Monday, June 2, 1997
Callers split on verdict
for Sgt. Sess


BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Be careful when you open your voice mail. Half the people may want to take you to jail.

That was the rough score on my May 16 column calling for the shield of Cincinnati Police Sgt. John Sess. The veteran lawman recently admitted, 13 years after the fact, that he planted marijuana on a suspect with a record for drug-related offenses. He stayed on the job for nearly a month before he was suspended. (He was canned shortly after the column ran.)

Half of the faxes, letters and phone calls that poured in came to Sgt. Sess' defense. Half wanted him to turn in his badge.

"Who appointed you judge?" - Jane Simms, Westwood.

"The Cincinnati police cannot improve themselves until they heal the mistakes of the past. Sgt. Sess, although he made a mistake, should be commended for telling the truth." - Ann McKiernan, Covedale. "He lost the right to wear that badge the moment he planted that evidence." - Ellen Leaver, Mount Airy.

"Sgt. Sess is a martyr." - Andrew Robins, Mount Washington. Mark Cook called from Reading to say, "It's right to call a spade a spade. The gang in blue has been getting away with murder for too long."

"I can't believe anyone should be hung out for telling the truth." - Ralph Wilson, Mount Washington.

Bus stop

One route from welfare to work in Cincinnati travels Interstate 71 aboard Metro's No. 72 express bus.

The route is designed to transport people looking for work to businesses looking for workers. Since No. 72's schedule was revised in March, adding late-night and weekend runs, ridership has grown on the so-called "reverse commute" bus that goes from downtown to Paramount's Kings Island.

But funds for the bus run out in November when I-71's repairs are complete and the orange barrels disappear.

My column May 19 praised the route and the concept of helping put people and jobs together. And it was also a call for business and government to chip in to keep the buses rolling.

That pitch made Stu Mahlin rev up his fax machine from Hyde Park. "What's needed," he wrote, "is . . . a clear path consisting of legislation that would make it easy for private individuals and - or small businesses to set up 'jitney' services using private cars, vans, etc."

Chuck Beatty called from Mason to say the bus is a good idea. But he's not paying for it. He had bus taxes removed from his paycheck, "when I worked in Cincinnati for 20 years. Now that we have a bus coming out here, they want more tax money. That amounts to double-dipping."

David G. Walters wants more, not fewer, reverse-commute lines. Faxing from Northside, the regular bus rider called for this concept to be extended along Montgomery and Hamilton avenues. This could "save Metro some money" and "guess where some of that money could potentially go . . .." Let me guess. To the I-71 express.

Fountain Square Redo

Fountain Square looks shabby, run-down and dated. And that's even without Larry Flynt taking up good sidewalk space handing out free Hustlers to guys in old leisure suits.

The city announced recently it was repairing the square's crumbling pavement and the fountain's leaky pipes. My May 9 column suggested: Don't stop there. Re-do the whole thing. Wreck that blah concrete performance pavilion. Strip the metal stripes from the Fifth Third Center's exoskeleton. Give the square some ambiance, some Cincinnati pizazz.

"Don't remodel that tower. Wreck it." - Sarah Lewis, Reading.

"Make the square look like an island, like it did before they ruined it in the remodeling of 1969." - Dorothy Thomas, Fort Wright.

"Fountain Square needs an exciting face lift," said Jan Ranard of Symmes Township, "and downtown needs stores you don't have at your friendly neighborhood mall, like Nordstrom's and Crate & Barrel."

Terry Garrard of Hyde Park called the square's pavilion, "an embarrassment to our city."

"Nuke the pavilion," said Joe Fiorino of Westwood. "It's uglier than a bridge abutment."

Cliff Radel's column appears in The Enquirer Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Available to speak to groups. Tips and comments most welcome. Call 768-8379 or fax 768-8340.

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