Bring Cincy up to Date

Good God, can someone please see the value in what Portland and other cities are doing to make their cities more livable ("A City That Works," issue of Feb. 15-21)? We have great restaurants, bands

Good God, can someone please see the value in what Portland and other cities are doing to make their cities more livable ("A City That Works," issue of Feb. 15-21)? We have great restaurants, bands and events here in Cincinnati, and every single time I go downtown at night I feel like I'm walking into a ghost city.

We've got a start on developing more downtown housing but sadly lack all-night grocery stores and restaurants for the downtown residents. And we're shooting all our development efforts in the foot if we don't get light rail and make the city more easily accessible and attractive to hang out in day and night.

You can keep adding more attractions, museums and restaurants all you want, but light rail is the true answer. Mark Twain said Cincinnati was 10 years behind the times. Think about it — it wasn't a compliment, and we don't have to stay that way.

— Beth Cheek, Cincinnati

Still a Supporter of Downtown
I enjoyed John Schneider's piece "A City That Works" (issue of Feb. 15-21). I lived in downtown Cincinnati car-free for more than five years. I now make my daily commute via automobile amid thousands of other galloping gas-guzzlers.

The riots didn't cause me to leave downtown. Neither did the lack of a grocery store or video store. Marriage and the desire to own a home did.

I miss downtown. I also miss walking. Plop a light rail system at my front doorstep and watch me toss my Shell card to the wind.

I miss shopping at Avril's and Findlay Market and frequenting the many bars and restaurants located within steps from my front door. I miss watching traffic reports on TV solely for entertainment. Did I mention I miss walking?

I've never been to Portland, but I have visited Denver and Seattle, two cities Cincinnati could not go wrong by copying. For all of the success enjoyed by downtown Portland, it appears they also have a strong "status quo" faction. I guess they have a West Side as well.

We need more visionairies in the Queen City like Schneider. I'm curious about one thing, however: How could he — appearing to have such a keen grasp of the basic principles of successful urban renewal — have been so vehemently opposed to building the Reds' ballpark at Broadway Commons?

— Jeff Wallner, Cincinnati

Stop Wasting Dollars on Drug Laws
Rube Goldberg over the years illustrated many innovative ways to accomplish tasks. His ways were so innovative that they produced laughter and therapy even. Plus they got the job done.

Still, his methods were intended to ironically illustrate how not to perform a task. He was an harbinger of Dilbert.

With regard to Hamilton County Drug Court ("Courting a New Start," issue of Feb. 15-21), this will piss off Judge Deirdre Hair and a host of Goldberg aficionados, but the best "therapy" for drug users is to stop threatening them with jail time. Legalize all drugs, then begin to tote up the savings.

Actually "savings" isn't the word. Legalize all drugs, then begin to tote up how many dollars had been wasted on inciting and nurturing drug hysteria.

— David E. Gallaher, Over-the-Rhine

Hoping for New CAC Unveiling
Regarding Steve Ramos' column on the status of the Contemporary Arts Center's well-known building downtown ("Inside Story at the CAC," issue of Feb. 15-21), my out-of-town guests recently admired the scope of the building, then cupped their hands around their temples to squint through the glass. "What is this?," they asked. "Only 'the most important American building to be completed since the end of the cold war,' " I quoted The New York Times.

This was the Contemporary Arts Center before Tony Oursler's video sculptures winked back from the lobby, about which I remarked to another friend, "Finally they display some art so people know why they should enter this building."

Ramos' column called for an end to the era of Zaha Hadid's architecture overshadowing the mission of the CAC: to bring avant garde art to Greater Cincinnatians. I'll go further (and have frequently complained privately) and call for an end to the era of the CAC marketing to the art community in favor of marketing art to the community. End the pandering to a few wealthy patrons and powerful politicians, and begin building grassroots support to negate the need for appeasement of the few but influential.

Art-loving Cincinnatians, me included, quickly blame "this city!" for its lack of interest. But with a product so experimental it's important the CAC be accessible and unthreatening. (Because of sensationalism, Mom and Dad are scared that a field trip to the CAC means exposing their kids to Piss Christ.)

Since the Mapplethorpe catastrophe, the curators have been Rock stars at displaying generally palatable yet significant contemporary art — though they'd vigorously deny toning down on grounds of artistic integrity, wink, wink. What hasn't been done well, what the Cincinnati Art Museum does well, is bringing art to the people, being unintimidating to the justifiably ignorant and being as transparent about what's inside as the glass that surrounds the lobby.

I join Ramos in calling for a second unveiling of "the most important American building to be completed since the end of the cold war," this time from the inside out.

— Chad Edward, Park Hills

Thanks for New Hope
Thank you for offering the article on sex addiction ("When Lust Takes Over," issue of Feb. 8-14). It's such a taboo subject that it's very important the public read all sides to this disturbing, frustrating and difficult human issue.

Margo Pierce's reporting, interviews and comments gave this reader inspiration and hope.

— John Wilmes, Cincinnati

A recent item in Porkopolis (issue of Feb. 8-14) said the Diocese of Covington received hundreds of e-mails and phone calls complaining about a pseudonym used by a high school student in The Messenger. The complaints totaled only a handful, according to Tim Fitzgerald, spokesman for the diocese.

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