Letters to the Editor

Letters published April 23, 2003

Cobra Verde CD release party, with Kiddo and the Bedroom Legends Grog Shop Saturday, April 19
The Beacon slides toward irrelevance:

Writing about the "raw deal" former editor Jan Leach got from the Akron Beacon Journal ["Homeward Bound," February 12], Andrew Putz noted that the Beacon "had become the poster child of profit-margin journalism -- a once great paper gutted to appease the demands of Wall Street."

Thirty-five staffers were shown the door in a 2001 bloodletting, causing Beacon writer Stephanie Warsmith to remark, "It's hard to be the paper you were when you've lost that many people" [First Punch, February 19].

Knight-Ridder executives received $10 million in bonuses for boosting shareholder returns, while Beacon readers took it Ned Beatty/Deliverance-style from the glass-tower suits.

The Beacon Journal, in possession since 1997 of racially incendiary taped comments made that year by Cuyahoga Falls' Republican mayor, chose not to report on the troglodyte's statements. The paper has maintained its silence, despite Robart's leading role in the Pleasant Meadows [October 30, 2002] low-income-housing lawsuit that was recently argued before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Before the 1997 mayoral election, at a homeowners' meeting, Robart made several comments about low-income housing that are particularly disturbing.

Robart was concerned because a 16-acre parcel of land in Akron that bordered the Falls could be developed as low-income housing, and that the Falls might be forced to open up a barricaded dead-end street as an entrance to the complex.

Robart said to his audience, "I know what's in your hearts. I know what's in your minds, what's in your thoughts and your feelings." Afraid of a backlash, Robart did not want to create another controversy like Pleasant Meadows, saying, "The Beacon Journal seizes these kinds of opportunities, you see it all the time. They love showing one of you in the newspaper, down here on the corner. You know, with a baseball bat in your hand. They love those kinds of things, and I can visualize three or four of you out here on the Metro front page of the Beacon Journal, and all at once it becomes a controversy."

Robart said he had "tried to keep this thing quiet," and that "this is one where I'd rather work with the developer and say, 'Listen, you know the sensitivity down there . . .'"

Mean-spirited politicians like Don Robart are trying to reformulate what civil rights, equality, and dignity mean in America. We cannot stand by passively while violence, hatred, and the subtle racism of politicians like Don Robart damage our country.

Will Robart "repent like Trent ?" Not as long as the Akron Beacon Journal continues its regrettable slide toward irrelevance and fails to voice a resounding "No!" to all those who, like Robart, seek to turn back the clock.

Brian Gray

Get a clue -- or at least a woman:

I would first like to know if Joshua Greene even listens to country music ["Nightwatch," March 26]. How dare he say Tim McGraw has lost his edge? He is one of the best performers in country music today. And I'm not a tight-jeans-wearing, butt-staring, mascaraed woman with a lacy bra, comfy bed, and empty head.

You have no idea what you are talking about. Tim McGraw's concert was one of the best I've been to in a long time. So he's in love. Maybe if Greene was, he'd understand why McGraw sings the music he does.

Melissa Day

14,000 Clevelanders can't be wrong:

Everyone has different tastes in music and I can respect that. What I cannot respect is an opinionated jerk who groups people into one lump sum.

I was very offended by Joshua Greene's comment that the only crowd Tim McGraw draws is women with "empty heads." Okay, so you don't like Tim's music, but 14,000 other Clevelanders do -- and you just told us we are trashy airheads. That's not the way to win friends and influence people.

How do you know what I do or why I like McGraw? I am sorry you aren't rich, famous, and married to a woman like Faith Hill, but you don't need to call the women who like Tim for his music or any other reason airheads, just because you are jealous.

Jennifer Payne

Taft puts the torch to Ohio's libraries:

"Welcome to the Confederacy" [March 26] mentioned that Ohio's libraries are second to none. However, there is current debate in the Legislature to eliminate the LLGSF [Library and Local Government Support Fund] completely, thus shutting down 176 of Ohio's 250 public libraries. So much for one of our few bright spots. If Bob "Education Governor" Taft really wants Ohio to read, perhaps he should be fighting to preserve places where that could be done.

Jake Fejedelem

Exercises in entrepreneurial agility:

I am writing to address a bit of misinterpretation on the part of your writer, Eleanor LeBeau, in her description of my work "Pilot" at the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland ["Her Show of Shows," April 2].

LeBeau's assessment, "Hill has packed lots o' living into her young life -- and she's done most of it on someone else's dime," causes me some concern. That I manage to earn my living as an artist and the fact that this occupation includes the exploring of my own interests is indeed a clever scheme. I am confused as to why LeBeau finds this achievement dubious; she has instead cast it as freeloading.

I am grateful that institutions like MOCA recognize the amount of entrepreneurial agility necessary to work as I do, and that they see absolutely no reason why artmaking shouldn't be compensated exactly as any other occupation.

Christine Hill
Brooklyn, New York

Praising with faint damns:

I thought "Race for the Prize" [April 2] was an uncharacteristically fine piece to appear in your paper. It addressed an important subject and provided useful information, and a discernible point of view was pleasantly absent.

Richard Andrews
Cleveland Heights

Cleveland should stand by its man:

I was disappointed when the Free Times deal was made and left us with only one alternative paper, and not the best of the two. My opinion was strengthened after I read your recent article bashing Dennis Kucinich ["Hollow Man," March 19].

Kucinich is the best candidate for the presidency. He's one of the few politicians who is actually for the people. He has his share of shortcomings, but he's done good things for our area. As the main alternative paper in Cleveland, why would you rip apart this great candidate, when the other option is George W.? They've shown us that the Constitution can be thrown out the window in a flash, our rights can be stripped, the economy can go down the drain, and we can fight an unjust war without the backing of most Americans or the UN. Come on, especially a paper in his home town?

Your article is full of negative and false accusations toward our representative. This won't help.

Vanessa Stewart

A major tiny little voice:

Anyone running for public office is somewhat megalomaniacal. And while Scene's article on Dennis Kucinich may have painted a strange depiction of the politician, it failed to latch onto concrete detail of Kucinich's voting record.

Kucinich has stood up to the administration, opposing new nuclear proliferation bills and the upcoming repeal of the estate tax. He has become a major voice in opposition to the war. If he's doing this for the wrong reasons, I'll forgive him. Most other politicians, shamelessly in the pockets of insurance and the defense industry, make Kucinich's "selfish" interests seem pretty tame.

The article's other chief point seemed to be that Kucinich has made overly bold statements, which were not subsequently clarified. But since we have Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC to give us the right-wing, radical hawk perspective, Dennis's tiny little voice of dissent and relative honesty are a healthy break.

Perhaps it is banal to investigate the things that are destroying our country and cleverer to deride people's clumsy attempts to help -- but I think we'd all like to see Scene try its hand at saying something significant for a change.

Joshua Johnston

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