letters
Audubon folks aren't haters
The Other Paper marred an otherwise balanced article on the motor speedway proposed for the Cooper Stadium site with an unfortunate headline ("This Bird Hates Bill Schottenstein," May 12).
While the headline attributes this sentiment to an anthropomorphized bird, the numerous references to Audubon in the article and our close association with bird conservation may suggest to some that this sentiment is actually ours. We certainly do not hate Bill Schottenstein; rather, we admire him for his willingness to devote himself and his company, Arshot Investment, to a commendable effort to redevelop a near-downtown landmark.
Columbus needs to preserve density within the heart of the City. A vacant lot where the stadium now sits would benefit no one and would not be "green." We hope to work with Mr. Schottenstein to create a vision for the property that preserves the positives of his concept while eliminating the negatives. He should be applauded for stepping forward and committing resources to central city redevelopment.

Jerome C. Tinianow
Vice President and Ohio Executive Director
Audubon Ohio

Let the Arena District have the track
I read with interest your story about converting Cooper Stadium to a race track. Joe Sugar thinks it will spur economic development and job growth. I would like to hear his reasoning.
The parking lot of Cooper Stadium is directly across from the freeway ramp. People coming to the stadium go directly from the ramp into the parking lot. When leaving they drive up the ramp to I-70 directly from the parking lot. They spend no money outside of the stadium and I doubt that will change if it becomes a race track. So Joe, what money and what jobs are you referring to? They certainly will not benefit the area near the stadium.
Woody Woodruff, spokesperson for JEG's racing, likes the idea of another racetrack in Ohio. May I suggest building it near his home in Delaware County. That county is begging for economic development and jobs. Perhaps he should talk to Joe Sugar about that option.
Another option would be to build the racetrack at the new stadium and keep the Clippers where they are. Think of economic impact that would have for the Arena District.
Phil Smith

Why wasn't Blackwell asked to denounce?
Initially I was only going to reply to the front-page story on Rod Parsley ("Ground Parsley," June 5). However, after reading Quentyn Daniels' response letter, I felt I had no other choice but to reply.
What Daniels and the FOX News pundits he parrots fail to realize is that the reason it was more difficult for Obama to denounce Rev. Wright in a more immediate manner is for all the reasons stated: he had a 20-year relationship with him that extended to his own family, whereas McCain didn't have such a relationship with John Hagee and Parsley. In other words there was no real relationship/friendship between the latter parties. That should be pretty simple to figure out.
Hagee and Parsley have made far more inflammatory statements against many groups, yet have largely been given a pass by the media over the years. Parsley was unabashedly and unashamedly in support of Ken Blackwell and vice versa two years ago. Yet never did the media-locally or nationally-demand the then-gubernatorial candidate to denounce, reject and repudiate the pastor.
How unfair, in a land that's supposed to allow equal amounts of free speech and expression.
G. H. McKinley

Strickland supported the theocrats
On matters of policy, Gov. Ted Strickland has not been as far from Rod Parsley as Michael Sheline's letter suggests. (Letters: "Strickland was near, not with, Parsley," June 12)
For example, Parsley has long supported severe restrictions on adult businesses, and Strickland accommodated him by allowing Senate Bill 16 to become law last year. The bill was a direct assault on a $250 million industry in Ohio-including the jobs of about 10,000 Ohioans-at a time when the state's economy was already in the dumper. Parsley and his followers surely approved of Strickland 's handling of the bill. But their accolades were earned at the expense of thousands of working Ohioans that Strickland was willing to turn into criminals for the offense of providing harmless entertainment to others.
Parsley also has strongly criticized the fundamental American principle of the separation of church and state. Although history shows that nothing is more divisive than entanglements between government and religion, Strickland supported the theocrats when he ordered the Department of Natural Resources to place a blatantly Christian display back in a state park. The department had removed the display after a complaint from a minority religion, whose sensitivities and rights Strickland obviously didn't care the least bit about.
When he's thought that political advantages could be gained, Strickland has clearly been willing to pander to the religious right by supporting their divisive "culture war" instead of focusing on problems that seriously affect the lives of Ohioans. That's just one of the reasons why many people are now wondering whether he's a real Democrat.
Joseph C. Sommer

More lost than just the CSO
A few weeks ago I attended-with both joy and sadness-what may be the last concert of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra ("Gone for good?" June 5), at least as we know it. The joy was in having an opportunity to once again hear and see an artist such as Marvin Hamlisch perform in person; the sadness is that we may be deprived of such concerts in the future.
I have been a CSO contributor and subscriber for over 30 years and have attended Picnic with the Pops for all 25 of its years-the last 23 of those years as a volunteer. I am at a loss as to why PWP was cancelled. Even if some individual concerts may have lost money, I'm reasonably certain the series was profitable every season.
Also, lest it be forgotten or ignored, much more than concerts is at stake. What about the 300+ youths throughout Central Ohio who comprise the various student components of the CSO-the Youth and Cadet Orchestras and the strings ensembles? What happens to the new "All-City Orchestra for Columbus City Schools," which has been woefully underrepresented in the other CSO youth programs? What about the outstanding volunteers of the CSO Chorus? What about the various other CSO education programs?
Yes, there are other groups that perform classical music, but none have programs comparable to those of the CSO. In past years, we've lost the concerts of the Symphony Club, which presented some of the world's great orchestras, the Great Artists Series at Mershon Auditorium and others. The loss of the CSO would be another nail in the cultural coffin of Columbus.
Much of what I could write would be simply rehashing what others have already said or written, but there are some questions that I have not seen or heard addressed:
To the Board: Much attention has been focused on the concessions (salary, number of concerts, etc.) asked of the musicians, but I have not seen anything addressing concessions being asked of management and staff. Are they also being asked to take significant salary or benefits cuts in order to save their jobs?
To the audiences: You have been fantastic in number, enthusiasm and applause, especially during the May concerts when it appeared we could lose this treasure. I ask, where have you been all season (and in past seasons)? Had there been such an outpouring of support then, perhaps we would not find ourselves at this juncture. Can the CSO count on your future support? If the answer is "yes," let the Board know now!
Larry W. Clark


Barbarians are unmannerly
I'm confident that members of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra got their eyes opened wide by Bob Cope's insightful analysis featuring a comparison of late 18th century economics with that of the present time, as well as such penetrating remarks as, "…too many paid musicians." ("Letters: Barbarians don't subsidize," June 12)
I guess Mr. Cope should expect to hear soon from the CSO board, the members of the Orchestra and the Musicians' Union to quickly draft him for all future negotiations, rather than risk proceeding one step further without the benefit of his lucid understanding and his extraordinary clarity of vision.
I am also very impressed with Cope's no-nonsense approach (legislators take note!) to the dispensation of civic revenues. It's clear that the "handful of non-barbarians" in this community can hardly justify the enormous outlays we see for stuff like libraries, arts organizations, orchestras, etc.
Mr. Cope's self-characterization as a "barbarian" (which must have earned him lots of high-fives from his pals) is really a position statement, roughly, "my (our) rigidly held posuture on this matter will not be swayed by the likes of other points of view, civic value, rational debate or imagination."
For my part, I think Webster's Unabridged says it best: "an insensitive, coarse or unmannerly person: boor."
Rock on, Mr. Cope.
Vaughn F. Wiester


Theis was right
I am writing to correct the inaccuracies contained in last week's letter to the editor by Matt Deters, who identified himself as a family member of former Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters ("Letters: Deters is no Dann," June 5).
Matt Deters maintained that just two allies of Treasurer Deters pleaded guilty in connection to a 2004 pay-to-play scandal, and said The Other Paper made a mistake by quoting former Plain Dealer bureau chief Sandy Theis as saying that the scandal included three people. The Other Paper and Ms. Theis are correct: The Deters lieutenants pleading guilty included former chief of staff Matthew Borges, fund-raiser Eric Sagun and political adviser Andy Futey.
Matt Deters' letter also included the laughable assertion that the investigation, done by Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Bill Mason, "appears to have been politically motivated." Prosecutor Mason's investigation began as an examination of Frank Gruttadauria, the now-discredited broker who siphoned millions from his clients' accounts. Mason's probe expanded to include money that Gruttadauria donated to Deters, mainly a $50,000 contribution disguised as a donation to the Hamilton County Republican Party.
Gruttadauria's ties to Deters benefited the broker's former employers, SG Cowen and Lehman Brothers. From 1999 to 2001, the firms did a combined $5.9 billion in trades with the state treasury, even though Gruttadauria lacked the qualifications needed to execute some of the trades. Prosecutor Mason not only won guilty pleas, he also won policy changes from the brokerage firms and convinced Lehman Brothers to voluntarily pay back to customers the net amount that Gruttadauria had taken from them.
Catherine Turcer
Director of the Money in Politics Project, Ohio


CNF's problems dragged into the light
The unionization initiative at Calumet Natural Foods (CNF) is really the most visible result of a larger set of problems ("Tensions on display as local market unionizes," May 22).
As a CNF member with extensive experience working and participating in cooperatives, I support the CNF unionization process. CNF is not an easy situation to understand by an outsider or even by a long-term superficially involved member. It takes much more than a snapshot analysis and a truckload of truisms to understand what has been going on at CNF.
If there are two sides to this tangle, then on one side are concerns for economic sustainability and democratic process, and on the other is the pretend world of sand-box politics. For the na´ve, it seems to only take a small dose of magical thinking, a chorus of "Give Peace a Chance," and a parade of noble lies to obscure the otherwise obvious.
The problems at CNF have been politically "managed" for a very long time. The board's complicity has several layers, including secret executive sessions at which all non-board and non-management individuals are excluded and the censoring of the membership newsletter by management, which has made it impossible to inform the membership or openly discuss the problems of performance and process at CNF. The result is that the havoc at CNF has finally overflowed into the light of day thanks in part to The Other Paper.
The list of specific failures and subversions at CNF is enormous. At the top of the list is the lack of management accountability to the board and the lack of any auditing of the financial condition of the business. The board has even voted to not enforce board-approved policies that are being ignored by management.
The main difference from the past is that the staff has received legal recognition as a union bargaining unit, allowing them to pursue resolution of their issues through labor law. The face-to-face contract negotiation has not even started yet and the board has approved over $6,000 toward attorney fees. The sand box politics may soon be a memory simply by the rule of law and by the blunt force of economics. It is time for CNF to grow up as a cooperative and as a business.
Tadit Anderson

A ban is a campaign slogan

Regarding (Whitehall councilwoman-at-large) Jacquelyn K. Thompson's letter ("Councilwoman responds," July 3): When the "pit bull lobby" says "blame the deed, not the breed", the "deed" they mention is the act of turning a glorious, intelligent, loyal animal into a mess of aggression. Cite all the statistics you want in a vain attempt to paint this issue with the broadest brush possible, but the scourge of the breed is the individuals who train these animals to act in this way.

Of course, rather than gain firsthand experience in things of this nature (we can all tell you're not a dog person, Jackie), you sit behind your desk and thumb through some statistics, and bestow upon us your royal verdict: ban the puppies! "Ban pitbulls!" is so much easier to put on a re-election flyer than "Enforce already existing laws requiring responsible ownership via the mandate of liability insurance!"

Zach Parsons

letter
Johns goes Petric on Comfest
Now that readers havechimed in on Erik Johns's comments re: Comfest ("I hate Comfest," June 26), allow me to add one more: Just who does Erik Johns think he is-John Petric?
And since we're speaking of Petric, let me proclaim John to be among the threemost persuasivejournalists in all of Columbus media. Nobody has stated a better argument for the Columbus Symphony than he did in his column back in May.
One more item… may I be a charter member of the Rick Allen Fan club?

Jim Coe


letter
Hutz is no Iggy
In reaction to the Gogol Bordello review ("Frenzied gypsies leave listeners in a lather," June 12). It was ok I guess, certainly not worthy of the Iggy Pop comparison. I've seen every incarnation of Iggy's numerous bands from The Stooges in Cleveland, his first solo tour at The Agora here in 1977 with Bowie, to his disastrous tumble off the stage of Polaris at the '97 R.O.A.R. Festival (breaking his collarbone), and Hutz is no Iggy in any sense.
And the Zappa comparison? If anything he looks like a bad imitation of Country Joe McDonald. We expect more from you JP-not just liking any old band that comes along. Where were you guys when Allan Holdsworth came to the Thirsty Ear in May?? Are you losing your fire?
David Westhoff

ltr
Don't legislate the shape
Breed-specific legislation (breed-specific legislation and a breed ban being the same thing) violates the basic tenet of democracy- that all are equal under the law ("Pit stop," June 19). It legislates law-abiding people into second-class citizenship based on the shape of property they own-their dogs.
Criminals, who by definition do not obey laws, only continue to hide their banned-breed dogs or turn to other breeds for their purposes. This has already started in Ontario, Canada; a particular breed is seemingly the dog of choice now among those who do not value dogs as pets and companions. Meanwhile, responsible pit bull owners must comply with unfounded and unjust restrictions, attempting to protect their dogs.
Thirty years ago, German Shepherd dogs were the demon breed. Then Dobermans. Then Rottweilers. Now, pit bulls. Which breed will be next to be targeted for legislated extermination? Will it be yours? Any dog that is untrained, unsocialized, tethered/chained, allowed to roam, neglected or abused has the potential to bite. Breed is irrelevant. It is the owner's deed that should be the issue and the subject of any law. Not the shape of the dog.
Intelligent Ohioans must reject discriminatory, ineffective, unworkable and fiscally irresponsible breed-specific legislation, and enact clearly defined and easily enforced all-breed dangerous-dog legislation that will best serve public safety.
Dianne Singer


leter

Don't bitch about Comfest(unless it's about the beer)
I'm sick of hearing people bitch about Comfest. How much did you have to pay for three days of bands? Nothing. If you don't like it don't go. Nobody points a gun at your head and makes you go.
Sure a lot of the bands suck. Sure it's hypocritical for people who normally don't give a damn about litter to pretend for three days that they do. Sure it's irritating to have people shoving petitions in your face and trying to ram their political views down your throat. Most people go for the experience and nothing else. If you hate Comfest, do something else.
My only gripe is the beer system. I hate standing in line to buy a cup and 10 dollar tokens just so I can stand in line again for some warm, crappy beer. Here's a system I like better: I give you money, you give me beer. That's all we're doing anyway, except far less efficiently. Who the hell ever came up with the beer token idea anyway? It's just some long, pointless process. We give you money, you give us beer, transaction complete. Think about it.
John Baum

letter
Comfest haters need stick-ectomy
File Under: Erik Johns is not boring as hell: Myth? Myth: That lump protruding from Erik Johns's abdomen is not one end of the huge stick that's up his ass…
Kurt Maxwell

Petric keeps towers from falling

I just watched a commercial for some trash shit cd highlighting bands like 311, Lit and 3-Days Grace.

Was that tour here recently? I love you John! Some of us understand that "American Idol" causes towers to fall. Keep up the good work.

Douglas Ream