I read Larry Gross' recent column ("The Out-of-Towner," issue of Jan. 24) with amusement, but I suppose it's really not funny — more sad than anything that someone from out of town needs to point out that Cincinnati's downtown mall needs some promotion. A simple thing like putting a sign on it letting people know it's there is a good first step.
I'm in Tower Place Mall a lot and see the decline. I could have gone to the general office and ask why they don't promote themselves, but maybe I'm like most people here — I just don't take the time.
That needs to change. I consider his column a wake-up call.
— Nancy Trotter, Fort Mitchell
Cincinnati: Love It or Leave It
Larry Gross constantly amazes me, and his rants about this city are getting extremely old ("The Out-of-Towner," issue of Jan. 24). He even finds a way to make fun of this city by employing an "out-of-towner" to put us down. I doubt that his friend "Lucille" even exists.
I for one am proud of the Queen City.
Gross should move with his so-called friend to Seattle.
— Terry Blair, Downtown
Can't Figure Us Out
Yes, I think it does take an out-of-towner to point out things that are wrong here in Cincinnati ("The Out-of-Towner," issue of Jan. 24). I've lived here for two years now and can't figure you people out.
Of course put a sign on a downtown mall letting people know it's there. I lived here for six months before I knew Tower Place was a shopping mall. And you wonder why stores are leaving it?
I always pick up my CityBeat in Mount Adams, where I live. It's my haven to get away from the sleepwalkers downtown.
Come on people, wake up!
— Mary Ecker, Mount Adams
Spend Transit Money Better
My husband and I belong to the Transportation Regional Action Network (TRAN), and John Fox's recent editorial about public transit plans in Cincinnati ("Moving the Transit Conversation," issue of Jan. 24) was mentioned at our meeting last week. We're both proponents of greatly enhanced public transportation, but in the meantime we're working on improved transportation options for people who use Access, the paratransit system for people with disabilities.
I have critical concerns about the severe lack of transportation options for people with disabilities in Cincinnati and Hamilton County. The city is spending taxpayer money in an inefficient way — for instance, spending approximately $25 per trip to transport riders in an unreliable and highly restrictive manner through Access when a taxi voucher system would be much more reliable, efficient, flexible and cost-effective. Disabled people could schedule rides where and when they chose and obtain reliable service, while the cost to the city would be around one third of the cost of Access.
We presented a lot of facts and figures through letters and e-mails to three Cincinnati Councilmembers last September and October: Lesley Ghiz, James Tarbell and Jeff Berding. Ghiz and Tarbell ignored our information and our requests for a meeting about our concerns. Only Berding met with us and took some interest in working on this concern that affects our daily lives.
For example, my husband and I spend $40 in taxi fare every time we participate in a walk club at a park. If we had a taxi voucher system as many other cities do — including Columbus, Ohio, and Raleigh, N.C. — we would spend around $26 per round trip. The government entity backing the system would pay around $14 per round trip. Right now, local taxpayers are spending around $50 for such comparable trips on Access.
— Joyce Rogers, Cincinnati
More on Hotel Boycott
Thank you to CityBeat for reporting on the boycott of local hotels owned by Eagle Hospitality (Porkopolis, issue of Jan. 24). There's a slight correction to be made, however: Service Employees International Union District 1199 didn't organize the boycott — it's one of the unions (in addition to the Ohio Federation of Teachers and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers) supporting an organizing effort by the Hotel Employees Union (UNITE HERE).
Our boycott covers eight Eagle Hospitality hotels, including the Cincinnati Marriott Rivercenter, Embassy Suites Cincinnati-Rivercenter and Hilton Cincinnati Airport in addition to the Glendale Hilton in California, where our organizing effort first began. Together these unions have cancelled more than $300,000 worth of future events that were scheduled at Eagle Hospitality properties.
— Sam Pullen Hotel Employees Union/UNITE HERE
Credit for Brave Battle
I give all the credit to C.A. MacConnell ("Free from My Psychotic Fall," issue of Jan. 17) in that she's moving in the recovery mode and has come so far. What an extremely bumpy journey for such a young woman!
All of us who have loved ones with a brain disorder or mental illness — I hate that term; way too much stigma attached — appreciate that MacConnell used her superb writing skills to educate our community and thus assist in the eradication of stigma.
She's spoken numerous times for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Hamilton County, and her speaking is eloquent, descriptive, detailed. She paints the reality of bipolar disorder not only with her written words but also with her verbal communication.
MacConnell is a brilliant writer, speaker and brave warrior in this battle against bipolar disorder.
— Pat Brown Education/Support Coordinator
NAMI Hamilton County
Don't Pick & Choose on Free Speech
I enjoyed the article "War on News" (issue of Jan. 17) about the National Conference for Media Reform in Memphis. I especially was touched when it was brought up that media personality Howard Stern has "indecency" fines levied against him when many Hip Hop stations play music containing lyrics worse than what personalities like Stern use.
There is hypocrisy with regard to free speech in this country when the bar is lowered for one group due to skin color. While I'm a total free speech advocate and believe the FCC has no right to levy fines on anyone, I also feel that preferential treatment shouldn't be given to one group over another.
Another aspect of the article I found interesting was the idea of the Fairness Doctrine, which was struck down by several courts because it remains constitutionally hazy.
A more appropriate way to go about freeing up air space would be to utilize antitrust regulations to prevent Clear Channel and other companies from monopolizing radio stations, thus creating more venues for free speech.
— Stephen Block, Clifton