doing the play-by-play propaganda. Now that we have a voice, they dig up a 30-year-old issue to criticize him. It sounds like David Martin is looking for a job reading the news on TV. He better have good hair or a nice rug -- or he's toast.

Tony Weishar
Fairview Park

Al Jones, man of passion:

Tom Francis's article "Seduction of the Fighter" [March 5] should be nominated for a Pulitzer. The story flows so well, and each word compels you to read the next. It is well written and thought-provoking. It is rife with passion.

Al Jones, Jessye Brown, and I grew up just a few houses from each other on East 86th Street. Truly, Al is a gem; he's a lifeline to the kids he mentors. I've seen him face any number of stumbling blocks without losing his mind and his gentle way of looking at the world. No matter what happens with those boys, no matter where they go, I believe sincerely that their lives are better because of Al Jones.

Pat Britt
City Councilwoman
Cleveland

A tape maker by other names:

In First Punch [March 5], Scene wittily points out that Jack Krahl's revenue spike was attributed to the duct tape caper launched by the Department of Homeland Security. Good one.

Too bad that your point (and your credibility) was totally blown when you identified Krahl's company as Duck Products. The company is called Manco. Probably 80 percent of your readers know the name Manco and will remember your acerbic wit as a bit of borrowed intelligence that was not fact-checked either by you or your original source. Calling his company Duck Products is like calling Chrysler Corporation Mopar. (Duck Products is his trade name. Get it?)

Charles R. Thomas
Newbury

Editor's note: Manco used to be the name. It was acquired by a German Company, Henkel, in 1998. In 2002, the company's name was changed from Manco to Henkel Consumer Adhesives, which produces Duck brand duct tape under the Duck Products moniker.

Cleveland Music Fest busted the rhymes:

I was a participant in this year's Cleveland Music Festival. If I had to sum it up in one word, it would be "horrible." To have local bands sell 100 tickets is a shame when you have over 20 acts in one venue on the same night, especially when the club is the Rhythm Room.

The Rhythm Room does not hold enough patrons for that type of mass selling of tickets. Also, they had every hip-hop act booked at the venue on the same night. They promised each group 45 minutes, but at the last minute switched it to 15 minutes. There were no industry reps at the show or anyone else who looked even a little important.

A fight broke out at the club because a group's time was cut. No one had forewarned the act, so it reacted negatively. As a result, everything was shut down, and about five acts did not get to perform. I was one of those acts, and I have not heard anything from CMF organizers about rescheduling the show.

Hip-hop is one of America's hottest genres, but organizers of music events treat it like crap. Someone should make a better effort at dealing with all of the participating genres equally. We are not going to let them use us next year.

Eric Wilson
Cleveland

The Civil War was fought by Christians:

This letter is in response to Jean Oppenheimer's remarks about using God's name in Gods and Generals ["Killing in the Name of . . .," February 19] First off, look at the people of the South. They were strong Southern Baptists who believed God was on their side in the Civil War. Some of the colonels were preachers. They quoted scripture and fought battles in the name of the Lord, which is no different from today, with people dying in the name of religion.

The Confederate Army went out to do what it thought was God's work: winning the right to govern themselves, free from the Union and Lincoln. General Jackson taught philosophy and religion. Colonel Chamberlain taught rhetoric and religion at Bowden College in Maine. General Ulysses Grant was a drunk and preached the Bible. No matter what side they fought on, God was on their side.

It seems to me that Oppenheimer should have researched this better by knowing the time and the kind of people who were around 150 years ago. Both sides were Bible-thumping soldiers who thought God was pulling for them.

Tony Viccaro
Cleveland

Flipping burgers, and more:

I am responding to statements in recent articles about why local restaurants can't stay in business [Side Dish, February 26]. For example, "The labor pool is so bad," "It is difficult to find qualified cooks," or, my personal favorite, "It's your job to lose . . . and you lost it." What does that mean? Well, kids, this translates into "passing the buck."

As a manager or owner, it is your responsibility to find, hire, and properly train the kitchen staff. If you don't create a positive work environment (treat cooks like individuals and not numbers), offer benefits to long-term employees, and pay a competitive salary, we don't want to work for you.

Certainly there are a small percentage of cooks who enter this business because they need a job, but most of us do what we do because we love it. We want to learn about bold flavors, new cooking techniques, or flavor combinations. Which brings me to my last point: Get an original idea! You see, we are not only tired of eating burgers, we're tired of flipping them too.

Eric Williams
Cleveland

How corporate fucks killed Cleveland:

You don't care and never will. Being a musician born and raised in Cleveland, I find it sad to see that the city just doesn't get the support from the mags and radio stations.

I moved out of the city I love 14 years ago and see I made the right move. What you people don't seem to understand is that the locals want to pick up a weekly and see the local scene being covered way more than the national or regional scene. If they want to know about the national scene, they pick up a Rolling Stone or something of the sort.

You are a monopolized business in a city that should fight back. Scene used to be about the Cleveland "scene." Now that you corporate fucks have bought it out, you try to shove your crap down their throats. All the talent being wasted in Cleveland or moving away, that's the sad part. You live and die by advertisement, and I only hope that the local clubs and bars stop advertising with you. Then you'll have to survive on your back-of-the-mag porn.

Paul Vician
Orange County, CA

Lost in Venezuela:

I would like to inform you of your seemingly small gaffe ["Something Wild," February 12]. My brother Paco, the guitarist in Finless Brown, is not from Venezuela, but Peru. I have gotten used to people confusing Peru with most Spanish-speaking countries. Some people actually tell me that I'm not Peruvian, but rather Puerto Rican.

Miguel Bendezu
Shaker Heights

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