Saturday, July 06, 2002

'Liberal idiot!'

Readers give their take on Bengals lease

        Be careful when you open your e-mail.

        Fireworks can fly through the Internet.

        Recent columns of mine on the link between Hamilton County's Republican-controlled government and the Bengals' sweetheart deal, the Rev. Billy Graham's visit and WestFest 2002 set off fiery comments, sparkling insights and a barrage of memories.

        The latest snafu with the Bengals' lease, where taxpayers may eventually wind up footing the team's tax bill, reminded me who signed that lease in 2000: Hamilton County's three Republican Commissioners. Time for a change, I argued. Time to end the county's one-party rule.

        “Liberal idiot!” — Bill Jackson, Sharonville.

        “Those Republican commissioners are white-collar criminals.” — Dan Reece, Silverton.

        “Building a stadium, no matter what the cost to taxpayers, is excess in its highest form.” — Eric J. McMackin, Richmond, Va.

        “How many contract lawyers, tax lawyers, etc. looked at this amendment on both sides?” — Jim Edgerton, Anniston, Ala.

        “Some things just don't change: Mike Brown and his mob, er, organization keep dumping no-talents on the playing field and excrement on tax-paying residents of Hamilton County.” — Tom Daniel, Jacksonville, Fla.

        “We need Democrats as county commissioners. Someone has to watch the hen house.” — Charlie Combs, Westwood.

        “Does the expression 'the fox guarding the hen house' mean anything to you? The Democrats have surely demonstrated that they can screw things up pretty well. Just look at the joke that's existed in Cincinnati city government for decades.” — Tim Sawyers, Anderson Township.

        And this from Linda Ann Wheeler Hilton, near Phoenix:

        She's sending my column to “governmental bodies here in Maricopa County, Arizona, where the wrangling over the Cardinals' stadium has become a very sick joke — paid for, of course, with taxpayer funds.”

Graham mission

        Big crowds and praying in public are not for me. So I passed on going to see the Rev. Billy Graham at Paul Brown Stadium.

        Some readers gave me directions to a warmer place than Cincinnati. Others were more kind.

        “I pray mostly privately, but also publicly, and agree with you that it will all be for nothing unless we — each of us — perform vigorous, private reflection, humble ourselves and begin to treat one another in the way God would have us.” — M. Burris, via the Internet.

        The Rev. Richard Fisher of the Clifton Avenue Church of the Nazarene called to say: “I'm thankful the Rev. Graham came here. But there is a lot of validity to what you wrote. You can sense God's presence wherever you go.”

WestFest 2002

        They hoped for a crowd of 20,000. The final tally for the first-time Cheviot street festival was 30,000-35,000. That made WestFest 2002 — the June 29 taste of the west side dreamed up by businessman Tony Lange — an unqualified success.

        Readers of my WestFest columns expressed their west-side pride.

        “Your article will do nothing but entice other people to venture over to "the Best side, the West side.' ” — Susan Weitzel, Cheviot.

        Kurt Steilberger sent an e-mail searching for WestFest souvenirs. Although he lives in Fletcher, N.C., his west-side roots tug at his heart.

        “My mom and her side of the family all went to Western Hills (High School),” he wrote. “I grew up hearing stories about (former home-grown Reds) Herm Wehmeier, Claude Osteen, Don Zimmer and, of course, Pete Rose.”

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; e-mail


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