The System's Working

Letters published April 18, 2002

Murder by Numbers
Keep the color out of politics:

I am compelled to offer a "reality check" after reading Eunice Jones's letter in the March 14 issue [Jones's letter was in response to "Winner Takes All Brawl," January 31]. Peter Lawson Jones is the Cuyahoga County commissioner because he received more votes than Pat O'Malley. O'Malley has since pledged to work with Peter Lawson Jones. That is how democracy is supposed to work. Cuyahoga County will be better served under Lawson Jones, not because of the color of his skin, but because he is amply qualified. As Eunice keenly pointed out: African Americans represent 52 percent of Cleveland's population. Commanding numbers of voters chose Jane Campbell over Raymond Pierce. Dimora supported Campbell because he felt she was better qualified, and a sizable percentage of Clevelanders seemed to agree. It is absurd to suggest, as Eunice did, that a citizen should not stand for elected office because of the opponent's skin color.

And for those who need to know, I'm an African American Democrat.

Phillip White

Incarceration keeps the nuptials on hold:

I'm writing in response to the article on Wyatt Morrow ["Fallen Angel," March 14]. The article was very fair, and especially so to Tyrone Brown. And this is why I am writing. You see, I love Tyrone Brown, and hopefully, we will become man and wife.

Through this whole ordeal, we have heard how Morrow was a great guy, an upstanding citizen, and in general, an all-around nice guy. I have no doubt that he was nice, but everyone who is so quick to crucify Tyrone (and Dwayne Ferguson) is forgetting one small detail: Morrow was out that night, just like those two were. No, Morrow didn't deserve to die. But the way Tyrone is being unfairly portrayed and imprisoned is unfair, too.

Morrow had crack cocaine in his system. Now, that is an ugly truth. There is nothing worse than realizing that a tragedy could have been avoided. Morrow died not because he was a bad man. He died because he had a crack cocaine habit. And because of his need to get high, he put himself in danger. And here's where Tyrone becomes the victim, because he was in the crack house, too.

Witnesses stated that Ferguson, not Tyrone, was serving Morrow all night. This allowed Dwayne to have an idea about what kind of money Morrow had, and when Morrow asked them to step outside, Dwayne -- not Tyrone -- pistol-whooped this man. Dwayne beat Morrow so bad until Tyrone tried to stop him. And that's why Tyrone is in trouble: because he was there.

When the police arrested Tyrone, they knew they had some serious outlaws. Tyrone had done so much as a juvenile and then as an adult. When he needed someone to look at the facts, no one wanted to hear them -- not even his public defender. Tyrone did leave the scene of the crime without reporting it, because Morrow drove off first. Maybe Tyrone could have been a factor in saving Morrow if he had called EMS, but maybe Morrow could have driven himself to the hospital if he hadn't been high. Who's to say how the scenario could have played out?

Tyrone did not have one penny of Morrow's money on him, and he did not touch one hair on Morrow's head or pull one trigger. Yet Tyrone sits in Lorain for the crime.

April L. Mitchell
East Cleveland

NBA can take it to the hole:

"Goliath, Meet David" [March 21] really pissed me off. I thought that nonprofit meant not for profit. That the National Benevolent Association needed to "restore profitability," and that Cleveland's expansion efforts seemed like a "fiscal drain," smacks of corporate greed to me. Does nonprofit only apply to NBA as far as its tax-exempt status goes, or should it start paying taxes, when "this is what corporations do" means screwing hundreds of families because we aren't making money?

I am not a churchgoing person, but this goes way beyond secular views. I will give money to the Greater Cleveland Christian Home for Children. What is so benevolent about closing a facility -- especially one that has been in Cleveland for 100 years? What is so benevolent about crushing the dreams of those who are most affected and least likely to be able to help themselves? These are callous business decisions made by people who don't even have a clue about what programs are running within their own organization. I say let NBA go, and good riddance. Without a $1-million-a-year payment for "supportive services fees," that means $1 million more for operational capital. By the way, if NBA should ever ask me for a donation, I'd likely tell them where they can stuff it.

Michael C. Wilkinson

"Soul on Ice" hits the mark:

I love Pete Kotz's style of writing. I was on the floor with his article regarding Eric LaPlante, the black hockey player ["Soul on Ice," March 21]. I am black, and Kotz's thoughts regarding black attitudes toward hockey were true and hilarious. I will read you more often -- this was my first time. Your style is real, clear, and a breath of fresh air. You strike a human chord.

Victor Shanks
Fontana, CA

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