BY CLIFF RADEL
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Be careful when you open your voice mail. Taking a position on Issue 3 tends to crank up the volume.
"Wake up, Cincinnati! Discrimination against a class of people is harmful, cruel and totally unacceptable." -- Michael D. Drapal, Hyde Park.
"Pack your bags, creep!" -- E.D. Kraig, Oakley.
"This city should be ashamed the way we treat people who are different." -- Evelyn Steinman, Amberley Village.
"Issue 3 breeds ignorance." -- Marylee McCallister, Mount Washington.
So went days of response to a recent column in which I expressed my embarrassment that Cincinnati still has a law banning legal protection specifically for gay people.
That was after the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to hear an appeal of Issue 3, the 5-year-old ban on the city's passing any law extending specific legal protection against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodation based on a person's sexual orientation. Issue 3 was a ballot initiative passed by an overwhelming majority of voters in 1993 after the city tried to include such specific language in the Human Rights Ordinance.
And I'm still embarrassed that the people of my hometown passed such a small-minded notion.
"You're "embarrassed' for our community? I'm embarrassed by you." -- Dean Prine, downtown.
"If you're so "embarrassed' by Cincinnati, leave." -- J.J. Benson, Forest Park.
"When people ask me where I'm from, I tell them Censornatti. I'm not proud of my hometown primarily because of its pervasive conservatism and overall attitude of intolerance." -- Douglas A. Crawford, Los Angeles.
"The court has spoken. The people have spoken. This is a system of laws. Get over it." -- George Wilder, Green Township.
"I'm straight. But I'm not narrow. When people bash gays, it makes me wonder: What would Jesus do?" -- Julie Bauke, Loveland.
"Cincinnati must stop being interested in what people do in their bedrooms." -- Troy Douglas, Chillicothe.
"You're showing a very liberal side. Shame on you." -- William Post, Clifton.
"Cincinnati is doing itself a terrible disservice through an apparent fear of diversity." -- John "Married and the father of three" Brennan, Clifton.
Kathy Nalepa called from Anderson Township to say: "I am not gay. I am married with a daughter. But I am ashamed at the so-called Christian community we have in this town. What could be more Christian than accepting others?"
Strippers not welcome
Nobody wants to live next to a strip joint.
That's the gist of readers' responses to Friday's column about the plan to open a new strip club in Covington. The city nixed the idea. But the club's owners intend to appeal the decision. The people living near the club's contested location just want their neighborhood to be peaceful and quiet. And free of strippers.
"The trouble with strip joints is that somebody has to live next to them." -- Jason Burns, Reading.
"The women who take their clothes off at these clubs are not exercising their free-speech rights. They're selling their bodies." -- Anne Hamilton, Norwood.
"If a strip club opened at the end of my street, I'd move." -- Bess Mann, Covington.
"Living next to a strip club is like living next to an open sewer." -- Donna Denny, Fort Thomas.
Bridge too close
Plans to build a bridge across the Ohio River at the village of North Bend are not being warmly received. When I talked with people on both sides of the river, nobody was crazy about having all that steel and concrete in their backyard. Response to the column seemed to agree.
"Forget about a bridge at North Bend. It's in the middle of nowhere." -- Paul Talbert, Bridgetown.
"Build it closer to I-75 and make sure it has a lane for light-rail." -- Diane Williamson, Westwood.
"No more bridges over the Ohio. They never come in under budget. And who pays for them? Us taxpayers." -- Robert Pappas, Cleveland.
Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at 768-8379; fax 768-8340.