Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Welcome mat?

Clinton gets mixed reactions

        Be careful when you open your e-mail and voice mail. Bill Clinton's fans and foes want you to feel their pain.

        “Noooooooooooo!” — Pat Laud, Mount Washington.

        “Yesssssssssss!” — A.J. Stevens, West Chester.

        These messages represented the split decision 104 readers gave to a column I wrote urging Mayor Charlie Luken to take up the former president's offer to broker a peace in racially conflicted Cincinnati.

        Bill Clinton could star in the role of the go-between. He has the credentials, for example, to talk to both sides of the boycott.

        He would undoubtedly work long hours. He loves to burn the midnight oil. Besides, he has nothing else to do. He's out of office.

        Odds are he would keep at it until a settlement was reached. His reputation — as a statesman, as a man of influence, as a potential talk-show host — is at stake.

        To some readers, that sounded like a good idea.

        “He can get everyone talking together and help heal our city.” — Vivian Crawford, Hyde Park.

        “This guy has credibility.” — Bret Albert, Erlanger.

        “We need somebody to help.” — M.J. Daniels, Clifton.

        To others, the only role Bill Clinton can play has horns, a tail and a pitchfork.

        “The guy is the devil.” — Jim Farrell, Mason.

        “I lived in Cincinnati briefly as a child. I have only good memories. It saddens me, therefore, to read your invitation to Bill Clinton to come to Cincinnati ... Obviously, the city has hit rock bottom.” — Kyda Sylvester, Auburn, Calif.

        “Did you miss something during the eight years of BJ's reign? Clinton is a master manipulator, a true racist.” — Sherman R. Homan, Hingham, Mass.


Who's buying?

        Several readers expressed fiscal concerns about Bill Clinton coming to town.

        “He can't heal the wounds he created while he was our president. And besides, who would pay the tab? He is not one that does anything free of charge.” — W.R. Hall, Oakley.

        Stu Mahlin reported from Hyde Park that he asked the mayor not to spend public funds “to bring the reprobate Slick Willy here.” He wanted to know “so who will” pay his Diet Coke and chili charges?

        “The Enquirer? Stan Chesley? Skyline Chili?”


ZIP code zapped

        Goodbye to Over-the-Rhine's 45210 ZIP code. Hello to an enlarged 45202.

        Come July 1, the post office will eliminate Over-the-Rhine's main ZIP code in a cost-cutting move. The mail carrier plans to save $250,000 in the first year.

        A column breaking the news about the move drew a chorus of yawns from readers.

        Most sentiments mirrored those of Norwood's Bob Sigmund.

        “So what!” he wrote. “The post office is going to do what it's going to do.”

        Sean Tobin took a different tack. In the e-mail he sent from Mount Adams, he wrote:

        “ZIP codes are used by many other groups besides the post office, including insurance companies.

        “45202, which included the Central Business District and Mount Adams, will now include an area with very high crime rates. Over time, this is bound to result in higher insurance rates for people living in the current 45202.

        “Someone underwriting insurance policies is not going to see any difference between Over-the-Rhine and Mount Adams and will see it all as a high crime area.

        “I would like to see Over-the-Rhine keep its identity and improve. In the mean time, I do not want to see that area's problems negatively affect other communities.”

       Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; e-mail cradel@enquirer.com.


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