Monday, February 08, 1999

No quarter given on libraries, 911

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Be careful when you open your voice mail. Somebody may want to slap you upside the head with an overdue library book.

        “Jerk! You want to make the rich libraries richer and the poor libraries poorer.” — Jay Thompson, Batavia.

        “Attaboy! People in the booming suburban counties have a choice. Cleaner air and lower taxes. Or a great library. You can't have it all.” — E.A. Rhodes, Avondale.

        Passionate outbursts followed a recent column that found nothing wrong with the seeming inequities in Ohio's formula for funding libraries.

        When callers commented about Hamilton County's getting twice as much library money from the state as the booming counties of Clermont, Butler and Warren (the state's second-fastest growing county), their volume level was enough to make a librarian go: “SHUSH!”

        “Don't cut a dime from Cincinnati's public library. It's a class act.” — Traci Stevenson, Blue Ash.

        “You can't have a major library system in every county. Be thankful there's one close by in Cincinnati.” — W.F. Rose, Mason.

        “As Orwell might have said, "All libraries are equal, but some libraries are more equal than others.'” — Raymond J. Nienaber, director, Lebanon Public Library.

        “Libraries in surrounding counties should learn to complement, not compete, with the library system of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.” — Nancy Easton, Covington.

        Rob Franklin offered this suggestion from Westwood:

        “People from Warren and Butler counties should get a life. It doesn't take 40 days and 40 nights to drive to downtown Cincinnati to pick up a book.”

Call 911
        Outraged readers continue to call about the return to work of Angela Gibson and Eugenia Boiman. They're the 911 operator/dispatchers fired for the part they played delaying the discovery of two murdered Cincinnati cops, Daniel Pope and Ronald Jeter. An arbitrator reinstated the operators with full pay and benefits.

        In two columns I argued that in the 911 business, there is no room for errors. One mistake and you should be out.

        High standards — and strict enforcement — maintain the public's faith in an emergency response system.

        “Sending those women back to work is as ridiculous as the O.J. Simpson verdict.” — Johnny Wolber, Covedale.

        “Those women are innocent. Like Clinton is innocent. It just depends how you define the word, "innocent.'” — Graham Newton, Clifton.

        “Hey, Mr. Know-It-All, you blew it. If you feel these 911 operators are ill-trained, you should evaluate the whole system, not just the workers.” — Arthur Hill, Mohawk.

        “The 911 operators didn't follow procedure. Neither did the cops. But the operators are still alive.” — Steve Morris, Harrison.

        “If I ever call 911, I'll ask for the name of the operator.

        “If it's one of those women, I'll ask for someone else. You can't trust them with an emergency.” — Jerry Roth, Clifton.

Drawn quarters
        Designs for the flip side of Ohio's state quarter continue to roll in. Keep them coming, please. By mail or fax.

        There's still time to send me your sketch. Make sure the design fits on the reverse side of a quarter. The winning entires will be printed next week.

        The U.S. Mint is issuing 25-cent pieces for each of the 50 states. The first one, honoring Delaware, the first state to ratify the Constitution, is already out. Ohio's coin won't be minted until April 2002.

        The governor, Cincinnatian Bob Taft, has the final say on the design.

        Any design sent to me will be forwarded to the Ohio Bicentennial Commission, the repository for all ideas about what should appear on the coin's backside.

        Before the designs go off to Columbus, I'll print a sample of the local entries. A quarter goes to each of the 10-best entries.

        Send me your ideas this week.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.