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Fix Cincinnati’s Deeply Ingrained Mentality

By Readers · June 10th, 2009 · Letters

Regarding Joe Wessels recent column, “Let’s Not Make Another Mistake” (issue of May 20), I’m not for or against streetcars, as I don’t really think that’s the real issue as far as “spurring economic growth” here is concerned. I also don’t have an irrational “brand loyalty” to Cincinnati.

But since getting here two months ago, I’ve read how streetcars are supposed to spur economic growth by linking Clifton with downtown and the waterfront. It’s ridiculous. There’s already Metro for this — specifically the 17, 18, 19 and 78 routes. Lack of economic growth isn’t due to Cincinnati lacking a “cool” streetcar or other “cool” public transportation.

Other cities are cited as examples of how better public transit improves a city. But let’s be honest: Those other cities are nothing like Cincinnati. Not by a long shot.

The problem with conditions here isn’t just economic — it’s a cultural one, a deeply ingrained mentality.

There’s just no sense of getting things done or of creativity here.

I’ve lived in many other cities, and it amazes me how backward it is here. People say Cincinnati is “conservative,” but people in other conservative cities get things done, stay on top of new developments, maintain the city and take care of what they own and how they look/dress. There’s a sense of mature individuality.

Not here. The first thing I saw upon arrival is how rundown and worn out this city is, and its people look just as downtrodden. There’s no real pride or individualism here, only Westsiders and Eastsiders posturing over who’s “better,” cliques of natives who think this is the center of the universe and a lot of small-minded, passive-aggressive hater types — all over the place like swarms of locusts — who don’t want anything ever to get done.

That’s not “conservative.” That kind of mentality doesn’t build anything: cities, business or economies. Address that mentality in your paper. How many other places in the world started a subway and never finished it?

So streetcars are supposed to be the next “cool” thing to spark economic growth? Come on, it’s a cultural problem, not a public transportation issue. You should realize that much. It’s obvious just from reading your paper — look at your articles and all the childish corruption they constantly reveal, for example. And by the way, the public transportation in this town is incredibly inefficient by design. I’m amazed at how stupidly it’s run. This is what should be addressed rather than streetcars.

A Metro system that’s actually useful: That’s what “shoulda” “woulda” “coulda” been. Get that accomplished first. It’s already here. Fix it.

Then work on changing the mentality here. That’s when you’ll see economic growth. Just look at Over-the-Rhine — really think a bus on a rail is gonna get rid of that? — Michael Williams Downtown



06.10.2009 at 04:36 Reply
Michael, I'm not sure what other cities you have lived in, however, I have lived in Cincinnati for 35 years. I have also lived in Paris, spent many holidays, in many different places out of the country and I have spent a lot of time in New York. I feel qualified to say that I am well traveled and have immersed myself into other cultures. I love all of the places I have been for many reasons including Cincinnati. I am suprised at your disdain and what seems to be an immediate judgement of a city you have just recently arrived in. Yes we do have problems with our metro system, however, just because we have obstacles to overcome with the Metro system, does not mean that we can not expand and better our means of public transportation by adding street cars (subway) system. In addition, since you have such strong feelings on the subject, perhaps you should address them at a city council meeting, where your comments will actually be heard by a group of people that can do something about it. However, be prepard to have a proposal that has been looked at by an expert that has a PHD in City and Regional Planning. Otherwise, you will just be one more person in Cincinnati who complains about the city but doesn't do anything to change the situation. Since you are such a "cultured" individual, I am suprised that you have not noticed what the city does have to offer. We have a fine arts community which is rich with diversity, we have a great selection when it comes to dining. It may not all be in the "city of cincinnati" but it is probably a 10 to 15 minute drive away from the city. And being the well travelled man you are you know in a big city you could spend 1/2 of an hour in a cab and not get past a mile. Mostly, yes we do have our own culture, a mix of cultures, and like all places there are close minded people here. It seems they have added one more to their group...you...if you really care...get off of your rearend and use your brilliance to help fix what needs to be fixed. Pick one think from the list; bettering education, the public transportation system, reducing crime, creatng more efficient services for the homeless and hungry, finding a cure for cancer...etc, etc, etc. If you look arond you will find a million people in cincinnati trying to make a difference in their own way. And,perhaps, if you could try not to be so judgemental, you may find Cincinnati has more to offer than you think.