I Remain Committed

It's human nature for some to think bad thoughts of those who disagree with them, whether true or not. Often, this urge reaches out for thin branches to maintain and justify angry disagreement. Such

Dec 13, 2006 at 2:06 pm

It's human nature for some to think bad thoughts of those who disagree with them, whether true or not. Often, this urge reaches out for thin branches to maintain and justify angry disagreement. Such seems to be the case with Kevin Osborne's recent hit piece on me ("SORTA Troubling," issue of Dec. 5).

Over the past three years, it has been my privilege to serve my community through constructive improvement of our transportation system by serving on the Boards of the Southwestern Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA, which operates Metro) and OKI regional government. This awesome responsibility required much personal dedication and commitment to attend literally hundreds of meetings and study groups.

My promise to Todd Portune and the other commissioners when they unanimously appointed me was to remain open to all opinions in our community. To that end, I have routinely met with groups and politicians that have held very diverse opinions. I have also devoted many hours corresponding with transit experts and those who hold opinions different from our community to gain insight into all perspectives.

While some important issues were discussed with Osborne, little was conveyed to the community and even less in an accurate way. While some of our actions at Metro are not popular, there's been little controversy to justify such anger.

The residents of Hamilton County can count on me to do the right thing when it comes to serving them and Metro. I remain committed to providing the best transit we can for the dollars provided to Metro. This extends especially to those for whom transit isn't an option but a necessity.

I will eagerly listen to all constructive ideas pertaining to transit and travel in our community. Thank you again for the privilege of serving you through my service at SORTA.

— Stephan Louis Vice Chairman, SORTA

I'll Open My Heart
Oh, bleeding hearts, please be role models for those in Cincinnati who validate having worthless, unloving hearts ("Bleeding Hearts Are Worthless," Letters, issue of Nov. 29). How could anyone — other than the letter-writer, Betty Shaffer — doubt that Larry Gross' column about Mr. Coy and his envelope ("810 Main Street," issue of Nov. 22) wasn't a perfect example of how we all should be?

Please, Ms. Shaffer, open your eyes and worthless heart. How could you mutter such words of "others" interfering with your business? Shame on you!

I'm an RN, and upon starting my first home care nursing assignment many years ago on 13th and Republic streets in Over-the-Rhine I got lost trying to find an elderly lady's second floor apartment, which was down a dark alley. I was screamed at and my car was surrounded as I walked the street looking for the right place. I eventually found the correct address and my sweet 83-year-old patient as tears poured down my face.

I tried to hide my fear from the yelling outside. After all, the woman couldn't hear it anyway. All my fears were soon calmed with her loving ways as I helped her with medical issues.

Regardless of her home situation, her lack of reading skills, her lack of funds, I reached out. I really had a sense that she liked my visiting her, and she was so appreciative.

This experience helped me understand why we must look beyond the ignorance, the lack of respect and the cruel and worthless hearts of others. When I left her apartment that day, she watched me from her broken window on 13th Street. I rushed to my car and convinced myself that I could do this. And no one ever bothered me again.

I continued to visit this lady and other patients in Over-the-Rhine for many years — as many health care professionals do every day in Cincinnati. As I recently drove with my kids near 13th Street to drop off donations to City Gospel Mission, I wondered whatever happened to that woman. As we were leaving, the man at City Gospel said, "You all be careful leaving here, OK?" I just smiled and said, "Thank you, I'm sure we'll be fine," while I looked down at my sons' angelic eyes.

I personally cannot be irritated with someone asking for my help. I can choose to be irritated with business owners not willing to open their hearts.

— Amy Fortin, Batavia

I Defend Liberty
Some persons have said they plan to leave Ohio because voters approved a statewide ban on smoking and gambling last month. Their attitude illustrates that, if Ohio is serious about economic development, the state should be more tolerant of individual differences and tastes.

This year Ohio withdrew a welcome mat from people who enjoy smoking in bars, playing slot machines or betting on table games such as blackjack or roulette. Two years ago, the same was done to people who want to marry or enter a civil union with someone of the same sex. And now efforts are being made at the state level to stop people from working in or patronizing adult entertainment.

As a result, all those persons — and many others who value liberty — are less likely to settle, work, attend school or open a business in this state. Ohioans seem to have forgotten that liberty and the willingness to tolerate differences helped make America an economic power by attracting talented and productive workers from all over the world.

Moreover, a live-and-let-live attitude has contributed to Nevada being the fastest growing state in the nation for about the last 20 years. It's also a reason why Las Vegas continues to be one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas.

Ohioans have a responsibility to help make this state economically attractive by supporting individual liberty and tolerance of others. That includes not jumping on the bandwagon of every self-righteous group wanting to impose its morality and preferences on the entire state.

As Judge Learned Hand said, "Liberty lies in the hearts of men and women; if it dies there, no constitution, no law, no court can save it." And where liberty dies, economic strength is unlikely to live.

— Joseph C. Sommer, Columbus

The photo caption in last week's review of Robert Derr's video installation Remote Control ("Control Freak") should have identified the image as "air-hunger" by Mary Magsmen and Stephan Hillerbrand.