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Now the whole area is boarded up and littered with broken glass.After the riots in 1968, the two synagogues in our neighborhood packed up and resettled in the pale suburbs.The city ignored a commission's recommendations that it look into charges of police brutality.The neighborhood's commercial strip was trashed and never really recovered -- Newark or Detroit in miniature.Downtown Cincinnati has had its troubles, but it never became a ghost town.The department stores closed, but hotels and a convention center and a lovely addition to the public library were built.In 1968 I was 9 years old and heard on the radio that someone named Martin Luther King had been shot.

Charlie himself served earlier terms as mayor from 1984 to 1990, later becoming a TV journalist and then returning to politics.

I often think that Marge Schott, who shocked everyone with her pro-Hitler remarks a few years back when she still owned the Cincinnati Reds, most likely came by her ideas innocently in a community so sealed off that the views of the 1930's German Bund went unchallenged.

Traditions lazily persist in Cincinnati, some for the better, some for the worse.

Then as now, Cincinnati's West Side was German Catholic, the East Side vaguely WASP, with plenty of blacks and Jews in the middle.

We didn't know from the West Side, and vice versa.

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