Response to Hateful Letter to the Editor

This letter that I penned was never published in the Plain Dealer, but the original letter should be corrected with facts and in my opinion should have never been published because it is hate speech.  There is a link to the original letter, but I would avoid reading it if you have high blood pressure.

Dear Plain Dealer Editor:

I was surprised to read the letter from Carmen Melillo Sr. in the Plain Dealer on September 6, because I was unaware that editorial policy had changed to allow grossly inaccurate and stereotypical information to be published without any clarification.  I have never understood why a paper allows anonymous hateful and incorrect comments on their electronic platform, but did not realize that the paper had decided to allow blatantly false claims in the letter’s section. 

Your letter writer seems to confuse the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program for all subsidized housing in the community since in all of Cleveland there are only 7,000 total vouchers being used and they are spread out all over the City.  They are not concentrated in one building or one area of town. Your own statistics published with the article on “social engineering by Stephen Koff shows that the large majority of CMHA clients are African American, and so your letter writer’s reference to “bad habits and culture” has to be seen as subtle forms of racism. 

There is no evidence that the majority of voucher holders in Cleveland were not born and raised in the community.  There is no evidence that those who need help with their rent are more violent or have a problem with addiction at a higher rate than other tenants.  Your letter writer seems angry with absentee landlords, but misdirects that anger at tenants who are just trying to find housing for their family as they struggle to find a better job.  Nearly everything in this letter was incorrect and full of hate.  The Housing Choice Voucher program and voucher holders should not be libeled in this way and the readers deserve opinion pieces based on some actual facts. 

Brian Davis

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