Friday, February 29, 2008

Welcome Lavomatic

As a neighbor my nose has smelled the delights of Jean Robert's newest establishment in OTR. When I've parked by car I've smelled the aroma of what I don't know, but it is tempting. I've not been by, it was packed on Tuesday. I am looking forward to their Brunch starting next weekend. I've noticed that parking on the street is at a premium. I wonder how busy it will be tonight with Final Friday going on. This is a prideful day for my Neighborhood. Now we just need another restaurant across the street!!!!

Witte Doesn't Get It

Pete Witte is a Westsider and supports the Westside strongly. In a letter to the editor Pete takes the typical Republican stance on public works by wanting to know when his streetcar will drive by Price Hill Chile. Pete goes on to show his lack of foresight by not see the potential of people living in OTR and Downtown. Pete, you will get yours when the city is able to build up new residents and therefore a bigger tax base. 20 and 30 somethings are not going to move to Price Hill in droves. Sure, OTR doesn't have the massive population it could have. Guess what, put in a street car and it will have a massive increase in residents.

The city is not going to grow its economy by focusing on neighborhoods that do not have the practical purpose of building a large economic base. Downtown, OTR, and Uptown are the core of City's Economy. OTR is lumped in because it is in the middle. Is that fair? Fair in governance doesn't mean that everything the government does has to be divided by an accountant to make sure that each person living in a Price Hill ally has a streetcar stop outside his humble abode. Instead government picks projects that IN THE LONG RUN will help the entire city. OTR has the potential that no other neighborhood in the city has to become a large and vibrant residential base.

Pete also I think suffers from suburbanitis. He, like John Cranley, appear to be focusing on preventing the Urban core of city and the region from become more urban. I don't know if Pete adheres to Cranley's philosophy of what I think is a miniature form of suburan Terra-forming. We live in a city. We do have suburbs. Suburbs exist because there is an urban core. No urban core, then the suburbs will fail. We will not be a Metro area that has anything to offer if we wipe away the urban core and replace it with a sprawling wasteland of conformity.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Yes, We Knew Cummingham Was an Ass

It is actually a good thing that the rest of Country is able to see that Bill Cunningham acts regularly like a complete asshole.

civility has left the GOP. I will praise John McCain for having some civility and trying to chide his party. He will have no impact. Cunningham has likely had a non-stop stiffy since he first spoke to a member of the press about this. Attention is Cunningham's crack and he is addicted.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Streetcar Update

The Finance committee meeting took place yesterday with now reports of a streetcar plan implosion. CityBeat has a good summation of the meeting. The Enquirer also has a article.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Mayor Backs Obama

Add another super delegate for Obama. Anyone make it to the event at UC today? How was it?

Speaking of beer...

...the historic Grammer's will reopen this Thursday, just in time for Bockfest! It's got the Wades as backers, and is being managed by Ryan Breen (formerly of Greenup Cafe) and Lois Parker (formerly of the Coach and Four). Over-The-Rhine has lost some of of its old character, when the area was lined with beer halls and breweries, so it'll be interesting to get a small taste of what the area used to be like.

And just in time for Bockfest!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Mmm, Beer.

Finally, for now, in the interest of regionalism, I'll note that the Midwest Beer Festival is taking place in Covington today. 35 bucks gets you access to beer from 25 breweries, a buffet, and a souvenir glass.

On a related note, NPR recently discovered and reported on the best job ever. Try not to envy this guy too much.

Indy Wants Streetcars Too?

A smaller midwest city is contemplating streetcars. One notion in the article is "keep it simple."

Is that the battle line that is forming in the Cincinnati Street car fight? Do we have three camps now?
1. Those who want to start simple with a Riverfront to Findlay Market Line, then expand later to an Uptown line.
2. Those who want to start big, requiring a plan to include funding for a line to Uptown, other neighborhoods and a connection to the Metro bus system.
3. Those who want seek to make the Urban city into a suburban wasteland. The leader of that pack is John "When can I drink a beer at my favorite chain sports bar" Cranley.

Option 2 sounds like a good long run ideal, but the fight appears to be over what can get done and what can be paid for. I hope those in camps 1 and 2 don't let the passe thinkers in camp #3 win.

Packin' Heat At City Hall

Shortly after Mayor Mark Mallory took office, he ordered the removal of the metal detectors guarding City Hall's front entrance, arguing for more public access to the building where the people's business is conducted. Now, Kevin Osborne reports that the metal detectors are coming back, and being joined by three armed security guards.

There seems to be a juxtaposition between what our city leaders say and what they do. We're constantly told how safe downtown is (and by and large, I think that message is correct). But Mayor Mallory is afraid to venture out into the city without a police escort (his bodyguard/security detail/whatever was even seen with Mallory at Senator Clinton's Skyline appearance--apparently, the mayor was worried that the presidential candidate's Secret Service contingent might not be up to handling an armed threat on its own). And now we learn that our elected leaders and City employees don't feel safe working in City Hall unless constituents coming to see them pass through a metal detector.

Is a weapon check at the entrance to every government building simply a cost of living in the twenty-first century that isn't even worthy of discussion or comment anymore? Or should we demand better than kneejerk responses from our leaders?

Open Thread For Hillary

Was anyone at today's town hall meeting? What's your reaction to Senator Clinton's performance?

And is anyone else surprised by how quickly Senator Clinton's lead (at least according to polling data) has shrunk? The Washington Post has Texas as a dead heat, and Ohio as a 50-43 Clinton edge (down from a 20-point lead a few weeks ago). Is seeing Senator Obama really that magical an experience, or is there something else at work here?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Cincinnati's Top Ten Restaurants-- Cincinnati Magazine, March 2008.

1. Boca
2. Jean Robert at Pigall's
3. Orchids at Palm Court
4. Nicola's
5. Slims
6. Jean Ro Bistro
7. Cumin
8. Jo An
9. Nectar
10. Daveed's at 934

As usual, Boca and Pigall's flip flop for top restaurant. I'm surprised to see Slims and Cumin on this list (not because they're not good, they are, but because these lists skew towards the expensive and "special") and I thought Daveed's would place higher. What do you think? Which restaurants were snubbed, and which don't deserve to be on there?

Shameless Promotion Time

Time is running out on your chance to vote in City Beat's 2008 Best of Cincinnati (or Cincinnatuh as my Kentucky friends say) survey. Please go vote and be sure to vote for YOU KNOW WHAT as best blog --- Number 153 on the survey -- and vote for The Banks as Best Place To Take Visitors, Best Playground, Best Hot Spot, Best Romantic Hideaway, and Best Use of Public Funds. Voting ends March 1. Granted this may not be as important as the Ohio primary vote you cast on March 4, but please remember that Julie, Donald and I are on probation (or at least I am) and Griff is watching closely. I approved this ad because it is time Cincinnati had a blog as full of queenly vision as the Queen City herself.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

White Death 2008

OK...Here's an open thread for your commute stories. Have at it.

For me: at about 4:00, I left my downtown office to travel up 71 to Lebanon. You can imagine how well that went. The drive back down, which commenced around 8, was almost as much fun.

Roxanne Kills The Streetcars

According to the Enquirer, Roxanne Qualls will introduce a motion--which is already publicly backed by a majority of Council--to change the streetcar proposal so that rather than building the downtown-OTR loop, the streetcar would immediately include an uptown line. Under the current proposal (the one that Qualls is supplanting), the "loop" would be built first, with the uptown line added later.

Even the smaller, less ambitious looop initially proposed involves a huge outlay of public funds. But the Councilmembers supporting it had seemed to work through a way to finance it. I'm not sure there's any real hope that Council would pass a streetcar proposal that includes the increased pricetag that comes along with the Uptown link; it would be difficult to imagine finding the funding to do it immediately, rather than in the two phases initially proposed.

I'm not sure if Qualls is intentionally making sure streetcars don't come to Cincinnati, but that's almost certain to be the result of her actions.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

On The Docket: Stopping The Insanity

Gerry Porter bought a home in Green Township in 1991. In 1995, he was convicted of a misdemeanor sex-related crime, and in 1999, he was convicted of sexual battery. The trial court labelled him a sexually-oriented offender.

In 2003, Ohio enacted what we all call the "1,000-foot rule," the law that forbids sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of a school. A couple years later, the folks in Green Township realized (likely with the help of a GPS device) that Porter's house was 983 feet from St. Jude Elementary. Even though the school isn't visible from the house (or vice-versa) and walking or driving from the house to the school would require traversing a distrance of much more than 1,000 feet, Green Township filed an ejectment action against Pyle. Green Township won in the trial court and again in the court of appeals, even though Porter owned his home and had committed his offense prior to the enactment of the law.

Today, the Ohio Supreme Court, in a 6-1 decision, held that the law is not retroactive. In other words, people like Porter--whose offense was commited prior to the law and who owned a home within 1,000 feet of a school prior to the law--cannot be ejected. The decision does not stop the Ohio legislature from redrafting the law to make it retroactive; the court declined to reach the issue of whether such a law would be constitutional.

This is a terrific win for the Ohio Justice and Policy Center and its director, Cincinnati attorney David Singleton. It's an important first step in injecting some notion of fairness and sanity to Ohio's sex offender registration laws.

Cinciditarod: Registration Closes 5PM Thursday

Get your team ready for the Cinciditarod: Cincinnati's Urban Iditarod. Registration for the March 1st event end this Thursday February 21st at 5PM.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Bockfest Hall at Former Red Cheetah

One of the big questions on this year's Bockfest has been where the main Bockfest Hall would be located. According to the map of the parade and shuttle it appears it will be at the former Red Cheetah club (aka Sycamore Gardens). If anyone can confirm the map, please chime in.

Regionalism: Explain This To Me Like I'm A Six Year-Old, Okay?

I'm constantly surprised by which of my posts will generate a lot of responses, and which will go unnoticed. My post on Moe's closing, for instance, drew far more comments than I had anticipated. (And I reiterate: the point of the post was not to express schadenfreude over the failure of a northern Kentucky business, but instead to make a broader point about the way some seem to view downtown Cincinnati.) Several of the comments focused on the theme of "regionalism" (and what a great idea it is).

I have to admit to having two questions:
  • What do people mean when they say (or write) "regionalism"?
  • Is it really a desirable end in and of itself?

If I'm a Cincinnatian desiring the best for Cincinnati, does that inevitably mean I want the best for surrounding communities, as well?

There are certain types of "regionalism" that would always seem to be beneficial. For instance, City Manager Milton Dohoney is working on a plan to turn Cincinnati Water Works into a regional water district. While of particular benefit to Cincinnati (with regards to increased revenue), as I understand the theory, the expansion would drive down water rates across the district. So that's a win-win.

But some of the commenters to the Moe's post seem to suggest that "regionalism" meets rooting for Newport (and Covington and West Chester and others) to have thriving business communities. But I question the wisdom of that, as I'm not sure that the figurative pie from which each sovereign's economy must draw money is unlimited. For instance, should Cincinnatians be pleased if the former Jillian's is converted into a casino? Certainly members of Council don't think so, as they seem poised to push a state-wide measure that would permit the building of casinos in any county neighboring a state with casinos. Does a Jillian's Casino increase tourist traffic to the entire "region," or does it instead suck money away from Cincinnati and surrounding communities? And don't "regionalism" efforts have particular problems here, where we're not just dealing with disparate local sovereigns, but municipal governments located in three different states (one of the issues I'm thinking of here, obviously, is tax revenue)? If a major retailer is considering locating in downtown or Sharonville, should Cincinnati compete for it, or be content that even in Sharonville, the new business would be in the "region"?

So tell me, regionalists: when do I have to play nice in the sandbox, and when am I allowed to root, root, root for the home team?

College Hill Condos Coming

Al. Neyer is set to start selling condos for its $10 million condo development at the corner of Hamilton and North Bend Road, the Enquirer reports. Once the company sells nine, it will commence ground-breaking. This is a great news for the intersection, the development of which has long been a central focus for the College Hill community.

I'm fascinated by the people who buy condos site-unseen. It's a fairly common practice, as most of the new condo developments in the area are 80 to 100 percent sold out by the time they're completed. If you're one of these eager-beaver buyers, weren't you nervous about buying something you haven't seen yet? Do these people typically buy for an investment opportunity with an eye towards flipping the condo in a few years, or are the early buyers long-term residents?

I'd love to buy a condo at a new development in either downtown or OTR, but I can't get past my need to walk through a place before I plunk down a chunk of change.

On The Docket: Smiling Bob Meets Uncle Sam

Back on January 8, a jury was selected to hear the case of United States v. Berkeley Premium Netraceuticals (and several of its corporate officers). Earlier today, closing arguments were completed and the jury was given final instructions. Deliberations are set to commence tomorrow morning. (The Enquirer's most recent article on closing arguments, which began last week, is here.) I've never been involved in a trial of this length, and have often wondered how one finds a jury of twelve (plus a couple alternates) who can give up their employment for a month or longer.

Berkeley is the company that manufactures and markets Enzyte, a product which Berekeley claimed (often through ads featuring "Smiling Bob") could enhance a certain part of the male anatomy.

In 2004, the Enquirer reported that Berekeley was a $250 million per year company, employing 1,000 people locally.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Another Restaurant Closes; Let's Panic

Yet another downtown restaurant has closed. It's a clear sign that downtown is in trouble, and isn't drawing enough people to support the dining and entertainment venues there. So don't buy or rent living space there, and certainly don't think about going there to spend your money. In all likelihood, the restaurant closed because people are so afraid they'll become crime victims when they come to the area.

Oh, wait!!! I misread the linked article! It's not a downtown restaurant at all--it's Moe's Southwest Grill in Newport on the Levee. So everytime you see the word "downtown" in the previous paragraph, replace it with "Newport."

Sorry. Of course the closing of Moe's doesn't mean that Newport--or even the Levee--is in trouble. But that's how certain people would be spinning the story if it were a downtown restaurant. So next time a downtown establishment closes up, can we refrain from taking the "the sky is falling approach" to reporting news? (For "certain people," you can fill in the name of your favorite Enquirer reporter or City Beat blogger.)

I'm sorry, by the way, to see Moe's go, as I am anytime a business closes and employees inevitably lose jobs and have their lives disrupted. I don't mean to make light of a bad situation for those adversely affected.

But Where's The Big Hair?

Did anyone else feel like they were trapped in some strange time warp last night? NBC's primetime lineup consisted entirely of American Gladiators and Knight Rider. (Who agrees with me that if you put the women's winner, Monica, up on a joust platform with the men's winner, Evan, that Monica would win in about 6 seconds?)

Don't get me wrong--I watched every minute of both. (As a male of a certain age, watching a new installment of Knight Rider was some sort of preordained, primordial duty.) I'm just sayin'....

Detour Ahead

I'm sure that it's absolutely necessary, but the closing of the Eighth Street viaduct isn't going to make getting to the West Side (or back Downtown from the West Side) much fun at all.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Portman for McCain's VP?

On Meet the Press this morning, Rob Portman (former 2nd District Congressman from Ohio and Cincinnati Resident) was mentioned as a possible VP running mate for John McCain.

From a local angle, how much attention would that put on Cincinnati if a local person were on the national ticket? Would that be good for us, no matter what? We are looking to be a big stop on the campaign trail again, with the nation NAACP convention being a stop for the Presidential nominees. I don't look forward to those who seek to bash the city at all cost (say Chris Smitherman or Joe Deters for example) getting the opportunity to frame the discussion when ever Cincinnati is referenced.

Portman is not considered on the A list for the VP slot, but logically he has the economic background McCain lacks. From a GOP perspective, one

Would Portman, a fairly well liked former Ohio Congressman, give McCain Ohio?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Advantage Democrat?

I've been a little post-happy the last two days. I promise, this is the last one for the weekend (unless something really interesting comes up tomorrow).

The conventional wisdom is that the Democrats' prolonged primary season will benefit John McCain. Supposedly, McCain can now begin "uniting" the Republican Party behind him and begin a national general election campaign, while Barack and Hillary are left to squabble over who the nominee will be. I've begun to wonder if the opposite is true.

As you may recall, the Florida legislature moved the date of its primary to be ahead of Super Tuesday. The Democratic National Committee had told it not to do so, and threatened to refuse to seat Florida's delegates at the convention. Well, Florida stuck to its guns (and according to the current DNC rules, Florida will have no voice in choosing the Democratic nominee). The major Democratic candidates all agreed not to campaign in Florida before its primary.

The Republicans took a more laid-back approach, though, and just stripped Florida of half of its delegates to the Republican convention. The Florida Republican party was thrilled. It believes that as a result, the Republican candidate will have a head start in Florida for the general election, since he's already campaigned and built an organization there, whereas the Democrats didn't bother. (The DNC is still weighing whether to hold caucuses in Florida and Michigan, which also jumped the gun, and seat delegates based on those results.)

Does the same hold true for the Democrats? Three states that are sure to be pivotal in November--Wisconsin, Texas, and Ohio--are going to see a whole lot of love from Clinton and Obama. We already know about the intense organization-building taking place in Cincinnati, and I can only assume the same is happeneing in Madison, Milwaukee, Houston, Dallas, and so on. So this supposed disadvantage (that the Dems will actually elect a nominee rather than simply coronate one) might work out in the Democrats' favor. Well in advance of the conventions, the Democratic nominee will have GOTV organizations in place. The still-to-be-contested primary states will have a lot of opportunity to see the eventual nominee. And John McCain will have to start from scratch.

Any thoughts?

Cincinnati: More Progressive Than You Think?

I'm a little reluctant to post this for fear of starting a religious flame war in the comment thread. But as a born-and-raised Presbyterian (the son, in fact, of a Presbyterian pastor), I can't pass up this story.

Tuesday night, the Presbytery of Cincinnati (roughly the equivalent of a diocese, but governed democratically rather than by a bishop) voted to send an overture to the General Assembly (the Presbyterian Church's national governing body, which meets once every two years) to permit the ordination of openly gay and lesbian pastors, elders, and deacons. The Enquirer's coverage is here.

It's certainly not surprising that a presbytery is sending such an overture to the General Assembly. This is a battle that the Presbyterian Church (USA) has been fighting for years. Many believe the issue will ultimately force some sort of formal schism in the church. Some, in fact, are openly working towards such a schism. (It's not easy for a congregation to separate itself from the Presbyterian Church, though; each individual church's property is held in trust by the presbytery in which it sits, so any congregation that "left" would also leave behind its building. If there's a schism, expect lots of nasty battles in secular courts on this issue--the Methodists are already fighting them.)

Is is surprising, however, that the overture is coming from the Presbytery of Cincinnati. This is a city that hasn't always been gay-friendly (think about the now-repealed Article XII). Just a few years ago, the Presbytery of Cincinnati defrocked Steven Van Kuiken for performing same-sex wedding ceremonies. (You can read City Beat's article on the resulting aftermath at Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church, where Rev. Van Kuiken had been pastor, here.)

I really like it when Cincinnati surprises me like this.

Big Question Left Unanswered

Howard Wilkinson summarizes the Clinton and Obama events in Cincinnati yesterday. But he leaves unanswered the single most important question on the minds of Cincinnati voters:

Does Hillary Clinton like Cincinnati chili?

(In Howard's defense, he does note that the campaign staff and Clinton's press flotilla took with them a rather large to-go order. But there's no word on Senator Clinton's own preference. How can we choose our nominee if we don't know where the candidates stand on Cincinnati chili? Hopefully, Howard will do better next time one of the candidates is in town.)

Friday, February 15, 2008

Why I Was At Music Hall Tonight

I turned 18 in 1992. In August, in fact--after the primaries. So the first time I ever cast a ballot, it was in the George H.W. Bush-Bill Clinton presidential race. I had been excited for months by Bill Clinton. I had been enraptured by the Democratic National Convention that year. Watching (on TV) Bill Clinton walk towards and enter Madison Square Garden once enough delegates had cast votes to secure the nomination, I felt chills. When he accepted the nomination, I was spell-bound and thrilled with his speech. Here's how it ended:
Somewhere at this very moment, another child is born in America. Let it be our cause to give that child a happy home, a healthy family, a hopeful future. Let it be our cause to see that child reach the fullest of her God-given abilities. Let it be our cause that she grow up strong and secure, braced by her challenges, but never, never struggling alone; with family and friends and a faith that in America, no one is left out; no one is left behind. Let it be our cause that when she is able, she gives something back to her children, her community, and her country. And let it be our cause to give her a country that's coming together, and moving ahead -- a country of boundless hopes and endless dreams; a country that once again lifts up its people, and inspires the world.
Let that be our cause and our commitment and our New Covenant.
I end tonight where it all began for me: I still believe in a place called Hope.

I remember being a first-year college student at the University of Chicago, and gathering in a dormitory lounge with fellow students to watch the general election results come in on the TV. We all jumped up and down, slapped high-fives, and hugged each other when the networks declared Clinton the winner.

I haven't been that excited about a candidate since then. Until Barack Obama.

I was at the Obama breakfast at the Westin about a year ago. It marked the first time I'd ever given money to a political candidate. Hearing him speak (even at that event, where he didn't give a fire-and-brimstone stump speech) leaves me with goosebumps. It's clear to me that he's the new torchbearer of Bill Clinton's 1992 message of hope.

The point of this post has not been to convince you to vote for Barack Obama. (If it were, I'm a miserable failure, as this isn't the kind of argument that persuades anyone to favor a candidate.) Instead, my message is this: no matter who you're supporting--Obama, Clinton, McCain, or Huckabee--I hope you're as excited by your candidate as I am by mine.

On the Docket

As one of the two resident attorney-bloggers, I thought I'd highlight two stories that made news today that might be of interest. (They're completely unrelated, but I'm keeping them in one post for those of you who wish lawyers would just crawl back under the rocks from whence we came.)

First, the Warren County grand jury indicted Michel Veillette, the French Canadian accused of killing his family in Mason, on murder charges that include death specifications. If the prosecution's theory is proven correct, and Mr. Veillette killed his wife and then set fire to his house--thus killing his children--in order to cover up the crime, then his conduct could warrant the death penalty under Ohio law. (Remember, though: an indictment is not proof of a crime. Mr. Veillette remains innocent until 12 Warren County residents unanimously agree otherwise.)

Cincinnati attorney Tim McKenna was appointed to represent Michel Veillette. I'm not sure, but I believe Mr. McKenna is qualified to handle death penalty cases (the Ohio Supreme Court has fairly strict standards governing the requisite qualifications to defend a death penalty case). But I believe the death specifications mean that there will be another attorney joining him at counsel table. Based on the stakes (life and death) and the complex analysis of the physical evidence that will be required for both sides, the trial will likely be one of the most expensive Warren County has seen in some time.

Second (and on a much lighter note), say what you will about Eric Deters (and people have said just about everything about him), he's a fearless, ingenious litigator. With Hugh Campbell (of Villa Hills, KY) and a New Orleans attorney, Mr. Deters has filed suit against the New England Patriots, asserting that they cheated during the 2002 Super Bowl. The lawyers want to represent two groups of people: the defeated St. Louis Rams, who each would have earned an additional $25,000 (plus a really nifty ring) had they won; and the nearly 73,000 fans who attended the game and who each paid $400 for a ticket.

The suit raises a number of interesting questions. First, for the players: don't they need to prove that they would have won if the Patriots hadn't cheated? If they can't prove that, then they can't prove they were "damaged" by the Pats' alleged misconduct. One of the player-plaintiffs now plays in the Arena Football League; can't he argue that if he were a Super Bowl winner, his NFL career would have been longer and his earnings higher?

Second, for the fans: assuming they're entitled to refunds because they thought they were paying to see a fair contest and instead saw a less-than-fair one (which also assumes Deters and friends can prove the cheating), are they entitled only to the face value of the ticket, or can people who bought in the secondary market (or "scalpers") recover what they actually paid? How about a class of fans who watched on TV, who wish to be compensated for the four hours they devoted to watching an unfair game? What about a class of St. Louis fans who suffered emotional distress when their beloved Rams lost?

If the Deters team survives a motion to dismiss, we should put them in the Lawyers Hall of Fame.

Michelle Obama in Over-the-Rhine

I'm just back from Music Hall. There are two lines from Ms. Obama's speech that stayed with me all the way home.

On the success (once unexpected) of the Obama campaign:
I'm proud of America, because we have exceeded our own limited expectations
of ourselves. . . Hope is making an important comeback.

On public education:
When people look at me, I don't want them to see "the next First Lady of the
United States." I want them to see what an investment in public education
looks like.

For any of you there, what were your thoughts on the speech and the assembled crowd?

Could anyone tell: was there a teleprompter at the back of the room? I couldn't see one from my vantage point. If not, then Ms. Obama spoke for an hour from what looked like about a half-page of notes.

Also: if anyone was at Senator Clinton's invitation-only event today, please share your experience here.

Cincy Clear Channel Radio to be Sold?

Regulators have ruled that Clear Channel must sell all of its Cincinnati area radio stations in order for CC's sale to Bain Capital and Thomas H. Lee Partners.

What does this mean for local radio? Will a different media giant come in and start to rule the local airwaves? Will the set of stations that include heavy weights WLW, WEBN, the FOX, and 55KRC, be split up?

Is it possible that we might actually get more local radio programming, instead of the national tripe that rules most of our radio air waves?

For some insider radio debate, check here.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's Just Us. Be Honest.

Now that the Ohio primary contest is in full gear (at least for the Democrats), are you:

a. thrilled that you will finally get to cast a meaningful vote in a presidential primary;
b. secretly annoyed that the longest presidential campaign ever just won't end, but pretending otherwise; or
c. openly indifferent to the election, since all politicians are liars anyhow?

Invaders at the Gate

Yesterday, Howard Wilkinson posted on the alleged support Hillary Clinton has among Republicans, on the theory that she'll be easier to beat in the general election than Barack Obama.

Assuming that's true and Republicans want Senator Clinton to be the Democratic nominee, has anyone thought about the impact that Republican voters might have in Ohio's "open" primary on the Democratic contest? In some parts of Ohio, of course, Republicans will have strong incentive to vote a Republican ballot (the Second Congressional District comes to mind, where there's a primary fight between Jean Schmidt and Tom Brinkman). In some places, though, there really won't be much going on in the way of local primaries (is the DeWine-King judicial primary really enough to keep Republican Hamilton County residents from crossing over to vote a Democratic ballot?). So what's to stop Republicans from voting a Democratic ballot in an effort to nominate Senator Clinton?

Any thoughts?

Full disclosure: I've previously noted my support--both figurative and financial--for the Obama campaign. I do not, believe, however, that "The Republicans hate Hillary" or "The Republicans think they'll beat Hillary" are reasons to vote for Obama.

Goodbye Chelsea, Hello Michelle

Michelle Obama will attending a campaign rally on Friday, February 15, at 6:00 PM at Music Hall. Doors will open at 5:15.

The event is free.

Update: Howard Wilkinson has now posted this information on the Enquirer's Politics Extra Blog.

Forgetfulness About History

Ricky Santorum today on the history of the Republican party and why John McCain is apparently a problem:

"The Republican Party was founded as the antislavery party. It was, thus, a regional party. After the Civil War, the North and Upper Midwest were Republican, the South and Southwest Democratic. With the exception of the solidly Democratic Catholic vote in the Northeast, the North was virtually a one-party region right up to the Great Depression.

All that changed after the 1960s. The Democratic Party embraced the '60s Cultural Revolution, with its hostility to the military and traditional values. The GOP pursued Richard Nixon's Southern Strategy to court Southern conservatives away from the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party became the party of George McGovern and Ted Kennedy. After some stiff resistance, the Republican Party became the party of Ronald Reagan. The upshot today: If you are a conservative, you are a Republican; if you're a liberal, you're a Democrat."

Now, what exactly was that Southern Strategy and isn't there something missing in Ricky's history lesson? I think I have found it. The Democratic Party's embrace of the "60s Cultural Revolution" included an embrace of the civil rights movement and led the GOP to pursue a racist strategy to to court white Southern conservatives away from the Democratic Party. A query for 2008 --- Will the current incarnation of the GOP employ a Southern Strategy against Barak Obama, if the Democratic Party (and this seems likely at the moment) nominates a multiracial (not that all of us are not multiracial) person of color -- a person of African descent -- to be its Presidential candidate? Will such a Southern Strategy be successful in 2008?

I don't want to go to Chelsea

Anyone make it out and meet Chelsea Clinton?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Get On Your Soapbox

Starting today there is another website, beyond this one, that will be telling the story of Cincinnati. Hop up on your own Soapbox and find out the latest about why Cincinnati is a vibrant place to live, work, play, and create.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Contrast and Compare

The Hamilton County Democrats provide information to local party members about events going on for both Presidential Candidates. Here is today's email:
Dear Supporter,

To All Southwest Obama Supporters,

Obama for America is proud to announce the opening of its Cincinnati, Ohio office and an organizational meeting to kick off the final three weeks of the Ohio campaign. Volunteers have been working hard here to spread Barack Obama's message of change to FAMILY, FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS in Cincinnati. Now, following a series of victories across the country, the Obama campaign is happy to welcome everyone to an organizational meeting here in Hamilton County. The details are:

What: Obama for America Organizational Meeting
When: Wednesday, Februrary 13th, 6p.m.-8p.m.
Where: New Friendship Baptist Church, 3212 Reading Road, near the intersection of Martin Luther King and Reading Rd.

This is an important opportunity. It's a chance to meet the staff you'll be working with, hear about what we plan to do here in Hamilton County, and learn about how YOU can help deliver Ohio for Barack Obama. If you haven't been involved, the time is now.

We are also excited to announce the opening of our new Cincinnati office. It's located at:
1524 Madison Rd., in DeSales Plaza, (just across the street from the former Kerry HQ).
The office will be open from 9a.m.-9p.m., everyday, beginning this Thursday, February 14th. We would love to have everyone stop by and check us out. Watch for more events, meetings, and opportunities to get involved over the next week. Phone numbers will be available soon.

There are 20 days until the Ohio Primary.

Hillary in Columbus
Hillary Clinton will be appearing at a Rally in Columbus on Thursday Febrauray 14, at the French Field House, 410 Woody Hayes Dr. Doors will open at 4:30 and the event is open to the public at large.

Rally for Hillary

Sunday, March 2, 2008 at 3:00 PM - 10:00 PM
Where: Adonis, 4601 Kellogg Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45226

General Area: east side of town near near Old Coney, Riverbend, Lunkin airport

This Rally will be held on Sunday, March 2nd, to accommodate some special guests. This is just two days before the Ohio primary!

Doors open at 3:00 PM. $7.00 each person requested. EVERYONE is welcomed to join us in our big HILLARY rally just before the Ohio primary! This event is at an upscale night club, casual dress is OK! Everyone knows that Ohio will be a crucial battleground state, and Hillary needs your support for Ohio! If you're not in Ohio we still want you here, the more the merrier!

This will not be a boring political event, there will be FUN for everyone! We will have keynote democratic speakers, food, fun, dancing and lots of Hillary stuff for everyone! We are having this event in the mid to later afternoon so people from all over the state of Ohio can attend. If you would like to stay the night in Cincinnati please let us know if you need hotel information and we will forward it to you. More info at $7.00 each person requested donation. Camera's are welcomed!

Jeff Harney
We'll pass along information a bout the local Clinton Campaign office as soon as we have it, at this wrting that information is not available.
Both campaigns are represented in the mailing, which isn't the issue. What I believe is illustrated is the failure of the Clinton ground game. The Obama camp is ready to open their Cincinnati headquarters. The writer of the email apologetically tells the reader that they'll let you know as soon as the Hillary camp has a local office. Hillary may win Ohio, but they are not doing by being a little slow on the pick-up. Will a good ground game in in Ohio be enough for Obama win in Ohio?

Do We Have Presidential Nominees Yet?

This is all just too much fun --- even more fun because it captures the very essence of the man and his campaign.

OK, how does McCain make the Huckster go away? And what gives with only counting two-thirds of the caucus sites in Washington State and then declaring McCain the winner?

Can Clinton survive to the March 4 primaries, if Obama has won Kansas, Washington, Louisiana, Maine, DC, Maryland, Virginia, Hawaii and Wisconsin between Super Tuesday and March 4 and she has won none? What does Obama have to do to begin to capture lower educated and lower income non-African American voters? Who gets Latino voters in Texas? Union workers in Ohio? Why are those white Democratic voters who are most secure and comfortable in their financial position in society ("Starbucks Democrats") overwhelmingly supporting Obama thus far, while those white Democratic voters who are least financially secure and comfortable ("Dunkin Donut Democrats") overwhelmingly sticking with Clinton thus far? Does Clinton withdraw if she does not win Ohio AND Texas on March 4? Should she withdraw at that point or should she fight on through Pennsylvania? What if Clinton and Obama remain virtually tied in delegates through the end of all primaries and the super delegates have to make the decision? How should they decide? What do Obama supporters do if the super delegates swing to Clinton? What do Clinton supporters do if the super delegates swing to Obama? Either way they swing, hasn't the process been run according to the rules and neither side has grounds for bitching? Aren't super delegates fundamentally anti-democratic? How will all this end?

Maybe everyone will just get together and decide that the country deserves another Bush term to keep us all safe from terror through torture ----- Mission Accomplished!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Best Of Cincinnati 2008

CityBeat has opened up voting for its Best Of Cincinnati issue. Please be sure to make your choice for Best Blog. With the addition of our new writers, I think Cincinnati Blog has improved. 2007 did see the advent of many great new local blogs, so the competition I think will be tough this year.

The hardest thing about the survey is trying to remember the names of all of the places. I'm having a hard time remembering the actual name of some of the restaurants I like, especially in the more obscure categories.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sorry, It's Not a Blue Pony

In all seriousness a big welcome to A Lucky Step, a new furniture store that just opened in the Gateway area.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Know Theatre : Red Light Winter

Tonight opens up the rep production of Red Light Winter at the Know Theatre. I'm attending tonight, but I think it is sold out! Get your tickets for an upcoming show now. You might email the Enquirer and make them aware that there is something to do Downtown after you eat dinner at one of the many new restaurants. I guess they don't read their own websites much.

CincyPAC - Meet and Greet Congressional Candidates

Sean Parker of CincyPAC has announced an event for Cincinnati YPs to a meet and greet candidates from the 1st and 2nd districts:
Mark your calendars, CincyPAC will be having its first event of 2008 on February 21 at Mixx Lounge on Main St. We are inviting all of the District 1 and District 2 Congressional Candidates to attend the event. Please check the blog at for updates on who is running and who will be attending.

What: Congressional Candidate Meet & Greet with Greater Cincinnati Young Professionals
When: Thursday, February 21, 2008 from 6pm-8pm
Where: Mixx Lounge on Main St.

For Questions or to RSVP: Email
A great chance to meet the candidates and check out a new OTR venue.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Ohio Will Matter

Ohio is going to see a lot of Hillary and Barack over the next month.

CiN Weekly's New Look

Any thoughts on CiN Weekly's website redo? They have conformed with the formating of, so it looks much like the Enquirer's portal, which makes sense since the site now resolves to

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

More Streetcar Obstacles Ahead

This week's City Beat has an article by the always-excellent Kevin Osborne suggesting that Mayor Mallory will have to overcome some significant obstacles to see his streetcar proposal to fruition. Most notably, 3CDC seems to have some concerns about whether they'll continue to get their share of the funding pie once the City starting spending on the streetcar infrastructure:

"We are concerned (that streetcars are) funded with a dedicated revenue stream and a sustainable revenue stream," says Steven Leeper, 3CDC's president. Any financing plan shouldn't rely on funds "presently being used effectively in the neighborhood. We don't want to stop that momentum. We want something that will complement that."
Due to 3CDC's concerns, city officials are tweaking the plan to use less TIF money and likely will borrow more cash. Other ideas also being considered include imposing a special assessment fee on surface parking lots for their "wasted development potential," sources say. There are more than 100 such lots in downtown and Over-the-Rhine.

Many will remember that I wrote a post that was somewhat critical of the streetcar plans a few weeks ago; subsequently, I announced that I've come around--tentatively--to the pro-streetcar side of the issue (not that anyone cares what I think).

3CDC may have a valid concern: the streetcar ought to proceed alongside current development efforts, not in place of them. But assuming that concern can be mollified, there should be no reason for 3CDC to "derail" the streetcar efforts.

It'll be interesting to see what tone the hearing on the 25th takes. If Cranley wants to obstruct what seems like a positive step forward for downtown and OTR, he'll certainly have the opportunity to do so. Hopefully, he take the opportunity to see beyond what he sees as his fairly narrow base of support (which falls squarely outside of downtown) and do the right thing.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

State of the City

Mayor Mallory gave his State of the City speech last night at Playhouse in the Park. How was it received? How does his vision gel with where we are headed? I was very pleased to see a Streetcar Plan from Downtown to Uptown was high on his list.

Read the speech here(doc).

Monday, February 04, 2008

Reader Survey: Fifth and Race

There's currently no proposal at all for the large lot at Fifth and Race (for those of you not sure, we're speaking of the parking lot adjacent to the Millennium Hotel that stretches along Race between Fifth and Sixth). That gives us the opportunity to do our own creative thinking about what should be there. As Grif correctly points out, there's plenty "to do" downtown (I'd add Music Hall and the CAC to his list), but there's always room for more. In no particular order, what would you build at Fifth and Race if the decision were yours?

  • Condos
  • A grocery store
  • A movie theatre (the kind that would show Rambo)
  • An "indie" movie theatre like the Esquire
  • A bowling alley/nightclub like the former Jillian's
  • A really big Chipotle (sorry, that's just me fighting my own substance abuse issues)
  • A gym or health club

Of those, the condos are my least favorite. My thought is that the space should be either (a) something that the neighborhood residents need/want; (b) something that will draw people downtown; or (c) some combination of the two.

Some Monday CinTV Fluff

Queen City Survey ponders TV ideas set in Cincinnati. The 6 given are actually pretty good. I was thinking of a period drama set in the 19th or early 20th Century, call it Pork Journalism and set it is as a drama through the eyes of a Cincinnati Post reporter.

New Blog: OhioFirstPolitics

OhioFirstPolitics will be covering the Ohio 1st Congressional district race. Give it a read.

I Wanted a RED Pony!

There is no pleasing the Enquirer, especially the headline writer for this article Too many restaurants?. What the article lacks is a comparison of how many restaurants used to be downtown and how many are there now. It also incorrectly lumps in dinner restaurants and lunch restaurants in its "analysis." Lunch places like Potbelly and Ingredients are not anything for Jeff Ruby to worry about. I wonder how much of this story stems from talking to Ruby. In the article Ruby sounds like he has no clue what is happen downtown. He tries to be cute with the "San Quentin theory", which fails to recognize that Downtown is growing and more people are eating dinner every night of the week.

Also either Menelaos Triantafillou's is talking about making Downtown a full "neighborhood" where you can get the dry cleaning after dinner or he has never been downtown:
“The number of restaurants is one question, but more important, what else is there? If people go to dinner, and they want to do something else afterward – which is what humans do – there needs to be something else to see: shops or theater. There needs to be synergism,” said Triantafillou. “You see it now around the Aronoff, with Nicholson’s, Nada, the Contemporary Art Center. Think of other cities or, for example, Clifton, where there are all the amenities you need to enjoy a nice night out. That’s what downtown needs.”
Has Menelaos been downtown before? You have over 4 very popular nightclubs, the poison rooms, 4 live theatre companies (and Playhouse up the hill), Arnoff, Taft, Fountain Square, the Blue Wisp. You could drive to Mt. Adams or NKY if you prefer. There are tons of things to do after dinner downtown. That is clearly not an issue. If the guy means there is not a movie theater, than I am going laugh my ass off. Seriously, people don't go to Nada and then want to see Rambo.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fifth and Race: Back to the Drawing Board

Once again, Eagle Realty has failed to deliver on promises for the Fifth and Race site. This time, it appears that the City is unwilling to grant it another extension, and Eagle will no longer retain the development rights.

Eagle looks to blame the City for its failure to come up with $3.8 million in funding. I'm curious about the nature of that money. Surely it isn't the case that Eagle had secured $96 million in funding, and the City wouldn't close the remaining gap to get to $100 million, is it? Or is this one of those situations where an initial $5 or $6 million was needed at the outset, Eagle wanted the City to foot half or more, and there was no guaranteed source for the balance of the $100 million? Anyone have the details?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Cranley Doesn't Get It

john Cranley has never understood urban transportation. If it doesn't get him votes on the Westside, then he's going to "question it". If the Streetcar plan included rebuilding the Price Hill incline, John likely would vote twice to approve that.

If you want to know about the streetcar, how it will help the city, how it will work, check out