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Letters published April 19, 2006

The one with the nastiest rats wins: Clevelanders need to realize that if Cleveland wants to compete in the 21st century, it will need more powerful representation in Washington. We need to start producing nastier rats to get more federal spending here. Deals like the purchase of the I-X Center ["The Sweetest Deal," April 5] are excellent training projects for future senators, representatives, and other movers and shakers at the national level.

Think about it: Rising costs of oil and oil alternatives mean there will be less commercial air travel in the future, not more. Additional free-trade deals mean more manufacturing jobs gone. If it is our guys making the free-trade deals, our district will be rewarded with more of the big government jobs and pork-barrel DOT spending that lets us build more of the sprawl that got us into the oil crunch in the first place.

Better to be the hammer than the nail.

Ryan Costa
Cleveland

Cost vs. value: I found the majority of the points in the story to be well taken. I found the bribery issues especially appalling. But it seemed there was an oversight regarding the valuation of the I-X Center, which I'm surprised wasn't brought up by one of the defenders of the deal.

The value of the building and the value of the business of the convention center should be separate. When you buy a bar, you pay a separate price for the building (if you're buying the real property) and another price for the goodwill, name, etc. These things are based on income generated and often exceed the value of the building and land.

I was buying into the article until I saw how much the county valued the building and land -- certainly the value of an on-going concern would raise the value to far more than the county appraisal or any other appraisal of the building and land alone. The county doesn't include future profits in its evaluation.

I am not generally political, nor is this my area of expertise, but this is what struck me when reading the otherwise seemingly straightforward article.

Patricia Winfield
Euclid

An Estimable Objective
Veracity must be ascertained:
Your article "Slave to His Past" [April 5] was a true piece of journalistic waste. Jason Nedley was more interested in discrediting Mr. Edwards than in ascertaining the veracity of his claims. Generally speaking, when one attacks the messenger, as opposed to the message, it raises more questions and adds some credibility to the message.

Instead of spending time researching Edwards' past, why not spend that time investigating the legitimacy of his claims? The article did nothing to inform the reader whether Edwards' claims are legitimate or not. Surely, some of the time spent researching Edwards' financial condition could have been used to ascertain the amount of work that minority and women-owned firms have received relative to the total amount contracted. To me it seems like a fairly simple analysis.

Yes, you did a good job of informing us of Edwards' financial difficulties; however, you did nothing to educate your readers on the credibility of his claims.

Lonnie Sloan
Pepper Pike

History Lesson
Blackwell should feel honored:
There is a reason "Uncle Tom" has disappeared as an insult among thinking members of African American society. It's because those of us who have traveled to North Buxton, Canada, to the settlement founded by Josiah Henson, a man widely believed to be the ex-slave who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, honor rather than deride his legacy.

Henson was a very bold runaway slave who served as a conductor on the Underground Railroad. His settlement became a haven for other runaway slaves courageous enough to leave their masters' plantations and face great odds.

Informed African Americans and whites admire Henson for becoming not only a Methodist preacher, but an outspoken abolitionist. He is the first black person to be honored with his picture on a Canadian stamp.

I want to thank Scene for identifying Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell as an African American man whose effort to become the first black governor is as bold and courageous as the fight Mr. Henson waged against slavery.

Only a culturally ignorant non-African American writer with no knowledge of Henson's wonderful contribution would ever think to use his image to create the illusion that something is wrong with a black man of vision.

It's unfortunate that Scene chose to sink to such a racist low to make a worthless point about a great man whose political and career accomplishments are worthy of much praise.

Mayor Eric Brewer
East Cleveland

Fatwa
The Ayatollah gets his:
It's such a shame that guys who talk over other people's songs and record them for sale have to pay for the right.

Boo-hoo.

Perhaps the Ayatollah of Rock ["No Biggie," March 29] should change his/her name to "Ayatollah of Shitty Hip-Hop." Leave the rock to people who write songs and play instruments. Turntables are not instruments.

Hank Chinaski
Akron

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