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Letters to the Editor 

Letters published September 24, 2003

Why Not Me?
Affirmative action -- the great tie-breaker: Marty Gitlin is not alone ["White Man's Burden," September 3]. I've work for the City of Akron for 20-plus years, 18 of those in the same department without promotion. I have five years of college, and have spent another three years training for certain aspects of my job. When I inquire about a promotion, I'm informed that my job has nowhere to promote to -- although blacks and women have been promoted from the same job.

I have had black men and women enter my department within the last 8 to 10 years and get promoted to upper levels. None has any experience or schooling to justify these actions. I believe that affirmative action should be used as a tie-breaker, not a means to fill positions with persons that have no education or experience to manage such areas.

Name withheld upon request
Akron

A word from the plaintiff: I want to thank Scene for the article that Pete Kotz wrote about me and my lawsuit against The Plain Dealer. I thought it was well written and quite fair. I was particularly glad you did not characterize me as a redneck or racist, because those are the last things I am, and people needed to understand that.

I do, however, have a couple disagreements. The News-Herald is far from a small daily. It has a circulation of 50,000 and is, as far as I know, the largest suburban daily in Ohio.

Also, during my time in the business, I found it to be untrue that the best writers from smaller dailies find their way to larger metro papers. I know many who have been stuck at smaller dailies for the very reasons I'm fighting for.

Lastly, it is not at all "hard not to win awards." The vast majority of sportswriters on small or midsize dailies win few or no awards at all. Winning more than 40, as I have done, is very rare. And I have also won several awards in head-to-head competition against The PD. A feature I wrote last year was voted among the best four features in Ohio. That competition included all papers and all writers, not just sportswriters. Mine was the only sports feature included.

Those, however, are small issues in what was a fine column. I have gotten so much reaction from it.

Marty Gitlin
Copley

A question of slave labor: Thanks so much for "White Man's Burden." As a female reporter of color, I believe the backlash against newsroom affirmative-action strategies has less to do with a resistance to diversity and much more to do with slave wages. Reporters become willing to use any reason at hand -- especially race -- to stab each other in the back over $40,000 and a downtown slot at a midsized daily.

Willoughby Mariano
Reporter, Orlando Sentinel

Or he could just suck: Regarding "White Man's Burden," there are two things I'd like to point out: Gitlin states that he's applied for four or five openings and was never hired, despite the fact that -- to use his own words -- "dammit, I'm good enough to be at The Plain Dealer." That may be true, but undoubtedly there are countless other writers -- black and white -- who are "good enough," apply for jobs there, and never get them. The other point is that he might not be as good as he thinks.

I understand why white males feel like an endangered species, particularly in sports journalism. They're not used to seeing people of color and women among their ranks. Before you know it, people of color and women will account for, what, 10-15 percent of all sportswriters? What's the world coming to? But it's hard to prove you were passed over based on race. That's nothing new . . . except to a certain segment which is just now finding out.

Deron Snyder
Sports Columnist, The News-Press
Fort Myers, Florida

Fudge Anyone?
"Phony projections" might be a bit harsh: "Billions for a Blackout" [August 27] by Tom Francis was very comprehensive and really gets to the underlying problems with utility oversight in Ohio.

Citizen Power is convinced that problems like the blackout will be exacerbated as a result of deregulation, and we are doing all that we can to expose the failure of state regulators to protect consumers. Your exposé was a tremendous contribution toward that endeavor.

I would like to correct one apparent misstatement. I was quoted as saying that FirstEnergy submitted "'phony projections' of increased demand to state regulators." While the growth in demand projections FirstEnergy submitted were drastically inflated, I cannot claim that the company intentionally submitted projections it knew to be false.

David Hughes
Executive Director, Citizen Power
Madison

Conservative Bashing
What to do in a restroom confrontation: As always, your pieces get my attention. "Hot Lesbian Action" [First Punch, September 10] was one of your best to date. While I appreciate your advising readers to flee if they're ever alone in a men's room with Glenn Beck or Billy Cunningham, perhaps another tactic might be even more provocative. Maybe "Here it is; you know you want it" might yield the homophobes' real issues.

Jack Power
Cleveland

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