Church in the Lurch

Letters published June 5, 2002

Bad Company
St. Jerome's is a school of love:

I enjoyed Martin Kuz's article ["Religious Eviction," May 2] about St. Jerome's Church, the Commodore Theatre, and Reverend Rucker. Though I know it is sometimes difficult to tell both sides of a story and maintain a neutral position, he was able to do this in the article.

As the principal of St. Jerome School, I do take exception to Reverend Rucker's claim of St. Jerome's "dividing whites and blacks." I can assure you that Reverend Rucker has not set foot in St. Jerome School. He has not seen children, whether they are white, black, biracial, or Hispanic, sitting next to each other, learning academics as well as faith. He has not attended one of our prayer services, to see children sharing their love of God. He has not walked onto our playground, to watch our students jumping rope, playing kickball, or just talking. He has not sat at one of our lunch tables and witnessed our students sharing lunch with each other, making sure everyone has enough to eat.

St. Jerome School embraces diversity. We are a family of students and teachers who come from every walk of life. We are rich, poor, black, white, Catholic, Christian, Muslim. We are the real world.

Contrary to Reverend Rucker's unsubstantiated opinion, St. Jerome and the Catholic Church are not "the Antichrist." We are the hands of Christ, working in our little corner of the world, attempting to educate the future generation to live in harmony with all races.

Meg Cosgriff, Principal
St. Jerome Catholic School

Kotz's prose called "almost humorous":

I'm a visual journalism-information design major at Kent State. I read your article about Strongsville ["Welcome to Cheaptown," May 9]. I think it's really messed up how communities can be that way. But that's not why I'm writing. I'm really writing to let you know that the article was well written. It totally captured my attention, especially with a subject matter that could have been boring. Even though you took a definite viewpoint on the subject, I think the article was great. It was attacking in an almost humorous way, and I think Strongsville can try to do a little better after reading your article.

Stephanie Collier

Fund the schools with Wal-Mart's wallet:

I beg to differ with you about the residents of Strongsville being cheap. They're just more intelligent than the school board. If the schools are going to be taken over by the state, maybe then we'll find out what is happening to all the tax money you reported in the 12th paragraph of your article, when you talked about the citizens living in classy homes worth more than $300,000. Development after development is being built. What is happening to the taxes we're paying on them? And didn't we recently have a mall built in Strongsville, not to mention Target, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, and a slew of restaurants we've never had before? Why give them tax abatements if the schools don't have any money? When these facilities were in the dream stage, the city government promised citizens that these projects would be a good thing for the schools. Ah! Just like the lottery. Where's all that going?

We do need good schools and quality teachers, but let's get them funded by means other than homeowners. Our taxes are now more than our house payments used to be, and soon senior citizens like us won't be able to afford to live here. And we're not the ones who head to Florida every year, either. We are donating money to build a football stadium for the kids, because that's a one-time donation and a good way to let people know that there are other means of getting things funded besides real estate taxes. In fact, we paid for our children to attend private schools. If everyone else were to do that, their children's graduation would be the end of their payments -- not forever on their taxes.

The parents in Strongsville donate a lot of time, money, and effort to help kids at many fund-raisers and activities. For the most part, they're always there to give their kids a hand. So please rethink your article and decide who the real morons are: the citizens of Strongsville or the city administrators, who allow the building of so many new developments without providing an adequate amount of space in the schools.

Dolores Burlinghaus

Mel Brooks, Strongsville's next subdivision:

I enjoyed your article about Strongsville. I was born in the 1940s and raised in a middle-class setting. My father was a business owner, and we lived in a very modest home. My sister and I knew he was making a very good income from his business, but he still drove older cars until they died and liked living with regular folks around him. We grew up learning the value of a dollar and living within our means, even though we knew we could live in a much newer area and home.

My dad hated pretentious and arrogant people. He also hated phonies. He would be doing a lot of hating today. My wife and I raised our boys in Hudson. It always amazed me to visit people in the wealthy northern section. Huge, beautiful homes, but no furniture. Fancy cars and expensive clothes, but they always voted down school levies. It was the folks in the projects of Hudson who passed most of the school levies.

I recently learned that Kent and Streetsboro passed their school levies. Tells you something about the bottom feeders in Strongsville, doesn't it? What it boils down to today can be summed up in a classic quote by Rick Moranis in Spaceballs: "My God, I am surrounded by assholes."

Paul Turner

Invest in yourself:

I wouldn't necessarily call spending money on yourself cheap. That's why people work, right? I don't get up at 6 a.m. every morning to support the neighbor's kids. I don't call that selfish, either. That's just supporting yourself. Frankly, I'm glad to hear that, for the past eight years, the Strongsville district has gone without a tax increase.

Vera Copeland

A soccer mom does her part:

I am a Strongsville resident, and I read "Welcome to Cheaptown." Unfortunately, I have to agree with your viewpoint. I don't feel that I fit your description, even though I live in a $300,000 house and drive my kids to soccer, softball, baseball, and basketball in my minivan. I have voted in favor of the levy every time it has been placed on the ballot. I do believe that public opinion weighs heavily on the minds of people you describe in your article, and I think it could possibly help to get our levy passed in the future.

Tammy Langhals

Death to childless donut eaters:

After reading "Welcome to Cheaptown," I was really pissed off. I live in Strongsville and have two kids in the school system. I have always supported any tax levy, so I don't want to be thrown into the leech category. But you made your point, and I hope many of those people who fall into that category wake up! Many of my friends who have kids in the Strongsville system have voted for the increase. It's those folks who sit at Donutville with no kids who won't step up to the plate, as well as the senior citizens in our area.

Angie Silva

Strapless in Strongsville:

Regarding your editorial about Strongsville: You hit the nail on the head. What a bunch of cheapskates. Watch the values of their homes decrease as the school system fails. They'll probably spend more on prom dresses for their daughters than what they pay in taxes semi-annually.

Davido Benedetto

Praise Mason for cleaning up our streets:

Your diatribe against Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason ["Let God Sort 'Em Out," May 9] paints a picture of a power-hungry egomaniac intent on furthering his political career. But Mason seems to be a victim-helping island in a sea of bleeding-heart liberal criminal lovers. I am sick of these so-called "experts" coming up with every lame excuse possible to explain the behavior of these deviants. None of the people highlighted in your article were angels.

Rather than blame Mason for trying to make the streets safe for decent people, he should be praised for getting scumbags off the streets. The problem is not an overzealous prosecutor; it's liberal lawyers and judges who care only about the rights of lowlifes. We need more jails for these maggots; we do not need more newspaper articles trying to make us feel sorry for them.

Scott Dotson
Cuyahoga Falls

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