Monday, March 15, 1999

Some readers call pro-snow stance flaky

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Be careful when you open your voice mail. Old Man Winter may be challenging you to a snowball fight.

        “Eat snow.” — Joe Barnes, White Oak.

        “Turncoat.” — Pete Driscoll, Oakley.

        Most callers took a dim view of my column celebrating the joys of snow.

        One morning last week, while I shoveled my driveway, the realization dawned on me that snow has a mighty calming effect.

        That made me want more snow. Enough to close down the town.

        A few readers, a very few, saw snow's benefits.

        “If you're looking for serenity in this nutty world, go for a walk at night when it snows. Feel your blood pressure drop.” — A.F. Howard, West Chester.

        Helen Hester of Bridgetown enjoyed reading “about the heavy snow in such beautiful terms when, I'm sure, many guys were snorting 'n' spouting off with some pretty strong language. It made my day. I'll be 90 years old on Friday of this week, and this old gal can always use a lift.”

        Helen, your words did some heavy lifting of their own. Happy Birthday.

POW wannabes
        Mike McGrath spent 2,074 days as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. For the past three years, he has worked to expose fake POWs. A column I wrote about Mike after he played a part in blowing the cover on the phony POW claims of Amelia's retired police chief, Donald Nicholson, sent numerous readers to the phone.

        “Fake POWs are as low as baby killers. Guys like Mike McGrath are heroes.” — Dave Mullins, Hamilton.

        “I fly a POW/MIA flag from the back of my bike. Many people stop me, thinking I'm an ex-POW. I always tell them I had a high draft number and did not serve in Vietnam. But I'm proud of those who did serve. And we should all be very proud of Mike McGrath.” — Jay Moretti, downtown.

Chiefs, mayors, expansions
        Reaction split along the city's east-west axis to my column about Cincinnati's 87-year-old streak of police chiefs coming from the homogeneous and often humble west side of town.

        Speaking for a majority of west-siders, Jim Grawe of Covedale wrote: “West-siders generally don't promote themselves, their work or their neighborhoods. Perhaps we are unpretentious to a fault.”

        For the east side, here's Juanita Glover of Avondale: “You wrote that since 1912, police chiefs have driven home "to that part of town where people place a high value on orderly lives and family ties.' On the east side, we like orderliness and family ties, too.”

        A strong mayor could cure what ails Cincinnati. My column making that claim drew strong opinions.

        “You are a naive goof.” — Gus Wolter, Batavia.

        “I'm suspicious of anything that makes it easier for the CBC to buy City Hall.” — Will Gregg, Mount Washington.

        “City council members' senseless bickering about the simple strong-mayor ballot proposal is the most compelling argument in favor of the strong-mayor style of government.” — Steve Fox, downtown.

        “If we ever get a real mayor, the next step will have to be combining the city and county governments. As things stand now, there are too many turf battles for this area to grow.” — Bill Buresch, Finneytown.

        Cincinnati needs to expand its convention center. But who should pick up the tab? The whole region benefits, I wrote in a recent column. So the whole region — folks on both sides of the river — must chip in.

        Most readers' comments began with the word, “Don't.”

        “Don't you have any brains?” — Fred Ross, Clifton.

        “Don't tax us anymore.” — George Abbott, Mason.

        David Clark of Mount Lookout offered this money-saving suggestion:

        “If the convention center's expansion is such a good idea and is going to generate so much money for Cincinnati, some company should take the center over instead of making the taxpayers foot the bill.”

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

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