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Letters published January 23, 2008

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"Who Killed Cleveland?," August 29, 2007

Feds should turn their gaze to corrupt lenders: Until recently, I was an underwriter for a subprime mortgage company that is about to close. It seems that most media outlets and government officials feign ignorance about the underlying cause of the problem. There is either a tendency to blame the borrower or act as though no one in the industry saw this coming. They fail to mention that those who gained the most financially got off scot-free, while leaving the mess behind for everyone else to clean up.

In my former company, the sales managers and loan officers decided which guidelines to ignore, sometimes going so far as to bribe fellow underwriters to look the other way. Sales managers often overrode an underwriter's decision they did not agree with. Other times, fellow underwriters would be threatened with their job for "impeding company growth and progress," because they refused to go along with the flagrant disregard of guidelines. I complained to the sales managers about the bribing, but all I got was a formal write-up for making "inappropriate comments."

There was absolutely no support — from the owner of the company all the way to human resources. As a result of the corrupt management, I and several hundred others were laid off. I believe the federal government needs to investigate this company and bring to trial those corrupt individuals who broke the law. This would set an example for the rest of the mortgage industry that absolute corruption corrupts absolutely.

Joe Bialek

"Break Out the Haterade," January 9

Rap Their Knuckles
Stars morph from hip-hop artists to rip-off artists: I agree with everything you said. I've been a hip-hop fan since the early '90s, and these 10 morons (and many, many more) have turned it into a joke. It's as if music execs enjoy watching black musicians act like mindless, blinged-out clowns.

I can't even bring myself to defend rap anymore when people call it garbage or "not music." I'm sure you've been cussed out multiple times over this article, but those idiots wouldn't know good hip-hop if it shot them nine times.

Brad Johnson

"Screwed by the Bulb," January 9

Waiting to Inhale
GE's factory creates a big stink: I'm living next to the moved GE CMH plant in Budapest, Hungary. (I think it was originally in Willoughby.) From day one, the surrounding neighborhood has protested against the plant. GE set it in the middle of a garden suburb, 25 meters from our houses. During normal production, a terrible odor rises.

Local authorities want the plant to reduce the smell, even if it means closing it for a short time. But even after the filter system was installed, the smell was still there. Currently we are at court, trying to stop the air pollution. This is the way big companies are operating here.

Gabor Varga
Budapest, Hungary

"Animal Abuse, Inc.," January 9

Hound 'Em All
Animal abusers should be collared: I personally know the judge that sentenced (or better put, slapped) Brooks on the wrist for the nauseating doggie mill she was running years back. I told him that minus court-ordered counseling, strict monitoring, and a stiff sentence, she'd be back at it again. Lo and behold, she abuses and kills more animals. Her previous record in Medina County was evidence of this. After her 60 days are served, where will she move to next to do this again?

The laws in Ohio are prehistorically pathetic. More judges should be like the judge who sentenced Michael Vick — stiff time and restitution for the care of the animals who live.

Mary Jo Janchar

A Penny worth saving: I think that Penny Blake is a great humane officer. There are three sides to every story: your side, our side, and what actually happened.

The Medina Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did a great job with the Patty Brooks situation. The SPCA took all those horses and cared for them while Patty was awaiting trial. We had wonderful foster homes, lots of volunteers, and donations from the local feed stores. They rescued 45 horses, and all of them are healthy now.

Please don't criticize Penny for what she did. She deserves a pat on the back for such a great rescue.

Randi Farnsworth

"Pragmatic Racism," November 28

Talkin' 'Bout Evolution
Will it ever happen in Cleveland? It amazes me how people blatantly leave ignorant, racist remarks in their letters. Tower City is a failed project, period. To place "black kids" as the primary blame tends to be the typical stance that the average non-black, culturally insensitive individual chooses.

Cleveland's downtown lacks upscale/designer shopping alternatives, a fact that has nothing to do with black kids and everything to do with the fact that the city as a whole is underdeveloped and far from progressive. As long as the attitude in this city remains as racist, segregation-friendly, and one-dimensional as it is now, Cleveland will always suffer as being one of the most non-attractive cities in this nation. Most of you who point the finger need to blame yourselves — how much do you embrace diversity? What is the makeup of your social circles? How aware and accepting are you of cultures and ideals that are different from your own? Please evolve.

Robert Weathers
Cleveland Heights

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