Thursday, June 26, 2003

Readers' Views

Skywalk once was a visionary idea


Friends in Cincinnati have sent me clippings from the Enquirer describing proposals for removing some sections of the skywalk system. In those clippings, I have seen no description of a new vision of what the central business district should be like in the future.

When we planned the skywalk system, we envisioned a central business district where people could come, park their cars or get off the buses, and then could walk to their destinations in sheltered spaces without splashing or being splashed in rainy weather, and without waiting to cross the street in any weather.

We envisioned a downtown that would grow, a downtown where the density of buildings and the concentration of people would increase without increasing congestion by separating pedestrian traffic from vehicular traffic. We envisioned a central business district that would attract conventioneers who did not want to call a taxi or hitch a ride, or walk in the streets, to reach their hotels or visit interesting shops, and a city that would be more efficient for the many businesses whose personnel often met with people in other businesses.

We viewed the skywalks as a continuous system, penetrating the most significant multistory buildings, not as a few street bridges that would not be used by people if they had to go up and down at each street. We envisioned a city that would be more interesting and more convenient than other Mid-western river cities.

Tearing down some sections of the skywalks and the stage platform on Fountain Square would be a patchwork job. It may heal some sores. It won't be a step in building a better central business district unless you have a vision of what would be a better central business district, and you know that the patchwork jobs are a step along the way.

Herbert W. Stevens, Lake Forest, Calif.

Efforts to recognize excellence win kudos

The Enquirer and its people deserve praise, a heartfelt tip of the hat in tribute, for extensive efforts expended in obtaining and publishing the "Salute to Academic All-Stars" and "Salute to Champions" June 17.

Students and their parents, relatives and friends will appreciate this tribute, while recipients whose names are listed will treasure these pages the rest of their lives.

As a 77-plus-year-old reader with home delivery for more than 40 years, I'm pleased to extend this word of commendation.

John T. Donnelly, Finneytown

Portman as president would bless America

Kudos to the Enquirer for the marvelous political biography for Rep. Rob Portman on June 23. It confirmed everything I have known about this man since 1993, when I first recognized his amazing abilities and predicted he will one day be our commander in chief.

My goal in life is to live long enough to see him take residency at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. for eight years. That is when the United States of America will receive its greatest blessing. I am proud to call him my friend.

Pat Lapple, Reading

New Navy sonar would kill marine life

War against whales, dolphins and seals in the oceans is imminent if the Marine Mammal Protection Act is undermined. Severe harm will result if a rider hidden in the defense authorization bill passes.

The Navy's proposed new sonar, Low Frequency Active Sonar produces underwater blasts of up to 235 decibels, far louder than a jet plane at takeoff. Such levels can be deadly to marine life at close range. At distant range, internal bleeding, permanent hearing loss, and disrupted feeding and migratory patterns can all result. Whales and dolphins rely on their exceptional underwater hearing to survive. Navy tests performed over the last few years have resulted in injured and dead dolphins and whales washed up on beaches in the Bahamas and Hawaii.

As recently as the 1960s, military pilots used whales for target practice. Few would find that practice acceptable today. Few would wish for the Navy to proceed now if they knew more about whales, and the lethal effects on the Low Frequency Active Sonar.

Joan Schuch, Anderson Township

Munoz's kindness, humanity exemplary

In response to the recent fights in sports games we have seen lately, I wanted to take a minute to recognize Anthony Munoz.

My children and I had the wonderful opportunity of running into Munoz about one and a half years ago at the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky Airport. I'm assuming he was returning from his daughter's games in San Antonio, and I was in a rush as well, trying to get my teen-age daughter to her gate on time. May I add, my being a whole 5 feet, 2 inches tall, he was a little hard to miss. But his kindness and humanity couldn't go unrecognized anyway. I was desperately seeking a decent parking spot, so he gave me his. Thank you, Anthony.

He needs to be recognized, or nominated for citizen of the year. With everything he has done for this community and children, more sports players or athletes should take note and look up to him.

I hope that someday, he will coach our Bengals.

Tonya Pennington, Hanover Township

New parking yields multiple benefits

Downtown Cincinnati Inc's. role is to work together with public and private partners toward a vital downtown. Economic development opportunities sometimes arise that serve multiple good purposes. The proposal to build a 1,000-space parking garage at Central Parkway and Vine Street is an example.

This project yields multiple benefits. First, it ensures the retention of a corporate headquarters. This means hundreds of jobs, a growing earnings tax base and customers for our retail businesses. Second, the deal facilitates more parking, helping to relieve parking congestion in the northern part of downtown. It also provides evening and weekend parking that can be used for the burgeoning arts, entertainment and residential markets in Over-the-Rhine. Third, it helps make the expansion of the Cincinnati Academy of Art a reality by ensuring the parking it needs.

One project promotes education, parking and business retention. We think such projects deserve our support.

David N. Ginsburg, President and Chief executive officer, Downtown Cincinnati Inc.

Ten Commandments are just a philosophy

The letter ("Ethical lessons don't have to be religious," June 23) argues that it is the place of a school to teach ethics; however, it holds that the Ten Commandments are somehow religious. Every group, institution, or organization has its own philosophy - a set of beliefs or statements as to how the institution is to run and what it stands for. Schools are no exception to this rule. In Adams County, that philosophy happens to be the Ten Commandments. Having the Ten Commandments posted at a school, or even taught for that matter, is not a religious matter. A compulsory prayer service or another form of worship would be. We are protected from that.

The Ten Commandments are a set of ideas, passed down, like all other philosophies, in written form. Sure, they deal with the dilemma of "God," but so has every other philosophy. Whether they were written by the hand of God or not is neither here nor there.

Moses, a legitimate historical figure, wrote them down. OK. There are still some holdouts with their hands on their hips saying, "It may be a philosophy, but it still includes the word 'God.' "

Let's look at some of the other philosophers who are taught in schools. Take Nietzsche or Dostoevski. Both of them are atheists. To teach them, by some people's loose definition, would be teaching religion. Their philosophies leave out God, don't they? This would purportedly offend those who do believe in a God. So why should we teach them? Or anyone for that matter?

The question of God will always remain. It will always be a part of philosophy, but a particular philosopher's conception of God should not stand in the way of teaching his/her philosophies. And the bottom line is it's up to the school to choose what philosophies it will uphold.

Dan Corbett, Maineville

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Readers' Views