While I may agree with Andrew Putz and David Martin on some of their choices in "Rating Season" [December 11], I must say they missed the mark on "overrated rock and roll." I suppose the Encyclopedia of Cleveland History could have been written differently, but what it actually means is simply that Freed and Mintz were the catalysts that helped bring rock and roll into American households. Most people know by now that Freed didn't invent the term, but as pointed out, he did indeed popularize it with his radio program and many rock and roll concerts.
But these two pioneers certainly aren't the only link Cleveland has to rock and roll. There are many who made a difference. How can you not mention Steve Popovich (Cleveland International Records, which made Meat Loaf and others stars), Hank LoConti (they don't call it the World Famous Agora for nothing), John Gorman, Kid Leo, Walt Tiburski (just three examples of those who helped catapult WMMS to national status), Jane Scott (practically every rock star's favorite music reviewer), the unique and diverse sounds of the O'Jays, Raspberries, Devo, Pere Ubu, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Mushroomhead, etc.?
Just because they are not in the Hall of Fame doesn't mean they shouldn't be. There have also been many people who worked hard behind the scenes, who contributed to making Cleveland such a rock mecca. And yes, I'm the one who wrote the book on it, and all these people are precisely why I did.
Oh, and when has persistence become a bad thing? That's the only way most things get accomplished. Overrated? Nah, more the fact that the emphasis has long been on what's wrong with Cleveland, while it should be on recognizing what is right.
I'm writing about your "Underrated: Michael Stanley's Four-Night Stand at Blossom" in "Rating Season." Back in the summer of 1983, while trying to jump-start my fledgling radio career, I was working grounds maintenance at Blossom. While cleaning up after one of Michael Stanley Band's four shows, I found a grocery sack on the lawn containing eight MSB T-shirts. At first I assumed the person who purchased the shirts had forgotten them, but having been at the show the previous night, I came to the conclusion that they had been left behind on purpose. I tried to give them away to my co-workers, but they didn't want them either.
Today Savage Love, tomorrow politics:
Is your rag ever going to cover the political scene? Do the citizens of Cleveland and former Clevelanders a service and start featuring some weekly political coverage.
Untying the malpractice knot:
Three cheers to Pete Kotz, who dispels the myth that juries, our legal system, and lawyers are the cause of skyrocketing medical malpractice insurance rates -- a fiction given credence far too long ["Capitol Idea," December 11]. This is an insurance problem.
The only way to solve the problem is for lawmakers and regulators to take responsible, remedial steps to rein in the power and control the abuses of insurance companies, like charging excessive rates when their investment income drops. Otherwise, we will never be able to deal systematically with the tactics of this industry, which consistently looks for scapegoats to cover up its own instability and mismanagement.
Moreover, by advocating limits on pain and suffering awards for medical malpractice victims, the Ohio legislature ignores the serious dangers that such arbitrary and sometimes cruel caps pose. The impact of such legislation could be devastating for many, including catastrophically injured children, causing untold suffering, economic devastation, and for some, the destruction of family life. In some cases, Ohio taxpayers would have to pick up the tab for harm caused by others in the form of taxpayer-funded health and disability programs.
Emily Gottlieb, Deputy Director
Center for Justice & Democracy
New York, NY
Attorneys against frivolity:
One of my members mailed a copy of "Capitol Idea." I think it's great!
I did want to comment on one issue: You stated that the bill doesn't have "new penalties for lawyers who sponge the system." I'm not sure what you mean by "sponge." If you are talking about the fact that the bill doesn't cap plaintiff attorney fees, true. It's important to note that victims of medical malpractice are not complaining about what they pay their lawyers, and also that no one in the General Assembly thought it was a good idea to cap defense attorney fees. Only the doctors and insurance companies, who believe all medical malpractice suits are frivolous, wanted to cap plaintiff attorney fees.
However, the main reason for my e-mail is to point out that SB 281 does include strengthened language regarding frivolous suits. The language actually came from our association. We don't like it when anyone files a truly frivolous suit, and we wanted the law to be abundantly clear on this point.
Richard Mason, Executive Director
Ohio Academy of Trial Lawyers
Caps on payout only line insurers' pockets:
Awesome article on medical malpractice. Thanks for taking the time to really understand the issue. You are doing a real service for the people of Ohio.
The next time someone tries to tell you that insurance rates paid by docs in states with caps are far less than in other states, you should challenge them to prove it, because it isn't true. Actually, what happens in these states is that the amounts paid out by the insurance companies to injured patients may go down in some instances, but the insurers don't pass along these savings to the docs. Rather, they just pocket the difference. You can tell this is happening by looking at the industry's loss ratio on medical malpractice insurance in these states versus other states.
Also, it was interesting that this fall, the legislature in Nevada passed a measure similar to those now being considered in Ohio. The week after these measures passed, the insurance companies in Nevada publicly announced that they weren't going to lower rates after all.
Scott Brown, Executive Director
Iowa Trial Lawyers Association
Des Moines, IA
Clear Channel's killing the music:
What the hell has happened to the local music scene? Cleveland has always had a long history of great punk bands, most notably the Pagans, Pere Ubu, the Defnics, and the Pink Holes. But the kids in this town have become passive in regard to their appreciation of what one can consider punk rock.
Clear Channel spends its money forcing Blink-182 and Off by One down the throats of disenfranchised youth. If it's not the Vans Warped Tour (a pathetic excuse for a music showcase), it's poorly named events like the Clevo Punk Fest. While other punk fests pride themselves on variety, these watered-down endeavors force one sound down our throats. If a band comes around that carries any hint of angst, these flower-carrying hippies in punk clothing clamor together, screaming, "Mean people suck!"
Anybody who knows anything about music knows that punk's trademark has always been its in-your-face attitude. Fashion was a factor, but now a Mohawk almost guarantees that you will be immediately ostracized from the scene. When Hot Topic is becoming just as bad as Malcolm McLaren's fashion mistake SEX -- in regard to telling us what the look, as well as the sound of the genre, will be -- it should be a call to arms to stand up and say "No, I will not take this anymore!"
If punk is going to survive for another 20 years, this California/Clear Channel crap had best be disposed of quickly. We must scream at the top of our lungs in protest until these money-grubbing bastards get their dirty little hands out of the most daring musical subculture.