Letters to the Editor

From the week of February 17

Pitch Black Official Site
Apanovitch Is the Right Man

Although Jacqueline Marino spent a lot of time researching information for the article "Bound to Die" [February 10], I feel I must share my gut reactions to several points.

Apanovitch maintains his innocence, but, as Father Neil told us, so do 99 percent of the inmates on death row.

Mary Anne did not have a boyfriend who was "extremely violent."

Rochelle Stoner was not a "friend" of Mary Anne, but a nosy neighbor. The balcony she claimed to see Mary Anne on, on the night of the murder, opened only to the tenants' apartment and was not connected to Mary Anne's side of the house.

Apanovitch is lying when he says he never propositioned Mary Anne. I know of at least one time that Mary told me he had called her from a bar to ask her out. She told me that she thought he was a disgusting jerk.

What was Apanovitch's motive? When drunk, he is violent and abuses women. Mary Anne just happened to be the vulnerable person who refused him, and he didn't want to be caught with another rape conviction.

It is interesting that, in many of the recently overturned death row cases, DNA testing has been the crucial factor in deciding innocence. Mr. Baich should stop making excuses and let the DNA tests speak for his client.

We want truth and justice also. Nothing will ever bring Mary Anne back, but the person responsible for her death should not be allowed out into the community to rape and kill again.

Kate Flynn
Shaker Heights

Archwood Denison Fights Back

We take offense to your statement that Archwood Avenue is located in a marginal neighborhood, on a decaying residential street. It is apparent that you did not do your homework. This street is the core of the Brooklyn Centre Historic District, registered on the National Register of Historic Places. Thanks to former Councilman Jim Rokakis, more than $20 million of capital improvements have been made in the past 15 years.

The Mary Anne Flynn murder was an isolated incident, a shock to all residents. This is not an area of thieves and prowlers. Check the crime stats compared to other police districts. More than 25 residents sat in court for five weeks observing the trial of Tony Apanovitch, known in the neighborhood as an alcoholic and drug abuser who frequented the only three bars in the area daily.

Gloria Janos
Safety and Crime Watch Coordinator,
Archwood Denison Concerned Citizens

Jacqueline Marino's response: I made no assertions about the present state of Archwood Denison. I based my characterization of Mary Anne Flynn's neighborhood on descriptions provided to me by people familiar with the area 16 years ago, as well as representations recorded in court testimony and police reports.

Hires and Fires

It took me a week to reflect on the red-hot article written by Mike Tobin on the Cleveland firefighters issue ["Burn, Baby, Burn," February 3]. After that week, I can honestly say this race thing has been one of the most engaging issues of my lifetime of living in Cleveland. First of all, let me say, I am a minority businessman. Does that give me certain distinctions? Does that give me certain leverage and advantages? There are those on both sides of this issue who would say it does. But I am hoping for the day that I can say it does not.

Why do we have to offer remedial programs and set aside a certain number of positions for the "traditionally disadvantaged"? I believe it is because we have allowed some long-standing attitudes to run their course and become firmly entrenched in the psyches of Clevelanders. I agree with the firefighters sitting at the tavern, who say they worked hard, and now they feel they deserve an opportunity. But it is the same thing the minority firefighters said during Headen.

I believe we have allowed ourselves to feel sorry for those who have not always had a level playing field a little too long. The playing field will never really be level. And that is not a white or black issue -- it is an issue of discipline and determination. And that is what these firefighters know. That is what the original firefighters whom the Headen decision was based on knew. Hard work, discipline, and determination. I am hoping that those qualities are what I am getting in a firefighter, no matter what color he or she may be.

We need to move beyond the issue of color. We need to move beyond East Side and West Side. We need to see that we are all neighbors, and until we get that, we will always have fires burning somewhere in our hearts that divide us along racial, socio-economic, and neighborhood lines. Why don't we all pull together to do something to make every applicant a qualified applicant -- and then let the challenge be determined out there on the physical agility and entrance exams, with a handshake and the admonition "may the best person win"?


Thanks, But No Thanks

At the risk of sounding like an ego booster, I want to suggest Lisa Chamberlain as a possible profile subject. She's one of the youngest alternative weekly editors in the country. She worked for Dennis Kucinich in Washington. She throws a mean roving Girl Dinner Party and doesn't shy away from controversial issues, such as being accused of being a biased, liberal journalist. Granted, she's not a TV anchor with perfect teeth. But she cleans up pretty nice.

Ralph Hurl
Cleveland Heights

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