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FirstEnergy's New Racket 

Letters published March 16, 2005

FirstEnergy's New Racket
Why screw just the customers?
I saw your articles "FirstEnergy Profits Up" and "An Energetic Defense" [First Punch, February 23 and March 2]. You have answered the question so many people have asked: Why does their stock stay so high, when their reputation is so terrible?

These people are outlaws who hide behind corporate laws. I am an employee of a FirstEnergy subsidiary in New Jersey. We are currently involved in a lockout with this greedy company. After about six months of negotiations and only two offers, these people have been lying through their teeth in regard to the way the union has been bargaining. They have endlessly dragged their feet and tried in vain to starve the people back to work. This company has been on a campaign since acquiring us to break the union.

Steve Coppola
Edgewater Park, N.J.

A Villain Worth Rooting For
King Nothing feels the love:
I read with interest your exposé of Mark Dottore ["King Nothing," February 9]. Kevin Hoffman is, of course, entitled to his views, and one may reasonably anticipate his socialist remarks by the end of the first paragraph.

Anyone familiar with the unfortunate issues of corporate receivership would not be surprised to hear the negatives. That does not make Dottore an unregulated thief. The difference is Hoffman's lack of understanding of the courts and free enterprise, and a touch of intellectual laziness. I could not find much in the article about how the business owners ended up in receivership in the first place. May I suggest that perhaps this information could have been educational reading.

I have witnessed from past history that the nastier the article, the more I probably will respect the person being attacked. It is enough to say that when you give a paintbrush and watercolors to a cub reporter, one need not be surprised that the picture is smeared.

Dan Turner
Rocky River

Sucking Less Than Usual
Great moments in halfway-readable journalism:
Usually when I pick up Scene and see the front cover, I think, "Wow, another piece of cheesy, hack journalism, pretentious and boring." I have a bad habit of judging a book by its cover, although I've found that about 80 percent of the time, the cover is a pretty accurate depiction of the content.

Well, I think your article ["Tour of Duty," February 23] fell into the 20 percent. I'm 29 now and leading a fairly domesticated life. But 10 years ago, my aspirations were akin to the things you wrote about in your article, and I would have given anything to achieve the position (wherever you believe that to be) that your boyfriend's band has achieved. I think it is commendable to resist the offers, which I'm sure are plentiful, of dope -- especially in an atmosphere which condones and caters to such chemical delights.

I felt like I got a good feel for what I missed out on, not having made it as a band. And to be honest -- I'm glad. Your article helped make Scene halfway readable this week.

Drew Kalstrom
Akron

Human Archery Targets?
Brawling Bag Ladies flawed from its premise: My sons purchased the video Las Vegas Wild Brawling Bag Ladies ["More Like Boring Bag Ladies," February 9]. I could not believe the deceit and disrespect the producers perpetrated, not only against homeless women, but also unfortunate tourists. Pierce and his sidekick Big Head Todd want to turn their sadistic activities into a national pastime. It looks like the horrific days of the Nazi Brown Shirts. What's more barbaric than naked homeless women being used as archery targets at a party?

The list of exploitation goes on. From making a homeless woman strip for food money in public to the homeless men mutilating their own privates for a chance to win a pair of running shoes, Pierce and Big Head Todd should have the same things done to them -- or worse. These people should be locked up.

R.J. McCaran
Cleveland

Mad About Black Woman
Jesus in the balcony:
I beg to differ with you and, from the fact that Diary of a Mad Black Woman was No. 1 this weekend, so do many others ["Bad Black Movie," February 23].

Everyone who is familiar with Tyler's work knows he plays Madea and several other roles in all his plays. He puts Jesus in all his works, so we don't feel flogged with Christianity, but blessed that someone has enough pride in their Christianity to share the good news.

By the way, the racist statement could also be applied to the title of your review. Did it have to be a "Bad Black Movie"?!

Dee Oliver
Cleveland

Blowing More Smoke
Cigarette-free bars: The dream burns on . . .
Business won't be lost if Lakewood bans smoking ["Dead Men Drinking," February 9]. It will be gained. Statistically, there are more nonsmokers than smokers. It will draw people in who cannot stand the smell of smoke, but still want to enjoy good food and drink.

I quit working in a bar because of the smoke. I have on numerous occasions walked out of a bar because of the eye-burning, cancer-causing effects. I bet the guy who wrote the sob-story, poor-excuse-of-a-free-speech article doesn't know that business did not decline in New York City or California.

Additionally, people who smoke say they could more easily quit if no one else was smoking at the bar. Oh, and I'll bet the person who wrote the article didn't know that Great Lakes Brewery has banned smoking and the business is booming. Killing Lakewood -- whatever. He is a drama king.

Jennifer Granchi
Cleveland

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