Tuesday, January 30, 2007

A Slur Against Puerto Ricans

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 2:31 PM

As I was reading your story ["The City That Never Works," January 10]. It kind of bothered me that throughout the story you mention that the guy who stole from Christina was Puerto Rican. How did you know he was Puerto Rican? Did he call her and say that he was? Because as the story continues on, it does not mention a Puerto Rican any more -- it keeps talking about a white kid. It is very bad when a reporter marks a person's heritage without having the facts straight. You have given Puerto Ricans all over a very bad name. A good reporter works with real facts, and if you are not sure about it, don't write it until you are. My boyfriend is from Cleveland and I read you on clevescene.com all the time. I hope you understand what I'm trying to say. Not all Puerto Ricans are criminals. Iris N. Ortiz Brooklyn, N.Y.

Boycott the Toxic Mall

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 2:10 PM

This is terrible ["Tomb With a View," January 10]. Apparently the government is not doing what they are supposed to be doing to protect people. Why aren't people boycotting these stores? Maybe if sales dropped, the thing will shut down. This is a scary discrace. Colleen Loftus Lakewood

How Not to Organize a Protest

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 1:51 PM

As last week's protest revealed, if you're gonna protest cruelty to animals, it's always best to bring some naked ladies
On a blistery cold Thursday afternoon last week, 18 people stood freezing outside the Lerner Research Center in anticipation of yet another PETA protest -- this one against the Cleveland Clinic for allowing a dog to be killed in a sales demonstration. Of the 18 people there, however, 18 were members of the media and zero were actual PETA members. Finally, 15 minutes after the start of the scheduled protest, Dr. Steve Kaufman arrived, ready to hold the PETA torch. "Why are you here?" one media personality asked him. "I fancy myself extremely photogenic," the bald opthalmologist joked. "I don't think you'll have a choice," another television reporter muttered, looking around at the lack of attendees. Soon after, group leader D.S. Resch arrived wearing a ski suit, a fake suede jacket, and heavy boots. "Sorry, parking problems," he said. Can you tell us what's going to happen here? a reporter asked. Resch nodded, and hoisted up a sign reading "Cleveland Clinic's Death of a Salesdog." He explained that another PETA member would don a dog suit as a way of illustrating this point. Only problem: No one actually knew where the dog-dressing member was. No worries, though. Another protestor had arrived. Thank God! thought the media people. Someone else to talk to! Only it turned out that the protestor was actually protesting PETA. The organization is "very hypocritical," said Bob Bushok, holding up a sign that read petakillsanimals.com. "They're protesting the killing of a dog, when they actually kill 90% of their own animals." Huh. That doesn't make very good TV. few of the TV reporters turned away. Finally, the dog-suit donning member arrived, explaing that she too had trouble parking. Putting a furry, Snoopy-looking costume on over her jacket, the woman looked much more like a Dsney World character greeting her fans than a mad protestor. Nonetheless, the 18 media members silently cheered her arrival, as it meant they could all get their visuals and go home. Indeed, after all the footage was shot, the media quickly dispersed, leaving the three protestors to their very cold selves. "Now who wants to go to KFC for some tasty chicken wings?" one of the camera men called out. — Rebecca Meiser

More Wrongly Convicted Murderers?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 12:56 PM

In 1988, Anthony Michael Green was convicted of a rape he didn't commit. It would be 13 years before DNA evidence would finally exonerate Green. As soon as he was set free, he filed a lawsuit against the City of Cleveland. Green demanded that they do an audit of the city police laboratory. The feds were on it right away. In 2005, the federal audit revealed that forensic analyst Joseph Serowik had falsely testified against Green. Though his lab notes indicated that there was no forensic match to Green at the scene of the crime, he testified otherwise. Serowik was quickly fired. It appeared that justice had been served. But it now appears there were two more victims on Serowik's list. In 1997, a 74-year-old was beaten into a coma. Fingerprints on her body put Jason Smith at the scene of the crime. In order to reach a plea bargain, Smith pinned the beating on two other men, Thomas Siller and Walter Zimmer. A year later, they were convicted of attempted murder. But when the elderly woman died in 2001, Siller and Zimmer were retried for aggravated murder. Thanks to Serowik's forensic work, they were both found guilty and each sentenced to 40 years in prison without parole. Now The Innocence Project, a non-profit that helped exonerate Green, says that DNA evidence should set both men free. "DNA proves that these men were convicted based on false evidence," says co-director Barry Scheck. The convictions were largely Serowik's fault, he asserts. "There are only two possible explanations for what happened in this case. Either Serowik never conducted the tests that he said he did, or he conducted the tests and lied about the results." The Innocence Project filed motions to vacate both convictions. But the question remains: Who else is on Serowik's list of wrongly convicted men? --Denise Grollmus

W0man Sues Preacher for Rape

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 12:50 PM

A year ago, Premsuda Jantarapet, a 42-year-old Thai woman living in Parma, accused Rev. Richard Manning of raping her several times, then threatening to have her deported if she squealed. Manning, Parma Baptist Church's pastor, denied raping her but admitted sleeping with her -- despite the very inconvenient fact that he'd been married for almost 20 years. A jury believed the pastor: he was acquitted last summer ("What would Jesus Say?" August 23, 2006). But Jantarapet hopes a civil jury will see things her way. She recently sued Manning, accusing him of using his position of authority to gain her trust and then forcing himself on her. (Manning's lawyer, Sean Allen, says it was Jantarapet that befriended Manning, who "vehemently denies" forcing himself on the woman). But Jantarapet's suit doesn't stop at the pastor: She also blames the church for hiring Manning in the first place. The 48-year-old pastor was fired from an international ministry job in 1998, the lawsuit claims. The offense: sleeping with a parishioner. All of which makes C-Notes wonder: Does that collection plate have a return policy? -- Joe P. Tone

The Woes of the White Rapper

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 12:28 PM

Johnny La Rock got no time for race in his rap
Scene contributor Fast Eddie Fleisher, also known by the nom de rap Johnny La Rock, weighs in on the whole white rapper thing, as seen on VH1, and recently discussed in this very blog: As a fan of hip-hop and a "white rapper" myself, I am severely offended by VH1's The White Rapper Show. First off, here's a network that wouldn't even play rap videos for the longest time. It's only in the past few years that they've suddenly embraced the genre. However, it seems that by embracing it, they're also ruining it. Maybe that's the plan. Look at what they did with Flavor Flav. It's all negative images of hip-hop. They're exploiting the down sides. Now they've done it again with another lame reality show based on finding the next great white rapper. Could that title be any more racist? Since when is it cool to name what someone does by adding their race in front of it? Should that even matter? An MC is an MC regardless of their race. If they have what it takes, color shouldn't matter in the slightest. The show is hosted by MC Serch (of 3rd Bass), who I used to admire. However, it looks like he's hit some hard times financially and is willing to sell his soul for some easy cash. I mean, with all the shit he faced for the color of his skin when he came up, you'd think he would steer clear of keeping the label alive. Hip-hop is so big now, it's a multi-cultural experience. It's not closed to one group of people. In fact, white people have been a huge part (mostly behind the scenes in the past) of the art-form since it started. This is a genre that was based on unity, not segregation. Furthermore, there's a lot of different types and styles of rappers. The casting people at VH1 apparently aren't clear on that. Or, they thought it'd be funny to take a bunch of white dudes who try to talk black and act completely unnatural. Thanks a lot. It's hard enough battling that negative stereotype when I tell people I make hip-hop. People seem to think rap is one-sided. Now, with this stupid show, MORE people are going to think that way. MC Serch, VH1, and everyone involved should be ashamed of themselves. Hip-hop deserves better. For information on a compilation I am putting together to spotlight hip-hop from a different perspective, check out my website. And yes, the disc has several white rappers. — Eddie Fleisher

Hudson's $1,500 Martini

Posted By on Tue, Jan 30, 2007 at 12:24 PM

We've gotten used to seeing 12-buck cocktails on local menus, but the $1,500 martini at Vue in Hudson is in a class all its own. While the very thought of such a thing could knock regular folks off their Natty Lite for the next two weeks, there's more to this top-shelf 'tini than merely Stoli Elite, poured into a Swarovski crystal embedded martini glass. Try two olives -- skewered on a custom-made, 14-karat white and yellow gold stickpin, garnished with 15 round, brilliant cut diamonds and accented with a peridot "olive." "It's really beautiful," gushes GM Niki Walunis. And while the restaurant hasn't actually sold any yet, "lots of women have been sending their husbands in to take a look at it for Valentine's Day." Along with the glass, the pin, and the booze, the $1,500 tab includes free refills and dinner at the handsome Hudson restaurant. And here we used to think blue-cheese stuffed olives were indulgent. -- Elaine T. Cicora

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