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Always a Progressive

By Readers · June 27th, 2007 · Letters
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I appreciate the coverage of my campaign in Porkopolis (issue of June 13). I noticed, however, a slightly questioning tone.

I'd like to take this opportunity to set record straight about my progressive roots. The article mentioned that my campaign lingo "doesn't quite mesh with his new campaign strategy of de-emphasizing his radical history."

I am not de-emphasizing my past and have never done so. As David Crowley has said, "Brian is a long-time friend who will be a torch-bearer for our beliefs, someone who can carry on our work after my final term ends in 2009. His commitment to core Democratic ideals is unflinching." In my interview with the committee for the Democratic Party endorsement, I was asked about my past, to which I responded, "I do not apologize for any of my beliefs and actions of conscience, and I am proud of the positions I've taken."

Rev. Maurice McCrackin, my mentor, strongly challenged the system without personally attacking individuals, degrading, belittling or name-calling. I have and am trying to follow the example and wisdom he gave me. My stance from which I have never wavered is this: I am anti-war, anti-racist, pro-environment, pro-inclusion, pro-equal gay rights. I appreciate the coverage of my campaign in Porkopolis (issue of June 13). I noticed, however, a slightly questioning tone.

I'd like to take this opportunity to set record straight about my progressive roots. The article mentioned that my campaign lingo "doesn't quite mesh with his new campaign strategy of de-emphasizing his radical history."

I am not de-emphasizing my past and have never done so. As David Crowley has said, "Brian is a long-time friend who will be a torch-bearer for our beliefs, someone who can carry on our work after my final term ends in 2009. ... His commitment to core Democratic ideals is unflinching." In my interview with the committee for the Democratic Party endorsement, I was asked about my past, to which I responded, "I do not apologize for any of my beliefs and actions of conscience, and I am proud of the positions I've taken."

Rev. Maurice McCrackin, my mentor, strongly challenged the system without personally attacking individuals, degrading, belittling or name-calling. I have and am trying to follow the example and wisdom he gave me.

My stance from which I have never wavered is this: I am anti-war, anti-racist, pro-environment, pro-inclusion, pro-equal gay rights.

The black community, the peace community, the environmentalists and our gay community can count on my support. In short, I am a Progressive Democrat.

I mentioned these facts to everyone I spoke with during the day referenced in the article (the Pride Parade on June 9). I feel that I'm now working inside and outside the system. I am helping people outside the system understand how they can stand up for themselves to receive more fair and just treatment and working inside to help the system to better understand the needs of its citizens.

I feel there's no change in my core progressive beliefs but that there is a broadening of the ways I feel I can make a change in this city.

-- Brian Garry, Clifton

The Good Life in OTR
In response to Patrick Garland's letter Downtown Streetcar Will Be a Waste (issue of June 13), I moved to Cincinnati a year ago from Boston after having lived in San Francisco and New York City as well. As a die-hard urbanite who doesn't drive, I didn't even consider any neighborhood other than Over-the-Rhine.

After a year, I know I've made the best choice. Yes, it has a troubled past and is certainly not without its problems, but so are most of the urban areas I've found interesting elsewhere.

Between OTR and Downtown, I walk to almost everything I need or want. For anything that's too far, I have a bicycle and a bus pass. I don't ever go to Hyde Park or Oakley, as Garland suggested I do; why would I need to? I have the best of Cincinnati practically at my doorstep.

For whatever it's worth, OTR is changing: There's increased retail and available rehabbed housing stock. I'm not going to argue about whether or not that's a good thing, but there's clearly a growing demand for easy public transit in and around Downtown.

Downtown is not dying, as Garland pronounced, and OTR has not crumbled. I have managed to carve out a rich life for myself in the very areas he so definitively dismissed.

-- Maya Drozdz, Over-the-Rhine

Streetcar = Growth
Patrick Garland claimed that Over-the-Rhine and downtown Cincinnati "aren't coming back to any level near their peak" in his letter "Downtown Streetcar Will Be a Waste" (issue of June 13). While I won't argue that Vine Street will ever be like the world-renowned Vine Street of the 19th century and that Cincinnati won't reclaim its title as the Athens of the West any time soon, I do think a streetcar system could be a step in the right direction.

Garland said he thinks it would make more sense to have a new streetcar in the outlying suburbs of the city because, unlike the other cities he mentioned, there is nothing to do in Cincinnati's central district. But anyone with any sense who's actually gone to Over-the-Rhine/Downtown any time recently would realize this isn't true.

I moved back to Cincinnati, where I grew up, a few years ago. I decided to move to Northside, but if Downtown had a streetcar where I could get off in the morning to go to Shadeau Breads or the Ohio Bookstore or to visit a friend who lives in a new condo on Vine Street before her first class of the day at the Art Academy of Cincinnati, I probably would have moved to OTR, where I went to high school.

A streetcar could take me up to Tucker's on 13th Street for the best burger in town. Later on at night I could go to a performance at the iconic Music Hall or the gorgeous Memorial Hall next door, then walk across Washington Park (which I do at night, safely, at least once a week) and keep going to Lucy Blue's pizza window before making my way to any of the many clubs/bars Downtown.

With a streetcar, people would be able to enjoy them much easier. Whereas Garland thinks no one would want to be on a streetcar where they would be too scared to drive -- which is a ridiculous statement -- that is exactly why people would ride the streetcar. Even if they weren't scared, it's wonderful not to drive to go out on the town.

Garland might have spent time in the cities he mentioned (Washington D.C., Portland, Boston, New York, Atlanta), but I have actually lived in many of them. And in every city I've lived where a new streetcar or at least a new line for a streetcar has been built, the city prospers in ways it wasn't prospering before. If you build it, they will come.

-- Andrew Schmidt, Northside

 
 
 
 

 

 
 
 
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