Monday, August 30, 2010

Well Said: Please. Shut. Up.

I'm not sure that I've every been in such heartfelt agreement with an Enquirer commentary.

Continuum of Care Decision: YWCA Should House Homeless Women

The Cincinnati/Hamilton County Continuum of Care for the Homeless has announced that following a request for proposals and a review by a panel of national experts, the YWCA has been selected as the agency to a women-only emergency homeless shelter. The "competition" for the responsibility was between the YWCA and the Drop Inn Center.

The Enquirer's coverage is here.

The announcement, frankly, raises more questions than it answers. According to the Enquirer, the shelter will not be housed at the YWCA on Walnut (where that agency presently has a shelter for victims of domestic violence). I'm not aware of funding having been secured to create a new facility, and there's no mention of where the new shelter will be. But CoC says that all funding for emergency shelter services for women will be directed toward the YWCA. The Enquirer puts that at about $42,000 annually (obviously, not enough to start a new shelter), which it appears DIC will lose in its 2011 budget. DIC, meanwhile, says it will continue to provide emergency shelter for women for years to come.


  • Where will the new shelter be?
  • When will it open, and from where will the money come?
  • How will the need for emergency shelter for women be met in the meantime?
  • Is this connected to Pat Clifford's dismissal earlier this month?
  • Is this just the first in a planned series of moves designed to eventually make DIC so small as to be meaningless and eventually de-funded out of existence?

We'll see.

Main Street Cooperation Will Help Reduce Crime

The Main Street area will get a boost from efforts of local business owners. Some minor changes to the type of products sold will help reduce crime. If local corner markets stop selling just a few products or certain items in single quantities, the minor street crime will start to go down.

The key is vigilance. Keep an eye on what happens outside your business or residence and report crimes, all of them, no matter who is responsible. If all residents did this all over OTR, the drug trade and the theft rings would dry up in the neighborhood. The drug trade has in the past used intimidation of some residents, so standing up to them requires police to lead the way and patrol the area.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Harang Back on Tuesday

With the troubles for Leake and Volquez, along with continued inconsistency from Bailey, it might be a relief to see Harang getting his first start since July on Tuesday.

His two rehab starts for the Sluggers, though, were terrible. He was 0-2 with an ERA of 9. (On the bright side, he had 10 strikeouts to just 2 walks.)

Let's hope for the best.

Hate Crimes in Covington: Victim Speaks out

A local woman was interviewed by the Huffington Post about one of the worst incidences of an anti-gay hate crime to occur locally. Good reporting, but I wish we never had to have this kind of story written about Covington or anywhere in the Cincinnati area. I really wish the local media had the connections or were given the resources to get this type of interview, but alas they don't have the enough reporters to do the shoe leather work needed.

For a rash of crimes like these it should not take that big an of effort to track down the individuals or groups responsible, as long as the police are aggressively investigating the crimes. The story indicates that Covington Police have some work to do on how they react to such crimes. Time for the CovPD to get to work.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Local Ballet School Launches Website

During the first week of our first semester, when we learned that one of our classmates had been a "dancer" before coming to law school, we all knew what that meant. A couple of chuckles and elbow nudges later, we found out that--as is typical of law students and lawyers--our minds had been in the gutter for no apparent reason. Our friend was a ballet dancer (and teacher) before law school. Plans to install a stripper pole in the law library were hastily--albeit sadly--abandoned.

Rather than plie-ing her way through courtrooms after graduation, Amy Tevlin returned to her first love. She spent a few years teaching ballet in the northeast and eventually came back to Cincinnati to launch, with her husband Michael, Tevlin Ballet. The West Chester-based enterprise boasts a school, a pre-professional company, and a professional company.

Tevlin Ballet is hosting an open house next Friday and Saturday, and registration for fall classes is ongoing.

So if one of your kids is dreaming of growing up to be a ballerina (or whatever it is they call male ballet dancers), this looks like a good place to start....

Friday, August 27, 2010

Miss Print Blogs on her Last Game of the Season

"Miss Print" of the Cincinnati Roller Girls (also known as Lauren Bishop of both the Enquirer and Cincinnati Imports) tells of her last game of the season. (CRG has two games left on the West Coast this weekend.)

Miss Print may have been disappointed with the way the game and her season ended, but I finished reading Lauren's post with the same thought I often have after reading her stuff for either her blog or the paper: Damn, that woman can write.

Conservative Poll Has Chabot-Driehaus Even

The Enqurier's Carl Weiser reported on the Politics Extra blog yesterday that in a Conservative Group's poll Chabot was leading Driehaus 47% to 45% with a +/- margin of error of 4.9%, making the race a dead heat.  This is something of a surprise.  Conservative polls are almost always going to lean towards the conservative candidate, usually based on the structure of the questions or the population based used for the sample.  A dead heat here goes against the conventional wisdom of this race, which in national press outlets was giving Chabot a big advantage.  This poll would sound to me on the surface to be good news for Driehaus, but there is a long way until November, and the economic news will drive this race.
This poll isn't a fair indication of much, but some of the internals are very interesting about people in the 1st district:
68% of those polled were age 50 or older.
45% of those polled make $75K or less per year.
71% of those polled are white.
50% are Male and 50% Female
51% are "Pro-Life" and 40% are "Pro-Choice"  (I thought this would be a much wider gap)
Steve Driehaus won:
17% of Conservatives
61% of Moderates
83% of Liberals

Is the Theft Related to the Lawsuit?

A tenant, Ramdake Lewis, of the Metropole is accused of stealing documents from a company in charge of the Metropole transition. There are many questions on what this all means, but I've get several initial inquiries that raise this incident up a bit. What are the documents and how do they relate to any of the lawsuits or complaints made on the Metropole renovation? Could any of these documents be evidence in the lawsuit filed against HUD and 3CDC? Could the motive for the alleged crime be that the man in question was looking for information he could give to attorneys in this case? Is this what some would call spying?

Was Mr. Lewis spying on the Model Group/Brickstone? Spying is a big word, but was the guy snooping around? Did he "steal" the documents as he is accused? If he did this, was he acting alone? Was he advised by anyone to obtain this information? The facts of the case are not known, but if this goes to trial, more details will emerge.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Give the Daily Show an Emmy For This NOW!!!

Jon Stewart is brilliant and this looks easy, but it is so well done, I almost peed. Yes, me, crusty blogger, Brian Griffin, almost peed my pants in laughter. The Daily Show summed up the fundamental problem with FOX News in a 9 minute gut busting segment. Watch and enjoy:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
The Parent Company Trap
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party
I learn towards Team Stupid, but Team Evil makes really good points.


UPDATE: The above embedded video seems to be updating with newer episodes. To see the clip I referended, check out the full show from Monday August 23rd.

Is Smitherman a Political Whore?

Who won't Chris Smitherman, local NAACP chapter president , suck up to? He's reportedly going to have a big public meet and great with the local Tea Party. Who is next on his list? Chris Monzel? Phil Burress? Westwood Concern? I'll keep my eyes peeled for a Smitherman press release that calls for the repeal/amendment of the 14th Amendment in support of a "Birther" issue. Smitherman's been in bed with COAST for a while, and his screed against Cincinnati Public Schools seems to be a left flank attack that does nothing but hurts students and provides Chris Finney a way to demagogue public schools without lifting a finger.

It wouldn't be, I don't know, normal of Smitherman to be working with people like the Mayor of Cincinnati or...I don't know...the President of the United States instead? These men are, oh, I don't know, elected officals who happen to This fact seems to be lost on Smitherman. Has the NAACP become colorblind or has Smitherman become blind of everything but his own ambition?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

CEAs and Acclaims Combine

Rick Pender reports that CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Theater will join forces with the Enquirer sponsored Acclaim Awards. The Acclaims will go forward with Pender and Jackie Demaline serving on the organization's Executive Committee. This year's CEAs will be the last. Next May's Acclaims will be changed to include public voting awards. More details on the merger likely will come out over time, but hopefully the Acclaims process will be updated overall.

I'm disappointed that we can't sustain both awards programs, but the decline in support for arts in the local (and national) media I believe has forced this move. The biggest theatre production that lose out will be the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, which this past year did not get any acclaim awards, so stand to not get any nominations next year. The Enquirer gave limited coverage of the event and it wasn't clear how many Acclaim representatives were at the festival in an official capacity. Hopefully, that can be remedied inside the organization. Having an alternative category is critical to preserving part of the CEA's superior structure.

I am going to be sure to head to this Sunday's last CEA event at the Know Theatre. I hope all Cincinnati Theatre fans come out and say farewell to this awards program which has provided strong support for local theatre.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Fun Campaign Event

As a criminal defense attorney, I get invited to judicial campaign events all the time. They're pretty standard fare: pay $150 for entrance to some restaurant or bar, have a couple beers, and eventually listen to a judge or judicial candidate say a few words thanking everyone in attendance.

Judge Nadine Allen, running to retain her seat on the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas, does things a little bit differently.

On Sunday, August 29, beginning at 4:00 at the Evendale Amphitheater, her campaign will throw a concert. Those scheduled to perform include Eliot Sloan of the Blessid Union of Souls. Bootsy Collins will make a special appearance, and the judge herself will take the stage with the Supreme Courtettes. (Judge Allen and the Courtettes won the Cincinnati Bar Association's "Idol" competition late last year.)

Admission is twenty bucks and includes food and beverages.

MPMF it ain't. but it'll probably be the most interesting campaign event I've been to in a really long time.

Legal Question of the Day

This story raises the following important question:

What are the feds going to do with all that Jamaican gold?

And a tip: if you're going to ship pot through CVG, don't use a really cheesy-looking tombstone to do so.

Clifton Ave or Vine St? Which Shall It Be?

Cincinnati Officials face a tough choice on where to put the Northern leg of the Streetcar: up West Clifton Avenue or Vine Street. I don't envy City Manager Milton Dohoney on this decision. I see merits on both plans. I think the key factor must be expansion. If either of these plans would make expansion of the Streetcar further North cheaper or more efficient, then that should be a big consideration. I am slightly less concerned about who is more ready for development now. If there was a way to serve both Clifton Heights and Corryville, that would be the ideal.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Metropole Lawsuit: Not So Fast, 3CDC

As the Enquirer reported earlier this week, the Metropole Tenants Association filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking to halt the efforts of 3CDC and others to turn the Metropole into a luxury hotel. The tenants are now represented by preeminent Cincinnati civil rights attorney Jennifer Kinsley, as well as Terence Brennan (formerly Lead Organizer with the AMOS Project). And they've filed a lawsuit that is compelling. I thought many of our readers would be interested in an explanation of the allegations in the lawsuit, and why it could be a major impediment to 3CDC's plans for the Metropole.

Last November, I expressed skepticism that the tenants had a viable legal claim. Back then, according to published reports, the tenants (then represented by Legal Aid) seemed to be arguing only that 3CDC was engaging in race (and perhaps disability) discrimination. At the time, I wrote:
Ultimately, the question comes down to this: once a landlord accepts federal housing money, does that act as some sort of covenant that runs forever against the building, regardless of ownership? Certainly, that cannot be the case. Property owners must be free, assuming they follow the law, to opt out of Section 8.

I've reviewed the tenants' 50-page complaint, and there's more to the story than simply a landlord accepting rent subsidies. According to the complaint, back in 1988, the owner of the Metropole--609 Walnut Ltd. (which, in turn, is owned by Showe Builders Inc.)--executed a mortgage with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A HUD mortgage--in this context--is a federally-insured loan that gives the building owner an extremely low (1%) interest rate in exchange for using the building subject to the mortgage for multi-unit, low-income housing.

While the lawsuit doesn't go into the history of Showe's acquisition of the Metropole, this decision from the Sixth Circuit does. Showe bought the property back in the late '80's when the previous owner, Mid-Towne Associates, was in bankruptcy. Showe paid $675,000 and assumed a $2.9 million HUD mortgage. I'm guessing that was quite a deal: according to the Auditor, Azeotropic (a creation of 3CDC) bought the building for $6.25 million last year.

When Showe took over the mortgage, it signed a "regulatory agreement" with HUD. According to the complaint, one of the provisions of this agreement was that Showe could not, without the prior approval of HUD, prepay the mortgage. Prepayment is a big deal. As long as the mortgage exists, the property must be used for low-income housing. If the note is paid off, though, the building owner is subject only to the ordinary requirements of Section 8, which means that the owner can cancel its participation in the federal rent subsidy program one year after giving notice to its tenants.

Congress hasn't given HUD unfettered discretion in deciding whether to approve prepayment of a mortgage. Instead, when a HUD mortgage prepayment is subject to HUD approval (not all HUD mortgages require such approval), acceptance of an offer to prepay may only be given where the HUD Secretary decided that the building no longer meets a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area; the Secretary agrees that the tenants have been notified of the request for approval of prepayment; and the Secretary ensures that a plan exists to provide relocation assistance to displaced tenants.

Back to the lawsuit: the tenants say that HUD didn't do its due diligence before approving the mortgage prepayment, and have challenged the decision under the Administrative Procedures Act. (In some respects, this case is analogous to those where an environmental group challenges an EPA decision permitting the construction of an allegedly polluting factory.) It's hard to see how one could conclude that the Metropole doesn't meet a need for rental housing for lower income families in the area. In fact, with the closure of the Metropole, no low-income housing will exist in the central business district. (And the only other low-income housing downtown I can think of is Page Tower--and that may technically be in the West End, since it's on the west side of Central.)

I'm no expert in HUD mortgage regulations. But on its face, the lawsuit raises serious, non-frivolous claims that will not go away quickly. Stay tuned, folks: this promises to be an interesting legal battle.

T.O. vs. OchoNoShow

For the last few years, at the beginning of every season, Bengals fans wonder which wide receiver will take the field this year: Chad Johnson, or OchoNoShow. If the preseason is any indication (and I agree, you've got to take the preseason with a huge grain of salt), it looks like the latter will be wearing number 85 this year.

OchoNoShow may have the best hands of any wide receiver in the game. At least, that is, as long as no one is touching him. As a wide receiver gets older, he gets a bit slower. (Especially one like OchoNoShow, who by all accounts hasn't changed his diet or his workout routine to account for the fact that he's no longer 22.) So they have to run crisper routes and be better at catching the ball in traffic.

I went to last night's Bengals game. OchoNoShow's two most notable plays were two interceptions. The first was on a play that looked like Ocho ran the wrong route--or just failed to "come back to the ball." Palmer looked upset at the time; after the game, he took the blame (probably to avoid some inevitable OchoNoShow pouting).

The second interception was a ball thrown to Ocho over the middle, and Chad got hit. Hard. Replays showed that the ball had actually bounced away from him before he took the hit. (That hit, by the way, should have been penalized, as the defender launched himself at a defenseless Ocho. Look for a fine on that one.) And what did OchoNoShow do? Whine about the hit on Twitter from the bench:
Man Im sick of getting hit like that , its the damn preseason shit! 1day I'm gone jump up and start throwing hay makers , #Tylenolplease

Do the math on the time stamp. Yup, that was during last night's game. (Look for another fine next week.)

T.O. is a different story. From the first three games, it's clear he knows where he's going to make his living: over the middle. He hasn't whined about getting hit. And he's caught most of what's been thrown at him. He had a great, down-the-field catch late in the first half. But that was only after he'd run several short routes. He set up the deep route.

I think NFL fans will finally learn the difference between T.O. and OchoNoShow this season. T.O. can hang onto a ball in traffic. Ocho can't. Or at least, he won't.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Nice Letter From Terrell Owens To Bengals Fans

New Cincinnati Bengal wide receiver Terrell Owens has written a very positive letter to Bengals fans. Yeah, it sounds like something a good PR person would write for him, but even so, I'm glad to see a professional athlete making a point to reach out to fans. Let's hope this attitude remains through the season, no matter how many wins the Bengals have.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who Will Be The Next Hamilton County Coroner?

Current Hamilton County Coroner Odell Owens is leaving his position to become the President of Cincinnati State. The HCDP will get to pick his replacement to finish his term, who gets it?

I really have no idea. This job requires a license to practice medicine, so the candidates are not as plentiful. It likely would be a pay cut for many doctors, so that may rule many out.