Buying and Selling Democracy

Regarding the letter "Rise Up and Rule Yourself" (issue of April 30) and the cover story that inspired it ("Ruling Class," issue of April 23), migration, legal or otherwise, is not a quest for "misg

Regarding the letter "Rise Up and Rule Yourself" (issue of April 30) and the cover story that inspired it ("Ruling Class," issue of April 23), migration, legal or otherwise, is not a quest for "misguided welfare programs." It's about people trying to survive.

Among other things (war, persecution), immigration is being driven by corporate globalization that forces poor countries to allow outside competition or else lose much-needed development loans. Long story short, they can't compete, livelihoods are destroyed and people bug out for greener pastures.

Can resources be strained by too much immigration? Of course, but declaring war — an unfortunate mainstay of American politics — on immigration hardly addresses the problem.

As to "big corporations," please note that corporations are undemocratic organizations; by contrast, unions are powerful democratizing forces — they are indeed totalitarian. Business mostly is, but in this context it's size that's the problem.

With their great size and wealth, large corporations buy representation in government. To say the least, this doesn't enhance democracy.

Gradually, the preferences of the general population lose importance. There's plenty of evidence of this right now — most glaringly, ongoing wars and occupation in the face of popular opposition in both countries and an administration that remains in office despite its crimes.

Finally, I have to admit I like the sound of "peaceful anarchy." Since wars are invariably declared by governments, taking government out of the equation should eliminate war, right? Alas, it is to dream.

— Jim Byrnes, Hyde Park

Streetcars Getting a Free Ride?
I'd like to point out some interesting information I recently came across concerning the proposed Cincinnati streetcar ("The Bold and the Confident," issue of April 30). Looking at the Portland streetcar Web site ( I found the cost of riding the streetcar in their downtown district is exactly zero.

From what I can see from the Web site map, it seems to map closely in total coverage to the proposed Cincinnati coverage of the downtown/Over-the-Rhine line, not including the new Uptown/hospital section. And let's be honest, this was the line that all the cost/revenue comparisons were originally derived from.

I keep seeing all the pro/con arguments being put forth by the various constituencies, but I've never heard of this fare information. Surely the "pro" side must have known of this based on all of their tours/ conversations with the Portland people, which they so loudly trumpeted, and have hid it from the Cincinnati public. If they didn't know this, how can anyone trust their projected revenue numbers?

The streetcar people keep sliming every naysayer they come across, but I truly believe the naysayers are just trying to get them to deal in reality, not a field of dreams where if you build it they will come. Yes, I've moved to Covington, but somewhere down the line my tax dollars will also be spent on this fiasco and the more I see this project develop from a fiscal standpoint I truly believe it's being developed in virtual reality.

Has anyone asked who owns all the empty buildings along the proposed streetcar route in Over-the-Rhine and stands to benefit? I drive this route multiple times a week on my way to Findlay Market, and I know the answer. Maybe a newspaper, say CityBeat, might want to investigate and report on this situation.

— Patrick Garland, Covington

Car-Free Downtown
Nice column by Joe Wessels on transportation options besides automobiles ("Good Luck Going Car-Free," issue of April 23). I too own a motorcycle and a scooter.

Downtown, as Wessels points out, does nothing to help promote their use. We need a plan to promote this!

— Carl Bartels, West Chester

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