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Letters published July 2, 2008 

"Hurricane Tropical," June 25

No Place Like Home
. . . except when thugs run rampant: I grew up in this neighborhood in the '80s. I used to walk down Storer Avenue at all hours. Never once did I feel threatened. There were no drugs, besides maybe a little marijuana. All of my friends went to Catholic schools. Our parents owned their homes; our grandparents owned them before us. There were whites and Puerto Ricans living side by side, taking pride in their homes and yards. We would pick up trash and help each other.

Then the crack came in. And everyone sold their homes. Section 8 came into play. People who had lived there 50 years were getting out. This problem has been festering and getting worse since about 1990. I'm grateful for the childhood I had in this neighborhood, but sickened by what it has turned out to be. My grandmother was raped on West 48th a few years back. She was 85; he was 27, a drug addict and repeat felon.

Something has to be done, and quick. This area could once again be for working-class families. The houses are inexpensive and could be fixed up. There are huge yards for children to play in. This bar needs to go. It really saddens me that this is what my old neighborhood has become.

Irvine, California

"Anatomy Lessons," June 18

Rough Going for Nurses
. . . but thank God he's gone: Dr. Ruf sounds like a real piece of shit, and it also sounds like his son is in denial. I'm sure the people that Dr. Ruf has molested would have liked to live without harassment too.

Thank God he's retired. I can't believe Akron General let him work there for so long, and I can't believe any other hospital would let him work, given his history. I guess lots of money can make hospitals ignore reality.


"Cure Thyself," June 11

Incurably Ill-humored

Reader finds a score of sour notes in Cure preview: Mr. Ferris goes to great lengths to bash the band's Curiosa tour show, with hyperbolic metaphors . But he didn't even review it four years ago. No one did; I know, because I wrote a letter to the editor back then too.

Clearly Mr. Ferris is a slow learner. I'm not sure what he expects from a Cure show; Robert Smith has never been David Lee Roth and hasn't ever tried to be. I went to the Curiosa show, and I enjoyed it immensely. It was largely a dirge show, relying heavily on the albums Pornography and Faith, but it was amazing to hear live. And while no one might be running around the stage and climbing the lighting rig, listening to a band pour themselves into those songs is what seeing the show is for. It's an experience. Not everyone needs a performance from a wacky over-the-top cartoon caricature of a wild rock band.

Mickey Thompson

He begs to agree: I found this article refreshingly truthful, and I am a longtime Cure fan.


"Endangered Species," June 11

Playing Hardball
Some black fathers cry foul, fight the system: I take great umbrage to your claims of black fathers running from their parental responsibilities. We could go a few rounds on how and why we are where we are, and why we are stuck there. As a divorced [father] who sought custody of my child, I got the bird's-eye view of how the system is set up to favor the mother and exile the father.

Coaches and leagues, too, can be blamed for the lack of black participation. After seeing the lack of compassion and character of these so-called coaches, I entered the fray, coaching for seven years. Many coaches care little for anyone not like themselves. Thus, by high school, only the truly determined — those of strong mind and character — would survive.

I guess the people in your life experience featured more cowards than brokenhearted divorced men, fighting the mother of their child and the system that works to separate them from their children. Instead of blaming the fathers, blame the government, media, some spiteful and selfish mothers, and a few loser fathers. And next time, talk to black fathers of the kids you've portrayed.


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