Be careful when you open your voice mail. George Voinovich may be taxiing down the runway.
"Our governor acts like a juvenile," declared Vivian Crawford of Hyde Park.
"He's a dunce," announced Inez Green of Northside.
Gov. Short Fuse's ticked-off takeoff and continuing protest burned Cathy Bok of Miami Heights.
"He's acting like the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders I teach," she groaned. "They violate the rules. Then their parents send me notes asking me to make an exception. His actions say, 'You can get away with anything.' What a rotten role model."
The teacher was unhappy the governor is fighting a $1,500 fine he recently received from the Federal Aviation Administration. The fine was levied after Mr. Voinovich got mad and ordered his pilot to take off from a Columbus airport. This happened when a no-fly rule was in effect because of a visit by President Clinton.
"There's no justification for breaking the law," declared Bill Gant of Blue Ash.
"It's one thing to get angry and pay the fine," remarked Jack Bogenschutz of Batesville, Ind. "It's another thing to weasel out."
He flies, we pay
Many readers were not too keen on taxpayers footing the governor's legal fees. Mr. Voinovich feels our financial support is justified because the day this dispute took place he was on official business.
"If he is pulled over for drunk driving on his way home from an 'official function,' will we be expected to pay his fine, legal fees and court costs?" asked Renda Dengler of Anderson Township.
"Voinovich should just suck it up and pay the fine," insisted Bill Martin of Deer Park.
"Where do I call to complain about this jerk?" asked Steve Chase of Sharonville.
The number is 852-3100, or in Columbus, (614) 466-3555. Don't call collect. Enough tax dollars have already been wasted on this gubernatorial hissy-fit.
The governor insists he just had to get airborne that day. He was going to visit a steel mill - owned by a major contributor to the Republican Party - in Canton.
"How far away is Canton?" wondered Maurice Shayeson of Wyoming. "Voinovich was in Columbus. That's a two-hour drive from anyplace in the state. Why does he need to fly? He's wasting our money. That guy's got a big head."
And now, for a dissenting opinion. Here's Betty "You-don't-want-to-know-my-last-name" from Monfort Heights:
"God was not coming into Columbus when the governor flew. You're really hard up for material for your column. Why don't you just give it up?"
Ignoring her advice, I wrote again. My next column dealt with three dedicated teachers on the last day of school.
Betty called again. This time, she said: "I tore you down with the governor. Now, I'm going to build you up. It's great to see how hard teachers work, spending money out of their own pockets. They are devoted to educating our kids and making a better world."
Aronoff, the ugly
Little by little, the construction fences are coming down around the University of Cincinnati's Aronoff Center for Design and Art. They're revealing a multicolored, strangely shaped patchwork quilt of a building that's raising eyebrows because of architect Peter Eisenman's distinctive design.
"It's awful-looking and ugly, too," Cliff Scholes of Forest Park said of this award-winning piece of pastel-tinted architecture.
Looks like this don't come cheap. UC's Aronoff has a $36 million price tag.
"It cost three times as much as a regular building," said a UC employee who wished to be anonymous and sounded slightly paranoid as he whispered into his car phone.
"As a taxpayer who works at the university, I would have thought that three buildings would have been better than one that half the students don't like and the other half don't understand or appreciate."
Frank Latimer is in the latter category. He's a student of life and a lecturer in art history at UC's Clermont College.
"I have been telling my classes that the Aronoff is, without question, the ugliest building I have seen in a very long time."
Cliff Radel's column appears Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Available to speak to groups. Tips and comments most welcome. Call 768-8379 or fax at 768-8340.