I felt sad after reading last week's Living Out Loud column "Lost in Over-the-Rhine" (issue of Sept. 27). You see, I lived there for almost four years because I love the diversity there and consider it the heart and soul of downtown, but after being robbed twice at gunpoint I just gave up. I started to fear for my life.
I could relate to Larry Gross being lost that afternoon, finding that nice man who showed him the way to the bus stop. Good people are there, and I had good friends and this column made me think of them again and miss them. But I'm a woman and need to be safe. With regret, I now live in Hyde Park.
I wish I had answers, but I have none.
— Nora Anderson, Hyde Park
Ain't Nothing Wrong With a Mix
I picked up the new CityBeat on the way to work last night and read Larry Gross' column "Lost in Over-the-Rhine" (issue of Sept. 27) during a slow time while bartending. After the read, all I could say was, "Wow."
He got it dead on.
I bartend here in Over-the-Rhine and live here, too. The people Gross ran into — the young hood, the hooker and kind old man — are pretty typical of what you see here. It's a mix and, in my opinion, there ain't nothing wrong with that.
Only thing is I wish you could find a cop when you need them. I mean, I don't need help often, but sometimes at the bar and even in my apartment building a little order and a little help needs to happen.
I want to tell your readers that sometimes it takes the police hours to show up, if at all. I think the rest of the normal communities need to know that Over-the-Rhine is last on the list to get to.
Thank you for the words. It's like Gross put us right there.
— Andy Ferguson, Over-the-Rhine
Take His Bullhorn Away
My interest in Over-the-Rhine drew my attention to two articles in your Sept. 27 issue. Margo Pierce's piece, "The Art of OTR Possibility," though focusing primarily on City Manager Milton Dohoney and the recent Over-the-Rhine Summit, offered a hopeful reminder of unprecendented collaboration and forward momentum that appears to be taking place right now.
A few pages closer to the front, the title of Larry Gross' scrawlings, "Lost in Over-the-Rhine," also couldn't have been closer to the mark. I wouldn't be as shocked to open up The Enquirer to find someone espousing fear of and pity for the people of Over-the-Rhine. But CityBeat? C'mon, really?
Gross' bland remembrance of his trip down the hill didn't require a tidy ending or a redemptive platitude for me as a reader, but I was forced to reread the piece to see if I had missing something. I hadn't.
The I-should-count-my-blessings-that-I-live-in-Clifton-and-not-in-Over-the-Rhine conclusion gets my vote for the Most Banal Statement (Not by a Bush Administration Official category) I've ever seen you print.
I'm not unfamiliar with the complexities of Over-the-Rhine, the real struggles of people who live in the neighborhood and the real (and perceived) concerns of many outsiders.
In previous musings, Gross has sung the praises of Clifton as a neighborhood with a "lot of diversity and where most want to take the time to get to know their neighbors" ("Clifton's Gaslight District," issue of Sept. 6).
Cincinnati has a glut of middle-aged white guys who are scared of young people, dismissive of entire neighborhoods and pessimistic about the future of our city. I'm not convinced I can change their minds this late in the game, but you won't find my handing them a bullhorn. C'mon, really.
— Jeff Hutchinson-Smyth, Walnut Hills
Top Reasons for a Jail (Not)
Here are my top 10 reasons for building a new Hamilton County jail:
1. To provide the Bengals with player suites
2. Because we don't need another stadium
3. To make sure at least one player suite is available for the UC Bearcats
4. Because Commissioner Phil Heimlich wants to show Bob Bedinghaus how to do it and get away with it
5. To make sure Cincinnati doesn't lose its image as backward
6. To help politicians who thrive on fear and racial prejudice get elected instead of actually solving difficult problems
7. To continue enabling a broken criminal justice system by permitting even longer pre-trial detentions
8. To help lock-up even more drunks, drug offenders and mentally diseased people so we don't have to treat them or worry about their problem (until the next time)
9. To provide nicer accommodations for overnight visits of influential DUIs
10. To perpetuate a culture of career-building by cops, lawyers, prosecutors and judges on the backs of economically ravaged social groups
— Bob Park North Avondale