Monday, November 19, 2001

Bengals a tenant, not owner

        Be careful when you open your e-mail. Someone may have been smoking the grass at Paul Brown Stadium.

        “Band geek! You're an idiot.” — Al James, Fairfield.

        “Right on, big time. Hope you guys won't let up on Mikey boy and his gang.” — Jim Gerard, former trumpet player, Oakwood High School, Dayton, Ohio.

        “Mike Brown's Bengals have the sweetest of all sweetheart deals.” — G.J. Gleason, Anderson Township.

        “You are a lousy liberal who is not a sports fan and cannot understand why in the competitive world of NFL football you need a stable and sound playing surface.” — Paul McMillen, Columbus.

        “You are so conservative. Hope you choke on the dust raised after the grass dies.” — D. Carlton, West Chester.

        Readers didn't hold back as they responded to my columncalling for Hamilton County Commissioners — victors over the Bengals in the Battle of the Bands — to re-examine the team's lease.

        The commissioners voted to allow four high school marching bands to perform their halftime shows on the field at Paul Brown Stadium. The Bengals — the stadium's tenant — didn't want the bands on the field for fear they would ruin the sod.

        The commissioners should use their victory to look at all aspects of the Bengals' lease. Make sure it's clear: the people of Hamilton County own the stadium. Not the Bengals. Not their owner, Mike Brown.

        “If Mike Brown wants to ante up and pay for the stadium, then he can do what he wants. My parents taught me, if you want it your way, you pay for it. Didn't the Bengals' management learn that at home?” — Bob Hibbett, Lebanon.

        “The Bengals have a huge practice facility next to Paul Brown Stadium. Use that to re-sod the field. It has to be in excellent condition since the Bengals never use it. If they did, we would win a few more games.” — Mark Rahe, Ludlow.

        Clifton Heights' Bob Dehner declared: “I believe the Bengals are running the Hamilton County Coroner's office, too. Does customer service ever enter into the equation?”

Big John

        City Council has 13 days left to kick around John Shirey. Council's favorite scapegoat during his eight years as Cincinnati city manager leaves office Dec. 1.

        After he fired off some parting thoughts in this space, readers gave him a 21-gun salute.

        “John has displayed all the best attributes of a consummate professional city manager ... (On his last day) I doubt the media will pick up any remarkable sound bites placing blame on his detractors.” — Mike Burns, Indian Hill.

        “Shirey ought to be glad he is out of here. Who could take that chronic abuse?” — Rick M. Singel, Hyde Park.

        “He took a whole lot of criticism and withstood it with dignity.” — Greg Walden, College Hill.

His majesty

        Ted Gregory, Cincinnati's Ribs King, recently reflected on his Montgomery Inn turning 50.

        After my column appeared, his subjects e-mailed stories of his generosity. Rollin Goodpaster wrote how the King donated $10,000 for a new scoreboard at Sycamore High School.

        “He wanted no publicity. That's just the kind of guy he is, generous and friendly to people from all walks of life.”

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



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