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Ruth Burnside's Cleveland

March 28, 2002

A gift for speech aided White's legacy:

I had to pick up my jaw from the table after reading Scott Dotson's letter [in response to "Why Mike White Shouldn't Be Forgiven," January 10]. Dotson is obviously ignorant about the bullshit that actual Cleveland residents had to live with: all the crap that White turned a blind eye to. It seems that every person who doesn't live in urban Cleveland knows of great "deeds" Mike White did for us. I must have my head buried in the sand at Edgewater, because I don't see any of it. Like so many others, Scott Dotson has been drawn to this conclusion based on the smoke and mirrors Michael White used on suburbanites.

I live on the west side of Cleveland. White's supposed "deeds" have yet to make their mark on my quality of life. The prostitutes on Lorain Avenue still have a thriving business -- mostly from people coming from other areas -- as do the drug dealers on West 73rd between Clark and Denison. Have you walked down Euclid Avenue lately? How about visiting the Galleria? They are ghost towns, with empty shells where shops used to be. The panhandlers downtown and around the West Side Market have more than doubled in the past five years. And let us not forget about the public school system.

White's magic never reached further than tax-abated projects and expensive downtown entertainment complexes. The reason he has snowed you, Scott Dotson, is because he is a great public speaker. He said what the majority wanted to hear, in the way they wanted to hear it.

I'm praying that Mayor Campbell has her heart in the right place and actually cares about Cleveland residents. I'm willing to give her the same chance I gave Michael White. And when I feel safe walking in my own neighborhood, I'll congratulate her on a job well done. Until I see results where they matter to me, anyone coming into the mayor's office will just be another elected mouthpiece.

Ruth Burnside

Getting a rise out of the South:

This letter is in response to Doug Canipe's letter [Canipe, Antiseen's bassist, was responding to a January 24 feature on the band]. While I find the lyrics to the songs moderately humorous, I must admit I find Canipe's letter infuriating in its duplicity. Canipe claims that he's prejudiced only against people who use the race card to get ahead. He's obviously referring to minorities in his sick fucking diatribe, but tries to cloak it in language that any right-thinking person would agree with. After all, we should be judged on our merits, so let me judge him on his.

He appears to be a racist, lying, inbred piece of human garbage that should be exterminated like a diseased cockroach. (My apologies to cockroaches everywhere.) I'm surprised you can dress yourself, but I'm not surprised you're from the South. I've been down there, and your kind flourishes like rats. When you go to hell (and you will), you will be surrounded by friends and family who all think just like you. Have a nice day.

Davey A. Houston

New evidence shows they've passed us by:

I recently spent an eye-opening weekend in Columbus, so I found Pete Kotz's article ["Cowtown Rocks," February 21] of great interest and bemusement. While Cleveland boosters (and boasters) have fallen prey to their own publicity (the "Comeback City," etc.), Ohio's capital has capitalized on a recession-proof base of state government and higher education, as well as assistance from a dynamic private sector. The highways and byways of Columbus are lined with gleaming new office buildings bearing names like the Limited and American Home Insurance, as well as brash new names staking their claims in the high-tech sweepstakes.

The highlight of the weekend was a few hours spent at Easton Town Center. This upscale shopper's paradise is not an enclosed mall. It is laid out in grid form with lamplit streets, featuring restaurants, boutiques, a 30-screen theater, and a Nordstrom. The shoppers here, in their designer jeans and $100 haircuts, complement the sophisticated surroundings. The scene looks more like New York or San Francisco, not the Ohio State Fair Columbus that we all love and loathe.

But Columbus still retains its central Ohio friendliness. At Bon Vie restaurant, I realized that the one-hour parking meter needed to be fed. The hostess insisted that she would take care of this herself -- which she did, and even threw in a few quarters of her own. Can you see this happening in Cleveland?

Allen H. Guth
South Euclid

The all-night diner wasn't always a dump:

Concerning Sarah Fenske's article "Big Egg on Its Face," March 7: My father started the restaurant in 1956 by converting an old weightlifting gym into Viccaro's Italian Restaurant. The restaurant's second dining room used to be an alley that I played in as a kid. The mayor, governor, and various councilmen ate there in the 1950s, so it was a reputable restaurant, courtesy of Joseph Viccaro, my father and four-star chef. When my father suffered a heart attack in late 1959, he sold it to Tony Detore, who turned it into the egg palace. Research an article first before you write about it.

Tony Viccaro


Due to an untimely quirk of fate, the March 14 Free Will Astrology column was replaced with a column from the week of July 2000. We apologize for any chakras misaligned by this error.

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