Thank you for telling the real ODH story ["Stonewall," April 23]. Sadly, it is all too true and all too frightening. My oldest daughter is one of the River Valley High School leukemia victims. It took nearly three years of constant struggling to help keep her alive, and it's taken six years of fighting to get other kids out of harm's way on the River Valley campus. I have learned that, in all reality, the people in the state of Ohio would be better off without the ODH and the EPA. They are as dangerous as the diseases and contamination they pretend to investigate.
ODH should investigate Indian:
I've learned of the ODH and EPA's coziness with industrial polluters over the last 20 years and have come to some conclusions. Republican politicians (Senators Voinovich and DeWine among them) have also traditionally been in bed with big business and favored more industry deregulation and weakening of the laws governing hazardous discharges, emissions, and dumping, over and above the health and welfare concerns of ordinary people.
Add to that Robert Indian, the Ohio Department of Health's chief of community health assessments, who has perpetuated enough suffering and destroyed or lost enough incriminating evidence against polluters that criminal charges should be filed against him.
Industrial polluters and their cohorts should be subject to penalties under anti-terrorism laws. They are terrorists intent on poisoning Americans, American soil, and American water for their own personal gain. Indian, and other hacks like him who populate government positions, should be jailed and have hazardous waste dumped at their homes, awaiting their return.
Only then will these common thieves see the error of their ways.
Bugged about dud Strut:
I often read Christine Howey's reviews and find them intelligent and perceptive. However -- and this is a big however -- I simply must take issue with your review of All Night Strut at Actors Summit ["Flat Pop," April 23].
I found Howey's review particularly abusive. I shudder to think that she or any professional would dare take such a harsh tone with anyone for no good reason. Is the performance a bad one? Well, yes. But is there any need to browbeat this cast and director, picking out opportunity after opportunity to insult them?
I am in no way connected with the work at Actors Summit. I am an actor and a director, but have never worked with any of the cast members in this show. I hope that if you ever find yourself reviewing a J.T. Buck production, you remember that there are human beings on that stage who deserve dignity and respect, even if their performances are terrible. There is a difference between fair criticism and meanness.
James T. Buck
Patch snafu built into the system:
Martin Kuz's "Unavenged Angel" [May 7] again demonstrates his talent for telling the story that no one else has the wherewithal to tackle. Unfortunately, he targets the serial bungling of officials attempting to prosecute a drunk driver for the homicide of a woman who was willing to give her own life to save that of a child. The real culprit is the Ohio court system, which has created a cash cow for attorneys who feed at the trough of justice by overwhelming police officers and prosecutors with complicated and unreasonable precedents and administrative rules.
The United States Supreme Court has clearly shown its disdain for courts using highly technical analysis when deciding probable cause, yet when it comes to DUI law in Ohio, the courts have done just that. The Ohio Supreme Court, for example, dictated that police officers must follow National Highway Traffic Safety Administration-recommended procedures for field sobriety tests to the letter. Because of this ruling, police officers have had their field tests suppressed by the courts, even when in substantial compliance with the standards.
Police officers are embarrassed by high-priced attorneys who make them look like idiots on the witness stand because they started a certain test with the defendant's right hand instead of left, or because the defendant first stepped with the left foot instead of the right. Even minor variations can lead to the suppression of the tests.
Courts in Ohio strike down DUI evidence because often asinine administrative or health department rules are violated, because a defendant is not read a 20-minute diatribe about losing driving privileges prior to a test, because a person (like Lowe) attempts to fudge an intoxylizer test, or, as Kuz mentioned in the article, a preservant is not placed in a urine sample -- even though the law no longer requires it to be.
These offer convenient outs for lawyers and their clients, and put prosecutors at a distinct disadvantage. Well-heeled violators continue to avoid jail time, fines, license suspensions, and other sanctions because they pay attorneys who play golf with judges.
The laws have become so cumbersome and confusing that no one understands them, and police officers so fear losing the evidence required for conviction that they make mistakes trying to protect that very evidence.
Mr. Lowe should have been taken to the nearest hospital, ordered to give a blood sample (in serious DUI cases, the Supreme Court has ruled that the suspect can be forced to do so, even without consent), and booked for the appropriate homicide statute. In addition, he should have been charged with two counts of endangering children, for having his sons on his boat while he operated it under the influence of alcohol.
Unfortunately, the Patch family has no avenue of redress, while our courts play the game of DUI perpetuation. If Mr. Lowe is ever convicted of this crime, the family has the option to sue him, but by that time, his lawyers will have eaten up all his assets, and a new game will have begun.
Thomas R. Dillon
Elect judges and guarantee juries:
The May 7 First Punch showed that Ohio Chief Justice Thomas Moyer is his own best example of why Ohio's judges need to be elected, not appointed. Why doesn't he suggest the obvious way to limit lobbyist influence without denying Ohio's citizens a vote on judges -- judicial campaign-finance reform?
Justice Moyer's way would have the state's large and influential law firms picking judicial appointees. Naturally, those firms mostly represent insurance companies and tire and auto corporations seeking to limit their liability for dangerous products. The bar associations do a poor job of educating the public about insurance-industry claims that large jury verdicts raise consumer prices. It's totally bogus. Such verdicts are, in fact, a rarity when compared to the huge number of fair and just verdicts handed down every day.
Many of these verdicts are in favor of the defendant. All attorneys, including our judges, should be ashamed of and fighting the assault on our Constitutional right to a jury. The framers knew a jury is the last bastion against government and business excesses. Our right to elect judges is a similar bastion.
Duane L. Doyle
Union label's too expensive:
I can't let Richard Koloda's claptrap aimed at Marc's stores pass without trying to inject a little truth [Letters, April 30, in response to "Deeper Discount Wages," March 19]. Scene readers deserve it, after having their intelligence insulted by such transparent union propaganda.
Koloda informs us that Marc's prices are "artificially low" because they don't pay union wages. Really? Could it be that prices at other stores are artificially high because those stores are forced to employ only union workers? Could it be that unions establish artificial barriers to employment (forced union dues) that discourage people from applying for work, thereby forcing the store to pay more for the union workers left for it to choose from? Could it be that these stores simply pass on the artificially high union wages to you and me at the checkout counter?
If you are in the union, this is a pretty sweet setup. Congratulations. Your lifestyle is subsidized by an invisible tax on everybody who shops union stores. But if you're more like those folks I see shopping Marc's, trying to stretch their tight family budgets, be prepared. People like Koloda won't hesitate to condemn you as a "freeloader."
Myrons tango too:
As a "Myron," I must respond to the First Punch item [April 30] regarding the Velvet Tango Room.
I've been fighting the "Myron" stigma ever since 1975, when I was in the fifth grade and saw the Happy Days episode where Fonzie baby-sits a bunch of prepubescent monsters (including a particularly annoying geek named Myron). After that, trying to meet girls in junior high was very harsh.
When I went to the Velvet Tango Room, I was unaware of its mystique, as well as the notion that "Myrons" are considered less than desirable (in Scene's view, anyway). What I experienced was friendly, personable service, in an impeccably decorated setting. It's truly a nice place to enjoy a quiet drink, the look and feel of an era long gone, and the sounds of a grand piano. Perhaps my lady friend and I were nothing more than unworthy tourists to the regulars and staff, though they in no way let on, to their credit. I earn above average income, own my home, drive a luxury import, and have been considered "arm-candy" to many a fine lady. If the Tango Room sees fit to welcome us the next time, that's fine. If not, the Duck Island Lounge is just around the corner (another unique find, though of an entirely different breed. Forgo the suit and tie).
Backing up the bands:
I just read the letter [May 7] from Tommy Snider, manager of the Station Street Cafe in Mentor [Snider wrote in response to an April 16 First Punch item].
I happened to be at Station Street that night. My three friends and I spent at least $120 on bad food, bad service, weak drinks, and good music. The place was packed when we were there. We loved the bands, but couldn't stand the bad service and the prices. A double shot (the size of a Dixie cup!) cost $7. I do not understand how they could have only brought in $500 while we were there.