Monday, August 22, 2011

False Perceptions Are Fueled By the Media, and Build Walls

The events Friday and Saturday are tragic events, but the lingering tragedy is in the fuel that burns the false impressions into the minds of ignorant people from the media coverage of these events.  No, there's nothing false about the news, but it's the intensity given the story. The articles are going out of their way to give the truth about crime rates and the exceptions that these incidents represent, but people like Joe Deters are using it and will use it to build fear.  All they need are the images and the words describing what happened.  The headlines and the pictures are what linger in the minds of the average Joe-Q-Public.  When there are three or four different headlines about the same story, an extra importance is perceived.

This results in the false perception of the city and of Downtown.  It strengthens the bigotry of some and it puts doubt in the fickled ignorant, who consume news as if they are window shopping for shoes.  This is a cultural state that is plaguing the public and I don't know any type of solution, short of driving around every cul-de-sac and neighborhood in the tri-state area, shouting slogans on a megaphone.  That still wouldn't get the truth into minds who don't want to know anything that isn't easy and familiar.

What I am bracing myself for is the political onslaught of fear mongering.  There was some from Deters in the article above.  He's done it so many times I think everyone expects the same and they get the ignorance he puts out, like his ignorance on Times Square crime rates. (Hat Tip to CincyCapell).

What I am really hoping we don't get are Council Candidates using this as political fodder.  I encourage council members and candidates issuing comments that are introspective or positive.  We need to work together to prevent crime and we need to make people understand that our city is safe.  We don't need council candidates claiming this is any type of indication or example of something that should drive future action of government.  Here the system worked. No more or no fewer police officers were going to prevent a person from carrying a gun illegally in a public place. It is tragic that a 16 year old put himself into this situation.  I also really hope that the police actions are allowed to be reviewed, but not used as a tool to build hate.  If there are questions, they can be asked.  We don't need to push fear of the police.  I am looking right squarely at Chris Smitherman on this. I hope he does not play politics with these incidents. Instead I really hope he helps people understand what happened, not assume they know what happened and create more false perceptions.  False impressions build walls.  Many of us have tried to tear down all of the walls that separate  us into conflicting factions.  It is the duty of all public officials, and those trying to become public officials, to help keep those walls down and create open spaces were people and their cultures can freely blend with all others.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Republican Council Members Are Exploiting Tragedy

A Cincinnati police officer was on his way to work recently and was very seriously injured in a car accident on Columbia Parkway on the East side of the City. This is a terrible tragedy and I believe everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.  Four members of Cincinnati City Council hold a press conference, along the side of the road, calling for a study of that road.  They don't say how they would pay for such a study or pay for improvements to the road.  They don't say why this incident is more important than other car or pedestrian or bicycle accidents that happen during their terms on different roads in throughout the city.

The fact that they held the press conference along the side of the road, likely caused enough commotion that they are lucky they did not cause another accident during the presser.

This accident happened to occur to a Police Officer.  That means it will get media attention and get the attention of the type of voter that listens to the FOP (police union) when it makes endorsements for city council. This grandstanding event is designed not to improve road safety, but to increase the voter tallies for Ghiz, Murrary, Lippert, and Bortz (the Charterite of the group).  That's explotation, but that is politics and these members are playing politics like conjoined quadruplets.

A functioning mainstream media needs to rip them a new on this issue the same way Kevin Osborne did on the Oakley Skyline faux controversy.  Since we live in a culture where criticism of any perceived to be helping a police officer injured, we will not get much.  The WLWT article linked about had some hints of reporting when they asked ODOT.  Now they need to just dig further and find out how dangerous this road is considered as opposed to other roads.  I've driven on it and I have driven on Glenway and Queensgate on the West side.  Couldn't they be holding the same press conference over there?

UPDATE: It appears the mainstream media, the Enquirer specifically, did rip them a new one, and handed it to them.  It is too bad that more people will watch the TV news clip and not read the article.

UDATE #2: You might ask three of the four (Ghiz, Lippert, Murray) if they oppose COAST's anti-rail issue.  That issue would make it impossible to have any passenger rail transportation until well into the next decade. Rail transportation along Riverside/Eastern Avenues would help reduce traffic on Columbia parkway thus taking away at least one factor that increases accidents.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Number of City Council Candidates Is Growing

Joe Wessels has a great article reporting on who is officially on the ballot for the Cincinnati City Council election and who among the declared candidates are still working on getting on the ballot.

The big news is that we officially have more than one nutty candidate running (other than Smitherman). Life would boring without conspiracy spouting political candidates. The additional person, who is no stranger to the tin foil hat community is Sandra Queen Noble. "Queen" is joined by 1 official write-in candidate Orlando Welborn, who will not appear on the ballot, but his write-in votes will be counted. Good luck on that.

Other possible candidates, none of whom I've heard of, are:
Jacqueline Allen
Kathy Atkinson
Patricia McCollum

Joe also lists out a group who have taken out petitions, but have yet to turn in any signatures. I'll not mention any of them out of a semblance of respect, except for Theo Barnes, who is on the list and who has been a candidate for council before. I'm not surprised to see him back and he could be in the lead for last place, even with a write-in candidate in the mix.

So, this puts us to maybe a list of 23 running for council, counting the write in candidate and assuming none of they-who-shall-not-yet-be-named actually get their act together. I will predict, for no apparent reason that we will see 21 candidates listed on the ballot, not counting the write-ins.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lippert Is Carrying COAST's Water

When Councilman Wayne Lippert issues a press release demanding that all work on the Streetcar be stopped until the Anti-Rail issue on the ballot in November is voted on, he is helping COAST and its anti-city efforts. The question that will persist about Lippert: Does he support COAST and it's anti-city efforts?This press release goes along way in supporting COAST.  In my views it does the following:

  1. It legitimized COAST's extreme anti-rail effort. 
  2. If signals to COAST voters that Lippert is in full support of the anti-rail issue without having to say it.  He may not be in support of the issue, but wants COAST voters to think he is.  Tea Party money may be politically toxic to anyone who cares about the City, but it is still green.
  3. It gives more free press to COAST and Co.
  4. This solidifies Lippert as desperate to get every far right wing vote he can.  He's lost any hope of getting moderate voters that are not just closet Republicans.
  5. This confirms to me that Lippert is looking not to help the city, but is laying the groundwork to run for higher office and will do so by pushing the agenda he thinks will get him elected at that later time, not what will improve the city. He wants to appease conservative base voters and they are in the suburbs and not in the city.
Lippert has made a harsh political choice and is playing to the media and to the extremes of the city and really the suburbs. A real leader would not help do anything to help propel COAST's anti-rail amendment. Everyone can see it is a horrible idea is meant to hurt the city. A real leader would speak out against this issue not hide behind false equivalency. A "let the voters decide" attitude is not leadership, it is being chickenshit.  If Lippert truly wants to the let the voters actually vote unhindered, then he should not have said a thing about the issue.  Instead he does what he can to push COAST's agenda, without actually endorsing it. When will the Enquirer ask and publish Lippert's stances on the anti-rail issue?

What makes this on the surface laughable, is that if you use Lippert's logic, the City, County, and State should not take any action, spend any money, have any discussion of anything that will be affected by a ballot initiative. That therefore means that since we have a statewide ballot issue (anti-healthcare law effort) that will decide if Ohio will knowingly violate constitutional law (supremacy clause) , we should avoid following the U.S. Constitution or any federal laws until the voters speak. Oh, Lippert didn't mention that one in his press release? Hmmm, I wonder why.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

MidPoint Schedule Released

In case you still living in a cave, you should know that the 2011 (Tenth annual) Midpoint Music Festival Schedule and line-up was announced. This year there are some new interesting add-ons and what caught my eye was the MidPoint Midway that will close off part of 12 Street and include an Artworks box truck project which sounds very interesting.

For the full details, including the venue listing and showcase times, check out mpmf.com.

SPAETHC Provides Analysis of the CBD Grocery Shopping Options

SPAETHC from Cincyvoices does some research and provides an analysis of the grocery options in the central business district, aka Downtown. He purposely leaves out OTR, which has a small Kroger's and Findley Market.

He brings to mind a big question: how far away is a grocery store away from a non-downtown resident?  The Newport Kroger and the Corryville Kroger are 5 to 10 minutes away by car. Is that not how long it would take for most people in Hyde Park, Oakley, and Mt. Lookout to get to the Hyde Park Kroger?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Republican Council Members Appease Business Owners, Ignore Public Good

If you left the Republicans on council with total control of the city government, they would let businesses do what ever they want. Instead of discussing why the city law requires what it does, they just attack a city department for DOING ITS JOB. We have a building code. We have a government that enforces that building code. We have a process in place that allows for business owners to appeal or seek exemption from the building code. That is how it works, and has worked well for a long time.

If Ghiz, Lippert and Murray seek to end the building code or the means to enforce it, then they are setting up business owners for long term failure when disaster or crime strikes. Yes, those are reasons for the building code. We have building standards that help buildings during disasters and help prevent massive damage and loss of life in those types of disasters. We, as a society, need building codes to exists because if another building on my block catches fire, my building could catch on fire. We need the building codes to require businesses and building owners keep standards that will help the WHOLE community in times when we need to work together.

If the Republicans want to improve the process for appeals or exemptions, then they could draft legislation to make it happen, unless there are State requirements that they must look to Columbus to address.  We don't get that from this effort. Instead we get sound bites that place business as the 'victim' to an evil government, something that appeals to the ignorant fools who think that government is bad, except for the police and fire departments and roads and health inspectors and all of the other services they use.  I guess having logic only a mother could love, is better than no logic, but it makes for bad public policy.

Attacking government departments for doing their job is a typical type of grandstanding, but a specialty for Republicans, with Ghiz as it's primary champion on Council. With a press conference you would think the media would ask questions and print answers that question what laws Ghiz & Co. want to change, why Ghiz & Co. would make a spectacle of this issue instead of making motions in a council session to address the issue, and why Ghiz & Co. are using this a political issue instead of acting on it?  No we don't get that, we get accomplices for the appeasement of business interests.  Business owners give more to Republicans in Cincinnati and business owners buy commercials from the media.  Walking a fine line is what makes reporting here extra fluff and no meat.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Updated List Of Who Is Running For Cincinnati City Council

Not everyone running has turned in their required signatures, but here's the latest listing of who is running for Cincinnati City Council:

Incumbents:
Chris Bortz
Leslie Ghiz
Wayne Lippert Jr.
Amy Murray
Roxanne Qualls
Laure Quinlivan
Cecil Thomas
Charlie Winburn
Wendell Young

Previous Candidates:
Kevin Flynn
Nicholas Hollan
Christopher Smitherman

New Candidates:
Jason Riveiro
Chris Seelbach
P.G. Sittenfeld
Catherine Smith Mills
Yvette Simpson

Likely Running:
Mike Allen

At most there appear to only be 18 candidates. Anyone else not listed above who turns in signatures will not be a significant candidate, unless they have more gold than Midas. Later this month the 'official' list will come out. If it looks different than above, I'll be astonished for all of about 43 seconds.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Is Smitherman Running For Council? Maybe An Answer Today

Is Chris Smitherman running for Cincinnati City Council or does he just like pretending he is the President of the United States and is trying to invoke the 25th Amendment?  He's been saying he has been running for months, but this latest stunt is the biggest sign he is actually going to do it. His website is not up, but someone has the domain registered.

Is he trying to ride to the wave of anti-City voters with the reported news that his anti-rail charter amendment will be on the ballot?

I've been pondering why there has been a lack of crazy 'independent' candidates running for council this year. I guess later on today, we shall get another crazy one in the mix.

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Heartmann and Monzel Officially Screw the Poor

Hamilton County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to lower the Indigent Care levy. Greg Heartmann and Chris Monzel showed the county that they care more about giving a few dollars more to property owners than they care about watching poor people die.

They could have just left it at the same level and felt and let the property value decrease be felt, which on one level is 'reasonable,' but no, they went ahead and lowered the millage rate, cutting funding even more. There is no reason to cut funding. University Hospital needs the money. Instead they will just increase the costs that go to all paying customers, so, the middle class public still pays for this, just the landowners get to buy a couple more Bud Lights at Walmart before they head home and watch TV in their basements all next year.

What a mindless world conservative Republicans live in.

The only thing worse that could happen is that monsters like COAST will spend money to defeat the levy and then succeed, thus achieving what they might hope would be a purge of the poor.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Barry Horstman's Anti-Streetcar Cheerleading Continues

In case you still had any doubt of the bias of the reporting on the Streetcar issue from the Enquirer's Barry Horstman, then read this article, which is more cheerleading than reporting. Horstman has not properly reported on what the ballot initiative says and provides a tacit explanation of it's  language with selective quotes that provide more of an argument for Smitherman to use, than a balanced summary. Any objective analysis of it, like Judge Mark Painter provided in the Enquirer, would conclude that this ballot initiative would ban the city from spending any money on any rail project, not just the streetcar. This type of bias is what I have come to expect from Horstman, which is very disappointing, but there is hope that he will soon end his involvement in reporting on this issue.  It is very pathetic that the impetus for a story on the Streetcar is going to be an email or phone call from Smitherman to Hortsman providing an update on his signature boondoggle.  The number of press releases and blog pots put out there last week on the ballot language was not something Horstman would have missed, especially if he reads the guest columnists in the newspaper that pays his salary. Hortsman failed to report on many substantive details of this situation. Here is an outline of some of what he failed to do.
  1. Question Smitherman on the language used in the ballot initiative. 
  2. Question COAST on the language used in the ballot initiative. (Didn't they write it?)
  3. Provide evidence on the validity of the claim that August 10th is a soft deadline. This contradicts a prior article he wrote.  What changed?
  4. Ask Smitherman how he's going to get over 1,200 signatures in 3 days, when it took around 5 days to get nearly 800.
  5. Ask Smitherman how he knows the signatures he has gotten in the last 5 days are valid, is that his guess or have they been validated by the Board of Elections?
  6. Ask Smitherman a question about a member of his campaign trashing at least one box full of CityBeat issues last Friday night. (This may happen yet. Hortsman and the Enquirer do like reporting on dirty tricks.)
That's not everything he could have done and included in the article, but the list summarizes some of the key details that would provide the most factual and fair presentation of the current situation.  We really are suffering with the lack of news gathering in this town.  TV and Radio don't have the resources to provide in depth reporting, so we are stuck with what every the Enquirer puts out.  That's a shameful way to live in a democracy.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Grammer's Robbed At Gunpoint Last Night

According to Grammer's Facebook page they were robbed at gunpoint last night (Friday) and will be closed tonight, tomorrow, and Monday. They will be reopening on Wednesday. Luckily no one was injured. I've not seen or heard of any news reports on this, yet, so unless the owners report more, I doubt we'll get any other credible details on what happened. I hope they catch the thief or thieves as soon as possible.

Smitherman Campaign Worker Trashes CityBeat

SpaethC at CincyVoices has a great post about witnessing a Chris Smitherman Campaign worker trashing all of the newspaper copies in a CityBeat box downtown Friday night.  My wonder is: how many other boxes did this or other Smitherman workers trash?

The evidence is all in blog post, debating it is pointless. Chris Smitherman must immediately investigate who did  it, fire them, apologize to CityBeat, and pay damages.

He won't do that, but that will allow everyone to see how Smitherman is NOT running a normal rational political campaign.  Instead he'll either ignore the incident or claim it was a CIA conspiracy.

OK, to be fair, he may claim it was an FBI or NSA  or CPD conspiracy, not just the CIA.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Republican Commissioners Seek to Cut Health Services for the Poor

If you are Hamilton County commissioners Greg Hartmann or Chris Monzel, both Republicans, then you would be in favor of letting some of the Hamilton County poor residents die.  I'm sure they wouldn't phrase it that way, but what else would you expect to happen when you cut funding for indigent health care services by eight million dollars.  That would be around a 17% cut (46 to 38 million).

Not to only be after the health of the poor, the Duo of Death also are looking to cut children's by 2 million dollars.  So if you are a poor child, I guess you are just doubly screwed.

Just when you think that's enough, Hartmann also is putting out the idea of sales tax increase as away to fix the stadium fund deficit, as long as there is a property tax rollback to help offset it.  So, the poor get taxed even more disproportionately and the property owners get another tax break.  There's no class warfare to see here, move along, move along.

Republicans at work to save the property owners from the peasants.  Long live Feudalism!

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Spread the World: It's An Anti-Rail Ballot Issue

The anti-city forces (COAST and Chris Smitherman) who are circulating a petition they say is to outlaw building a streetcar is really about preventing all passenger rail in the city, similar to issue 9's efforts.

So when Smitherman and COAST's minions are out over the next week desperately trying to collect signatures, be sure to ask the collector what the ballot issue means, correct them if they say it's about the streetcar, then politely decline to sign.

Be sure to spread the word about NOT signing to all Cincinnati residents. COAST and Smitherman are coming up short and only have another week to get a couple more thousand valid signatures.

Don't bother telling your friends who are residents of the suburbs or Northern Kentucky about this. If they are really anti-streetcar and want to sign a petition, you really can't stop them from doing so. No need to waste your time explaining it to them.

Ghiz Is On the Record: Republicans Will Have a Plan

Enquirer reporter Jane Prendergast got an important comment at Monday's council budget committee meeting:
"Plus, Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz said, cutting officers would actually cost the city this year – more than $71,000 in payouts of accrued time – and would cut “only” $2.5 million out of the 2102 budget. The Republicans will come up with a plan, she said, that will cut that $2.2 million some other way." (emphasis added)
Yes, Council member Leslie Ghiz reportedly claimed that Republicans are working on a plan that will cut $2.2 million dollars from the City Budget. When you put a number out there, the public should expect it to add up. If any of the Republicans issue any type of plan and it doesn't add up, then you know that Ghiz was blowing hot hair in the direction of the FOP, while not actually doing anything.  That's something she has perfected over her tenure on council.

Previously, Ghiz has said this type of thing wasn't her job. I don't know if she's going to pawn it off on the rookie GOP members of council, but I expect one of the conservatives to do something.

If not, I'm calling someone a liar, and she'll not be able to defend herself very well.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Another Charlie Winburn Five Year Plan

Comrade Charlie Winburn, while wearing a 'Red's' cap, announced his plan a single five year term for Cincinnati Central CommitteeCity Council members.

I'm thinking Stalin would approve of Charlie Winburn.

The fine print in Charlie's nine slide 'simple' proposal includes removing the limit on campaign contributions.The rich are Charlie's future champions of the proletariat. ¡Viva la RevoluciĆ³n!

Monday, August 01, 2011

Mike Allen Appears To Be Running For Council

The Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson is reporting that disgraced former Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen has taken out petitions to run for Cincinnati City Council and has created a campaign bank account with $10,000 of his own money in it. Wilkinson has not been able to get Allen to directly say he is running, but those actions indicate he is going to try. He has to get 500 signatures by late August and will need far more than $10,000 to get elected. By most accounts he will need a few hundred billion dollars to develop a medical procedure to wipe away the memories of at least 20,000 Republican voters. I don't know how successful that will be in the time he has before the election.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Enquirer Agrees Police Layoffs Must Happen

I am not sure if it should be surprising or not, but the Enquirer Editorial Board advocates laying off 44 police officers. It may be more accurate to say that they agree there is no other way to deal with the state cuts pushed through by their pal, Governor John Kasich. When you wish to keep the rich from feeling the economic hardships, you end up with cuts like this. The question still unanswered is how the Conservatives on council will react to this. They've been awfully quiet.  This news broke on Friday night and I've not heard a peep from any council member on this nearly two days later.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Improv Dance Party: Only in OTR

I saw the traffic jam and people were talking about this happening  last night while I was at Japps drinking my summer drink of choice, Stiegl-Radler, but in-case you missed it, a flash mob dance party broke out on Main Street. No where in this city can you find the spirit and the courage to push limits, while maintaining a sense of sanity, other than Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. I'm a little old for this type of thing, but I love watching others have fun, break a few 'minor' rules, but cause no harm, other than making an existing traffic jam a little bit worse.

I really hope this spirit stays alive, especially on Final Fridays. We need some action and do-it-yourself culture that everyone can participate in is the way to build a community. A big consideration to go along with that action is to show respect to your neighbors. Based on all of the accounts I have heard, this type of impromptu event did that. I am sure someone will complain, but part of pushing limits is pissing of the assholes who will complain no matter what you do.

Kudos to those who started this and those who joined in.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Kasich Cuts Forcing Cincinnati Police Layoffs

So, what happens when a brash Republican comes into office as Governor and is dead set on cutting the budget for everything, without caring a lick about the consequences? Well, $5 Million in cuts this year have prompted the Cincinnati City Manager to recommend laying off 44 police officers as well as consolidating Office of Environmental Quality, which means laying off the department's director.

This is a Friday evening and we are in the middle of a Federal Crisis, so it may take the Republicans on City Council a little while to come out screaming, but lets make it clear what has happened and will likely follow.

1. Cincinnati is getting less funding from the state.
2. The city manager is recommending what cuts must follow from that loss of funding.
3. The Republicans on council will oppose this plan.

If anyone on council, namely Leslie Ghiz, refuses to support this recommendation, then they (she) must get off her butt and come up with a DETAILED plan on how to make the cuts add up, all the way to the $5 million.

You've read it here first, so when Ghiz and company come out and oppose this, which based on their prior statements they will, then everyone needs to ask those who oppose this how to make up the money. Demand details. That goes for Winburn, Murray, and Lippert as well. If they oppose it, but don't put a plan in place, then they are refusing to govern.

Contact Your Congressman! Tell Him/Her to Raise the Debt Ceiling NOW!

Everyone who lives in Ohio District 1 should immediately contact our Congressman Congressman Steve Chabot and tell him to vote to raise the debt ceiling. Make sure to tell him that he needs to vote on a bill that will pass the Sentate and be signed by the President. No more politics on this, get it done.

As always, be respectful and polite.  He's never going to be someone I would support in an election, but it is his job to represent our district.  This situation is so incredibly frustrating to watch, because the issue should have been a simple up or down vote months ago, but right now we must try and keep our cool and voice our views, while keeping it in a manner that will be heard and not ignored for sounding crazy.

If you are in other districts here a couple other local congress members others to contact: Jean Schmidt and Geoff Davis.  If you live in other congressional districts, a simple Google search for your member of congress should turn up their contact page quickly.

Please do this now and contact them each day as long as this continues without a resolution.

Is the Voter ID Bill Dead?

The Columbus Dispatch has an article that concludes that the bill going through the Ohio State legislature is dead, at least for the time being. This is good news for Democracy. Let's hope a modified bill can be prevented from coming back up for vote again.

Voter suppression is anti-democratic. It is tactic used by, and I am going to utter the word, Fascists. To call this effort anything other than voter suppression is ignorance or plain old lying. It could be both, but I'm going to give people the benefit of the doubt that if they are lying to me, then they know why they are lying to me.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I Have Stopped Watching News, For the Time Being

I am sick of hearing about the insanity happening in Washington over the debt ceiling right now and really can't stand listening to the ignorance of anyone who thinks either 1) default is good or 2) Extortion is a fair or moral thing to do.  We simply need a clean bill to raise the debt limit and then move on.  If people want to debate the size of government, fine, we have a big election coming up next year.  That might be a good time to bring up some issues, if you happen to be running for office.

I can barely stomach reading the headlines. I am pulling my hair out over what is a simple concept: paying our bills.  This is a serious mess and we have people who have lost their sanity allowed to hold public office.  Yes, I'm looking at the Republican Cabal in the House when I say that, and if you honestly think what they are doing currently is right, then Zeus help us all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Anthony Munoz and Jim Breech Support Anti-Gay Group

It isn't new news, but something people should know: at least two former Bengals Anthony Munoz and Jim Breech are supporters of CCV. CCV is the anti-gay group that helped lead the effort to ban gay marriage in Ohio, among other hardcore social conservative political efforts. Munoz and Breech have been supporting CCV since at least 1992.  Former Bengals head coach Sam Wyche also reportedly was as supporter at least in 1992.

I wonder how much gay bigotry still exists in the NFL.  I would be guessing a lot.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Enquirer Promotes Tea Party Rally, Ignores Protests

The Cincinnati Enquirer has run an article about a rally that will occur. This rally is a 'Tea Part' event to support the insane efforts by the Republicans to hold a gun tot he head of Country in hopes of getting the demands they want. (Yes, like terrorists.) So, why does the Enqurier provide free promotion for a political rally for a hard right wing group, pushing an insane idea that if it happens will actually destroy the county in a matter of a few days, but when protests against Boehner happen, you don't get any promotion attention. Anti-Boehner groups are lucky to get after the fact coverage, mainly if they break the law while doing it.  Press-release journalism strikes again, this time with a political bias.

The Enqurier wasn't alone pushing this press-release event, the Dayton Daily News were suckers as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Diana Frey Accused of Embezzling Over $750K From CODE

The President of the CODE Union, Diana Frey, was indicted on Federal charges that including diverting over $750,000 of Union funds into her personal accounts. The details of the indictment indicate that no one was paying much attention or were just letting Frey do what she wanted unchallenged. That is a bad idea for any organization.

It makes me wonder about the procedure used to issue endorsements for city political offices back in 2009. In case you don't recall, those endorsements were:
CODE is also endorsing Brad Wenstrup for mayor. The incumbents being endorsed by CODE are Chris Bortz, Leslie Ghiz, Jeff Berding, and Chris Monzel. CODE is also endorsing newcomers Amy Murray, Tony Fischer, Anitra Brockman and George Zamary.
The source of the endorsements are from WLWT. This union falls in line with the FOP in supporting mostly Conservative/Republican candidates.  That's another odd stance that will be interesting to see how much the people at the top of the Union controlled those endorsements.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

City Union Leader Under Investigation and 'Missing'

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that Diana Frey, president of the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees (CODE) union is under investigation and has gone missing.

Arnold's To Be Featured on NBC TV Show In The Fall


A Cincinnati institution, Arnold's Bar and Grill, will be featured in NBC TV show Harry's Law starting in the new season this fall. There is no other way to say it: This is really cool. The bar and restaurant will have it's exterior used in the show and the interior is being "re-created" in Hollywood for regular use during the series. The owners of Arnold's have sent t-shirts, menus, and other decor items to add authenticity to the set. I am so very pleased for them. Arnold's is one of my favorite places in Cincinnati and is a wonderful image of our city to be seen nationally.  I hope Hollywood gets the place right, it is a unique Cincinnati treasure.

Other locations around the city will be used to give the TV show a sense of the real Cincinnati.  Last season depiction was not a very good likeness of our town.

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Little Cincinnati Brass to Help You Shake Your Ass on a Monday

Ken Blackwell Has a Bridge He Wants to Sell You

I don't know if Ken or someone at the Enquirer used the word "bold" in former Mayor and Council member Ken Blackwell's guest column: A bold idea: Consolidate Greater Cincinnati across state, county lines, but there is nothing bold about it. It is not a bold idea to say you are going to drive a 1999 Honda Civic to Mars. An idea isn't bold when it is not even possible in the world of science fiction.

Ken Blackwell wants to create some new 'form' of government that currently does not exist. It would take two State governments to change their laws to make it even conceptually possible. What Ken didn't put in his column is how he would solve the problem of taxes and residency. Are the people living in Kentucky now becoming part of Ohio? If not, how the hell would that work? Who would collect the taxes? How do elections work? What laws govern who? How can a single government function when different state laws affect different parts of its citizens?  The questions could go on and on.

Ken is really trying to sell you a bridge you don't need. His plan clearly appears to be a scheme to create large businesses that could serve all of the communities. This sounds like a large scale privatization plan, where all services of the governments would be outsourced to private companies. Why does this sound like that, since he doesn't actually say that? Simple, that is the only way it could conceptually work. Create some shell of a "government" that oversees the bidding process and that's all you need to fufill what Ken wants.  That hollow government wouldn't solve any problems, it would create more and put money in the pockets of the big businesses that happen to win contracts.

So, it's smoke and mirrors and Republcian dogma. Ken does not want a strong metro government that would have the teeth needed to actually govern, he wants an empty shell that big-business can exploit.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

State Rep. Robert Mecklenborg To Resign August 2nd

Republican State Representative Robert Mecklenborg to resign August 2nd after being arrested for DUI with a much younger woman, who was not his wife, in the car. I am confused why he is waiting a couple of weeks to resign. I would guess it would be for financial or benefit reasons.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

John Boehner Has a Choice: Be a Leader Or Let America Crash Into Ruin

Republican Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, John Boehner has a clear choice. He can be a leader and make a deal with the President or he can follow the insane politics of the backbenchers in his party. These puritanical naive Republican newbies who have created an economic theology worthy of a jihadist supply sider's worst peyote vision quest are knowingly trying to drive the Country off the cliff in hopes of waking us up into their mythical world. This is the world that pretends that the economic system of the pre-industrial south can work without the enslavement of the worker. Feudalism doesn't work without a population of mostly serfs. I don't know why there are so many Repbulcians who don't grasp that reality. They further don't grasp that with Capitalism there will always be poor people. Capitalism is not a positive sum game, where everyone wins. There are winners and there are losers. You could argue that everyone 'could' win, but based on the game, not everyone can.  Therefore as long as we have Capitalism, we will have poor people, the losers of the game. We as a society have to take care of everyone, not just the winners.  The game Republicans are playing is to take care of the winners in hopes of insuring their own status as a winner, while ignoring the majority of America who don't have the means to survive more losses.

Another thing that Cincinnati born John Boehner should do: laugh off Mitch McConnell's punting on 1st down idea.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Lest We Forget: Mike Allen's Past Scandal

It is very possible some people reading about Mike Allen considering running for Cincinnati City Council do not know how big of a scandal it was when he did not run again as Hamilton County Prosecutor. The Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson does do a pretty good job of recapping the torrid past, but nothing can really instill the level of disgust that everyone felt when the Republican Allen was sued for Sexual Harrassment after a multiple year extra-martial affair took place with one of his assistant prosecuting attorneys. The one issue I would point out to readers: he didn't resign from office, instead he did not seek re-election, but served our his term. That is something Wilkinson got wrong in the article.

Here is a little history from my blog and others so people can get a little sense of history and why Allen has no business running for public office:
Allen - Collins Settlement
From Nate Livingston
Enquirer 2004 Top 10 Local News Stories: Mike Allen Scandal was #1 beating out Bush's Win
Mike Allen, Esq.
Both Allen and Collins Want Tax Money
So Much For a Settlement
Local GOP Is Chicken
Collins-Allen Imbroglio
Mum's the Word From Bronson
Lisa Allen: Victim and Pawn?
Mike Allen's Political Career Is Over (Yes, I hope the title doesn't end up being ironic.)

From a pure political sense, this would be harsh news for Republicans. Allen would take votes from all of the GOP candidates and drive votes away from the GOP in general, even though he's not going to get a Republican endorsement. The local GOP made it clear with the quotes in the Wilkinson article that Mike Allen would not be getting an endorsement, both for being too late and for his past problems. Hopefully, the lack of GOP support will keep Allen from running. While I think that Allen running might help some Dems, it will suck the attention from the political landscape into a scandal ridden race that we don't need. That might drive up hits for my blog, but it will not drive up voter turnout.

Saturday, July 09, 2011

NPR's On The Media Revisits Chiquita-Enquirer Scandal

NPR's program On the Media devoted a very in-depth segment of the radio program yesterday on the Cincinnati Enquirer-Chiquita voice-mail hacking scandal form the late 1990's.  This was another follow-up piece from the fallout from the News of the Wolrd phone hacking problem in England, which resulted in the most read weekly newspaper in Britain ceasing operations for good.  Yes, a profitable newspaper was shut down in England.

Well, back to the Enquirer historical comparison.The most interesting part of the whole scandal and why it was so sad where two facts:

  • The Enquirer denounced and apologized the original story published. 
  • The story was damning against Chiquita. The story was a solid story, but due to the need to settle the case, the Enquirer had to run away from the series of articles, getting Chiquita off the hook, actually spinning the company as the victim of the situation.

It goes to show how much the public doesn't bother to pay attention to the facts, just the spin. Marketing works to well. It is a sad reality of humanity. We are suckers for spin.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Why Can't an Opening Day Holiday Just Be a Council Ordinance?

Three is a big effort happening this weekend to make Red's Opening Day into an offical city holiday. My question is why would this take a ballot issue to happen? Is there something in the city charter limiting the number or reasons for a city wide holiday?

If not, I would guess there would be enough votes on Council to pass an ordinance making this official. The only hindrance to full council support might be the existence of ramifications of holidays to union contracts or city requirements, which is where a charter amendment might be necessary to limit the scope of the holiday, making it revenue neutral.

UPDATE: After reading the proposed ballot language, it sounds like it wouldn't take much for City Council to do, it has no teeth and is just "ceremonial." I don't see the need to put this on the ballot.

Countdown for 2012 Wold Choir Games Begins July 11th

The countdown clock will officially start for the 2012 World Choir Games at a Fountain Square event on Monday, July 11th. Cincinnati area native Drew Lachey will MC the 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM event.  Entertainment includes gospel recording artist Byron Cage, The Eleventh Hour Choir from Kettering, finalists in the NBC show “The Sing Off,” and singer and songwriter Kelly King.

There will be an actual clock, housed at Fountain Square that will provide a countdown to the event. I don't think everyone in Cincinnati understands how big of an event this is going to be. Organizers expect 20,000 participants and 200,000 spectators to attend over eleven days (July 4-14, 2012). Most of the spectators will be from out of town, including over 70 countries. That will mean a big boom to business. Hotel rooms will be hard to find. Restaurants will be busy. People from around the world will be enjoying our city.  We will have a chance to show off what an amazing place Cincinnati, OH is and has been for a long time.

The people of Cincinnati need to support this event.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Summer Assignments for Murray and Winburn

To no one's surprise, council members Amy Murray and Charlie Winburn are complaining about council's summer recess schedule, while facing a $33 million budget deficit. If Murray and Winburn think council should use that time to work on a detailed plan of revenue increase or service cuts needed to balance the budget, then they are free to do so on their own. No one is going to stop them from getting a copy of the budget drafted by the City Manager and then running the numbers so the $33 Million can be reduced to zero. They will be paid the same, no matter if council is in session or not.

So, whether council stays in session, or not, Murray and Winburn I believe have volunteered themselves to produce a written document that provides a full solution on how to balance the budget. Nothing would then stop them from publishing the details that get them to a zero deficit?

Nothing would stop them.

They have plenty of time to get it done. They both most remember that getting the deficit to zero means that the cuts or revenues they list out are real, not relying on delinquencies to pay up money owed.

I'll be waiting for a document....

That should take maybe a couple of days, and that is being generous. The rest of the time they could spend doing the audits they want to pay someone else to do. Instead of paying $150,000 to the State, Winburn and Murray could each do one and they could get another one of the Conservatives will to spend $150,000 on three audits. That $150,000 is money that could instead go to pay the salaries of at least two entry level police officers (plus benefits).

So, two more police officers, or the Conservatives do some work this summer, what will it be?

If I were Murray or Winburn, I wouldn't ask Council member Leslie Ghiz for help. Doing the work of the City, isn't her job, so other than pontificating and grandstanding, I don't expect her to do much this summer for Council.

Adweek Remembers Enquirer-Chiquita V-Mail Scandal

In light of the News Corp scandal brewing in Britian where reporters allegedy hacked into crime victim's voice-mail accounts, an Adweek reporter took a quick look back to the 'similar' Cincinnati Enquirer Scandal back in 1998 when an Enquirer Reporter allegedly hacked into a Chiquita employee's voice-mail for story.

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Old Time Radio Totally Gone From 91.7 WVXU

A review of 91.7 WVXU schedule shows that both the nightly and weekly shows of old time radio programs have been replaced. This is a disappointing occurrence. I understand how some people don't like history, but these radio programs are a window to what it was like to live in the 1940's and 1950's, before television. The value to knowing the past, first hand, is the core of understanding history.

I hope WVXU will have some special events, where it plays some old radio, especially the re-aring of some of the big news events, like the end of WWII or D-Day.

The shows they have added as replacements sound good, especially the LA Theatre Works, which has modern day radio theatre. If you are going to replace old time radio drama with something, this sounds like the a positive way to do it. It keeps the art form alive.

Shorter Verion of Green Twp. Anti-Public Housing Column

Not In My Back Yard

Or NIMBY if you want it even shorter.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Bunbury Music Festival Kickoff Event July 9th at Sawyer Point

The Bunbury Music Festival is having a special preview event this year on July 9th at Sawyer Point. Music starts at 7PM and runs to 11PM.  The stellar line-up:

The Seedy Seeds
Lions Rampant
The Minor Leagues

Tickets for year one of the festival (July 13-15, 2012) will go on sale on July 9, 2011.  Also, the first 1,000 attendees to the kickoff event can pick up a special discount code that will give them 50% off a one-day OR three-day pass to the 2012 festival.  Get out and support Cincinnati's music scene.

Rhinestone Cowboy Charlie Winburn

In yesterday's Northside Fourth of July Parade, City Councilman Charlie Winburn was on a horse.  Yes, it was a spectacle like few I've ever seen in Cincinnati Politics.  Here's a glimpse:

Winburn was lead by a marching band full of kids from some school not prominently indicated.  It didn't appear to be a public school, but I hope it wasn't a charter school, since all of the kids were wearing Winburn T-Shirts. I'm sure the Republicans who care so much about how schools influence kids will be sure to find out if all of the kid's parents gave written permission for their children be props for Winburn's political campaign.  I think Tom Brinkman should get right on that.

I guess for everyone who likes political circuses, this is your Christmas.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

CincyMusic.com to Return

Cincinnati music fans and bands, take note! CincyMusic.com will be returning to the Internet soon. You can sign up for their email list to get the notice of when they relaunch.  I don't see any type of estimate of when they will be, so you'll just have to stay tuned.

Otherwise check out their Facebook page or Twitter account for limited cincymusic information.

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Sittenfeld Has a Jingle, But No Public Stance On The Streetcar

Yesterday the Enquirer's Politics Extra blog posted on P.G. Sittenfeld's new jingle made in support of his campaign for City Council. It's fine, in a 1950's nostalgia kind of a way. (Think of  "I like Ike")  I don't mind any city council candidate being creative with positive promotion. I am disappointed, however, that P.G. appears to be too busy doing this type of fluffy campaigning to bother writing a quick post to his blog giving his stance on the Streetcar.

I asked the question: Where Does P. G. Sittenfeld Stand on the Streetcar? a couple of weeks ago and have not read anything yet that indicates an answer. P.G. needs to make public his stance on the Streetcar or people will draw conclusions.  I'd still settle for a Twitter or Facebook post, but at this point his silence with all the social media rumblings going on leads one to conclude that at a minimum he is not a strong supporter of the Streetcar and can't use 140 characters to explain his view on the subject.

I still hope he'll come out and support the plan, which will help the City grow and prosper. The longer he stays quiet, however, the more he will be viewed as a typical politician too concerned with his own political future to take a stand on an important and relevant issue.  Even if he is against the Streetcar, he needs to make it clear to the voters.

Robert Mecklenborg's Arrest Dashboard Camera Video Is Released

Joesph at Plunderbund has put up the dashboard camera showing the OVI arrest of Ohio State Representative Robert Mecklenborg from Dearborn County, Indiana.

Friday, July 01, 2011

Was Mecklenborg With a Stripper?

Court documents reportedly show that Republican State Representative Robert Mecklenborg was arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired with a woman, not his wife, in the car. Another report names her as Tiona Roberts. Multiple news outlets are trying to confirm what can best be considered a "rumor" at this point that she works at a Lawrenceberg, IN strip club called Concepts Showgirls.

The Enquirer also has a new story, and mentions the woman in the car.  They asked Mecklenborg who the woman was and why she was in the car, but he would not answer the question.

Ignorant Old White Men

When I ever I read about the delusional activities of ignorant old men I want to pity them. In the case of bigoted and ignorant old white men acting on that bigotry, I loathe them and am embarrassed.

Thankfully, the number of old bigoted white men protesting LULAC was small. The problem is that the bigger number of bigots (old and young) still exists, just don't have the free time afforded to those living the retired lifestyle.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Leslie Ghiz Refuses to Govern. That's Her Job!

Cincinnati council member Leslie Ghiz is abdicating her responsibilities to govern the city. From the article:
"It is the manager's job to figure out how to close the budget," Ghiz said, adding that the manager, mayor and council all are involved in the budget process. "It is not our job to figure out how to close that gap."
For at least the last two years the City Manager has provided multiple options for a balanced budget.  Leslie Ghiz, and the Republicans on Council, have opposed those options. If you oppose what the manager is doing, you have to give your own plan to balance the budget.  You don't give clues.  You don't dance around and say what you will not accept.  You instead DO YOUR JOB: GOVERN THE CITY.  Put out a plan that adds up.

If that means you get out the budget, a pencil, a legal pad of paper, and start doing the math to make it something you will vote for, then you DO IT. Why do you do it?  You do it because as a city council member it is your job to represent the people and provide a balance budget, what ever it takes. No political excuses.  No grandstanding.  Just get the job done.  If that means pissing off a group you are counting on for political support, tough!

If Leslie Ghiz refuses to do her job, why is she staying on council? Why is she bothering to run for office again?More importantly, why would any citizen vote for someone who is abdicating their responsibility?

Ohio Rep. Robert Mecklenborg Charged With OVI

Green Township Republican State Representative Robert Mecklenborg was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated back in April in Indiana.

Here are the problems with this situation:

  1. This happened two months ago and we are just learning it now.
  2. Mecklenbor "allegedly" refused a Breathalyzer test.
  3. Mecklenborg stated he has "every presumption of innocence at this time."
If this guy was a Democratic elected official the police would have leaked the arrest and the Republicans would be calling for him to resign.  At this point, the GOP have been silent as far I can tell and the Indiana Police appeared to keep silent for nearly two months.

As a reminder, a U.S. Congressman was recently forced to resign for basically being a bad husband and a creep, but wasn't charged with a crime.  This guy is charged with a crime, but we have no wind storm of calls for him to resign for "allegedly" doing something, driving drunk, that could have killed someone.  I'll hope we hear from some GOP officials soon.

But..There could be more to this story.  I'm not going there, yet.

Republicans' One Cut Fits All Attitude Will Ruin America

Republicans at all levels, Federal, State, and local have adopted a political strategy to deal with our economic crisis.  Yes, they have adopted a political strategy to deal with the economic crisis, not an economic strategy.  We are in trouble and they are taking the opportunity to mindlessly cut government. They are not thinking about what they are cutting, they are just bent on cutting. They think this will win them elections and get them donations from rich donors. They have no clue what will happen when this cuts are implemented and are giving no thought to the impact on society by massive reduction of services. The goal of Monzel and Hartman is to just cut everything. They are not thinking about the impact, they just want to cut, because if they try to do the right thing, the Tea Party will crush them. How can anyone function with that type of irrational thug based political paradigm? Seriously, Hartman isn't a stupid or insane man, but is acting like he has a gun to his head.  Monzel, well, he seems to like it.  He has a politically masochistic bent to him that puts that twinkle in his tone when he pushes his right wing agenda.

This is happening on all levels of government and the Hamilton County Commission is just the latest. There is no rationale provided, just a mantra: no tax increases. It is like they are robots, programmed to DESTROY ALL HUMANS, because they don't seem to have any forethought on what their draconian cuts will do. Mostly, and deep down, I don't think most Republicans care. Somehow a 19th Century economic mindset has become the core of elected and those trying to be elected Republicans.  That's the mindset that creates sweatshops and employees Pinkerton thugs to enforce their will.  Where did the sanity go?

We can't gut the government and have a viable society. The myopic stance Republicans take because they think they think they personally don't need government is going to screw them when they don't have roads or jails or courts functioning to provide the orderly society needed. Building a walled castle in the suburbs isn't going to keep out the problems facing the rest of us. We actually need a government to keep the chaos at bay. We have too many Republicans today who are ready to jump into the chaos. Where did this delusional mindset come from?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Vote for OTR! Today!!!

OTR needs your help to win $25,000 for preservation of the neighborhood. Please vote in this survey for each email address you have. The deadline to vote is June 30th (Tomorrow) at 4:59 PM. OTR is barely in 1st Place, but needs your help to stay there. Spread the word and get people to vote today!

Barry Hortsman Has Been Reassigned Off the Streetcar, Mostly

Sources indicate that starting this week, Enquirer reporter Barry Hortsman takes on the role of general investigative reporter in a new investigative/data unit at the Enquirer. He will be off the transportation beat, which as reported here before is going to Amanda Van Benschoten. The best news is that he will be handing off the Streetcar issue, mostly, to Van Benschoten. It appears he may remain involved on some stories or issues involving the Streetcar, but it will not be his beat.  What we can now do is pay close attention to the bylines and credits on stories involving the Streetcar, seeing how the tone/facts sway.  If we get story after story involving COAST or Chris Smitherman press releases,  we can see if Hortsman's name is there.  If not, then I think the bias against the Streetcar will point right to the editors.  If we don't get Streetcar stories that go to COAST or Smitherman or Tom Luken for the anti-streetcar bias, then I will jump for joy.  There are plenty of sane anti-streetcar people out there.  They are far to often ignorant, but they are respectable.  I'd suggest Amanda stick to City Council Republicans.  They are against it and they should be happy to make the City know they are against it.

Elissa Yancey is the New Managing Editor at Soapbox

Elissa Yancey takes over the lead role of Soapbox from Sean Rhiney, who is stepping down from the role after about two years. Matt Cunningham is being promoted to Associate Editor and will be responsible for the Development and Innovation & Job News sections of the website.

A big thanks to Sean for his fine work and congratulations to Elissa and Matt.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Seelbach Heading to White House Reception

Cincinnati City Council candidate Chris Seelbach is heading to Washington, D.C. tomorrow for a private reception with President Obama and the First Lady. Seelbach was selected to attend the President's celebration of LGBT Pride Month for his efforts in working for the civil rights of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, and Transgenders. Seelbach was part of the leadership team that successfully repealed the anti-gay Article XII amendment to the City Charter, which allowed discrimination based on sexual orientation.

More from the Enquirer.

The AP Likes Shit Stories

I don't know what it is about pooping and shit, but the Associated Press likes it and picked up this Enquirer story.

The AP Story doesn't get into the hypocrisy of the situation, like what did the homeless did before during the winter when the Washington Park toilets were closed? Also, why doesn't the Drop Inn Center provide public toilets? If they have a reason NOT to provide one, why would anyone else provide them?

It is pathetic that the media only responds to a story when it includes a circus and then get distracted by clowns and poop.

Why does the media treat 'homeless activists' any differently then they would treat a Press Release promoting the appearance by a fitness team showing the benefits of a new health drink that will keep you regular? Both are PR people, both are biased towards their product, and both are just as credible. Yet, one gets respected and the other dismissed. One spins the truth for profit, the other pretends it's altruistic. I'd love for both to be given the same treatment, but it appears that some people's shit doesn't smell.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Van Benschoten Taking on Transportation at Enquirer

Amanda Van Benschoten, NKY political reporter at the Enquirer, is moving her beat to the Cincinnati side of the river:
Beginning Monday, I move on to a new assignment at the newspaper: covering regional economic development and transportation.

I'll be covering the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, the Brent Spence Bridge, and Cincinnati's Port Authority, among other things. It's a beat chock full of political intrigue, and I look forward to it.

The big question: Will her Transportation coverage include the Streetcar? Has Barry Hortsman been reassigned or will she cover most Transportation modes, except for all rail Transportation that the Enquirer wants to use to create controversy?

Will MetroMix Last in Print Much Longer?

CityBeat News Editor Kevin Osborne ponders the future of Metromix. His analysis makes sense. The print edition would appear to be on its last legs. I'm not actually sure why the Enquirer didn't use the turmoil created with the latest round of layoffs to end the print edition, but I can't understand how they could gut the newsroom the way they did and still put out a daily print edition that is worth reading.

The assumption I would make, however, is that the online Metromix will go forward. I'm wondering what is taking so long for an iPad app for both the Enquirer and Metromix. Both the Dayton Daily News and the Columbus Dispatch have iPad apps. I really hope one was in the works prior to the layoffs. I don't see Gannett pushing one forward, even though they have the technology at USA-Today and it works pretty damn well. It would be nice if they capitalized on the investment there and rolled it out to the Enquirer.

Welcome LULAC!

I wish to welcome LULAC (the League of United Latin American Citizens) to Cincinnati this week for their annual convention.

Check out the Convention website and be sure to thank all of the volunteers helping with this event. It is great for Cincinnati to have a group like LULAC hold their national convention here and bring their message to this part of the country. The civil rights for Latinos is a cause that needs much attention in today's America and I am proud of the work they do. I'm also proud to be part Latino, even if I'm only 1/8th.

Former County Commissioner Files For Personal Bankruptcy

The Cincinnati Business Courier is reporting that Tom Neyer Jr., former Hamilton County Commissioner has filed for personal bankruptcy. The former Republican Commissioner is the owner of Neyer Holdings Corp. a real estate development company. According to the article, Neyer Holdings was involved in the very troubled Kenwood Town Place development that has been sitting half finished for around two years.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Wilkinson to Write a Weekly Politics Column in the Sunday Enquirer

Long time political reporter Howard Wilkinson is again writing a political column for the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Today's column on Brad Wenstrup's challenge to Jean Schmidt is the first of what will be a regular Sunday column. Wilkinson is the only local political reporter/columnist who has been around long enough to have contacts that reach beyond the surface of campaign staffers. That also means he can tend to be the center of conventional wisdom.  Many of the older political players, who would logically be amongst his many sources, far too often think of the politics of the past as if Cincinnati is still what is was in 1970 or even 1985. Times have changed in City, County, and even the congressional political landscape.

I hope all his future columns are like today's, where it is more political analysis, than political opinion. Fact based analysis trumps trite dogma every time.  I also hope he stays out of national politics.  I don't want to hear his take on the 2012 presidential race, unless it is about the Ohio Primary, if it by chance will be meaningful for the GOP nomination.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Is Barry Horstman An Olympic Athlete Or A Liar?

Jake Mecklenborg at the Cincinnati Monocle gives the information you need to answer the question the title of this blog poses: Is Barry Horstman an Olympic Athlete or a liar? Jake references the article Enquirer reporter Barry Hortsman wrote about the time it would take to "walk" the Streetcar route. Hortsman claimed the streetcar route could be walked in 34 minutes, a "very brisk walk" to be specific. That would be 3.15 miles in 34 minutes. When I do the the math I get a walking speed of 5.56 mph.

5.56 mph is jogging. So I guess the is a fantasy land where a "very brisk walk" equates to jogging. That land is a ways from OZ, but right next door to the spacecamp that COASTers call "reality."

So, that basically makes the entire point of the article wrong and horrible journalism.  Why do it?  Do I need to ask this question or is there more than just an anti-streetcar/pro-conflict bias at work here?

For the curious, Wikipedia indicates the average walking speed for people to be 3.1 mph, while running 3.15 miles would be somewhere between 6.6 and 6.8 mph for men and 5.8 and 6.1 for women.

Friday, June 24, 2011

'Zombies Ahead' Makes NPR

You know you made it when something, Interstate 71/75 sign warns of zombies, is reported on NPR. Just now, at the 5:30 AM news intro, the 'Zombies Ahead' sign was mentioned. Have no fear, it wasn't a big story and was  only part of their humorous intro to the hard news. Have a little pride that the country is noticing what we do here, no matter how bizarre or strange or in this case cleverly delinquent.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Council Conservatives Need to Learn Math

Jane Prendergast of the Enquirer reports about the rhetoric on the budget coming from the 5 conservatives on Cincinnati City Council and they just don't understand math or logic, but logic and math don't get you votes.

None of them have put forth a way to cut the $33 million deficit for 2012. None of those on council last year in this group put forth a way to actually balance the budget.  They have ideas, but they can't seem to bother naming the cuts needed to reach the required $33 million.

Instead, as Jane lists out, each of the 'fiscal five' have pet projects each wants to cut or have hollow ideas that have finite dollar values to be considered serious..  None of this ideas add up to anything close to balancing the budget because none do anything to cut the Police Department.

This is where the math comes in. The same 5 refuse to have property owners pay 10 dollars per 100,000 more to take the $33 Million down to $29 Million. So, they cut revenues, again, for the property owners who want the police coverage, which the 5 won't cut along with the revenue cuts. If you subtract from revenues you need to subtract from expenses.  Subtracting from revenues doesn't increase revenues.  That's magical math normally reserved for princes and frogs, but I guess for conservatives, property owners are like neo-feudal lords that actually believe in magic that can turn tax cuts into instant money to pay for more cops than we actually need.  Luther would be proud, I suppose.

Of the pet projects, they one with elements on the table that could put a dent in the deficit would be Chris Bortz's thoughts, but his ideas rely on an unproven assumptions: that outsourcing will save money. He also wants to cut programs that don't cost much, but many would find go along way to help the police govern more effectively in the long run, like the Citizen's Compliant Authority.

The rest of the council members either have hot button issues that add up to service cuts that don't come anywhere near $33 million or they rely on the pie in the sky word "merger", which does nothing now. Mergers are ideas to dangle in front of the ignorant voter, but the semi-smart voter knows none of the merger ideas can be worked out in time before council is required by the Charter to pass a 2012 budget. City/County merger ideas are actually good thoughts, but they are long term issues that need much thought and discussion, something that takes time and focus, which isn't being started in an election year, just talking about. Mergers are not something you can use to plug short term budget deficits. That requires actual numbers.

So, I put forth the challenge to all 5 conservatives on council. If they are serious about governing, they do have the majority after all, then they need to create a budget cutting plan that adds up to $33 million in savings. This would be a real budget, not a pretend one. Pretending includes using "mergers" ideas or ticket amnesty. Anyone who does not have a concrete set of numbers that add up to $33 million is lying when they say they have a budget plan.

The only thing all 5 seem to be willing to do is what ever the FOP wants. None of them will say a word about cutting a dime from anything the FOP says it needs, but will cut they rest of the city's budget (CFD not included). Ghiz is the worst and she knows her hypocrisy and doesn't care. Her quote from the article is priceless:
"I don't care about fair," Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz said.
Supporting the FOP gets her votes. Governing the city and making cuts that are best for all workers and citizens doesn't get her votes. It is crass politics, but it is what she does.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

6% Less News At the Enquirer

According to the information I was able to analyse the latest round of layoffs at the Enquirer yesterday totaled 10 people from the news team. I count that as over 6% of the team charged with gathering, editing and putting out the newspaper and its websites. This doesn't include the outside bloggers affiliates 'working' for the paper. This also doesn't count the reportedly 8-9 other non-news people laid off from the paper.

So we get less news, Gannett big-wigs get bonuses and pay raises, and shareholders get a small short bump in share price.  A deal worthy of Wall Street.

People have been saying for many years now that newspapers are dead. I thought that was bullshit. I knew they were shells of what they used to be, but they would stick around, maybe online only. Maybe they would start using a pay wall. I just didn't think they could cut more reporters. This layoff actually cut news gathering by 4 people. There are now 4 fewer people at the paper who had the job of gathering news and writing about it. I don't know how they will be replaced. Either using more freelancers or just cover the same limited coverage with fewer people and wind up with that 6% less news.

We the people of Cincinnati need to actually start thinking about what we will do when the Enquirer goes away. I understand that most conservatives will point to the free market, but Democracy does not exist without a free press, even a flawed newspaper like the Enquirer. No other outlet does what it does. It serves as the source of most of the news that is reported in Cincinnati. This news gathering is a service that must continue. I don't know how, but we need it, so we better start planning how to live in a post newspaper world. If we don't, the mindless drones who don't bother paying attention or just listen to the propaganda outlets will be the majority, if they aren't already. That's how fascism literally starts, not the rhetorical kind people like to claim exists now.  Start thinking now and get your face out of the reality TV shows for a few minutes, OK?

Covedale Isn't a Seperate Neighborhood

I don't know what is wrong with being part of West Price Hill, but some residents wish to be recognised as a separate neighborhood called Covedale.  They've been denied that recognition by the City Manager.  Except for the ever variable property value game, I don't see any value in the distinction between West Price Hill and Covedale.  I don't know where the Covedale name stems from, but adding it for cosmetic reasons isn't worth the expense to the city.  Furthermore, the implications from a Community Council perspective is more troubling.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Where Does P. G. Sittenfeld Stand on the Streetcar?

A hole is starting to grow and if that hole gets to big, a candidate for City Council may not be able to get out. The discussions are going around the social media and commenting circles in Cincinnati about where PG Sittenfeld, Democratic candidate for Cincinnati Council, stands on the Streetcar. Social media posts claim he is against it, one based on a conversation the poster allegedly had with the candidate. His website is silent on the issue. It is silent on Transportation in general. This is a big issue in the city. It may not be an issue some candidates want to get in the middle of, but they must take a clear position on it.

I don't like commenting on rumor, but this is a hopping one. It is a rather easy one to quell. A Twitter post will do just fine. I'd like to hear his views on the topic and unless he wants to become victim to the rumor mill's albatross line of accessories, he should speak up. He's not going to gain long term support by appeasing to opposing groups' views.

More Praise For Cincinnati Public Schools

Joe Nathan of the Minnpost.com offers up a summary on how Cincinnati Public Schools increased their graduation rates by more than 25%. The article is full of praise for what Cincinnati Schools, particularly Taft High School and it's principal Anthony Smith, accomplished.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who Are Chris Bortz's Enemies On City Council?

Enquirer reporter Barry Horstman wrote in an article effectively that Cincinnati City Council member Chris Bortz believes he has enemies on council. There is not a direct quote, but Hortsman attributes the 'feeling' to one that is from Bortz. Here is the section of the article:
"Those factors provide a foundation for Bortz's feeling that political enemies - including some on council - would like to use the issue to force his departure, while doing no harm to the project they favor."
So, that lead me to the question. Who are his enemies? There are only eight other people, nine if you include the Mayor. The list:

Mark Mallory (D) Mayor
Roxanne Qualls (C,D) Vice Mayor
Cecil Thomas (D) President Pro-tem
Leslie Ghiz (R)
Amy Murray (R)
Wayne Lippert (R)
Laure Quinlivan (D)
Charlie Winburn (R)
Wendell Young (D)
Any guesses?

Ok, so we all have foes in our life and in the workplace, but enemies? I'm sure some pols around town see me as a political enemy, in so much as I will speak out against their candidacies, but that's hardly new or excessive.  That is politics.  I'm not an enemy.  I'm not going to go after anyone's seat once elected.  I don't see that anyone on Council is an 'enemy' of Chris Bortz.  There is conflict on council.  That conflict is a two way street and no one is blameless. If there is a witch hunt to get Bortz, it is from outside Council.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wenstrup to challenge Schmidt For Congress

Losing Republican Mayoral candidate Brad Wenstrup will mount a primary challenge against sitting 2nd district Republican congress woman Jean Schmidt.

Does Wenstrup know something we don't? Does he know what the 2nd district will look like? That's a big reason we've not heard who else will run for congress, we don't know what redistricting will do. Where the lines are 'painted' for the 1st and 2nd districts will drive who will get in each of the races from the Democratic side. I expect we won't know what those districts look like until the Republicans draw the lines behind closed doors and do their best to create as many districts with demographics that favor their candidate, while giving the Democrats little time to review them.

Wenstrup mounted a suburbanite campaign when he ran for the City of Cincinnati Mayor. That means that while he lived on the east side of the city, his attitude and tone towards the city was like a moderate suburbanite's generally is: one of caution, some misplaced fear, and dislike. That doesn't play well in the city. That attitude may, however, play well if the 2nd district has a big suburban core. I don't know how well he will sell out in the rural areas. That is a whole different type of voter. In a GOP primary, they will be especially different from the typical suburban Republican on economic issues. That's going to be interesting.

Wenstrup is a solid challenger to Schmidt. He is a mainstream Republican, so he can lean as far to the right as he needs to and play to the middle if that is where is primary votes lie and for the general election if needed. Seeing how much this divides the party in the primary is going to be an enjoyable situation.

We Need a Wyatt Earp

The Stupidity of the Ohio GOP controlled legislature knows no bounds.

I guess pretending to live in the old West just isn't enough. GOP members of the Ohio House and Senate want to actually live like Cowboys of Cochise County. I am assuming they already have had their wives make them a red sash.

At this point we need a Wyatt Earp to take everyone's guns at the city limits. If that law was good enough for Tombstone and wasn't challenged in Federal Court in 1879, it should be good enough now. No one messes with Wyatt Earp or at least no one who is not going allow idiots to be inside an establishment that sells booze while carying a handgun. I mean only a logical person would assume that people go into bars to drink, not to have gunfights. I mean they wouldn't ever do both because Cowboys don't kill people unless they got it coming, after all, so we all should be safe.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Reaction In Green Township Is Predictable

The Enquirer is reporting about Green Township residents' reaction to the settlement that would add public housing, 32 units, to their township. They report that many are fearful. One township trustee says he has heard people say this will cause them to move.

I am not going to say, without evidence, that this is a big issue to all or even most of the people in Green Township, but damn for those who are so scared that they are voicing their fears, they are really prejudice bigots. I know some conservative is going to get in my face for calling them bigots, but when you assume that poor people will bring so much crime to your neighborhood that you are going to leave, then that is bigotry and harsh prejudice. The underlying cause and what is not being said, and should be said, is that the fearful ninnies are assuming these poor people are either black or Latino. No, I can't read their minds, but would they move because a bunch of poor white people were going to move in? No, if that were the case this article would not have been written, because no one would be calling their local politicians about it. You wouldn't see Chris Monzel's photo in the article's montage.

History shows, and we have the city neighborhoods to prove it, that when poor minorities moved into a neighborhood, most of the whites moved out. We have come a long way since this happened, but the mindset is still there in far too many minds, and those with the kneejerk reaction to move when the thought of 32 more poor minority households are to be added to their community are a big part of our continued race relations problems.  It would be nice if they would act like adults, but we can't expect miracles.

Local News at Risk

Jim Hopkins at the Gannettblog had an interesting post recently discussing a study that states that America is facing a "shortage of local, professional accountability reporting."

We don't have enough reporters covering local and state level government. Cincinnati audiences have a handful of reporters covering nearly all of the local governments on a regular basis. Some reporters from TV sometimes will add some coverage of local governments, but nothing consistent.

The cause of this shortage is obviously the debatable issue. People will blame corporations, exclusively, or blame one political party over the other. The group that deserves most of the blame, as I have said often, is the audience.

At this year's Cincinnati Fringe Festival an edgy production called Music for Newspapers and Radios illustrated this issue quite well. At one point in the show, four actors read out loud different portions of that day's Cincinnati Enquirer. One person read the sports section out loud. Another read the TV listings, while still another read out the crossword puzzle. The fourth was reading the front page story on the State budget deal.  She was passionate about it and felt the importance of the story and read it louder to the others so they might pay attention.  They were oblivious and stuck to the entertainment they had before them.  As if almost in a trance, they focused on sports, TV, or the crossword and ignored her rising voice issuing a news story that would affect them.  It was important for them to know what it said, but being entertained was more important.  After while the front page news reader tired and just fell asleep with the others.  She gave up.

News outlets have given up trying.  They are giving people what they want and they want to be amused.  They don't care about consuming news that actually will have an impact on their community and would be needed to make choices on who should run the government.  The idea of not having to think and just buying a pre-made idea is so much easier for our mindless consumer and image based society.

Our local news is at risk and when it dies,  neither American Idol or ESPN will carry the story.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

New Restaurant Coming to Downtown?

I noticed the signs above while on my walk this
morning. This is on Vine Street between 6th and 7th Streets.

Pick of Fringe Awards Announced

The 2011 Cincinnati Fringe Festival came to close last night with the Pick of Fringe Awards. Here were the Winners:

FringeNext Audience Pick
The First Book of: The Bible

Audience Pick
Opal Opus: Journey to Alakazoo

Critic's Pick
Miss Magnolia Beaumont Goes to Provincetown

Producer's Pick
Memoir of a Mythomaniac: The True Story of a Compulsive Liar (or Tallulah Dies)


Other awards for Fringe were also announced last night: Theconveyor.com Awards of Excellence and the Acclaim awards singled out performances and individual elements of the event.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

2011 TheConveyor Awards of Excellence at CincyFringe Announced

TheConveyor.com has posted their Awards of Excellencefor the Cincinnati Fringe Festival. Congratulations to all winners. It was a wonderful festival. Start the clock for 2012!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Real Talk 1160 Makes 700WLW Look Good

In Conservative Talk radio Circles, at least in the lower rated ones, it appears to be just fine to be bigoted/racist against blacks and be an on-air host. WQRT 1160-AM has hired Eric Deters as an evening talk radio host, with future plans to move him to mornings, as a lead in for Dennis Miller. This is after Deters was fired by 700 WLW-AM for making a racist remark on a video posted to his Facebook page.

Somehow WLW did the right thing. As CityBeat noted today, however, why hasn't WLW fired radio host Bill Cunningham for saying the large number of extreme and offensive things he has said over the years?

Monday, June 06, 2011

Enquirer Starts 'Breaking News' Blog

The Cincinnati Enquirer started a blog: This Just IN: Breaking News from the Tri-State on Friday. It appears to be mostly a quick news feed of selected eye catching stories with little more than initial reports and no analysis. I don't see this is as a blog at all, just a repackaging of the stories that appear on the front page.

What makes blogs different is that they can provide a voice and space. First, they lend themselves to commentary, as mine does. That is sorely missing at the Enquirer overall and is not present so far in this new blog endeavor. Second, blogs do well with long form feature stories. They give more space that can't fit into the newspapers and can utilize multimedia more effectively.

The one plus I do see in this blog is that so far the blog content on their website have not fallen into the pay archive. That gives a better online historical reference, but still not a complete one. This doesn't mean that these archives will stay open forever, something that makes this less of a blog.

If this more space for more hard news on Cincinnati.com overall, then that will be another plus. I don't find it has added more, yet. I can be hopeful it does.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Greenhornes Playing Fountain Square Sept 2

I have been busy Fringing and missed the Big Announcement from MidPoint about their full Indie Summer at Fountain Square schedule, which will include the Greenhornes on September 2nd. Mark that date on your music calendars. What great way to end the summer!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

CincyFringe Day One Reviews Are Up at TheConveyor.com

Over at the TheConveyor.com you can follow along my coverage of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival and I've got two reviews posted from shows I saw last night on day one.

Headscarf and the Angry Bitch
White Girl

Two more shows are on tap for tonight:

The Vindle Voss Family Circus
Peyote Business Lunch

Can We Focus On One Thing At a Time?

I like the idea of an Incline. I also like Wendell Young, but we need to focus on building a Streetcar and battles ahead instead of pushing new ideas.

The revised blog post linked above from Jane Prendergast also implies that Young is hedging on the Streetcar. I hope Wendell clarifies his position.