You're the Solution

I thank Donna Covrett for featuring the heartbeat of our city in "Knitting Us Together" (issue of Jan. 5-11). Civic engagement is the heartbeat of any city and pumps vital energy along its vast and

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I thank Donna Covrett for featuring the heartbeat of our city in "Knitting Us Together" (issue of Jan. 5-11). Civic engagement is the heartbeat of any city and pumps vital energy along its vast and concrete lined arteries to reach even its most extreme members. So many citizens today, instead of celebrating the vitality of the heart, are accumulating in the social fat cells, gradually disengaging from the lifeblood and thereby atrophying in their suburbs.

Discovering more about the civic heroes of this town makes me hopeful. And what makes me even more hopeful is the knowing that civic engagement is our natural state. This segregated, homogenous alternative in which we find ourselves is the result of forefathers who succumbed to fear, moving their homesteads far from the intensity of the closely quartered because they were afraid a life so intense.

I'm thriving on a life so intense. I sit breathing the smoke of poverty every day at work in Over-the-Rhine. But there's a flame under that cloud, and it's still flickering with hope. You can see it in the eyes of urban mothers when they talk about family.

You can see it in the eyes of urban fathers when they talk about justice. People want brighter days, even when they forget what they were like.

The path of courageous citizenship opens hearts, changes minds and creates options for those who didn't know they had them. And in those options lies our collective freedom.

I wish I could implore all the residents of Cincinnati suburbs to move back into your city and reconnect with your families, your freedom and your fulfillment. Issues like crime, poverty and racism have to be solved with qualities like courage, compassion and connection.

You're the solution. Your presence is your greatest first step.

— Rob Gilson, Over-the-Rhine

Loveland, Not Gunland
It's my understanding that addressing bullying is a major goal of Loveland City Schools this school year. The bullies, however, will be getting mixed messages after Feb. 8 if council's proposed ordinance for a shooting range on the Loveland-Madeira corridor is passed.

So as teachers are getting special instructions and training to curtail bullying in our schools, our city council decides to begin development of our corridor with a gun range? That's a mixed, confusing message to me! I don't know of a Loveland resident not in favor of developing the corridor, but if a gun range goes in what other businesses will feel safe opening near a shooting range? Will we be attracting future family restaurants, shops or entertainment businesses? I think not.

Hunger for development revenue has caused our council to be careless in their decisions for a "choice" business district. With no restrictions and proposed operating hours of seven days per week 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., our students will be seeing much traffic from the current Matthews 25 Ministry building on the way to and from school each day. How many school buses carrying how many children will pass that building each school day? How many curious bullies or children who have been bullied might be welcomed to walk into a gun range and take out their frustrations? How much courage will that provide those bullied to stand up to their enemies and how much courage will the enemies obtain to continue their quest against the less macho?

The caliber handguns and rifles used at such shooting ranges are military armaments. Why would any sane citizen propose such a danger to our city residents? Don't we hear enough about drive-by shootings on the local news? Do we want our reputation as the Sweetheart of Ohio to become the Lunatics of Loveland?

My personal opinion is that our council members need to "take a bath"on the stupidity of this proposed change of ordinance. I'll do all the campaigning I can possibly handle between now and November to assure this group of "representatives" are not re-elected.

Their decisions are also taking the taxpayers "to the cleaners." Our tax money will be paying for their approved, separate, hasty special voting session for this absurd proposal on Feb. 8. Instead of waiting until the November election date, they've decided to spend $8,000 of our tax money to place this issue and this issue alone on the ballot.

— Betty Batchelor, Loveland

Betting on Casinos
What's the big problem in getting a referendum on the November statewide ballot to allow casinos in Ohio? The answer is, "No problem!"

All it takes is raising $1 million to pay a public relations company to acquire the necessary 400,000 signatures in Ohio to allow the referendum this November. There are over 10 million people in Ohio. If need be, for as little as 10 cents per person, the money — which will be deposited in a return-to-donor trust fund — can be raised to acquire the signatures and necessary steps to get the job done. The PR firm will do the legwork. All the people of Ohio have to do is vote "Yes" on the issue.

Once the casino corporations find out there will be a casino referendum on this year's Ohio ballot, they'll come forward and provide the money and also spend their own money to promote the issue's passage. Remember, they'll be building the casinos in allowable Ohio areas at their expense totally!

The referendum will read: Vote Yes/No for the allowance of Class Three Casino Gambling in any county in Ohio that will be approved by the voters of that County. If this Issue passes, any county in the state of Ohio will be allowed to develop a casino(s) in their county with a majority Yes vote by the people of that county only. This will be done through a special election held in that county at the time selected by the County Commissioners of that particular Ohio County.

The Ohio Legislature and other "Casinos for Ohio" proponents continue to drag their feet with weak, unjustified reasons that continue to prolong a "Casinos for Ohio" initiative. We need casinos in Ohio now to help our economic and state, city and county financial problems.

— Patrick Mackondy Coordinator, Casinos for Ohio Committee

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