Letters: Guided by Voices

Excerpts from CityBeat letters and editorials in 2003

As a new transplant in Cincinnati, I'm becoming enamored with the city. It wasn't love at first sight, but steadfastly the city, with all its historical quaintness, its multifarious identities, its growing espousal of arts and even its prosaic politeness, has won my appreciation. I choose to dream a little, knowing that the combination of my waking rational abilities and the infinite possibilities of my dreams determine my destiny. Here's a fierce question to those who complain much but do little to sublimate their existence in Cincinnati: What is preventing you from choosing? What is more universal, fear or laziness?

— Letter from Peipei Zhou regarding CityBeat coverage of Cincinnati's halting efforts to attract and retain "creative class" young adults (Jan. 1)

Many thanks for your thoughts on the stadiums. Unfortunately, I don't see much talent on our local teams or much effort to improve. If no other teams were doing well, I'd say, "Well, work on your game plans and try harder." But it's very obvious that there's one particular team that's never faired very well — the Bengals. So all the king's horses and all the king's men will never build a team that's worthy of the new stadium taxpayers gave the Bengals.

As a new transplant in Cincinnati, I'm becoming enamored with the city. It wasn't love at first sight, but steadfastly the city, with all its historical quaintness, its multifarious identities, its growing espousal of arts and even its prosaic politeness, has won my appreciation. ... I choose to dream a little, knowing that the combination of my waking rational abilities and the infinite possibilities of my dreams determine my destiny. Here's a fierce question to those who complain much but do little to sublimate their existence in Cincinnati: What is preventing you from choosing? What is more universal, fear or laziness?

— Letter from Peipei Zhou regarding CityBeat coverage of Cincinnati's halting efforts to attract and retain "creative class" young adults (Jan. 1)

Many thanks for your thoughts on the stadiums. Unfortunately, I don't see much talent on our local teams or much effort to improve. If no other teams were doing well, I'd say, "Well, work on your game plans and try harder." But it's very obvious that there's one particular team that's never faired very well — the Bengals. So all the king's horses and all the king's men will never build a team that's worthy of the new stadium taxpayers gave the Bengals. But if that's what you wanted, Cincinnati, you got it.

— Letter from Cindy Broenner regarding CityBeat coverage of the Cinergy Field implosion (Jan. 8)

Since the true measures of Cincinnati's Office of Environmental Management's success were problems averted, liability avoided and environmental quality and worker safety protected, it's been easy to lose sight of OEM's value — until it's gone. Eventually, it will become evident that Cincinnati is a lesser place with the demise of OEM.

— Letter from Dennis Murphey regarding CityBeat coverage of the elimination of his city department (Jan. 15)

I'm a recent transplant to Cincinnati. As a young professional moving here from San Francisco, I was excited to read your recent article on the Mad River. On its surface, Cincinnati has the earmarkings of a typical Midwestern town, but the more I get to know the area I find it has a very unique flavor and an exceptional setting. The hills, countryside, forests and waterways are often breathtaking to observe.

— Letter from Devin Schenk regarding a CityBeat cover story on the Mad River north of Greater Cincinnati

First, wholly apart from the importance of its content, Rick Pender's article on the Paradise controversy is a model of well-written, comprehensive journalism. How satisfying it is to be presented with a newspaper article that takes more than 90 seconds to read and actually needs to be reread to be fully compehended.

— Letter from Scott Crooks regarding CityBeat coverage of the Playhouse in the Park's decision to cancel the controversial play Paradise (Feb. 5)

How are your children going to grow up if they're prevented from freedom of expression? How are your children going to grow up if you remain blinded to what they really say, what they really do and how they really are? Times have changed, language has changed and today's students are not their parents' generation. How are your kids going to become the next generation of responsible adults if you don't let them become adults at all?

— Letter from anonymous Turpin High School students regarding CityBeat coverage of the school's confiscation of their underground newspaper, Snafu (March 5)

Questioning this war doesn't make you unpatriotic. Nor does wrapping yourself in the American flag make you right to support this war. While I strongly believe this is the greatest country on the planet, we're not always right. Boeing, Lockheed and others export plenty of weapons of mass destruction and no one seems to mind.

— Letter from Nick Boris regarding CityBeat coverage of the Bush Administration's intention to invade Iraq (March 5)

To the police officers who asked protesters arrested for civil disobedience, "Was it worth it?" — protesters are trying to stop the injuring and killing of innocent people; isn't that what you do? Civil disobedience takes a lot of courage, especially considering you don't get paid, you'll almost surely be criticized and you might be fined, arrested, jailed or even physically assaulted for it. The only real reward is knowing your action may help save lives. Is that worth it? Damn straight it is.

— Letter from Jim Byrnes regarding CityBeat coverage of local anti-war protests (April 2)

In my opinion, CityBeat is nothing more than a glorified "Door Store" handout, and a bad one at that! However, I did enjoy reading Gregory Flannery's column as opposed to that dry, overdone, feel-sorry-for-me, Underground-Railroad-wannabe you usually feature on that page. If I were a minority, I'm certain this would get printed, but since I'm not I won't rush over to University Hospital to get my copy.

— Letter from Jimmy Combs regarding a CityBeat column about anti-war protests (April 9)

The Jerome Campbell case is a travesty beyond all reason. This case should have had "reasonable doubt" written all over it. How many innocent people have to die for the guilty to live? The real murderer has been walking around free as a bird for all of these years, free to do it or having done it to someone else.

— Letter from Danielle Davis regarding CityBeat coverage of Death Row inmate Jerome Campbell (April 16)

But you know the saying about the road to Hell being paved with good intentions. Two years later, Cincinnati remains on its slow slide into Hell, stalled temporarily perhaps in Purgatory. Purgatory is the pro-boycott and anti-boycott sides hardening their positions, refusing to acknowledge movement from the other side. It's the boycott groups squandering post-riot unity through internal bickering. It's the city refusing to address the police department's treatment of African-American citizens. Mainly, Purgatory is a disengaged and resigned general population that's given up hope for fundamental change and is willing to settle for things not getting any worse.

— Editorial on the two-year anniversary of Timothy Thomas' death and the subsequent riots (April 23)

The Presbyterian court who tried the Rev. Stephen Von Kuiken for ordaining gay and lesbian people and presiding over their holy unions are likely taking seriously the prohibition against homosexuals in Leviticus 18 and 20. This holiness code was designed to keep the ancient Israelites separate from their pagan neighbors in Canaan. In addition to homosexuality, death by stoning was prescribed for adultery, cursing one's parents, working on the Sabbath and non-virgin brides. This code also prohibited eating shellfish, pork and rare meat; growing hybrid crops; wearing fabric of two fibers; men cutting their sideburns or beards; and women wearing pants. The Bible also approved of many things we condemn today, including polygamy, slavery, treating women as property, sex with slaves and levirate marriage (forcing a childless widow to marry her brother-in-law). Would anyone in 2003 seriously advocate we return to such inhumane practices?

— Letter from Kathy Helmbock regarding CityBeat coverage of the ouster of Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church's pastor (April 23)

I'm writing to tell you that it's been a nice surprise to see your articles on football, and I sincerely thank you for conveying some genuine excitement about the game. It's funny for me to go from being a consistent part of something that is so significant to the rest of the world, and then come home and not even have my family really understand what I'm talking about.

— Letter from Brendon Hanley regarding a CityBeat sports column about European soccer (May 21)

On the weekend of May 30-June 1 alone, if you weren't at SSNOVA, at Final Friday, at the CAC's "see and be seen" opening party and at Summerfair, you might as well quit your bitching or just move. Not to mention the dinners, drinks and movies shared with friends in between those events — you know, the ones that never happen here because "nothing ever happens in Cincinnati" (said, of course, with a whine).

— Letter from Brent Hodge regarding CityBeat coverage of the opening of the new Contemporary Arts Center (June 11)

The city needs to boost its population density by attracting a whole new class of risk takers — people who aren't afraid of panhandlers, who love cities so much they're willing to live among drug dealers and real criminals because they know things will get better if enough people commit to making the city better. So what do these fearless people want? A real freaking city. A place with great public spaces where lots of people want to spend time. A city where walking down the street is a fulfilling experience in itself (see Piatt Park), not just something you have to do to get from the parking garage to the restaurant. A place where entrepreneurs not only have space to take risks but to get support for their ideas.

To hook these risk-takers, we also need to get our buildings, streets, parks and mass transit working together as a team. We have to put the pedestrian first. Without pedestrians, the city will never feel safe and we'll never be able to get a higher population density by relying on cars alone to move people.

— Editorial by Doug Trapp as he left CityBeat employment to join the Peace Corps (June 18)

I was appalled to read about the arrest of Semantics Gallery's director David Dillon over what seems to be a ridiculous over-reaction to a completely spurious tip about a so-called "rave" allegedly scheduled to happen at his gallery. ... If only the police paid half as much attention to the open-air drug markets operating freely along East Clifton Avenue and lower Clifton/Vine Street — where, when my beau and I must stop for legally posted "Stop" signs, we're approached by multiple drug dealers like roaches, yelling and trying to get us to buy their wares when, in fact, all we are trying to do is get home!

— Letter from Sandye Utley regarding CityBeat coverage of the police bust of an art gallery for selling beer at an opening night party (July 9)

We need a new definition of a civil GLBT society in Cincinnati that answers the unanswerable question of racism in our total family. When we agree with the message but disagree with the messenger, we must use that experience as an opportunity to build character and give voice to moderation. Whenever a persistent void in leadership lingers in our community, dismiss the "further division" argument and fill that void with the responsible leadership our family needs. We don't need permission to be Americans.

— Letter from Bill Bridges regarding CityBeat coverage of the removal of three Stonewall Cincinnati board members (July 16)

According to Richard Florida, one of a city's most attractive components for the creative class is its authenticity. Young creative people love authentic places with real architecture, geography and culture — attributes that Cincinnati actually has, which is a good start. It's also bad news for politicians who like to attend creative class parties but then won't back a creative class vision for turning Cincinnati around. The creative class can smell a phony a mile away, and right now it stinks at City Hall.

— Editorial regarding the city's decision to give Convergys $52 million to consolidate its downtown workers into one building (Aug. 6)

Since your column appeared, more has gone on. There is myself and three other guys under the bridge — Glenn, Mikey and Willie. We recently have been attacked by guys throwing rocks. There are usually four to six guys who have made serious threats, telling us we were finished and done. These vigilanties seem to mean business. Who are we hurting by being there? We're good guys. We bother no one. I'm a man of God, and I continue to pray for all these different groups of people who have nothing better to do than pick on the homeless.

— Letter from Malachi regarding CityBeat coverage of the city's efforts to evict him and others living under a downtown highway bridge (Aug. 13)

Does CCV somehow win this battle by "forcing" us to move Savage Love to the Web? In Phil Burress' twisted mind, probably. But I'm dedicated more than ever to CityBeat winning the war — and a key part of the winning strategy is to get more papers into more hands throughout Greater Cincinnati.

— Editorial regarding CityBeat Editor John Fox's decision to stop running Savage Love in the paper (Aug. 20)

The denizens of Washington Park have turned it into their own personal hell and in doing so made it a place only drug addicts, alcoholics and crack heads feel welcomed. It's a monstrous hellhole that should be cut off just as we'd cut off the rotted part of an apple. It's that awful.

— Letter from Ric Landers regarding a CityBeat cover story on the people who frequent Washington Park in Over-the-Rhine (Sept. 3)

It really depresses me to learn that you're steering the CityBeat ship into the shallow waters of the mainstream. What do your radio ads say? "Not everyone gets it." So you've had a change of heart. Now you want everyone to get it. You can't have it both ways. If you sit on the fence too long, eventually your balls will fall asleep.

— Letter from Jake Malis regarding the removal of Savage Love (Sept. 10)

So we made a strategic decision to move a few steps down that slippery slope, and now we turn to face the fight. We're digging in. We need your help. We're taking a huge risk here. I've announced publicly that we're taking on CCV at their own game. They've been at this type of thing for 20 years — we've never done it before. We're risking that, like most open-minded people, your desire for "live and let live" will distract you from writing a letter. And we're risking that dozens or hundreds of pro-CityBeat letters could be trumped by one anti-obscenity letter.

— Editorial asking CityBeat readers to help get paper distribution reinstated at Bigg's and Meijer stores (Sept. 24); note: we're back in Bigg's but not Meijer

It's difficult to understand why many of the politicians who promote adventurous development ideas that work in other cities — new stadiums, Beale Street entertainment districts — dismiss the successful launch of light rail systems in cities like Seattle, Houston, Dallas, St. Louis, Minneapolis and Portland, Ore. Basically, they do it because they can get away with it. But not anymore.

— Editorial regarding the official recommendation to fund a slightly wider I-75 along with expanded bus service and light rail (Oct. 8)

The very last thing this city needs is more divisiveness. Had John Elkington aimed his ignorance at the gay/lesbian community or African American community, the outrage would have outed him already. Instead he chose to make his discriminatory comments about a group of people who are too busy working 15 hours a day to notice. ... It is the responsibility of every enlightened person in this city to demand that Elkington not be considered for a Main Street consulting position.

— Letter from Barbara Chin regarding CityBeat coverage of developer John Elkington's anti-Chinese comments (Oct. 15)

Two years later, it's hard to say Cincinnati has made a leap forward under this continuity of leadership. A lot of fingers are stuck in a lot of dikes in an attempt to keep the city from bursting, but the cracks keep growing — downtown vs. neighborhoods, police vs. African Americans, large corporations vs. small businesses, Over-the-Rhine developers vs. low-income residents, creative class young professionals vs. the old guard, everyone vs. the homeless.

— Editorial endorsing only three City Council incumbents plus four challengers (Oct. 22)

So I would just like to take this oppurtunity to thank everyone who's making things like CityBeat, who's playing in their band or just playing with themselves (but not the jerk offs!). Anyone putting paint on canvas or writing down words. Thank you for doing it even though you know it might never be heard/seen/read. Because you're all fucking Rock stars. You're shining diamonds.

— Letter from Andrew Young regarding Cincinnati's self-doubt (Oct. 29)

What I learned that night is that there is hope! Today's young people know something is wrong, and they're rising to the challenge. You know what? We need to help them!

— Letter from Susan Keith-Hergert regarding CityBeat coverage of Michael Moore's speech to a packed house at Xavier University (Nov. 12)

The church I grew up in taught me to take personal responsibility for my actions, not to pawn them off on others. It taught me to admit my sins, ask for forgiveness and serve my penance. This deal was about nothing more or less that protecting the church's money and power — a deal put together by lawyers and bureaucrats, not a servant of Jesus Christ, a shepherd of His flock.

— Editorial regarding the Archdiocese of Cincinnati's plea bargain with Hamilton County over alleged abuse by priests (Nov. 29)

Supporting "welfare" programs is draining to our paychecks and our economy. I thought you chose what you wanted to do with your money in a free market.

— Letter from Frank Presto regarding CityBeat cover stories on the homeless in Cincinnati (Dec. 3)

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