A Project Named Desire

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I'm not sure who decided that the Blue household consists of young, upwardly-mobile, wealthy Republicans, but apparently we've gotten on some sort of list. The evidence? Every month we are inundated with magazines like "Housetrends" "Best" and "Cincinnati Gentleman" (now apparently reborn as "Cincinnati Profile"). These slick rags appear as regularly as cicadas in our mailboxes, informing us on such important topics as where to go to purchase a computerized programmable shower system, and the importance of using only synthetic motor oil in one's pricey German vehicles. Since we can't figure out why we get these magazines, or how to stop them, they usually end up in the recycle bin or as craft-fodder for LB. I will occasionally read them with the sense that somehow an intelligence document from the other side has accidentally ended up in my possession. If I am ever in the market for a $5,000 table lamp, now I know where to go! All in all, harmless (if somewhat over-the-top).

But this month's edition of "Cincinnati Profile" published an article that was so terrible that I felt something needed to be said. The headline reads "The Streetcar Debate", which makes one believe that, perhaps, the article will engage in a spirited treatment of the merits of Cincinnati's long-running public transportation debate. Instead, the article is a borderline-racist, overtly conservative/Republican/elitist rant masquerading as journalism. I was looking for Sean Hannity to weigh in. Apparently the "profile" part of the new name for this rag means "we have profiled your zip code and figure that you must be a white Republican".

I will admit that I am woefully uneducated about the streetcar issue. While I tend to turn a skeptical eye toward any project that uses "Cincinnati City Council" and "88 million dollars" in the same sentence, I find it ludicrous that a city of over two million people (yes, that many people live here) has such an underfunded, underutilized, and, well, unsexy public transportation system. The fact that I can't get from the number one center of commerce (downtown) to the number two (uptown) directly and cheaply is ridiculous. And it is past time that we enable those who don't drive to experience all there is to offer in both areas. What many outsiders don't realize is that Cincinnati's urban core is flourishing. My love for downtown and uptown Cincinnati is a post for another time, but suffice it to say, both residential population growth and business presence has only increased in the last few years, offering services and jobs unavailable elsewhere in the city.

Apparently no one at "Cincinnati Profile" got that message. Here are two actual quotes from the piece:

"All that stands between the two neighborhoods is Over-the-Rhine, where the mood is post-Apocalypse, rundown abandoned buildings, high crime and unemployment, a neighborhood where a flat tire can become an adventure that doesn't end well".

"Street corners along 12th Street, Elm and Race were packed with African Americans who did not appear to be members of the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber".

The article gives lots of print space to members of various parties opposed to the streetcar while not bothering to interview anyone in favor of the proposal other than City Manager Milton Dohoney, himself a member of the city government and not necessarily a streetcar expert. One of the most-quoted opponents is Dr. Brad Wenstrup, whose credentials are apparently that he is a Republican planning to run for Mayor, and a podiatrist. It took me approximately 0.075 seconds to google "cincinnati streetcar" to find this site, this site, and this site, all of which could have provided some balance to the article. But that assumes that "Cincinnati Profile" intended to practice actual journalism. I believe that gives more credit to this conservative rag disguised as a "lifestyle" magazine. I'm ashamed to believe that simply based on our address, there are those who believe that I support this shoddy, racist, agenda-driven crap.

So listen up, "Cincinnati Profile", you can go ahead and cross this liberal, Democratic, public-transportation using (yes we do!), downtown-shopping family off of your distribution list. And in the process you might save a tree or two. Ha! Gotcha!!

Posted by oballard at 1:39 PM  
~m said...

i don't know much about the streetcar issue either but one of those sites referrenced the scads of money Portland's streetcar system brought to PDX. But the PDX system is a system that connects pretty much all the outlying suburbs to the downtown. the map for the Cincy system did not seem that extended.
Obviously its ridiculous that a city this size does not have a light rail system. but i have no idea if this proposal is the best of its kind.
anywya, thumbs down for being tagged along demographic lines.

June 30, 2009 at 1:05 PM  
Frippery said...

Glad you posted the links. We live out out out from Cincinnati, but both kids are now in college and we have been tossing the idea of moving downtown for retirement around. Love the city, do not love the idea of living on second, third, or tenth floor. So while cruising the U.C. area for living arrangements for son and daughter we thought ...Clifton...perfect for us! This streetcar would be ideal for us, but it would be nice to connect the suburbs somewhat and show people what they are missing. An expanded line makes more sense to me.

July 30, 2009 at 10:49 AM  

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