Now, who's the bumbling slacker? In Rebecca Meiser's November 9 article "Kid Gloves," Scene chose a strange approach for a smear article: Find the people starting a new business, then attack their inexperience. In Ms. Meiser's eagerness to highlight our inexperience and paint us as bumbling slackers, she neglects to mention that Richard Baron, CEO of McCormack Baron Salazar, has been involved in this project from the beginning. Baron's 30 years of experience and development portfolio of over $1.5 billion (including the Valleyview project in Tremont) didn't fit Ms. Meiser's thesis, so it, like every other inconveniently positive aspect of this project, was omitted.
The article does not mention the merits of the project, such as its affordable housing component, its refusal to accept chain stores, or its plans to be one of the greenest buildings in the Midwest. Nor does she mention that we've gotten financing from national, local, and Cleveland philanthropists, bought the remaining property with financing from the Enterprise Foundation, and received deposits on over 70 percent of the apartments.
We wonder how an "alternative" magazine can lament the lack of young people staying in Northeast Ohio and then publish an attack on the people involved. What exactly are you the alternative to?
Give pens to enough desk monkeys . . .: As an ex-Oberlin townie/faculty brat, I'm usually the first to throw stones at ideas that come from kids who are the product of either an overabundance of bong hits or an overabundance of inheritance. So I sometimes agree with the sentiments expressed in "Kid Gloves." The townie in me says that the grants and tax credits these kids are getting probably come from personal connections, not hard work. The college brat in me says these kids who are working for "nonunion, janitor" salaries probably don't do much "work" at all, nor will they ever, nor have they ever done any.
Even if these well-ingrained presumptions are true, I don't see the point of slinging mud at three kids who are actually proposing to do something positive. They're looking to close the gap between the well-to-do and the not-so-well-to-do in the world. They're looking at alternative means of energy. They're looking to contribute to a small-town economy -- all exceptionally noble endeavors in this day and age.
The mere fact that three college students want to stick around Northeast Ohio to do something daring should be getting praise in your publication. Unfortunately, it's not. Throughout the piece, you continually scoff at their efforts as being unrealistic, but you show not one actual problem with the plans. The whole story reads like negative slant on a normal construction job of missed deadlines and worries about money.
I remember that right after I left Oberlin High almost 20 years ago, a teenager and his slightly older brother started the Feve Café. It changed the face of downtown. I have no doubt this may do the same.
The type of spirit you put down would revitalize Cleveland, if it were nurtured here. As usual, it is dismissed with shallow and self-defeating opinions from some corporate desk monkey with a pen. Shame on you, Scene.
Another Summit Nadir
There's loyalty for you: Thank you for your article on what happened to us at the Summit County Department of Human Services ["The Eight-Year War," November 9]. As an employee of almost 22 years, I was in complete shock when I lost my job. Your article was more complete and accurate than anything I have read about us to date.
Since the Beacon Journal prints the least amount about this case that it can get away with, we appreciate your putting the facts out there for Summit County to see.
Dishing the Chef
Bugged about Parker's: I was a little dismayed by the adulation for the Parker persona ["Hail to the Chef," November 9]. I live in Ohio City and have eaten at Parker's twice (trick me once). The food is "B" quality with "A" prices -- and ignore any roaches walking around.
Bosley's the best: Love the article about Parker. It always kills me when Cleveland restaurant polls don't list his restaurant as No. 1. He is the best! He is a great cooking teacher. I know how to cook, but took his classes for many years just for the sheer enjoyment of watching him.
And he cooks too: Enjoyed reading your article on Parker Bosley. My wife worked with Parker for five years, and I can't say enough good things about him. He is a wonderful, kind spirit.
How'd that happen? I am a 48-year-old Cleveland native who just got back after living on the SoCal coast for the last 26 years. I've learned to get a feel for the cultural pulse across the country from weeklies like yours. Kudos to Scene for going beyond 35 years of printing. But this year's "Best of" issue had a glaring omission in the "Food and Drink" section: soul food.
As a black guy, I'm good to go from Vietnamese to Mexican. It stings me that in my hometown, where there is more than enough African American cultural influence (let alone presence), soul food didn't get a blip on Scene's radar screen.
Eating soul food is not just a black thing, and it is many layers above greasin' on fried food soaked up by napkins. I hope you guys give the green light next year on this.
Doggedly Seeking Truth
Reader bites editor -- that's news: I am not a big fan of either John McCain or Ken Blackwell. However, you accuse Blackwell of suppressing the vote in the last election [First Punch, October 26]. What is the proof of this? Please provide a list of people who were suppressed (other than the occasional slug who did not make it to the polls on time). Where are the pictures of rabid dogs preventing people from entering the polls?
People in the media really need to do real reporting when accusing someone of wrongdoing. You simply state, "Blackwell suppressed the vote," and it is up to him to disprove this, when he did nothing wrong. Truth is neither Republican nor Democrat, and it does not take sides. It does, however, make an issue very clear. Readers are getting to the point where they demand that you provide a modicum of truth in your comments. Your political bent should not dictate your writing.
Out on a Ledge
Twisted and exaggerated: The pen is mightier than the sword. When it's used responsibly, it is wonderful; but when it is sensationalized or yellowed, it can ruin lives and years of hard work. Jared Klaus' "Finding Neverland" was the latter.
Evan and Kristina Kelley have worked relentlessly to change the image of Nelson Ledges Quarry Park. They have worked with police and patrons to try to curb the drug use in their park. Before they purchased the park, it was a haven for shady characters and activities. They have expelled hundreds. The progress they have made over the last years has been remarkable. Ask anyone who knew the place before.
Jared and Scene took one example and artfully twisted it and exaggerated it, implying that this was the norm. They caricatured, painted imaginary pictures, and conjured motives. By doing this, they damaged years of work and dreams for a family. They painted Evan as the unwary fool who strums his guitar as the Quarry goes up in smoke.
I do not care to be associated with Scene magazine ever again.
Irresponsible and unforgivable: In the past year, your magazine has thrilled me with its daring coverage of difficult and controversial issues, such as your stories regarding charter schools and the incidence of cancer in Avon Lake. It is with great regret that I write you today regarding Jared Klaus' "Finding Neverland."
As a patron and friend of Nelson Ledges and the Kelley Family, I have been attending festivals and working for the yearly improvement of this beautiful venue for the past nine years. Every year, those of us who are committed to changing the perception of the Ledges from "unmanageable/dangerous" to "friendly/family" have seen our dream coming more within our grasp.
With one stupid and irresponsible story, your paper has done us all great harm, and I cannot forgive Jared for writing it or your editors for permitting it to be published.
After nine years there, I think someone would recognize the "jolly hippie" who is the main character in Jared's druggy diatribe. No one knows who he is. After nine years, you would think someone from the Ledges family would have seen or heard of goings-on at our park such as the ones that Jared describes -- if only because folks who behave in the way Mr. Klaus describes are always ejected from the park.
Why didn't Jared Klaus go up to the main gate and report this to security? No, instead of doing the responsible thing, he irresponsibly reported it in the paper.
A great future in tabloids: Scene investigative reporter Jared Klaus did a ballsy, heart-of-darkness, undercover exposé of Nelson Ledges Quarry Park ["Finding Neverland," November 2]. I just wanted to say, way to rip the cover off that mother! I can't believe that you actually walked deep into the woods, on a dark night, and found some stoners! Unbelievable!
I'm sure that your journalism professors are proud of you for having the guts to pry the lid off that dark secret. I mean, the chances of finding a few wily hippies, who were able to elude the security staff at an outdoor music venue, are as thin as the blotter paper they feed on for energy! What sleuthing!
It was also impressive how you managed to trick Evan Kelley into believing you were actually doing a fluff piece by photographing him with his daughter in the sunshine -- brilliant! You were able to deftly paint the picture of an inmates-running-the-asylum scenario, with Kelley as the blind-eyed proprietor, none the wiser to your sly ruse.
Here's an idea for your next hard-hitting piece: How about going undercover at a Browns game and weeding out some of those hard-to-find parking-lot beer drinkers?
If you continue to lead readers down a contrived path built solely to fit your own predetermined drama, and you hoodwink and hurt innocent and hardworking people along the way, then you surely will have a long, decorated career in tabloid journalism. Jackass.