Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Free Legal Advice

I don't usually offer legal opinions here at the Cincinnati blog. People don't really read this blog for that. And besides, with a co-blogger who's a "biglaw" partner, I wonder if my place isn't to be seen and not heard with respect to the law; I should just stick to streetcar posts.

But there's a complex legal issue that's risen recently in Hamilton County, and it's one that people seem to have a hard time understanding. So I thought I might be performing a public service by offering the following advice:

Don't steal from the blind guy visually-impaired gentleman who runs the deli at the courthouse!

I know it's tempting. After all, those Hamilton County sheriff's deputies you saw on the way into the building must be a good 20 or 30 feet away; surely you can outrun them. But there's some problems. You know the other people working behind the counter? Turns out that they're not blind. And that big thing, right behind the counter about fifteen feet up on the wall above the cash register, that looks like a camera? It's--well, I know it's surprising, but it's a camera. And it's connnected to some sort of VCR or DVR. And you know all those people who have been in the news, caught stealing from the deli? Like this woman? Or this one? Or this couple? Or this guy? Well, if you're thinking about stealing from the courthouse deli, you're probably not smarter or better at being a thief than they are. Which means you'll get caught. That's what happened to this woman earlier this week. (Sorry. The last woman allegedly stole from the deli.)

And by the way, maybe you've got some experience with the criminal justice system. So you're thinking to yourself that theft of a small amount of money or food is a misdemeanor. The worst that could happen, you're thinking, is some time in the Justice Center. Another problem: in Ohio, theft from an elderly person or a disabled adult (like a blind man running a deli) is a felony. You can go to prison. For a year. Ouch. All for a couple of bucks and a licorice twist.
I hope this has been helpful in resolving any questions you might have about the legality and wisdom of committing theft offenses in the Hamilton County Courthouse.

We're #4!!!!

CityBeat's Best of Cincinnati is out, and Cincinnati Blog came in fourth for reader's pick for best blog. came in first and if you haven't checked out their blog, do so now! They are doing great work promoting local retail!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Policing the Police

There's two noteworthy items regarding the current dust-up between the City, Chief Streicher, and the officers he disciplined for goofing off while on duty. The first is from City Beat's Kevin Osborne. He takes an anti-Streicher approach. The second is an editorial in this morning's Enquirer, which sides with the Chief.

The last few months have been, frankly, terrible for the Cincinnati Police Division. The "highlights":

  • In December, Chief Streicher was taken to the mat by City Council for failing to spend about two million dollars allotted for overtime for extra foot patrols. (Porkopolis)
  • CityBeat revealed that the Chief used about $125,000 in non-budgeted funds to renovate the second floor of police headquarters, where the Chief's office is located. (CityBeat)
  • Officer Patrick Caton was promoted to the rank of sergeant. (Cincinnati Blog)
  • (Ex)-Officer William Simpson pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual battery, charges that arose from conduct that took place while he was on duty; Judge Cooper told him that he had "violated the trust of everyone in the city" and sentenced him to six months in the Justice Center, pursuant to a plea agreement. (Enquirer)
  • Officers were accused of goofing off in a substation; supervisors were accused of not doing enough to stop it; Chief Streicher issued discipline; and the City substantially reduced the sanctions he imposed.
  • Officer Clayton Neel pleaded guilty (after a trial had started) to tampering with records for allegedly intentionally misplacing paperwork pertaining to an acquaintance's OVI arrest, but then withdrew his plea. (Enquirer)

Cincinnati police officers do a dangerous, difficult job for which they aren't thanked enough. But something has to be done to change the headlines that are being generated by the CPD. The good work the officers do--which comprises, by the way, about 99.8% of their total body of work--is getting drowned out by all this other noise.

What's the answer? A change in CPD leadership (should the City, for example, offer Streicher a buy-out that would be difficult to refuse)? Should we just chalk this up to a city that is all-to-eager to criticize its police? Something in between?

Hulu is the Devil!

Some time ago, when I first embarked on a solo law practice, I was spending a great deal of time working from my home-office. The problem with that is that it was too easy to find distractions at home to keep me from doing the less pleasant tasks of lawyering. The TV was a particularly devilish distraction. Finding my willpower to be lacking, I made a radical decision: I called Time Warner and had the cable disconnected.

I very rarely work from home anymore; I'm almost always in my comfy office a few blocks from where I live. But I found that I haven't missed the cable enough to warrant having it reconnected. Once in a while, though--say visiting parents, or staying in a hotel--I'll find myself in the midst of a cable TV binge, watching hugely inordinate amounts of CNN, ESPN, and Deadliest Catch. (Oddly, the thing I often miss is Citicable and the ability to watch those whacky councilmembers in action!)

Earlier today, I was engaged in that ultimate procrastination event (websurfing) and checked in on Kate the Great's blog (a great blog--if you're not reading it, you should be, after, of course, you read the Cincinnati blog!). Kate's re-posted something from her archives (a post I'd not read before). I'm not sure why she chose this one in particular, but it turns out that Kate, too, is cable-less, but she's found a remedy: Hulu. It's a site that has both current and "classic" shows available for on-demand streaming. Offerings include shows from Prisonbreak to Lost to WKRP in Cincinnati.

Hulu, if its usage is not carefully monitored, is a terrible, terrible productivity-slayer. In fact, it's the devil. The devil, I say! And Kate is the devil's helpmate! (Of course, I guess I'm no better, spreading the word of mindless diversion even further across the blogosphere.)

My favorite thing to watch right now? Emergency! Bah.

Short Delay of Streetcar Vote

First a note to everyone: this delay is not a big deal. Two weeks is not a big deal. What this gives is time to get the 7 in favor of street cars to agree. The main lone wolf on this issue is Qualls. I believe she wants streetcars. Her approach to transportation is a different one. 6 votes are there now, along with the Mayor, that will get the Bortz plan through. I think the 6 want Qualls on board, so this delay helps that. This is a chance for people to NICELY let Council member Qualls know their views.

I believe I understand Qualls' long term view. The problem is that she is taking what appears on the outside to be an all or nothing long term view. I disagree with that stance. I want a long term all encompassing transportation plan. The trouble with that approach is that it goes far beyond Cincinnati City Council. Any wide transportation plan requires the county and the tri-state metro area to come together. I don't see that happening any time soon. Meanwhile, the City needs the streetcar soon. In the end Roxanne Qualls I believe will vote in favor of the final streetcar plan. Dealing with the anti-streetcar members of council are not winning her many fans, and is losing her many. She has clearly lost much of the good will she had banked after winning her seat last November.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Best. Haircut. Ever.

So lately, I let my hair get too long. Not just rough-around-the-edges long, but unruly, unprofessional, insists-on-curling long. So it was time to go down the street to the barber.

Fausto Ferrari is one of those throwback barbers. You know, the kind of place where a man should get his hair cut. The kind of place where the barber still uses scissors--quickly and well, by the way. And the kind of place where one can still find a straight razor. The Enquirer profiled Fausto a few years ago.

The best part? The brief rubdown (head and shoulders only!) with a vibrating hand-massager.

Altogether, a good way to start the week.

Good News For Commuters

Looks like there's no possibility of a toll on the Brent Spence Bridge in the near future.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Love that Cincy Water

Natilife as a gem of a video link where the mystery will linger as to why Cincinnati's drinking water was tapped for the Colbert Report spoof.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Congrats to H & L

H & L (two friends of mine) are getting married tomorrow, so I thought I'd send a shout out to them and give them a big congratulations. If they are reading this before the wedding, I appreciate their readership, but I think they have more important things to be doing!

In all seriousness: I am very happy for both of you and I wish you happiness and a long life.

Bare Blogging

The Know Theatre of Cincinnati is blogging their latest production: Bare. It opens April 3rd.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Looking Ahead at Music in Cincinnati

Tickets are on sale for the 2008 Macy's Music Festival, July 25 and 26. This is one of the best annual music events in the Queen City (and likely the most praise-worthy effort to be undertaken at Paul Brown Stadium in the next 12 months). Friday night features Patti LaBelle and Earth Wind & Fire; Saturday performances include Frankie Beverly, Jill Scott, and the Cincinnati Choir.

This summer, the Cincinnati Opera will present Puccini's Madame Butterfly; Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor; Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas; and Verdi's La Traviata. Subscriptions are on sale now; single tickets become available in late May. A membership in Center Stage, the Opera's YP group (and in opera-world, "young" is defined as under 40), has long been considered one of the best buys in town. The company has also decided to start performances earlier this year: each show begins at 7:30 this summer.

And finally, the Cincinnati Symphony has announced its 2008-09 schedule. Highlights include a performance by Midori, the Cincinnati debut of up-and-coming composer Jennifer Higdon's Percussion Concerto (featuring Colin Currie, for whom the concerto was written and whose performance of it gave rise to rave reviews), and the American debut of a "new edition" of Mahler's Symphony No. 2, "Resurrection."

Wifi and Metro

Looks like Metro will have WiFi on the Downtown/Mason express line. I'd love to ride this bus (I work in Mason), but the no sidewalks on Mason/Montgomery Road and the lack of a crosswalk (over five lanes of traffic!) are currently preventing me from taking it.

Light rail, anyone?

Monday, March 17, 2008

Why Is There a Quiz on a Newspaper Website?

I know this is just supposed to be fun and it is only on the front page of the Life Section, but why have it at all? Aren't newspaper supposed to be 'above' this type of thing?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Open Mouth, Insert Foot?

Last week, I was mildly critical of the Hamilton County Young Democrats for their alleged inactivity.

A recent check of the group's website, though, reveals lots of stuff coming up in the next few weeks, including:

  • A St. Patrick's Day Party at Hamburger Mary's (no, I still can't get myself to call it Universal Grille);
  • An after-party at Below Zero following the Century Club Reception (you need an after-party to make the Democratic prom complete); and
  • The local premiere of Uncounted at the Esquire on March 26th.
Guess I just should have been more patient. Sorry, HCYD.

History Question

As a Cincinnati transplant, one of the things I missed out on was being educated (probably during grade school) about local history. One of the things I've always wondered about is the historical reasons for the Swiss cheese-like appearance of Cincinnati. Why do Norwood, Elmwood Place, and St. Bernard exist as separate political entities?

In most major cities, you could hear an argument over whether a particular adjacent suburb should have been incorporated or annexed. But having small pockets of sovereign municipalities in the middle of a city is a little unusual, even by Ohio standards. What gives?

Not A Good Sign

Question you'd rather not hear a judge asking a prosecutor as he's sentencing you or your client for a speeding ticket:

"How much can I fine him?"

CincyFringe 2008 Line Up Announced

The 5th annual Cincinnati Fringe Festival has announced its lineup for 2008. The Enquirer has more here. is planning on wall to wall, beer to beer, and play to play coverage again this year of the Cincinnati Fringe festival. Keep an eye on The Conveyor's Fringe Coverage for more news and previews of Fringe.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Stickland Dismisses No. 2 Spot

Ohio Governor Ted Strickland reportedly told the Cincinnati Enquirer's Editorial Board that he would not accept the VP spot if asked by either Clinton or Obama.

The talk of VP and Ohio brings to mind one big and simple question: How do the Dems win Ohio? Yes, grassroots GOTV is what I think is the main weapon for turning any election, but that is not factor at play. On the surface the tide is pouring against the GOP, but many Ohioans are easily swayed by fear and bigotry. For evidence just look to the election of Bush in 2004 and to the Gay Marriage ban.

A VP candidate isn't going to win a national election. A VP candidate could win a state, and a state could turn the election. Yep, it is elementary political science, but sometimes elections are that simple.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


I actually considered not putting anything in the body of this post, as I have a theory that we can generate 30-50 comments just by writing the word "streetcar." But there is news to discuss.

Earlier today, reports the Enquirer's blog, Council agreed, 6-3, to appropriate $800,000 to fund the uptown-link study. The "no" votes were cast by Qualls, Cranley, and Monzel.

It's still unclear (at least to me) what the plan is going forward. Does the City begin funding and construction of the Downtown/OTR loop while the Uptown study takes place? Or do we wait for the study to be finished? And does the "I-want-an-Uptown-connection-now" crowd have enough votes to kill the project if the City can't build the entire proposed system immediately (and it almost certainly cannot), rather than in two phases, as was initially proposed?

Amongst the usual nonsensical comments to the Enquirer's blog (I'm proud to say that Griff has generated a readership that gets us the best comments of any local blog!) are two thoughtful comments by Greg Harris (or at least someone claiming to be him). You can read them here and here. Kind of makes you wish Harris were on Council instead of . . . oh, say, Qualls, Cranley, or Monzel? Kind of makes you wish he had run for County Commission. Kind of...never mind.

And why can't I get any councilmembers to introduce an ordinance to rebuild the inclines? :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

All Dressed Up And No Place To Go...

You might recall that one of my New Year's resolutions was to become more involved in the community. Recently, I even joined (by paying membership dues) the Hamilton County Young Democrats.

Realizing I might actually have a little free time this month, I went to the HCYD website to figure out how to do something constructive. Luckily, they have lots of upcoming events to keep me busy.

If Hamilton County does "turn blue" this year, it will be despite the local party's best efforts.

Kaldi's Moving?

I'm way behind on this but CityBeat reported on the possible move of Kaldi's to Findlay Market At this point it appears to be talk, but I've heard the rumors are out there. I don't see it working as a bar there. Findaly Market is not a place people go at night.

Discrimination Against Gays and Transgender Persons in Ohio --- I Am Shocked!

Well, guess the Citizens for Community Values crowd will have something new to get worked up about now that several state legislators are introducing legislation in the Ohio General Assembly to prohibit discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. For those of us who work in organizations that already provide such protections in employment and that provide domestic partnership benefits, this legislation perhaps does not seem so revolutionary. But, for the vast majority of gay and lesbian persons who do not work or live in such environments, such legislation is long overdue. Currently, seventeen states and the District of Columbia have laws that currently prohibit sexual orientation discrimination in both public and private employment: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin.

I guess we all get to hear again about how this is just about "special rights" from people who would gladly remove such protections from women and racial ethnic minorities if they could find a way. There can be little doubt that such legislation is needed in a world where a 15 year old boy in California, Lawrence King, who suffered taunting and bullying by his classmates because of his sexual orientation and gender identity, is shot and killed in school by one of those classmates – a 14 year old boy or where a member of the Oklahoma state legislature can say that "the Gays are the biggest threat our nation has, even more so than terrorism or Islam."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Breaking News: CincyBlurg Returns!!!

I got the flash email within the hour from BlurgGirl herself announcing the return of CincyBlurg.

Pay for your tap water and help a child-- Tap Cincinnati

I read about the Tap New York project originally in the New York Times and I'm terribly impressed that Cincinnati is on the list to do this before it becomes a global event.

What's happening? 80 restaurants in the Cincinnati area will be asking diners to pay for their tap water-- $1 each. It starts Sunday, March 16 and ends Sunday, March 22.

When's the kickoff? Friday, March 14, 6:30-10:30 at Bang Nightclub

Which restaurants are participating?

20 Brix, Amarin, Andy's Mediterranean Grill, Aqua, Baba Budan, Bar Louie, Bella Luna, Bellevue Bistro, Beluga, BlackFinn Restaurant and Saloon, Boca, Carlo & Johnny, Chalk, Cityview Tavern, Cityside, Daveed's, deSha's, Dewey's Pizza (four locations), Embers, Greenup Café, Honey, Hugo, Indigo, Jean Robert @ Pigall's, JeanRo Bistro, Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse, Jimmy D's Steakhouse, Kona Bistro, LaRosa's Rapid Run, Lavomatic, Mac's Pizza Pub, McCormick & Schmick's Fresh Seafood, Mesh Restaurant, Mike and Jimmy's Chop House Grill, Mio's Hyde Park, Mitchell's Fish House, Mt. Adams Bar and Grill, Nada, Nectar, Nicola's Restaurant, Orchids at Palm Court, The Polo Grille, The Precinct, Red, Riverside, Sake Bomb, Skyline Chili, Slatt's, Teller's of Hyde Park, Tink's Café, Trio, Tropicana, Universal Grille, Via Vite, Village Kitchen Restaurant, The Vineyard Wineroom, The Waterfront, ZaZou Grill and Pub, Zip's Café.

I hope you'll patronize these restaurants during that time, and donate your own dollar. $1 can provide clean water for a child for 40 days. $10 can provide clean water for a child for a year. So little can do so much, and I'm so proud of Cincinnati and the owners and operators of these restaurants for giving back.

More questions? Visit

Media Bias?

I'm interested in the following Enquirer headline:

Stripper Claims Rape Attempt.

Ordinarily, the Enquirer's crime coverage is extremely sympathetic towards alleged victims (yes, this might just be my own criminal defense attorney bias showing). But here, the headline (a) puts the alleged victim's profession front-and-center and (b) marginalizes the accusation by using the word "claims." It's almost as if the headline writer is expressing skepticism about the allegation.

Had the alleged victim been, say, a pizza delivery driver, it's unlikely the headline would be written the same way; instead, it would probably be "Springfield Twp. Man Charged With Assaulting [or Attempting to Rape, or something similar] Delivery Driver." By making "stripper" the subject (gramatically) of the headline, the Enquirer places the focus on the alleged victim rather than the defendant.

Is there something to this, or am I making a mountain out of a molehill? Are all allegations of sexual assault that are made by strippers subject to increased media scrutiny in the wake of the Duke rape case? Or is the headline a form of subtle editorialism expressing a not-so-subtle bias about whether someone in the sex industry can be believed--or possibly, whether she can be raped at all?

This is in the online edition; I don't know what's in today's print edition of the paper.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

New Blog: Somewhere Over the Rhine

Check out a new blog Somewhere Over the Rhine from a new OTR Resident.

Time Check

If you haven't yet set your clocks and watches ahead, you're going to be an hour late everywhere you go.

Can't wait until October, when we get to make up the hour of sleep we lost last night.

Friday, March 07, 2008


I'm tired of Derrick Beasley. And Steve Raleigh. And whoever the guy on Channel 12 is.

I understand the need for lots of coverage when some small town on the far edge of the viewing area has a three percent chance of experiencing a tornado. It doesn't make me happy (and I turn the channel), but I can at least appreciate the public service involved.

But why is this necessary for snow? It's snowing right now. That's going to be the story for the next several hours. There's no need to take cover. There won't be any siresns going off. The meteorologists add about as much to my knowledge of the weather situation as I could gain by sticking my head out a window. There's no public service in the continuous coverage. Do their ratings actually go up by covering the snow so much?

I like (in principle, at least) the closings tickers at the bottom of the TV screen. It's a good way to get the information out. But does anyone know why Channel 9 need TWO tickers? That drives me nuts.

Maybe what I need to do is walk my tired a-- across downtown and get some much needed beer at Bockfest.

Blizzard and Beer: Never Fear!!!

While many events are cancelled tonight, here's a public service announcement: Bockfest is still on. Festivities begin at Arnold's at 6. There won't be a parade, though (or at least the float portion of it is cancelled; apparently, there's still plans to walk from Arnold's to Bockfest Hall).

Looks like the Bockfest folks are doing a good job of providing up-to-the-minute information on their website.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Continuing Story of Hillary and Barack

Will the continue battle for the Democratic nomination hurt the winner? Some would say yes, this will now become an all out bloodsport. On the other hand, the Democrats are going to get all of the attention as long as the battle goes on, maybe right into the Convention. McCain is not going to get much attention at all, unless he makes news somehow.

Voting Problems?

Did anyone face problems like this Enquirer story reports? I honestly don't grasp how far off Clermont County could be to not have been prepared for this? The Secretary of State of Ohio has been predicting this for days. How did Wulsin do in the same county, were her primary votes up as well?

Monday, March 03, 2008

Voting Obama

The presidential primaries have never been an issue here in Ohio. Tomorrow I am going to do something I have never done before, take a partisan ballot. Philosophically I don't like the two party system. I consider myself an independent liberal. I will taking the Democratic ballot and at least for Tuesday, I am a Democrat. This will not be a big deal to most, since I nearly always vote for the Democrat. To me, however, this is a change. I don't know if I will participate in the primary in the future or not, but it is clear that my vote will count tomorrow. There is a race on in American politics and we have the opportunity for change.

On Saturday, I tried to go vote early, to avoid waking up early tomorrow, but when I got to the BOE, the line to vote was insanely long, I couldn't even get off the elevator to even get in line. That was a great sign. It was great to see people voting. I hope this is the biggest turnout for a primary every for Ohio. Having an impact on an election is good for our state. Lets hope there are no problems at the polls and that we have a quickly tallied vote.

I don't like telling people who to vote for. Instead I am telling you that I am voting for Barack Obama. All you need to do is go vote your conscious.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Local Republican Shakeup?

Kevin Osborne is reporting that HamCo Republican Chair George Vincent will resign in the next few weeks and be replaced by HamCo Common Pleas Judge Alex Triantafilou. If Kevin's got the story right (and he usually does), this would be a pretty big deal for local Republicans.

It's been my policy not to blog on stories arising from the HamCo Courthouse. As a lawyer who appears there on a near-daily basis, when I'm there, I just want to be viewed as any other member of the bar, not some quasi journalist/editorialist/whatever. And my criminal practice relies on maintaining cordial relationships with judges and prosecutors, so other than my typical non-court-related liberal rants, I don't want to create any unnecessary tension or hurt feelings. (That doesn't mean I'm afraid to hurt someone's feelings when I'm advocating on behalf of a client--the key word in the previous sentence is "unnecessary".)

I will say this, though: if the story is true, the courthouse's loss will be the Republican Party's gain. As a judge (both in his present position and during his previous tenure on the municipal court bench), Judge Triantafilou has garnered the respect of both prosecutors and the criminal defense bar, as well as civil litigators. If he applies the work ethic he's utilized on the bench to (what appears to be) his future job, it could mean real revitalization for the local Republican party, which has been struggling somewhat for direction these past few years. One has to wonder if Tim Burke would be any match for him.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ringing in March

Finally (for me) for now, an interesting music event at the Duke Energy Center tonight: at 5:00, there will be a free handbell concert. The regional chapter of the American Guild of English Handbell Choirs has put together a concert featuring over 600 handbell ringers. Details, courtesy Channel 12, are here. While you're there, you can check out the main attraction at the convention center this weekend, the Cincinnati Home and Garden Show.

(Geesh--am I the nerd on this blog, or what? Griff just finished posting about how to get Heartless Bastards (of which I'm a fan, actually) and a bunch of bands I'm not cool enough to have heard of to come to MidPoint Music Festival (the ultimate "cool kids" event in Cincinnati), and here I am getting gooey about several hundred handbells. Sorry for bringing down the collective hipness of the blog.)

CityBeat Takes Over MidPoint

The MidPoint Music Festival has a new new boss for 2008. The old bosses, Bill Donabedian and Sean Rhiney, will remain on as advisers.

Overall I think this is great news. There are some big challenges ahead for CityBeat, but if they start work now, capitalize on established partnerships, and build up new connections, I think the festival will be a big success.

The initial thought of the festival each of the last couple years is on where will it be. Many have been whining about where MidPoint should be, specifically wanting it to not on Main Street. It has no other possibilities other than OTR and/or Downtown. Since the press release included an event is at Below Zero on April 9th to announce the new vision of the festival, I would surmise Midpoint is staying at least in part on Main Street/OTR. It makes sense on the level that businesses are picking up on Main and Vine. The negative is that these venues are not currently regular live music venues, like they were in the past. I say that point is moot for a simple reason, there are only a handful (maybe two handfuls) of music venues in town that have regular live original music. Those venues are peppered throughout the area, and have no cohesive force that would draw people out for something like this. Few of those venues, especially those in Northside, have stepped forward to be a partner on MidPoint in the past. They've done that mostly for good reason, the target market for MidPoint shouldn't be the grizzled aging hipster sitting at the bar at Northside Tavern. That person either will never change their musical tastes or they already shop at Shake-It and know many of the acts playing the showcases.

CityBeat needs to start with a definition of the festival. What is the point? Who are they trying to reach? My take would be be to bring 3 groups together, unsigned/small label/up and coming acts, media & music industry members, and most importantly the audience. The musicians would want to impress the media/industry by impressing the audience. The media/industry would want to connect or observe the audience and get the vibe out what people like and don't like in current musis. That makes the audience the key. Midpoint needs a large and wide audience.

To get a bigger audience you have to make get them to get in their cars and drive to Main Street. You do that with a hook. Have a Main Stage, say Sycamore Gardens (Red Cheetah) where you have a mix of bigger local bands (Greenhornes, Pearlene, Heartless Bastards) who would not play Midpoint any more, and then get 1 large act for Friday and Saturday Night. The Greenhornes might be big enough. You might need to start the showcases an hour earlier and then end them at the time the headliner would go on, say Midnight. Let the late night slots be second look spots for bands that stay in town, want to play twice, or are willing to be the alternative to the main stage.

This new main stage would be an additional ticket. I'd establish the following price points:
1. One venue one night, not including the Main Stage
2. One night all access minus the Main Stage
3. One night all access plus one night of the Main Stage
4. All weekend all access minus the Main Stage.
5. All weekend all access plus the Main Stage both nights
6. The delegate badge - access to everything, including the conferences, preview parties, etc.

What you wouldn't do is sell a ticket just to the Main Stage. You also could, if the headliners are big enough, sell out the Main Stage and have the normal showcase schedules. That would be hard to predict and plan for, however.

Another important change to make is to have CityBeat make this a conference in part for music journalists. Target them specifically. Free attendance for any good music journalist! Let the blogs in too! I personally appreciated my media credentials for the 2007 festival and I really liked the gift bag last year!

Other ideas - provide more organized opportunities audience/artist interaction. Get more local business tie-ins like Park+Vine. Increase the team running the festival. Bill and Sean did great job, but they did too much themselves, not letting other take over important functions. This can't be the Dan McCabe dictatorship, Dan needs to build a huge team (not that he wouldn't anyway). The Cincy Blues Festival has a good team structure, look to it for some guidance. Also get WOXY AND the rest of the local radio stations involved, somehow. I think WEBN was there last year. The idea is that all of them would want to sponsor a stage or do live remotes, anything. Don't make them compete, let them all in.

The 800 pound gorilla in the room for CityBeat is how they will get local media coverage. It is touchy because CityBeat is a local media outlet and other media outlets would be hesitant to promote something their competition is sponsoring. MidPoint requires coverage in the mainstream Cincinnati Press. That mens getting the local TV/Radio news to coverage it. It also means getting the Enquirer to cover it. As much as the Enquirer tends to suck and it just has no music coverage to speak of, it has many readers who if they know about the festival could come. I also have to say that includes CinWeekly. The more the coverage the festival gets, the better. It would be nicer if CinWeekly actually asked to cover it, but I fear getting a cover from them might take some prodding. This festival is worth sucking up to your foes. Cincinnati has the talent for a music movement. No matter what all the burn-out hippies and coked out scenesters say, we have the makings for a music scene.

More from CityBeat is here.

Shame On OH-02 Dems!

The Democratic primary in Ohio's Second Congressional District (where Jean Schmidt, a Republican, is the incumbent) has gotten really nasty, really quickly. Victoria Wulsin actually went so far as to launch a website to attack Steve Black for the way he characterizes his house on his tax returns. (He's claiming it as a farm, which gives him a tax break.) Black has responded by buying ad time to criticize Wulsin for her alleged ties to malariotherapy (now widely discredited, at one time a few doctors speculated that for some reason, malaria might kill the AIDS virus); this is a rehash of the rant that the Cincinnati Beacon has permitted to permeate its once-interesting blog (I hear the Dean is going to rename the Beacon "").

I'm disappointed in the direction this campaign has taken. Senators Clinton and Obama have set excellent examples for Dems in the national primary, limiting their criticisms of each other to policy positions, and avoiding the "politics of personal destruction" that has now taken over the Black-Wulsin race. At a time when most Second District voters probably still don't know a ton about Steve Black, he's chosen to spend the days prior to the election attacking his opponent's character. And Wulsin--who will likely win the nomination again--doesn't have the good sense to win graciously, but instead started the ugliness with what seems like a pretty gratuitous personal attack that isn't likely to consolidate or win any support.

If I were a Second District constituent (I'm on the eastern edge of the First District), I think I'd be writing in Paul Hackett in the primary contest.

East Price Hill: Incline Square On The Rise

Griff's most recent post reminds me that I've been meaning to link to an article for the past several days. The Enquirer reports that a plan--and lots of cash--are in place to develop Incline Square in East Price Hill:

Backers of the hilltop development aren't elaborating yet, but they promise that the neighborhood they're redeveloping will also include a steakhouse,gourmet pizza parlor, 24 condos with views, a banquet/reception facility,nightclub with outdoor areas and live music, an upgraded park and a concrete pier on which people can walk for a downtown view.

I'm hopeful that the project (in which John Cranley is heavily involved) could mean a detente between Griff and Cranley with respect to their long, bitter feud over the Bank and chain sports bars. (I don't know if Cranley knows he's part of such a feud, but Cincinnati Blog readers know it.) The article's lede is:

By late next year, developers say, you should be able to have a beer at
Incline Square's new sports bar with a view of the city.

Maybe if Cranley has a chain sports bar to visit in Price Hill, he won't be so insistent on one in the Banks. And maybe Griff won't object to a chain sports bar that's farther from him than the Banks will be. Might there be peace in our lifetime?

Finally, we should talk a little more about the old inclines. One of the most interesting ideas I heard during the last Council election (coming, as I recall, from former CPD Officer and Cincinnati NAACP President Wendell Young, who didn't prevail) was a suggestion to rebuild some of the inclines. I think much of the reasoning that applies to the benefits of streetcars applies to inclines. And if you visit other cities with big hills, inclines tend to be an attraction themselves, bringing development around them. In Pittsburgh, for instance, there's three inclines that I can think of, (the "Mon" Incline, the Duquesne Incline, and the Mt. Washington Incline), and at the top of each is a pretty highly developed area with either restaurants, shopping destinations, or both.

Could inclines be an answer to development for some of Cincinnati's neighborhoods outside of downtown? And with talk of spending lots of money for the streetcars (that would spur development primarily in downtown and Over-the-Rhine), isn't now the right time to raise the issue?

UPDATE: Here's some pretty neat pictures of the old Price Hill Incline. And here's an interesting discussion (hosted by NKU) of the historical link between development and transportation, including the inclines, in Cincinnati.

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