Voice Overs: Excerpts from letters and editorials in 2004

Donna Covrett's analogy of ordering a up a mate like fast food on a menu is priceless, because it exemplifies today's "I gotta have it yesterday," "make it easier for me" attitude that many of us se

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Donna Covrett's analogy of ordering a up a mate like fast food on a menu is priceless, because it exemplifies today's "I gotta have it yesterday," "make it easier for me" attitude that many of us seem to have toward dating. I contend that, if women would spend less time complaining about the lack of quality men and vice-versa, I'll bet you collectively we would form many more meaningful (and some life-lasting) connections with all of the time saved.

— Letter from Michael Scarpa regarding CityBeat's cover story, "Necessity Is the Mother of Attraction" (issue of 1.14.04)

Cincinnati is a city that loves to hate. I will not continue to give my tax revenue to a bunch of hatemongers. I love Atlanta and will stay here because it accepts everyone. I might get a lot of backlash for writing this letter, but that's expected from closed-minded, non-progressing, stuck-in-the-20th-century mindset Cincinnati loves. So all I got to say is, since moving to Atlanta, my blood pressure went down and a heavy burden lifted off my shoulders. Goodbye, Cincinnati, and good riddance.

— Letter from Fredrick Malone of Atlanta (issue of 1.14.04)

Leslie Blade's story offers dates, times and circumstances of time sheets, internal interviews and court cases. It mentions 18 current or former Cincin-nati Police officers — including the current chief and his predecessor — by name.

And yet the only subpoena that council issues is to Blade, sending the message that perhaps CityBeat needs to be looked into instead of (and certainly ahead of) those who apparently bilked the city and the federal government. ... If council wants to investigate how police handle off-duty details, that's great. Go for it. I'm sure we'll cover that story, too. But CityBeat has no vested interest in the outcome of such an effort by council and therefore can't and won't be a partner in council's work.

— Editorial on the controversial subpoena issued to freelance writer Leslie Blade by Cincinnati City Council (issue of 1.28.04)

I was riding a Metro bus and noticed a CityBeat newspaper trampled on the floor and, out of boredom, picked it up and read a column by Gregory Flannery. I wish I hadn't.

— Letter from Bob Breitenstein of Western Hills (issue of 2.11.04)

Yes, some behaviors and lifestyles — such as Christianity and marriage — are protected by law. In fact, legislators in Ohio just passed another law to protect, even defend, marriage. And yet in Cincin-nati, the only American city to do this, being gay doesn't grant you protected status in city ordinances, regulations, rules or policies. In other words, you can legally be fired from your job or denied an apartment here because you're gay — but you have legal remedy if you're fired because you're Christian, married, African American, a woman, of Appalachian background, practice certain other lifestyles or have certain other characteristics.

There's no way around it — Article 12 selects one groups of Cincinnatians, gays, and denies them legal protection. That's discrimination, plain and simple.

— Editorial on Citizens to Restore Fairness, the campaign to repeal Article 12 from the Cincinnati city charter, being named CityBeat's Persons of the Year (issue of 2.18.04)

The Bush administration claims to have no intention of reinstating the politically unpopular military draft, but we are obviously being prepared for it. So if Bush wins in November, the draft will likely follow. Endless war is the plan; the War Party will need a lot of fresh blood.

And don't expect the draft to slow the rush to war by making leaders think twice because their kids might have to go. The rich and powerful who make war do very little of the fighting and the dying. If they had to do their own dirty work, you'd begin to see less war.

— Letter from Jim Byrnes regarding the CityBeat cover story "They Want You" (issue of 3.10.04).

Those paying attention, however, know that the local scene is facing its challenges as well. 97X, which has always played local music, is being sold and its future format remains up in the air. The Enquirer's music critic, Larry Nager, was fired and his pet local music project, the Cammys, put on hiatus. Newport officials, as evidenced by the recent Suicide Girls snafu, still seem interested in shutting down the Southgate House.

These positives and negatives are simply the latest developments in the give-and-take of Cincinnati's music scene. It's no big deal — except to those who live and die for music. And they don't need a national magazine to tell them which way the wind blows here. For the rest of Cincinnati, why wait for validation from the media? Find out about the local scene for yourself.

— Editorial regarding Esquire magazine naming Cincinnati one of the top 10 "Cities That Rock" (issue of 3.17.04)

As a Xavier graduate, I really enjoyed Bill Peter-son's column "XU Breaks the Rock." Not very often does an article about the Musketeers give me shivers, but this one did. Every time I think of the loss to Duke, I get sort of sick. But this article cheers me up every time I re-read it.

— Letter from Mike Heenan regarding CityBeat coverage of Xavier's historic run in the NCAA Tournament (4.21.04)

Cincinnati is the obese person who just can't lose weight. We're the last kid picked in a dodgeball game. Our collective flop sweat is on view around the world. Desperation is in the air. And into this vulnerable situation strides a shyster pop psychologist saying all the right things: "It's not you, babe, you're great! You don't have to change! Just change the rules, and you'll feel better!"

— Editorial denouncing city council proposals for changing how Cincinnati's mayor is elected; the proposals were later shelved (6.23.04)

Your article suggests that there might be a racial angle to some of the criticism of Principal Marvin 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.

— Letter from E. Huxley Miller Jr., M.D., regarding CityBeat's cover story on Walnut Hills High School, "Matter of Principal" (issue of 6.30.04)

Placing a riverboat casino on our long-overdue-to-be-developed riverfront would be like parking a mobile home on the most exclusive front yard in town. Why not build a house? Or, better yet, a neighborhood?

— Letter from Gregg Martini of Oakley (8.11.04)

Prosecutor Mike Allen has fallen by the wayside by having sex with a woman who worked under him. Allegations of sexual harassment made against him by the same woman, who claims he used his powerful position over her to force her to have sex with him, should suggest to all that a crime has been committed. That crime is rape/sexual assault/sexual battery.

An intelligent person reading the allegations in her lawsuit would have to agree that, if these same allegations were placed against a black man, he'd be charged with rape/sexual assault/sexual battery by Allen, who has established a paradigm of aggressively bringing charges against blacks. These actions prove that he's anti-black.

— Letter from Gen. Kabaka Oba of The Black Fist

I couldn't help wonder how many of those thousands of happy people last weekend at Oktoberfest were mentally, if not literally, crossing "Visit Downtown Cincinnati in 2004" off their to do lists. Or how many view a trip downtown with the kind of vicarious thrill and otherworldly weirdness they get driving out to Brown County to see the Amish.

And I wondered how many of them would come back downtown this weekend for the MidPoint Music Festival, which certainly will be just as exciting and entertaining. Or the next. Or the next.

— Editorial on back-to-back festival weekends (issue of 9.22.04)

More than anything, I'd like to see CityBeat work to fill a void that myself and many of my friends see developing in our citywide conversation about the need for change in Cincinnati. The void is between supporting social justice and equality while at the same time embracing art and culture (and the development it spurs).

Bottom line: It's going to take deliberate action by Cincinnati residents to make this a better place to live. I challenge Cincin-natians who care to think about how art and change are related and then work to make sure that when you're supporting one you're supporting the other.

— Letter from Gavin Leonard regarding CityBeat's MidPoint Music Festival coverage

There are just two things we're certain of: President Bush is the last person we'd trust to extricate us from the disaster he created, and Sen. John Kerry will prove to be a thoughtful commander in chief who won't send U.S. soldiers to die for the wrong reasons.

There's nothing but upside for Kerry as president and, based on the past few years, nothing but downside for all of us if Bush remains president. Call us optimists, but we're choosing the upside.

— Editorial endorsing Kerry for president (issue of 10.20.04)

When Issue 3 passes and Article 12 is repealed, Cincinnati won't become a tolerant place overnight. Gays and lesbians won't immediately feel they're welcome as equals. Only time and information can cure poor attitudes. But at least the sign will be removed from Cincinnati's figurative doorstep that says we openly, legally and happily discriminate against our fellow citizens. And that will be a significant step toward a better future.

— Editorial endorsing the repeal of Article 12 (issue of 10.20.04)

As last week's results clearly show, red-staters have the upper hand in the values argument — but only because we've allowed them to set the rules for that argument. We've let them establish the red/blue split as values vs. no values. By definition, they'll say, liberals have no values. And we secretly wonder some times if they're not right — mostly because, if values is something conservatives have, we don't want 'em.

— Editorial on the presidential election results (issue of 11.10.04)

Get over it. The Republican Party embodies all the values listed in your editorial except for one major difference: A woman does not have the right to take another person's life, and for that Editor John Fox and all his buddies lost the election.

Abortion is murder, and at one of the debates your Catholic candidate said his upbringing helps him know when life begins. Even the most ignorant American knows practicing Catholics don't accept abortion as anything but murder, so who was stupid enough to not see he was trying to pull one over on the listeners that night? Anyone who has studied John Kerry's voting record would see he voted pro-abortion whenever it came up for a vote. So what was he saying there?

Kerry is a liar, changed his mind too many times, and those aren't values I admire. So spare us the crap when we pick up this magazine just to see what's going on around town.

— Letter from Stephen Schmitz regarding the CityBeat editorial "Red State Blues" (issue of 11.17.04)

We live on the historical and geographic faultline, and although some of the members of Straw Boss might live or even be from the South, they're alienating themselves from a portion of audience who are enlightened enough to be aware that you don't call someone a hillbilly in this day and age. It simply shows your own intolerance and stupidity.

— Letter from Chris Gast regarding a CityBeat interview with the local band Straw Boss (12.8.04)

The real problem here isn't the use of the words. It's the hatred, prejudice and carelessness found behind the words and within the people who abuse them that is the problem. I use the word hillbilly to describe the music I play, and I've been playing it for 34 years. When I started playing music, we didn't have the "benefit" of political correctness, so we had to fall back on what we called "right" and "wrong." It required a bit of extra thinking, but we did the best we could with it.

— Letter from musician Ed Cunningham responding to Gast's letter (12.15.04)

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