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Letters to the Editor 

Letters published July 2, 2003

Anti-cop Agitprop

But they don't pay janitors to go to the gym: "Dead Weight" [June 4] is clearly another anti-police-officer propaganda piece. Kevin Hoffman's article would have been fair if it had started with "In the early 1980s, police departments nationwide started programs to help officers deal with the trauma of shooting someone in the line of duty."

The preceding paragraphs seem to hold officers responsible for the racially minded investigations prompted by the liberal politics of the city. Hoffman presents the numbers to emphasize the extraordinary amount of money each police officer receives for not doing his or her job, when in truth, with simple division, they're being paid their negotiated wages. Wages, I might add, that are less than the Cleveland schools' janitorial staff's.

Yet again, you show how the media will only give their half of the truth.

Andrew Green
Cleveland

Outing Arshinkoff

He's ridiculously powerful -- and now he's mad: Sarah Fenske and Scene must be commended for picking up the ball that the mainstream media chose to drop for two decades in Summit County ["The Godfather in the Closet," June 11].

Alex's control and manipulation of the electoral process has been an open secret. Michael Curry has been a friend for many years -- his integrity and honesty are unquestionable. While he has been openly gay for almost half his life, outing anyone is contrary to any value he holds; going public with his encounters with Alex was an extremely difficult decision to make. He gains nothing from this but unwelcome notoriety and the anxiety engendered by crossing a ridiculously powerful (and now enraged) man who has never been held accountable for his actions or his hypocrisy.

Kudos to Sarah and Scene for a well-written, meticulously researched article. Michael, I have never been so proud of anyone.

Leslee Hunsicker
Green

A closetful of corruption: I appreciated the research Sarah Fenske did for "The Godfather in the Closet." These stories of corruption are so egregious, they deserve to be exposed. Hopefully, it will compel the Republican Party to evaluate this type of brutal politics.

Like so many others in Summit County, I have had an unfortunate encounter with Mr. Arshinkoff. I was the board president of WEGO (Women's Entrepreneurial Growth Organization). Our mission was to assist women in starting their own businesses and to provide mentoring for women business owners. Most of the women on the board were judges, attorneys, a former state representative, vice presidents of banks, and other community leaders.

While the agency was not political, many members, we later learned, were registered Democrats. Their political affiliation was never an issue -- until Arshinkoff and the University of Akron decided to involve themselves with our small agency.

Prior to my presidency, the university had agreed to house the organization and provide an interim director. This was meant to help our small not-for-profit group and to expand its outreach. It seemed like a wonderful partnership.

After a time, our board and staff had legitimate concerns about the ability of the interim director, who was a university staffer, and we eventually asked the dean to have her removed. The dean agreed that she should be terminated. However, due to her family's business and a personal relationship with Arshinkoff (as she stated to board members), university representatives went to the state, our major source of funding. We were informed on a Monday that they had met with the state on a Saturday, without any member of our board present, and that all our funding had been revoked and given to the university, where Mr. Arshinkoff was chairman of the board. We were essentially out of business.

The university then quickly developed an agency to directly compete with our nonprofit. In an effort to salvage our organization, we went to a university board meeting, explained the situation, and asked them to return our money. We were turned down. At that time, our only option was to merge with Women's Network in order to survive.

WEGO did survive, thanks to the support of Carrie Herman and Women's Network. However, we were stunned that the university and Arshinkoff would involve themselves with such a tiny agency in order to expand their power base. There were all kinds of rumors that I was a lesbian and that everyone on our board was a lesbian. I guess they assumed that strong women had to be lesbians to stand up to the university.

I was stunned to read the allegations that Arshinkoff himself may be homosexual. I don't think anyone cares about his personal lifestyle, but hypocrisy is a hideous trait.

I have known many community leaders and small nonprofits targeted by Arshinkoff. Perhaps the worst has been the longstanding attack on Oriana House and its CEO, James Lawrence. For years, articles have appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal questioning his ethics. It was confusing; one wondered why they continued to be investigated by Betty Montgomery, when all the audits and reports were so flattering about the work they did. I finally understood what motivated this witch hunt when I read in the Scene Judge Mary Spicer's explanation of that smear campaign. It was both frightening and politically vulgar.

After reading your article, I have so much respect for former Judge Sandra Robinson, Judge Mary Spicer, Michael Curry, James Lawrence, Pete Kostoff, and others whose integrity was more important to them than job security. They are true heroes.

It was not Arshinkoff's sexuality that came out of the closet; it was his corruption. And that needed to be brought into the light of day.

Mari-Lynn Evans
Akron

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