First off, let me say that I tend to really enjoy Larry Gross' slice-of-life columns, even if they do revolve around Madonna's. His column about the unwelcome Cubs fans does make a good point in regards to our provincial nature ("That Cincinnati Vibe," issue of Oct. 10), but I've found that this characteristic primarily exists with regard to sports.
We don't like other teams' fans in our stadiums, especially when it's one of those teams with such an extensive (albeit undeserved) fanbase like the Cubs. Beyond this, seeing Cubs fans carousing downtown, drinking and excited for their team on a Friday afternoon as we scurry around to lunch and then back to the office really does remind us that it's October and the Reds have been a non-factor since early June. We'd just as soon not be reminded of this.
For whatever reason, we seem to be protective of our home turf. I guess you could call it the dark side of hometown pride. But it's not just directed at out-of-towners. Diehard UC fans loathe the fact that Ohio State fans are allowed to exist within the I-275 loop, while Buckeye faithful denounce UC as a glorified high school team.
The incident at Wrigley Field sounds like a case of one jackass who'd drank too much.
I know for a fact that we don't all act like that when we're at out-of-town sporting events. I've been to several away games for the Reds and Bengals, and I'd like to think that we're good guests.
But what about the people who were here for the MidPoint Music Festival? Or Tall Stacks? Or the Phish shows back when they were still around? Reports from visitors for these events seem to have had no complaints, and they were surprised by everything the city had to offer, including the friendly people.
Gross' column seems to have uncovered a "vibe" that's legitimate, but it seems like it might say more about the relevance of sports in our city than it does about our general attitude toward "outsiders."
— Ben Shooner, Downtown
More Than Just Sports
I agree with Larry Gross about the "vibe" here in Cincinnati ("That Cincinnati Vibe," issue of Oct. 10). I've lived here on and off since the late '80s and have observed that vibe everywhere — not just at Reds games.
I'm not from Cincinnati, and I didn't go to high school here. I grew up in a small town in Southern Indiana not very far from here, but you would think I'm from Mars.
I'm a friendly person with a lot of varied interests, but I don't have as many friends as I think I should have. I really believe it's because I didn't grow up here or the fact that people have this tense "vibe" about them. People will talk to you, but if you're not one of their "group" it doesn't go much farther than a small conversation.
I spent some time in Chicago a while back, and I have to agree that the vibe there is much friendlier and people are much more approachable then they are here in Cincinnati. I'd been there for about two weeks when someone invited me to a Super Bowl party. At the party I was greeted with friendly welcomes and, being new to the city, was invited out and numbers were exchanged. After the party I was called by most of the people I met, who asked me to do things and to take me to places in Chicago I might enjoy or didn't know existed.
I was stunned. I immediatley thought, "This would never happen in Cincinnati. Oh, wait a minute, this has never happened in Cincinnati."
I spent five days in San Fransisco about four years ago. In those five days I met several people who I'm still in contact with. I've been in Cincinnati more than three years and find it frustrating to make one friend.
I don't know about Madonna's, but as far as other bars in the Cincinnati area there have been times I've gone out alone to just socialize and meet new people only to feel isolated and ignored by others. I'm not the only person who has felt this way.
At Arlin's in Clifton one night I sat alone at the bar for about an hour until finally a guy who obviously felt as isolated as I did said to me, "This is a tough cookie to crack, isn't it?" I couldn't agree with him more.
— Michael Wirickcin, Clifton
Care at Home
Regarding Margo Pierce's article "Supporting Elders" (issue of Oct. 3), clearly supporting home care for elders is an option almost all older adults want. It's sad that Ohio is 49th in the country, next to Mississippi, in the percentage of funds allocated to home care vs. nursing home care. The national average for state spending for home care in 2006 was 36 percent of long term care dollars, but in Ohio it's just 21 percent, with the balance paying for nursing home care — whether or not it's needed.
When someone goes into a nursing home, it takes just four months on average to run out of money and have to rely on Medicaid. We, the taxpayers, then pay most of the $56,000 per year in nursing home costs.
It's far less costly and more preferable to have access to home care at $11,800 per year. Elderly Services Levy dollars pay for home care for those not on Medicaid.
It's also important for voters to know that any disabled person over 65 can access Elder Care Services on a sliding fee scale. If the Elderly Services Levy passes, about 10,000 people per year will continue to benefit from needed home care. Without it, many of those same people will have to go to nursing homes.
— Dot Christenson, Board of Trustees of Council on Aging, Cincinnati
Is It a Crime?
(Re: "Mallory Staying out of Jail Fight" post on the Porkopolis blog about the Hamilton County sales tax increase.) Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune has this wrong. It would be an admission of defeat to begin a campaign to reduce crime by first asking for a bigger jail.
The Mayor intends to reduce crime, to prevent crimes from happening. Since jails are for people who've already committed crimes, his crime reduction campaign should not comingle itself with the jail tax campaign.
A crime reduction program that depends on more jail cells is, almost by definition, a failure. Mayor Mallory is smart to stay off Todd Portune and Simon Leis' jail tax bandwagon.
— Sam Robinson, posted on Oct. 11
Just in Time
(Re: Sam Robinson's post.) That just isn't true. The Mayor has said he will announce his position on this issue on Nov. 7! What more do you expect?
— LeRoi, posted on Oct. 11
The online article "Cranley Proposes Ambitious Health Care Plan" (posted Oct. 10) incorrectly gave Judith Warren's job title. She is the senior program officer for Community Primary Care at the Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati.