Ignorance Is the Word

Letters published July 10, 2002

Nine Queens
The Free Times' boss is bright, funny, and a sharp dresser:

What a joke! As a former co-worker of Matt Fabyan's at the Scene for three years in the 1980s, I must say that when I read your article that actually speaks ill of him ["Meltdown at the Free Times," June 12], I laughed out loud. Matt did and still does exhibit an incredibly bright mind, which, when coupled with his kindness, humor, and solid sense of integrity, makes him a fine leader.

Ignorance is the word to describe the actions of former Free Times Editor Lisa Chamberlain. Having worked for a daily newspaper in Connecticut, in addition to the Scene, I can verify that many if not all publications have the same challenges that Ms. Chamberlain faced. What she is ignorant about are the many tactful ways there are to deal with it. If it were her father's job that was jeopardized, or if she had more experience as an editor, she would find this out.

Because you have stooped so low (doubly ridiculous because it was actually written by your editor), you reveal the desperation of a losing product. Before Rich Kabat sold the Scene, it boasted a staff where 15- and 20-year tenure was commonplace. But because all of them but one have moved on to greener pastures, one can easily guess the reasoning behind your attempt to degrade your competition.

Brigid Krane

Don't let a tragic story go untold:

The Society of Professional Journalists has committed that when a reporter is killed covering a story, they'll send at least two reporters to replace their fallen comrade. This is an attempt to ensure that the story will not die with the reporter and to ensure that the story will see the light of day. If what you reported about the Free Times is true, shouldn't other Cleveland media step in and look into the Care Alliance story in more depth? Lisa Chamberlain was terminated because she was not willing to compromise her beliefs and cave on a story about this wayward nonprofit.

Was there pressure exerted by the father of the Free Times' publisher to kill a legitimate story about the mismanagement of a local health care organization? Why is a publisher meddling in the stories? Does Mr. Fabyan have sufficient journalism experience to determine if the Care Alliance story was accurate and appropriate?

I feel horrible, because I pushed the story about Care Alliance, which led to the undoing of Ms. Chamberlain. Care Alliance has slowly reduced health care services to homeless people. It has served a small number of people with AIDS, despite huge increases in the afflicted over the last two years. Two different government agencies have fined them for improper use of government funds. Now we find they used their influence to retaliate against a critical piece in the Free Times.

Somebody please take up Lisa's fallen pen to ensure that this story sees the light of day.

Brian Davis
Executive Director, Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless

No jury would have convicted Dean Leon:

When I first read the article Sarah Fenske wrote about Dean Leon, the Parma police officer accused of felonious assault ["Sucker Punch," June 12], I thought it was slanted in favor of Todd Mey, the victim of this assault.

When I read it a second time, I felt it was stating the facts in the case, minus a few important details. Although they deny it, Todd Mey's friends were not trying to break up the fight outside the bar, but were actually participating by punching and kicking Dean while he was on the ground. This is why Dean documented his injuries in the hospital the next day and also why there were pictures of his girlfriend's legs, who was also kicked.

Todd and his friends had plenty of time to leave when they were kicked out of the bar. Five minutes elapsed before Dean and his girlfriend left. Could anyone possibly believe they were outside waiting to apologize to Dean?

The prosecution painted a picture of Dean rushing out of the bar to fight. Who wants to fight three guys at once? They say he did not act like a police officer, but he was off-duty, minding his own business, and did not have much time to react. He walks outside the bar, defends himself by throwing one punch, and someone got hurt.

William Mason has the nerve to say the jury did not look at the evidence. He was not there for one bit of the testimony over five days. Mr. Mason, his prosecution, and the county detectives all failed in their bid "to put a notch in their belt" by hanging a cop. But any 12 jurors would have seen it the same way: not guilty.

Gary Minich

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