Walnut Hills a Solution
As a Walnut Hills High School alumnus and parent, I see no reason why the Cincinnati Board of Education should again investigate Marvin Koenig, the principal of Walnut Hills ("Matter of Principal," issue of June 23-29). The complaints against him are trivial.
Koenig enjoys the strong support of parents and alumni, as shown by the recently completed capital campaign, the largest in history for an American public school. Nearly 100 percent of Walnut Hills students pass the state proficiency tests, and many then attend the finest colleges in the country.
As a parent, I have seen Koenig's devotion to the school. Every time I went to a Walnut Hills football game or a concert or a play or a musical, he was there, supporting the students, talking with the parents. With his record of accomplishment, Koenig deserves the uncritical support of the community and the school board.
Your article suggests that there might be a racial angle to some of the criticism of Koenig. I hope this isn't the case. It's true that he is white and the student body is 60 percent white, and this is the highest percentage in the Cincinnati school district. But this is because Walnut Hills is a shining example of an integrated public school. It has the same percentage of white and African-American children now as when I started seventh grade in 1962.
We should celebrate this. Remember when we all thought integration would be the solution to our racial problems? Walnut Hills High School has been part of that solution for decades.
Nonprofits Can't Hide
Tony Cook's article about Walnut Hills High School ("Matter of Principal," issue of June 23-29) raised an irnportant point regarding public records of charitable organizations, also known as 501(c)(3) public charities. These include social service agencies, arts organizations, nonprofit hospitals, health organizations, private schools and most other nonprofits that solicit donations — in this case, the Walnut Hills Alumni Foundation. Public charities receive significant privileges, such as exemption from many taxes and the ability to accept tax-deductible donations. With these privileges, however, come certain responsibilities.
A 501(c)(3) public charity is required by law to make its three most recent tax returns available on request to any member of the public. With few exceptions, public charities are required to file a federal tax return called a Form 990, which includes income from contributions and special events, expenses for program and fundraising activities, the total compensation paid to the CEO and a list ot the board of directors. Because 501(c)(3) charities are ultimately accountable to the public, Form 990s are public documents.
These documents must be available for public inspection during regular business hours at the charity's principal offices or mailed within 30 days of receiving a written request. A charity can charge a nominal fee for copying costs, but if it doesn't provide these documents within a reasonable amount of time the charity can be fined up to $10,000 by the IRS.
Donors can also learn more about local charities and nonprofit organizations by contacting the Cincinnati Better Business Bureau. Charity reports are available 24 hours a day online at www.cinbbb.org or by calling 513-421-3015.
Council Can't Take Him Back
I'd like to voice my viewpoint on the matters surrounding developer John Elkington ("Elkington Redux," issue of June 23-29). I oppose his and his associates' involvement in the development of downtown — the city of Cincinnati should not provide any form of assistance (finances, aid, funds, etc.) to his activities.
Elkington's so-called "series of apologies" has never been accepted by the Chinese American Community in Cincinnati, and he didn't follow the community's recommendations. Councilman John Cranley is in no position to accept nor not accept Elkington's apology.
A second chance for Elkington's involvement? No, it's impossible, since he passed the window of opportunity last year to comply with the community's recommendations. He had that chance, but he didn't use it.
I want you to know that Chinese-Americans in Cincinnati have a big heart to forgive others. We have waited and extended the time already. From this instance, you can see this kind of "joke" about not renting to Chinese restaurants is a serious one and that there's a history behind it.
There is no law-breaking if Elkington comes to town as a private investor. But if he and his associates come as a consultant through the city of Cincinnati's invitation, it is the city that violates and/or conflicts with the spirit of city council's decision in October 2003 to break off development relations with Elkington.
Having lived in Mont-gomery for more than 35 years, it's disappointing that some people still fear supporting our constitutional rights of free speech and to vote.
I placed a sign supporting Kerry for President in my front yard. After being up for only two days, some apparently insecure pro-Bush thief stole it.
Please print this letter so that the thief's cowardly and fascist act instead heightens awareness of our responsibility to vote and to support freedom of speech. In our America, we fight to protect these key rights.
Please vote and support democracy for all in November.