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What They Said 

Letters published June 9, 2004

What They Said
Stick specifically to the general:
The May 19 First Punch item headed "Fingerhut's Fable" does not accurately reflect the statement regarding the tuition differential at Ohio and out-of-state universities that we made in a press release Scene received.

The statement made in the press release, which Senator Fingerhut makes in virtually every campaign speech he gives around the state, is that in some instances, it is cheaper for Ohio students to go to school out of state than to stay in Ohio to receive their degrees. This statement is absolutely true. We have never suggested that the statement applies to a comparison between Ohio State University and any other state's flagship university, nor have we ever suggested that it is true in every case.

I understand that someone from Scene spoke to a campaign staffer, who explained that he was not authorized to speak on behalf of the campaign, and that this may have led to Scene's conclusion that the comparison was between Ohio State University and the schools cited in the article. However, this was not and never has been the case. Thank you for the opportunity to clarify the record.

Raquel Whiting, Campaign Manager
Fingerhut for U.S. Senate

Cleveland

Just Folks
God blesses trannies too:
Thank you, Aina Hunter, for an insightful and compassionate article about the difficulties facing transgendered people and their right to marry ["A Man Apart," May 12]. I appreciate Hunter's presentation of the issue while focusing on the people involved as individuals. I am pleased that she highlighted their involvement with spirituality, as that is the basis for many people's opposition to their marriage. Thanks for doing a good job presenting what can be a complicated subject.

Sandra Bowers
Kent

Money to Burn
Eastlake's stadium still a hot subject:
Years before anyone read the mainstream media headlines that screamed, "City deficit at $4.5 million" or "State takes over Eastlake's spending," Scene published "The Mistake in Eastlake?" July 12, 2001. Despite incredible criticism, award-winning reporters Thomas Francis and Sarah Fenske wrote this as well as other insightful articles that detail just how this town got into such a mess in the first place.

If I were to add anything to what has already been written, my focus would be on something that former Eastlake mayor Dan DiLiberto blurted out in March 2003, which the News-Herald amazingly printed. In front of a crowd of about 160 people gathered at the annual meeting of the Lake County Economic Development Center, DiLiberto stated that the idea for building this stadium, commonly referred to as "Money Pit Park," came about during a brainstorming session DiLiberto held with former News-Herald publisher Rick Stenger, editor Jim Collins, and executive editor Glenn Gilbert, back in 1999. Since they're the ones who have been helping polish this turd, where are they now that the shit has hit the fan? Who paid the bar tab for this strategy session, and how drunk were they to think they'd get away with this fiasco?

For what Francis and Fenske have been able to dredge up so far, I congratulate them as well as Scene. As the investigation continues, it now appears that they may not have gotten the story first, but as history shall prove, they sure did get the story right.

Kevin Dresser
Eastlake

Berated and Abretted
We'll mention it to her ghostwriter:
Could you please give Regina Brett a blood test prior to publishing her column ["Sex is Bad," May 19]. Make sure she's taking her Prozac!

Note to Regina: Get laid by a real man. Maybe your qualifications need to be moved up a notch?

Tami Ruiz Brecksville

The joke started a little earlier: I kept reading "Sex is Bad" just to see if it was going to be a joke at the end. But lo and behold, Regina Brett stood her ground and just kept on going. She is absolutely right. Everyone should think before they have sex. As ridiculously as she put it, she was right on! Maybe a little disgruntled, but who cares? Kudos for keeping it real and making me laugh, even at the cruel reality of what relationships can be and sometimes truly are. And if this article causes the light bulb to go on in at least one person's head, then she did good. And if not, it was entertaining anyway!

Natalie Holmok Cleveland

Casino Real
On the money:
In response to "Place Your Bets" [May 12]: It's about time Ohio woke up and smelled the coffee! I couldn't agree with Pete Kotz more. The examples that Kotz stated make it black and white. The voting people need to see this type of comparison. I have e-mailed a copy of this article to everyone I know. Perhaps a few of us can make a difference.

Wayne Salupo
Highland Heights

Libations for All
Camaraderie calls for strong spirits:
The "First Punch" article "Beauty and the Bar" may have been a tad malicious. The first paragraph can be excused as fun, except that it leads into the phrase "that most noble goal of all: helping handicapped people get drunk." What about just going to the bar for the camaraderie?

As far as I know, Jane Hash doesn't drink. And portraying a severely handicapped person as a lush seems a tad insensitive. Thankfully though, serious journalism prevails for the rest of the article, in terms of outlining the real problem at hand. At the very least, however, I think Scene owes an apology to Jane (and other handicapped people wanting equal access to public places of leisure).

Stephanie Gooch
Euclid

Food and Politics
Review left a bad taste in the mouth:
I could tell from the first paragraph that Elaine Cicora's review ["Arabian Bites," June 2] was going to be negative. Would she be equally "freaked out" walking into an American restaurant to find CNN on the television? Further, the staff at Kan Zaman wears plain, light-colored shirts and black pants: The gentleman wearing the "Up Yours" T-shirt was an employee of the nearby West Side Market, not the restaurant -- surely Ms. Cicora isn't suggesting that the establishment police what their patrons are wearing?

If you look hard enough, you can see that complimentary things were said about both restaurants in her review -- but I'm afraid that anything positive was obscured by Ms. Cicora's negative predisposition, based upon the background and traditions of the business owners. Perhaps in the future, she should stick to reviewing restaurants that cater strictly to American sensibilities.

Amie Gilroy Alnajada
Cleveland

Demilitarize the comfort zone: Why did Elaine Cicora feel the need in her recent Café review to trash Kan Zaman because of personal politics? With a few exceptions, she said the food was good, the service was prompt and friendly, and the prices were reasonable -- why not leave it at that?

If she's looking for a restaurant that caters to American tastes, politics, and sensibilities, I've heard that Aladdin's is quite nice. She won't be getting authentic Middle Eastern food, but at least she'll feel more comfortable. As for the Sahara, I haven't been there since it changed hands, but based on what I've read, I pity the waitress who had her at the table -- the poor girl probably wasn't able to do anything right.

Karen Michaelson
Berea

Give thanks for the real thing: I think that Elaine Cicora's level of discomfort on her recent visit to Kan Zaman came from within herself. She should drop by some Saturday night, after the dancers have finished their first set, when the singer is in full voice, and the 150-plus Arab and American customers are dancing in the aisles -- with not a single person feeling uncomfortable. As someone who has visited the Middle East on many occasions and can tell the real thing from the pale imitations available here in Cleveland, I applaud the owner for providing a place where diners can truly experience the culture and cuisine of the Middle East.

Troy Stevens
Ohio City

Turn off the TV and have some more tabouli: In response to the June 2 restaurant review by Elaine Cicora: It's a shame that Elaine Cicora was so disturbed by the idea of what was on television during her visit to Kan Zaman that she was unable to appreciate genuine Arab home cooking. Just as most Americans would not understand the taste of sticky, lumpy rice and fermented soy beans, which is a Japanese breakfast standard, she was unable to understand that rice dishes in the Middle East are typically more dry than we are used to and there are many different styles of tabouli. Again, it's a shame that she seems to appreciate Americanized Arab cooking more than the genuine article.

Janice McConnell
Cleveland

When discomfort = crazy, the outpatients are everywhere: Comfort is in the mind of the beholder, and it is obvious that Elaine Cicora is not in her right mind. On a recent Saturday night, I was at Kan Zaman at midnight, line dancing with dozens of other diners — Arab, American, black, and white — and having a whale of a time. The heady scent of the flavored tobaccos from the argilas, mixed with the enticing aroma of freshly grilled meats and floating through the crowd on the tunes of the live entertainment, all made for a memorable evening. But by that time of night, Elaine is probably at home, eating Häagen Dazs and watching her Sex in the City DVD collection, thinking about how hip, cool, and open-minded she is.

Kim and Dan Conrad
Cleveland

Whack Job
Tell us how you really feel:
In response to Nightwatch, May 19: Greg Barr, do you have your head up your ass? You think a bunch of fat, drunk, 40-year-old Slayer fans really understand music? Can you just for a second pull your head out of your ass and listen to the diversity of Bad Acid Trip and their original arrangements and try not to compare them to the butt-rock, P.O.D. crap that you probably jerk off to? Oh, for your information, my clever journalist with a pea-sized brain shoved so far up a fat ass, System of a Down also got booed every night when touring with Slayer. Hmmm.

Greg, take a look in the mirror. You are whack.

Ronaldo Kunahshur
Gaithersburg, MD

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