Payback Time

Letters published July 27, 2005

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Bad News Bears Billy Bob Thornton, Greg Kinnear, and Marcia Gay Harden
Everything must go: I read your article so intently, I doubt that an anvil hitting me could have broken my focus ["City for Sale," July 20]. I have to say thank you!

I have been waiting for years for White to get his ass slung up, along with those around him. I have been waiting for the TV (pathetic) news to do something on his corrupt ass, and I know that is a complete waste of time. Now, finally, you have started the wheels of justice turning -- at least in the very public eye of Scene.

I have suspected for years that he was as corrupt as they come. Browns Stadium was a classic example -- half a billion dollars for a hunk of concrete that gets used maybe eight times a year. Please do more on White and his reign of terror over Cleveland. He must lose everything he has -- house, cars, property. He sold out Cleveland, and he should pay with his possessions and his freedom! Thank you!

Jerry Szoka

Some political machines actually work: Just read "City for Sale." Whoa! Heavy stuff. If half of this is true, it explains a lot, like the shoddy construction work on the infamous airport parking garage.

Recently, I visited some friends in Chicago -- transplants from Cleveland. Walking around the city on a hot July afternoon, you get the overwhelming impression that here is a city that just gets things right. Public access to the lake? You've got it -- miles and miles of it -- along with smart planning, grand public parks, mostly clean streets, a vibrant urban core.

I don't know how the Chicago political machine functions, but it's clear that it's doing something right. Meanwhile, us poor schmucks in the nation's poorest big city get a Whiskey Island stalemate, Adopt-a-Garbage-Can programs, and Big Brother traffic cameras.

Miles Budimir

Merrily, Merrily
Whatever floats your boat:
Great piece on your float trip ["Taming the Mighty Cuyahoga," July 13]. In response to my laughter, the waitress at the Chinese restaurant where I read it said something like "You so happy to have newspaper!"

Ken Ilg

Been there, done that, got the doctor bill: Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed "Taming the Mighty Cuyahoga." When I first saw the title, I thought my father sold you the rights to our own experience on "The River of Deceit," as we now call her.

We took the Cuyahoga north from Portage Path, with our final destination to be Peninsula. Our final destination was actually Akron General Hospital -- I with severe hypothermia and my father with three cracked ribs. My father pushed off on a downed tree as we roared past it, overturning the canoe, sending us under. I grabbed onto the first downed tree I came to. Actually, I think Cuyahoga is an Indian word meaning "river filled with downed trees." Either that, or "river where e. coli dwells."

Anyway, our canoe had the same idea as me (head for that tree), to which it then pinned me, against the log -- comfortably around my groin region -- with said canoe across my back. Eventually the firemen came; it took three of them to pull the canoe off me.

Anyway, hilarious story. I was reading it at The Winking Lizard in Fairlawn, and several times I was laughing out loud. I think people thought I had started my world tour of beers and was about to finish it the same day! I haven't laughed that hard since I read A Walk in The Woods, by Bill Bryson, yet another adventure of idiots. Thanks for the humor in an increasingly less humorous world!

Douglas W. Vogus

Making the Scene
Those were the days:
There is brief reference to my editorship of the Scene in your 35th-anniversary issue [June 29]. I took over editorship after the first eight issues had almost put the paper out of business. I reassembled much of the old staff from Cleveland After Dark, including writers who covered rock, film, theater, and yes, jazz.

I envisioned a paper much like The Village Voice or The Boston Phoenix, covering entertainment and the arts. Frankly, over the next eight months, the staff I assembled kept Scene from going out of business. My split came when publishers Rich and Danny Kabat insisted that editorial coverage be given to advertisers and denied to those who did not advertise. I felt that this was short-sighted and would not build reader loyalty.

The validity of this stance seems to be confirmed by the broad scope of coverage offered by the Scene since control passed out of the hands of the Kabats.

John Richmond

Power Trip
Pregnancy as punishment:
Thanks for "Bitter Pill" [July 13]. It's scary that we seem to be on the verge of forcing women into slavery by taking away their reproductive choices. I can't imagine how anyone could think it ethical to force unwanted babies on unprepared parents. Unless you are trying to create a slave class, this is a bad idea.

I would never dream of forcing a woman who was philosophically opposed to abortion to terminate her pregnancy against her will, and it is offensive to me that doctors and pharmacists do not show this same level of respect for their patients' philosophies. I hope that this article results in the strengthening of the referral community, so that women won't be prohibited from making their own decisions about their lives, health, and bodies.

Jessica Ferrato

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