Thank God for Gray

Thank you for Stephanie Dunlap's column "Main Street Coming and Going" (issue of March 21). It's the most honest assessment I've read of why someone chooses, in spite of its problems, to live in Ove

Thank you for Stephanie Dunlap's column "Main Street Coming and Going" (issue of March 21). It's the most honest assessment I've read of why someone chooses, in spite of its problems, to live in Over-the-Rhine.

I live in Walnut Hills but frequently find myself in OTR for the same reasons that Dunlap so beautifully describes. She frankly addresses the conflicting attitudes regarding this area of town in a way that refuses to give too much credit to either the hysterically fearful suburbanite or the evangelicalIy insistent urban revitalizer.

As my favorite college professor always said, "It's not either/or, it's both. It's not black or white, it's gray." I would like to join Dunlap in saying, "Thank God for gray."

— Bree Lehman, Walnut Hills

Choosing Wisely
Congratulations to Stephanie Dunlap for taking the plunge and moving to Over-the-Rhine ("Main Street Coming and Going," issue of March 21). When my roommate and I decided to move to a renovated apartment in Findlay Market from the suburbs two months ago, most people were certain we'd be mugged and/or shot at on every street corner. I didn't expect it to be completely safe either, and of course it's not completely safe, but it's a far cry from the suburban legend.

Neither my roommate nor I have been so much as threatened. Meanwhile, I'm able to do my shopping a few feet from my house and walk to work every day.

But if following common-sense rules of city living is the key to successful living in the city, it is clear that Dunlap's conflicted feelings about staying in OTR arise from her having failed to do so. "How does a zippy little car fit into a low-key, sensible, Over-the-Rhine existence," she asks in the column. The answer is that it plainly does not, unless you have the means to pay for an expensive parking arrangement or are willing to accept a broken window every once in a while as the price of living in the heart of a big city for much less money than you could in most other big cities in America.

Dunlap's decision ultimately will have to be whether she places more value on living in OTR or in having a nice car. If she chooses the latter, she can take up her parents' offer and move to the suburbs and in all likelihood face a greater threat to her safety from a traffic mishap during her daily commute to work than she ever would have faced from violence living in OTR.

Indeed, it's ironic, but the millions of Americans who have traded city life for perceived suburban safety and a lengthy daily commute have actually placed themselves in a much more dangerous position vis a vis their city brethren. According to the National Safety Council, your lifetime odds of dying in a motor-vehicle accident is 1 in 84, while your lifetime odds of being killed by a firearm assault is 1 in 314. Your chance of death from accidental falling, by the way, is 1 in 218.

— James Hassan, Over-the-Rhine

I'm No Dupe
I will first suggest that while I have no first-hand knowledge of the intimate conversations that transpired between Bengals attorney Stuart Dornette and then-Hamilton County Commissioner Bob Bedinghaus regarding the stadium tax and the Bengals' new fun house ("The Bengals Respond," Letters, issue of March 28), the subsequent employment of the head of the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners by the Brown family speaks largely for itself.

The Bengals were somewhat at "risk to the market forces" by considering the Baltimore stadium deal, to be sure. But, if you have an insider's knowledge of your adversary's position and a willing ear in otherwise closed door negotiations like the Bengals had through Bedinghaus, it brings to mind the phrase "no problems, mon."

Again, the only reason that I can surmise that the cozy relationship between the Bengals through Dornette and their County Commission contact existed was because I too was approached by Dornette to become "part of the future of Hamilton County" when he suggested to me at a luncheon at Arnold's downtown that they were looking for a second vote on the County Commission for the stadium sales tax proposal, which at that time was still lacking.

Having previously been approached by then-Commissioner Bedinghaus with the proposal to "revitalize the riverfront" through the use of a countywide sales tax, my answer to both him and Dornette was identical: No, thank you. Private businesses benefiting from a public subsidy? In Cincinnati?

The obvious quid pro quo was that Dornette and his minions could arrange for a compliant commissioner candidate to receive the requisite support to be elected. Tom Neyer Jr. was the dupe they needed. I chose otherwise.

There might not have been fraud involved, as Dornett argues in the Letter to the Editor. Just politics and money.

— Steve Grote Former Green Township Trustee and Clerk

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