Sunday, July 20, 2003

Readers' Views

Improved transit helps; parking doesn't


By providing the Kroger Co. a $15 million parking garage, the city of Cincinnati is hoping to continue to pave the future of downtown with parking. Do downtowns of truly livable cities flourish because they have so many parking spaces, or because they are accessible? Are large conventions booked because of abundant parking? Would large employers locate downtown only for city-provided parking? How many bus commutes could be provided for $15 million?

Portland, Ore., has greatly increased downtown office populations by actually limiting parking, while providing bus and fixed-rail transportation. Cincinnati should do the same, and without waiting for federal or state funds. The city should invest in transit infrastructure, not parking.

Instead of building $15,000 parking spaces, the city should triple the $15 million and build SORTA's proposed streetcar line from Second Street, past Kroger headquarters, and up Vine Street to Clifton and the Cincinnati Zoo. Doing so would avail Kroger employees and others to the new transportation center and riverfront parking, and revitalize Mayor Charlie Luken's "most important street" in Cincinnati.

Otherwise, we will continue with more studies, cede to endless corporate welfare, watch other cities thrive, and wonder why our traffic congestion continues to worsen. Or, we will wait until gasoline costs $2 per gallon, then question why alternatives cannot be instantly built before employers vacate to other cities that have transit infrastructure.

As a recent visitor, I know downtown Portland is alive. Perhaps Kroger should have led a paradigm shift by asking for accessibility instead of parking.

David Puthoff, Greenhills

Tidy, hard-working Reading offers much

I appreciate The Cincinnati Enquirer's profile (June 29) of our thriving bridal district in the city of Reading. Reading has worked closely with the owners of the bridal businesses to create a vibrant marketplace where couples have easy access to everything they will need for a great wedding.

It is unfortunate, however, that the article perpetuates the outdated stereotype that often plagues Hamilton County's inner-ring suburbs. Referring to Reading as a "gritty" town ignores the reality that Reading is a strong middle-class city with clean and safe streets, award-winning schools, a growing life sciences campus, and active business and civic groups. Our streets may not have the sparkle of a new mall development, but I believe that Reading's entrepreneurial and civic traditions, our historic architecture, and our hometown pride are among our greatest strengths and are a perfect fit for the businesses in our flourishing downtown district.

Our slogan in Reading is that our city is the "Crossroads of Opportunity." And it is. Reading's success is one that should celebrate. It is my hope that other inner-ring suburbs in Greater Cincinnati can experience the same success that we have.

Earl J. Schmidt, Mayor, City of Reading

Dessert in doggie bag was trashy humiliation

Since the Enquirer had given so much publicity to one of the newest reality TV programs (starring a local family), I decided to watch the premier of Who Wants To Marry My Dad? on July 14. How disappointing. Among the many humiliating incidents that took place, one scene involved Mueller's children serving dessert to the women contestants. One woman was given her dessert in a doggy bag, indicating she was dismissed. This is another example of trash TV.

Judi Adams, Crescent Springs

Bristol's billboard offends I-75 travelers

Have you been driving north on I-75 to Dayton lately? Have you seen the giant billboard for Bristol's Night Club? It is right off the Monroe exit. I have and so have my children and their grandparents. I am so embarrassed by this billboard.

I am not offended by the business this nightclub does. However, I feel they could continue to attract business without a huge billboard of women in lingerie, waiting for someone, in an extremely compromising position. My family and I have the right to travel down I-75 without seeing this sort of thing.

Catherine Lower, West Chester

Two questions on the Convergys deal

How much was Northern Kentucky offering Convergys before they started negotiating with Cincinnati?

What is the cost of having a less desirable city in which to locate a business?

William Klaus, Glendale

Convergys overlooks its civic responsibility

I am disappointed with the actions of Convergys' executives in regard to their relocation options. Whatever happened to civic pride and responsibility? As a stockholder, I appreciate their interest in enhancing stockholder value. However, there are times when the bottom line should not be the controlling factor. We all have a responsibility to preserve resources for future generations. Our cities serve as the center of culture and commerce. Perhaps it is too idealistic to expect our corporate citizens to share this view.

Louis Buschle, Downtown

Rose's gambling never affected his playing

As I watched ESPN's mock trial of Pete Rose, I heard a comment that baseball is not Rose with his gambling. Well, no one is going to admit to something if they have a gun held to their head. Let Rose in the Hall of Fame, and if he bet on baseball, he can admit it and get help. Tell me if Pete intentionally made an out or error to affect the outcome of a game, and I'll tell you, "You are crazy." I will bet on that.

Rick Montgomery, Bellevue, Ky.

Neighbors opposed to airport's expansion

This letter is in response to a letter ("Lunken neighbors apparently na‘ve," July18). The letter writer obviously does not understand the problem with expanding Lunken Airport. The problem is not so much the current noise, even though it is annoying, but they want to increase the size of the airport. The increased size and larger aircraft that would then be flying into Lunken will fly directly over my house. I would be happy if Lunken kept the same air traffic volume it had in 1930.

Tom Wood, Fairfax

Wells' column missing some Bush untruths

In regard to the column by David Wells, ("Bush speak - No uranium in Cincinnati," July 18) Wells quotes Bush's speech in Cincinnati last October and says, "I'm certainly glad George W. Bush didn't lie to us." Sorry, David, he certainly did lie to us. These statements from Wells' column and Bush's speech remain unproven and are simply untrue:

• "... Saddam Hussein is harboring terrorists and the instruments of terror, and the instruments of mass death and destruction..."

• "He said there was direct evidence of Iraq training members of al Qaida to make bombs..."

• "It (Iraq) ... is seeking nuclear weapons. It has given shelter and support to terrorism..."

Where are your fact checkers?

Melissa Davis Rockenfield, Sycamore Township

Maybe Saddam is working for the Dems

On July 16, another tape believed to be that of Saddam Hussein surfaced. On the tape, Hussein accuses Tony Blair and George W. Bush of lying to the world about weapons of mass destruction. I think we can now be sure of where Hussein is. He must now be working for the Democratic National Committee because that's the same line they've been spouting for weeks now. How proud they must be.

Mary Conlon, Union Township

Corporate tax breaks are a necessary evil

If Cincinnati is to remain a vital city, then it is imperative City Council does what it takes to keep Convergys on our side of the river. The 1,700 Convergys employees, who come to work in our city center, not only directly contribute to city revenue but also create residual economic benefits crucial to the livelihood of our community. Without a robust downtown, our neighborhoods are left without a solid core. This is not a question of downtown versus neighborhoods. We need both.

I cringe at the corporate tax breaks. I also realize this is the way of the world. Consider the alternative - a central business district of empty buildings and deserted sidewalks in Cincinnati, while Northern Kentucky booms. As a lifelong resident of this city, I know that if we don't act, others will. Pragmatism is called for. Convergys wants to stay in Cincinnati; Cincinnati needs Convergys downtown. This can be a win-win situation.

In these economic times, to turn away the world headquarters of a fiscally sound global leader, which provides hundreds of jobs for our community, is not in the best interests of the people of Cincinnati. City Council and other city leaders have the mandate to do what needs to be done to keep businesses here. Do the hard work and seal the deal. Don't let this one get away.

Connie West, Mount Washington

Are cities at a disadvantage?
Cities face hard work trying to keep firms
Expert: Reform incentive policies
How city can cope
Convergys I: Make the deal
Convergys II: Incentives
Greg Harris: Regionalism must be our new focus
James Orr: Convergys deal is a defining moment

Federal budget: Fix the deficit
Homeless need a dose of empathy from their critics
Readers' Views