It's True: The Mayor's a Meany
Just wanted to comment on the wonderful article in this week's Scene ["A Question of Style," June 1]. I am a former long-term employee of the City of Cleveland. I say former because, after years of abuse, I rebuilt my confidence and left city employment to return to the private sector.
I really just wanted to let you know that it was extremely refreshing to see what I had been saying for years so eloquently put to print, especially in quotes by Bill Denihan. I told all my friends, former co-workers, and anyone else who would listen that, when the mayor attacked Joe Nolan or Bill Denihan, they would not just sit back and take it as everyone else has.
For so long, I have wanted the residents of Cleveland to know what a terrible, mean person their mayor was, but every time he is attacked in the press, he always has a way of coming out smelling like roses instead of the devil's advocate that he is, and nothing gets done without the mayor's signature on the bottom line. No matter what -- he makes the final decision. And if it benefits his friends, all the better. No matter how many degrees, how hard you worked, how much loyalty -- he would shoot you down. Cleveland is the laughingstock of the country because of poor management of Hopkins and the ridiculous fight he is waging with Brook Park. Should have thought about that land 30 years ago.
I'll close now, because I am beginning to feel bitter. I have avoided speaking with the media since I left, just for that reason. I did not want to sound like a whiner, but I did want to second the statements made by Bill Denihan, a man I greatly respect.
Name withheld upon request
via the Internet
Blacks Will Keep White in Office
Mike Tobin's intelligently written feature about Mayor Mike White glaringly points out that the majority of his critics are white males whose criticism of his personality evokes memories of the "high-tech lynching" experienced by Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during his U.S. Senate confirmation hearings.
Thomas coined the phrase when he scorned the stereotypical comments made by white male democratic U.S. senators about pubic hairs and a black male adult performer who called himself "Long Dong Silver."
White and Thomas are articulate, tough-minded, intelligent, and competent black men who married white women. Both wield considerable influence over the affairs of white men. In the Old South, White's and Thomas's behavior and marriages would have branded them as "uppity," and an angry white male mob would have kidnapped, assaulted, and lynched them for the crime of challenging their image of white male superiority.
Tobin writes that White's critics are often factually inaccurate, but the mob frenzy that now swirls around him allows any unsubstantiated rumor or allegation from a so-called "credible" white male to find its way into publication. White is far from perfect and has failed, in my opinion, to facilitate the building of a black political and economic base that advances the presence of blacks in Cleveland Municipal Court, City Council, and county government. But the lack of public criticism coming from credible black critics, however, strongly suggests that Cleveland's black community is not ready to discard a black mayor for an establishment-picked Irish American, Croatian American, or Arab American male or female, with their own baggage, in an overwhelmingly black city.
White will be the city's mayor for as long as the black community decides to keep him, and that is a reality this town's white males have absolutely no power to change.
Eric J. Brewer
A Hospital on Life Support
This is, by far, the best piece that has been written about our plight relative to St. Luke's ["Empty Promise," June 1]. It's thorough and 100 percent accurate, which is a rare combination, in our experience. Thanks so much for your interest in this issue.
Shaker Square Area Development Corp.
Another Rear View of Kent State
I thought your articles on Kent State [May 4] were just great. Beautifully written and very compelling. What was interesting to me, as a University of Michigan student -- writing for The Daily in 1970 -- who went down to Kent the day after for a story, was the way you captured the emotion of the era. You captured the eeriness and disaffection; from reading the Michael Roberts article, I got a sense of something that I hadn't thought of before -- namely that the students (with whom I have totally sympathized) were not totally innocent. One of the great mysteries is how those student radicals, who instigated the trashing of stores in downtown Kent and burned the ROTC building, have come to grips with it today.
Of course, I have always been horrified that no one was prosecuted. But in reading the first article and Mr. Putz's, I gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity of people's motives and how the Guardsmen were not part of some "right-wing conspiracy," but were boys who responded to the moment. The nice thing about the Putz article is that it didn't glamorize the photographers, but instead described their ambitions and dealt with how they personally were part of Kent -- as aspiring journalists.
Not to rub salt in any wounds, but the comparison between Scene and The Plain Dealer coverage (circa 2000) is amazing. You did the whole thing with much meaning and respect. You captured the era so well.
Richard M. Perloff
Professor of Communication,
Cleveland State University