Friday, July 06, 2012

Celebrate the Renewed Washington Park!

Today is the start of a new era for Over-the-Rhine. The opening of Washington Park is corner stone in the revitalization of the neighborhood. A place built for all to enjoy, the park will be a location for people share the elements of life that make it worth living. Music, art, children, pets, play, sport and recreation are some of the elements that await everyone who wants to experience them.  Please check out the calendar of events and delve yourself into the community.  I'd point out City Flea taking place on Saturday, July 14th.

I hope the park never returns to what it was, a wasted space. There are some who want it to return to a dumping ground for trash, crime, and abuse. That will not happen. Spread the word on the rules of the park and help keep vigilance. This park is for everyone, but that doesn't mean a few get to do what ever they want. If there are any groups or individuals that knowingly break these rules, please report them. If they don't know the rules, point them out.  If nothing else, take a photo of the violation and send it to me, I'll post it and expose those who seek to destroy what will be the beacon of OTR.

This park is part of the community and the community must take care of it.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

A Panera Downtown Is a Good Thing

There may be some people out there complaining that Panera will be opening a Fountain Square location. Please stop. This is a good thing for Downtown. Yes, it's another chain restaurant. I try to avoid chain restaurants, but not everyone can. It is just never going to be possible for local resturants to solely serve the public. Chains exist because they can provide meals more cheaply than stand alone resturants, in most cases.   I would prefer there to be few chains, but no use to get ticked off as something that will create jobs and serve a significant number of customers. Panera will provide, hopefully, a consistent product served during consistent hours.  Those hours will hopefully also include evenings and weekends.

Panera beats adding a McDonald's or Burger King.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Chabot Wants the City of Cincinnati To Fail

U.S. House member Steve Chabot has done nothing to improve the City of Cincinnati while in federal office. It is clear why. Chabot wants the city to fail.

No, that's not over the top. No, it's not just because he's against the Streetcar. He purposely by-passed due process and slipped in an amendment to a bill that specifically PUNISHES the people of Cincinnati, a large portion of which he is alleged supposed to represent in the US. House of Representatives. This was a personal/political action, not a policy action.  He could have reached out to the people in his community, his constituents, and engage us on this issue.  He could have held a meeting to hear why the Streetcar will help.  Instead he did the political thing.  He did what Republican political activists want to do, hurt the city and make the Mayor and the Democrats on city Council look bad.

Cincinnati was punished for being two things: Urban and Democratic. We don't subscribe to Chabot's brand of lifestyle that wants to mold the country into three types of places: Small Towns, Rural Areas, and Exurbs (suburbs). Cities, in Chabot's mind, must die.

Cars are still king and roads must feed them and that's Steve's mantra. Public Transportation is a city thing, so it's from the devil. (Not to mention it gives the poor a chance to visit his neighborhood.)

Chabot's action was so wrong I really feel like screaming at him. I won't, but when people act without honor, class, or common decency it is difficult to be civil to them.  Chabot's actions were sleazy. He went after us. Those of us who live in the city and those of us who believe that Urbanism is the future of society (our only hope to survive) and those who view public transportation as a vital way to help save the planet. He intentionally tried to hurt people's futures.  He wants the urban core to fail, so we'll all move to the burbs. There is no middle ground to try and position this act.  Chabot's despicable amendment is a declaration taking a cold war of Republicans against the City, to a hot war.

Please note who started the war.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

More News The Enquirer Missed

A nationally known group of Catholic nuns is touring the nation holding events to promote their view that the House Republicans Budget (the Ryan Budget) is wrong and goes against Catholic teaching. For a newspaper that does not miss a beat covering Catholic related events, the Enquirer didn't appear to cover either the Nun's rally held on Fountain Square on Sunday or the event outside House Speaker's Boehner's West Chester office on Monday.

Instead, police news upstart FOX19 covered the story.

Not even a few photos of the nuns? Come on, if nothing else nuns are great in photos. It wouldn't have to do with ignoring an issue that conflicts with local Catholic Republicans?

Interesting Video From Ann Louise Inn Supporters

I generally agree with letting the Ann Louise continue to function and W&S's actions have not be good. I am concerned with the rhetoric used, however. I don't think it will work attacking W&S like this. I think it would be better to counter the lies of the W&S management with direct truth, not political style web commercials. This is still an interesting video.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ignorance Begat a Trite Enquirer Photo Montage

Has the Enquirer reduced its news gathering staff to the point of putting recycled photo montages on the front page of their website? Apparently, yes, they have. It's complete with an dig at OTR. Drivel. Indeed.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Where is the Mug Shot?

When I read about someone being arrested by the Cincinnati Police Department, I usually see a mug shot of them.  When I read about a Cincinnati police officer being arrested on charge of attacking his girlfriend, I was surprised not to see his photograph with the article.

Why would there not be a photo? Was it left out on purpose by the Enquirer? Did the police department not make it available? Is it a timing issue? Am I missing a simple fact that would explain why police officers are treated more kindly when they are arrested for allegedly beating up their girlfriends? By kindly I mean not having their photo attached to a newspaper story describing their arrest.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Why is the Enquirer Mixing a Murder in North OTR with Development Efforts?

The Enquirer's article online about the tragic murder of a 15 year old girl fails to be nothing more than pointless quotes cobbled together and a transparent ploy to gain attention. The first problem was the sensationalism, with two headlines: one on the article itself:
Girl's blood marks Over-the-Rhine dividing line
the other on the front page preview:
Girl's death a 'black eye' on OTR
The thought of trying to link violence with the neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine (OTR) is not a new thing, obviously, in Cincinnati. OTR still brings up the idea of violence and crime to the average suburban/exurban resident of the metro area who have been here for at least 10 years. Today, that crime and violence has decreased at a massive rate. This has helped changed the image of OTR. We (I live in OTR) don't have the automatic fear factor present itself, as often, when we mention OTR in conversation, except by the most anti-urban conservatives around town.  This link, however, sells newspapers.  The Enquirer makes money selling papers to people who have lived in Cincinnati for all of their life and their ignorance doesn't like to be challenged, so the newspaper feeds that ignorance with the same old story: crime happens where it is supposed to happen. To the ignorant person that place is OTR.  Selling it with emotional tugs is just the means.  If you can get quotes that bash 3CDC and the development in OTR, then that just appeals to a newer potential Enquirer Reader that wants their ignorance fed.  That group tends to be one left, as opposed to the right wing anti-urban knuckle-scraper.

What is the more disappointing problem with the story is it's structure.  What I get from it is that the reporter walked down Vine Street over a half mile from the murder scene and talked with some of the businesses in the newly developed area (right where I live). The article added pleasant quotes from employees at a couple of the businesses. He then walked West towards Washington Park in the quasi-narrative and invoked quotes from the usual suspects that were not really relevant to the point of the article, which was talking about the divide of the neighborhood, or was it the violence, or was it the drop in crime, or was it the resilience of the new residents?

If the article was going to be about something, it needed to be one of three things. First: Tell the story of the crime and/or the victim.  We got little about who she was, why was she there, what happened. Second: Talk about the situation of the Street Violence that affects many neighborhoods in Cincinnati.  Was this a stray bullet from a drug deal gone bad?  What she standing next to people who are involved in the drug trade?  Was this just an accident of some foolish person handling a gun?  Third: Tell of the divide between Northern OTR and the development South of Liberty.  This would surely have been most of what Josh Spring would have talked about.  His quote was filled with a big lie, but that's another blog post. One of the three would have work as an article and been relevant.  Instead we get a mess.

This article had many contributors, so that likely added to the hodgepodge feel, but the lack of editing just beams like a beacon a top a tall radio tower. It is like there could have been three different stories written and either the reporters were not able or allowed to do enough reporting for those stories, or more likely the story was only given so many lines of space. It would seem to me that the Newspaper should stop structuring their articles for newspaper print and focus on writing for the web. On the web, there isn't much of a space limitation. Also, other than organizational limit, the number of articles shouldn't be an issue, so write three stories instead of one. Put the out of town copy editors and layout people to the test!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cranley Still Hates the Urban Core

The former Cincinnati City Council member and the architect of the City's Budget Deficit, John Cranley continues to push an anti-city agenda. This time he's in the COAST corner of opposing the Streetcar. More importantly he is lying about it, calingl the property increase a "Streetcar Tax" instead of what it really is: a tax to put more money into the police budget. Cranley was part of the council majority years ago that pushed to increase the police force even though the police chief didn't want more police officers. Instead of using more funds to build up the technological efforts to confront crime, Cranley and his ilk went for FOP votes. Most of the leadership of the FOP don't give a damn about the City, it's just a paycheck to their members, nothing more. That's the mentality Cranley endorsed.

John's history of support for the Urban core consisted of wanting to suburbanize the Downtown Riverfront so he could enjoy a beer at a chain restaurant after a Reds game, and then jump in his car and flee back to the West Side.

This former Democratic office holder is starting to sound more like a former Democrat. The more he plays the COAST tune, the more he slips into the anti-city camp.

Brace Yourselfs: Another Anti-Streetcar Article From Barry Horstman

You can't expect much else from the Enquirer's Barry Horstman but an anti-streetcar article, but the timing is the kicker today. We have the budget committee meeting yesterday where COAST and other anti-city Conservatives had an organized turnout against funding the city's needs and then today we have Hortsman's fear inducing article that will cause panic in someone's grandma living out in Loveland, making her think her A/C bill will go up for those City people and their "evil" public transit and ecologically friendly Urban lifestyle. What to stroke the sectarianism, Barry. It sells papers in the burbs! Woot.....

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Diana Frey Gets 4+ Years For Stealing From Union

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that former CODE union leader Diana Frey was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months for embezzling union funds. Fey was convicted of stealing over $750,000 in CODE funds. CODE is the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees union which covers middle management and professional employees of the City of Cincinnati. Fey was the founder of the Union.

She was also anti-streetcar and aligned her union with the Conservative and Republican political factions in the City. Her absence will not be missed in political discourse on City Issues and based on the conviction alone, not to mention allegations made about her work record, she will not be missed in City Government on any level.

CincyFringe – The Prodigal Fringer Returns

I have returned from my California Respite and shared that fact with the Fringing Public.

Yes, I jest. Yes, I like the Irony of using a Republican War Hero's speech from the ancient past as satire. He would have likely not been a big Fringe supporter, so I smirk a bit more each time I read it.

Now I just need to write a few more reviews!

Monday, June 04, 2012

Don't Fear Online Voter Data

I haven't heard of any privacy advocates going bonkers about the Hamilton County Board of Elections decision to put voter information to go online, but just in case people start freaking out they must understand this is not information that wasn't already available online. If you were to go to the Ohio Secretary of State's website, you can download the entire voter database for Hamilton County in a matter of minutes.  Import that into MS Access and you can query anyone's voter registration and general voting history.

The description of the data available sounds like it is selective reports from the same database, just more up-to-date data. This provides a positive for independent candidates who can't afford the technical support major party hand picked candidates get.  More access to data for political candidates makes for a more open election process.

I really hope this does NOT create any significant protest. The tin foil hat crowd is always far more vocal than they make sense.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Maija Zummo Wanted a BLUE Pony, Cincinnati!

Get out the big box of tissues! CityBeat's Maija Zummo is upset about the Pony she got. Her pony, in this case, is the vibrant Downtown/OTR we had last weekend, with about a thousand things to do. She had two things she wanted to do and didn't seem to be aware of the other 998 things going on, and therefore is pissed that traffic and parking were problems for her.

She lammented that it's fine if you live Downtown, but she doesn't, and appears to have no plans of moving here. I sensed a longing for a pity party was just beneath the surface of her words.

Maija wanted a blue pony and is mad. She didn't ask for just any old pony, she wanted one that was just for her. Damn all others to hell, as long as she gets her blue pony.

I find this type of attitude about as disappointing as it is unsurprising. Far too many people want the place they live to be cool and vibrant, but as soon as it starts to get that way...BAM...they complain about it being too much. This is what I would call My Little Hipster Pony Syndrome. A younger hipster wants things to be "cool" and dare I say "hip," but as soon as the cultural engine starts moving a fast pace, they want to jump ship, because its not what they wanted. To this type of person things are only cool as long as they are exclusive and admired. As soon as the exclusivity wears off, it sucks. Trendy for Trendiness's sake is no way to experience life.

This article comes on the heels of the Bill Cunningham's comments about OTR recently. I find the juxtaposition of opinions very interesting. I really don't like whinny rants about the personal inability to stay informed about ongoing events masquerading as column. I hope Maija instead takes the leap of moving downtown, gets used to mass transit, or buys a bike. That's the future of America and she can't drag her feet in the Suburbite lifestyle and still maintain credibilty in a Urban centric newsweekly.

CincyFringe Day Number Two!

Opening Night was an amazing success for the Cincinnati Fringe Festival.  Two shows sold out on their opening opening. That is a record for the first night of shows at the CincyFringe Festival.  Normally shows take a little bit of buzz to sell out.  Not this year. Grim and Fischer: a deathly comedy in full-face mask and The Sweet, Burning Yonder sold out last night.

Tonight's line-up:
Grim and Fischer at Know Theatre Time: 07:00 PM
Cecily and Gwendolyn at 1425 Main Time: 07:15 PM
Latitude at Hanke 1 Time: 07:15 PM
Storms Beneath Her Skin at Hanke 2 Time: 07:30 PM
Methtacular! at Art Academy Time: 08:30 PM
Where Is My Mind? at 1317 Main Time: 08:45 PM
Don't Cross the Streams at Know Theatre Time: 09:00 PM
Screw You Revue at 1425 Main Time: 09:15 PM
Trapped in a Box at Hanke 2 Time: 09:15 PM

To buy tickets go online to Grim and Fischer will sell out, so get your tickets Now!

At the bar series tonight it is Game Night, so bring your Candyland, Monopoly, Risk, or just a plain old deck of cards. If you being a role playing game, be prepared to share and be prepared to be mocked, slightly.

I saw two shows last night that were both good. I will doing reviews on, but have not yet completed any. They'll be up as soon as possible.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

CincyFringe Day One

What shows are you going to see tonight?  Here's a list of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival day one schedule.  For the full 11 days of shows, please check out

Breaking Rank! at 1317 Main Time: 07:15 PM
Rodney Rumple at Know Theatre Time: 07:15 PM
Blown Up at SCPA Time: 07:30 PM
Methtacular! at Art Academy Time: 08:45 PM
Sweet, Burning Yonder at 1317 Main Time: 08:45 PM
Grim and Fischer at Know Theatre Time: 09:00 PM
Twenty-Five Minutes at SCPA Time: 09:00 PM
Quake at Hanke 1 Time: 09:15 PM

Be sure to stay around for Fringe Previews at the Underground at 10:30 PM, where all of the productions get the chance to give a taste of their performance in front of the Bar Series crowd.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

CincyFringe Kickoff Party Tonight!!!!!!!!

Head out TONIGHT to the 2012 CityBeat Fringe Kick-Off Party! Doors open at 7PM at the Know Theatre (Fringe HQ) located at 1120 Jackson Street in OTR.  Fun will include a show by The Dukes Are Dead as well as the premier of Channel Fringe Hard Hitting Action News Update.

My Goal for this year's CincyFringe is to gain a mention on Channel Fringe Hard Hitting Action News.  As I will be missing several days of the festival, I would think this fact by itself would be news worthy.  I am going to need a press agent to get this mention.  The crack staff of the Fringe News Division is a hard team to understand. Here's hoping a few bribes or constant annoyance wears them down.

If you can't make it to the opening party, don't make me drive to your house to give you a postcard that highlights the 11 days of theatre that can't be missed!  Go to to find the full schedule and to buy tickets.  Buying tickets online ahead of time, is the best way to reserve your tickets to the hottest shows.

Stay tuned to this blog to find out the hottest shows.  As of now, you can assume they are all hot and a buy a ticket to all of them, just be sure.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

World Choir Games Song

Not my personal taste, but what do you think?

Some more previews of the games:

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Ten Years Of The Cincinnati Blog: A Damn Long Time

Ten years ago today, I posted my first blog entry here at the Cincinnati Blog. This wasn't my first blog, nor was it my first foray into web publishing, but this blog has become part of my identity.

I've been thinking for some time what I would write about on my tenth anniversary.  I thought of writing a retrospective of my best blog posts over the years.  I even looked back through many of my old posts.  I was surprised how harsh I was.  I was also surprised how independent I was in the beginning.  I would criticize leftist Greg Flannery almost as much as I would mock Conservative Peter Bronson.  I looked at some of my posts during the Iraq War.  I looked at the varied political races I followed.  It was a strange experience.  I like looking at  history and I found it fascinating to read about the past.  I didn't find it worth a blog post.  Current events are.....current.  My blog posts from the past doesn't hold up unless they can relate to the present.  Most of the time they can't.

Instead of looking back on what I wrote, I thought more about myself.  Call me an ego-maniac, but for me in my life the timing of this anniversary could not be more poignant. I turned 40 years old this year.  This is in part funny to some long time readers, who always called me a kid.  I used to chaff at that.  Now I welcome any youthful mentions I can get.  Blogging throughout my 30's was an amazing experience.  It gave me the chance to voice my views to a connected audience.  This blog never had an audience on the scale of the Enquirer or any other professional news outlet, but I was proud that it was read by people who were involved.  I was able to make an impact on the city.  People would sometimes actually read and respond to what I wrote.  A few minds were changed.  Not many, but a few.  For a guy doing this on the side while holding down a full time job, that's not bad.

What kept creeping into my mind most when I was thinking of my ten year anniversary was where I go next.  I seriously considered quitting.  I thought about writing a pithy post and signing off.  I'm not going to do that.  This blog will not see a 20 year anniversary, but it will not end today.  It is too much part of who I am.  I am changing, however, and writing about politics and the media don't put the fire in my belly as much as they used too.  Part of the reason is that I am getting older.  The other reason, honestly, is that the City is doing so much better than is was in 2002.  At that point we were lost in the wilderness.  We have come a long way in ten years.  I am proud of this city and while there are still many issues to write about, they don't fall of the tree like they used to do.

I will press on blogging.  It will be about like it has been this year, a little sparser.  If I get a bee in my bonnet, I may suddenly spew a swarm of posts.  If there is a battle to wage, I will suit up my armor and charge out there without looking back.  I have recognized that blogging today, as opposed to ten years earlier, is more about longer form ideas, not about posting a few sentences and a link to the latest news story. Social media (Facebook and Twitter) are doing what I used to do on this blog, just shorter.  You can get the latest links to news stories 100 times faster in your social media feeds than you can on blog.  Most don't recall that blogs were doing that and that's really how they started.  That's the only way you can do it day after day, link to someone else's longer posts.

I hope to be more thoughtful.  I no longer can post on the breaking news story.  I am reading it in my Twitter  feed at the same time 80% of my audience is reading it in their Twitter feed.  Maybe my Twitter feed will light up more.  I don't know.  I like have options, however.  I like having the chance to grow.

Evolution as a writer is not the sign of getting old, it is sign of getting a little bit wiser.  The wise man knows when to change.  In my personal life, I really hate change.  In my writing, I'm getting better at changing.  I can see how I have changed.  It just takes time.  I am getting better at letting myself change a little faster these days.  This blog will eventually end, but not before I take it to new places.  Stay tuned and find out where I go.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CincyFringe Buzz: Four Humors Returns With Bombus and Berrylinne

The gang from Minneapolis are returning to the Cincinnati Fringe Festival this year with Bombus and Berrylinne, or the Bumblebee and the Hummingbird. This will, if nothing else, compete for one of the longest titles of a CincyFringe performance ever. The show is the brain child of Rachel Petrie and Ryan Lear (The Finkles), who are newer to the Four Humors, but have brought a fresh energy to the group which was evident in last year's performance of You Only Live Forever Once:

The Show takes place at the Know Theatre and the performance schedule is:
Monday, June 4: 7:00 pm
Wednesday, June 6: 9:15 pm
Thursday, June 7: 7:00 pm
Saturday, June 9: 2:00 pm

Cincinnati Unemployment Rate Drops to 7.1%

So, what will it take for people to have a more positive attitude about Cincinnati's Economy? If you would say the fact that the Local unemployment rate fell to 7.1%, then you should hear the smiles starting to crack. Unfortunately, since much of the Cincinnati mindset is to be negative until someone else makes something happen for you, I expect people to complain about the job numbers. Nothing short of a million dollars in every Westside or Exurban household bank account will bring a positive attitude on the Cincinnati Metro area's economy, at least as long as the President is from the Democratic Party.

Monday, May 21, 2012

CincyFringe Buzz: Must See Radio Star

We are just over a week away from the start of the Cincinnati Fringe Festival, so it is time to start planning your schedule. I'll be giving some must-see shows I am recommending throughout the week. Please note that I haven't seen any of the shows in the festival. I've completed a vast three year research project that combined buzz, reputation of the producers/actors, and coffee to come upw with a short list of shows I am not going to miss. This means my knowledge should not be questioned and all theatre goers should head my advice.  Or they could just see every show.
Today's show is Radio Star by Tanya O'Debra of NYC. Radio Star was voted Best of Fringe at the 2011 San Francisco Fringe Festival.
The Schedule:
Friday June 1 @ 7:15 pm
Saturday June 2 @ 8:45 pm
Tuesday June 5 @ 9:15 pm
Wednesday June 6 @ 7:15 pm
Friday June 8 @ 7:15 pm
at Hanke 2.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Bunbury Video: Vote For Your Pick

Here's my choice for the Bunbury Music Festival video:

Go Here to vote for your pick on what video the festival will use to promote the event.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

CityBeat News Editor Kevin Osborne No Longer Working for Alt Weekly

Based on this week's masthead and his Facebook Page, Kevin Osborne is no longer working for CityBeat. A request for comment on the reasons for Kevin leaving the paper from CityBeat has yet to be answered.

The long running Porkopolis news/political column, authored by Osborne, was missing from this week's edition of the newspaper. In its place is apparently "The Alternative" written by TT Stern-Enzi. The article implies that this is a reborn column or project for Stern-Enzi and I can only surmise that this is the replacement for Porkopolis.

CityBeat was sold back in March to SouthComm of Nashville, Tennessee. Earlier this year significant staffing changes where made at the paper, including a new Managing editor.

I will update this story if new information arises.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Where's the News?

Sorry of the lack of blogging over the last week.  I've not been inspired to write much.  Is it the lack of news happening or my lack of finding anything interesting to say about the news that is going on?  I am approaching my 10 year blogging anniversary.  Yes, 10 years.  The fire has been burning low.  My taste for politics has not been what it once was.  I can throw a rhetorical bomb, but it doesn't have the same meaning or value it once had.

I was thinking of ways to celebrate my 10 years of blogging about Cincinnati.  I wanted to go through the past and find the posts I am most proud of or brought me the most infamy. Some of it is so long ago and the meanings are so far in the past that except for the few long time readers, it would not make much sense.

This is a big election year and I should normally be gearing up to write about it, but it is a national election.  The local races, with few exceptions, are not competitive.  The county races will be interesting, but so much of what happens in November will depend on the Presidential race.  This will, in my opinion, be a coat-tail election year.  That makes it a little difficult to write about.

I will try.  The frequency of posts may not change much, but I hope to make up for it in quality.  I also hope to make sure people know about more things going on around town.  Any attention I can give to events and groups, the better.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Delusions of Grandeur Continue to Flow From Smitherman Like a River

Today's article from the Enquirer's Jane Prendergast on Cincinnati Council Member Chris Smitherman was an interest read. I say that because my blog (and myself) were quoted and I represented the face of Criticism of Smitherman. I take that as a compliment. I try to give voice to issues and topics that don't get lots of press. Criticism of Chris Smitherman does not get much media attention. I am glad it got some today.

The other more entertaining portion of the article comes from a direct quote from Smitherman himself:
“I will become the mayor one day,” he says, though he won’t run in 2013 when Mallory leaves.
I don't know what planet Smitherman is living on, but it appears to be akin more of an alternative-reality than anything resembling the actual Earth, where the rest of us reside. Smitherman at best has a niche voter base that he segments more each time he opens his mouth in public. Unless he plans a cultural revolution to drive out everyone in the City who disagrees with him, then I don't see him winning an election for Mayor against nearly any other remotely credible candidate.

Those of us in the political opinion world would love to see him run someday, just to watch him lose in the primary. How a man who wants nothing more than the destruction of the urban core could think he could be mayor is beyond my comprehension. I guess that's why I can't see it as anything other than a delusion of grandeur. One thing I don't doubt about Smitherman: he has a high opinion of himself. That doesn't translate to anything unless you can make stuff happen. The only stuff he can make happen is gettting in the newspaper by making outlandish comments. Negative press attention in the end might earn you a day old bag of doughnuts, but little else.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Wendell Young Sums Up Smitherman's 'Meeting'

Cincinnati City Council Member Wendell Young summed up the problem with fellow Council Member Chris Smitherman's special council meeting held last night. From the Enquirer Article:
“It is wonderful that we care,” he said, but it’s wrong to imply that this is the first time council and others have been interested in this topic.
Additionally in the Enquirer Blog post about the meeting, Young's comments were described as this:
People were deluded, he said, into thinking they would hear something new tonight.
This meeting was nothing but a show. It was a stunt to gain attention and make people believe that Smitherman and Winburn are doing something for black people. It was also a political tactic. The most brilliant aspect was to use the "black on black crime" terminology in the media. This gives Winburn something to appeal to the conservative, mostly White voters, that Republicans rely on for votes. Both Winburn and Smitherman have built narrowly defined voting blocks. Winburn's has more of a Coalition than Smitherman, so he needs to appeal to multiple angles of this issue.

No matter what, they got their media attention (yes including me). That gives them a slight boost to their reelection efforts. Each have to continue to walk the tight-rope of appealing to both Republicans and the Black Community.  Neither one will ever be able to totally rely on Republican votes alone, so they must play this game and it is sickening.

Quimbob over at Blogging Isn't Cool has more on the 'Meeting.'

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bunbury Music Festival Announces Set Times and Stages

The Bunbury Music Festival has announced the set times and stages for the three day event in July.

The five stages to cover the Sawyer Point & Yeatman's cove area are listed as:
Yeatman's Lawn
Serpentine Wall
L&N Bridge
Sawyer Lawn

Sunday, April 22, 2012

2012 Second Sunday Schedule Announced

The Second Sundays on Main Street Festival returns this year and the dates and themes have been announced:

June 10th: Main St. Menagerie
July 8th: Music on Main
August 12th: Growth & Wellness
September 9th: Dance on Main
October 14th: Harvest Fest

For a detailed events schedule, check back here in the coming couple of months..

Friday, April 20, 2012

WLWT Has a Slide Show of People Arrested and Not Yet Convicted

WLWT has a slideshow on its website which is titled See Who Got Arrested - Photos: This consists of a slideshow, like you might see on the Enquirer's Metromix, with a caption listing the crime for which they were arrested. They've only been arrested, not convicted, and they have their pictures up. Most of the crimes are more serious crimes (murder, rape, assault) and a large number I've seen covered previously in the Enquirer with the same arrest photo.

I don't like this photo montage. I don't like it because it's tone is tabloid. It is like a raw dump of crime thrown on the floor for a rabid pack of viewers to consume. There's nothing unethical or knowingly false about what they reported, just how they are reporting it. If the television station wants to write a story about each person's alleged crime, many of which they have, then fine. Just throwing up a photo and adding a sentence below is not journalism and does a dis-service to the public.

What also is very disappointing is that this slideshow made editorial choices not based on a reasonable requirements of content, structure or relevance, but instead on marketing. This a group of people who got arrestest and that WLWT wanted to show in hopes of gaining a wider set of viewers looking for pictures to look at, not because they want to consume news. It is not even a full list of everyone arrested. The only definition listed of the group is this:
" posts some notable mugshots from across the Tri-State. An arrest does not mean anyone has been convicted of a crime."
Notable in this instance I believe means tawdry or what ever will get more eyeballs. Yes, I'm helping get more eyeballs, however I will suggest to WLWT that if they are going to do a police blotter style story, do it right or just don't do it. We don't need the pictures. Yes, pictures get you more web hits, but it is not journalism, it is exploitation.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Surprise! The Enquirer Ran a Puff Piece on an Anti-Abortion Group

You are totally shocked, I am sure, to find out that the Cincinnati Enquirer ran an "In-depth" puff piece on an anti-abortion extremist group. The paper even has a photo collection so you can "meet" them.

This is nothing new for the newspaper. The Enquirer must appease the Westside and Conservative readers or they risk losing circulation.  Is that what they really risk? I am beginning to wonder if this is about business or about ideology of some editors.  For what ever reason, it has been come pathetic. Whether it is a puff piece on bus rides to Washington DC anti abortion rallies or blog posts on political tactics, the Enquirer has an anti-abortion bias in the newsroom. Yes, in the newsroom, not just the editorial page. The paper has a soft spot for the anti-abortion crowd and they don't disparage them.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Horstman's Anti-Streetcar Bias Continues

Enquirer Reporter Barry Horstman continues to push an anti-streetcar bias in his reporting and this simple article about the locaion of the streetcar maintenance facility is his latest example. The story is straighforward, the city announced the exact location of where the Streetcars will be maintained, about two blocks north of Findlay Market. Horstman just had to add this stand alone sentence:
"On Monday afternoon, the only sign of commerce on the quiet block was an apparent prostitute trying to flag down passing drivers."
First, it is not even factual, it is supposition, unless he was the personal flagged down by the prostitute. There is no valid reason to include this comment. It has no relevance to article and is put there on purpose to disparage the project. There is no other explanation, and it is really disappointing that his editor let this get through. Horstman is far to biased to be reporting on the Streetcar, he can't even write a simple article about it without adding in bias. This needs to be addressed by the Enquirer management, or it will just get worse.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Rich Patrons Don't Rule the World, Even the Arts World

Reading this article from the Enquirer on a 'protest' at the Cincinnati Art Museum, I come up with many points lost in the article and on the people protesting:

  1. This article would not have been written if someone with pull hadn't tipped off the Enquirer that this was going to happen.  I really hope it wasn't the rich patron who appears to pushing the issue with the Museum, but it was likely someone connected to that person.
  2. The issue isn't about money, it is about power within the Museum.  It appears to me that this curator wants a promotion and wants more control over what goes on at the museum.  What has he done to warrant that? Whose job would be lost for him? Does the rich patron care about that?
  3. It this curator is so great, why did his exhibit get the criticism from one of the article's author's blog? If he were to counter and say that the elements criticized were beyond his control, well, then if he wants to move up in management, he needs to make
I really enjoy the Art Museum and I hope patrons continue to support it, but staging a stunt like this makes people look foolish and ignorant. I would instead hope they use their time lobbying their elected officials to fund the arts.  If they don't want to do that, I suggest spending more time just raising more money to help the Museum be able to afford new cutting age art exhibits.  Money is the main factor in getting new and vibrant art at the Museum, not just one curator.

Great Article on Development in OTR

The Enquirer has a great article on development in Over-the-Rhine, specifically on what is still to come: projects like Mercer Commons. I enjoyed hearing from new residents who have moved here with different backgrounds and ages, especially the new couple who will be opening a new Seafood Restaurant near Washington Park.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Smitherman Still a Zealot with No Solutions

Cincinnati City Council Member and Local NAACP President Chris Smitherman is proving yet again that he has no solutions for difficult issues, he just wants to pretend he is doing something to fool people into thinking he is an effective member of council, when in fact he is a detriment to the City and all of its residents. This is more than evident from his email exchange with Council Member Cecil Thomas reported on the Enquirer's Politics Extra Blog. Here's the "shorter" version of the exchange:
Smitherman: Mr. Thomas, I have no plan, but you should hold a meeting so I can grandstand and pretend I am doing something about 'black-on-black' violence.

Thomas: Mr. Smitherman, I believe we have a program in place to help address that issue and I'm trying to get more funding for it. We can discuss this in the committee meeting on May 1st, just a few weeks away.

Smitherman: No, I want my meeting NOW, or I am going to have a hissy-fit! I will hold my breath until you give me my meeting or just force my own meeting. I still don't have a plan, I just need to pretend I am doing something.
Typical Smitherman. He still has no solution to address the violence plaguing the African-American community. He just wants a bigger soapbox to yell from so he can blame someone else for not finding a solution he can't find, himself. There is no easy or simple solution for this problem and there definitively is not a solution that will make anyone happy and win anyone re-election to any office.  The best solution would be for Smitherman to quit council or just stop pretending he's actually doing his job as a council member.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Did You Like Or Even Notice the Mayor's Speech?

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory gave the annual State of the City Speech last night at the Aronoff Center.

WVXU has more on the speech including the dueling Republican responses that CityBeat reported on yesterday. Current Council member Charlie Winburn appeared to give the Mayor an A+, while the "official" Republican response from former Council Member Amy Murray was more of the same in negative tone coming from most of the GOP on all levels of office. It says a lot about the Republican's influence in City politics when the only Republican they could get to stand up and criticize the direction the City is taking is a former Council member, who lost office last year. The only sitting member of office gave praise to the Mayor. The Republican Party despises the city something fierce, and mostly because we don't tend to vote them into office.

In case you weren't there or didn't catch the replay, here's the text of the prepared speech:
Fountain Square turned 140 years old last year.

Many of you know that the fountain was a gift to the city from Henry Probasco, a local Cincinnati businessman, in honor of his brother in law and mentor, Tyler Davidson. In its history, it has been a site of celebrations, civic engagement, festivals, parties, and even ice skating and broomball. And though it has always been a source of pride, up until several years ago, it had lost its luster. It had even become a site associated with controversy.

But then, because of the pride and commitment of Cincinnatians – the city of Cincinnati, 3CDC, and other partners decided to invest in the square and to promote it as the place to be in Cincinnati.

Fountain Square has become just that, the heartbeat of the entire region and the focal point of everything that is happening downtown.

In order to look to the future of our city, it is important that we maintain a connection with Cincinnati’s past.

The essence of Fountain Square is not in the big TV screen that sits on top of Macy’s; it is in what Henry Probasco wanted to give to the city of Cincinnati, a gathering place, a place to celebrate, to reflect, and to be reminded of what it means to be a Cincinnatian.

That is the formula for a successful Cincinnati. Fountain Square embodies it.

Pride, Commitment, Investment, Partnership, and Promotion.

Pride can be a powerful motivator. It has gotten people to do a lot of things. It has gotten people to take care of their homes, and look after their neighborhoods. Pride has motivated people to start businesses.

It is important for us to understand our own history because it is pride that will ultimately move people to improve our city – both now and for future generations.

If you look around Cincinnati right now, you can see aspects of our history that should make people proud.

Pick a neighborhood: east side, west side, central; it does not matter. Our city is connected to history in so many ways, whether we are talking about philanthropy, business, politics, or sports.

It is important for people to take pride in their neighborhoods. I take pride in the neighborhood I grew up in. So many important figures came from the West End – mayors, council members, judges, state legislators, and that is just in my family.

And speaking of family, my father the first African American Majority Floor Leader of the Ohio House of Representatives, William L. Mallory, is here tonight along with my mother.

The City of Cincinnati has had four African American mayors, and they all came from the West End. The Isley Brothers; world heavyweight champion, Ezzard Charles; the beer barons of the 1880s; one of the early owners of the Cincinnati Reds – they all lived in the West End.

That history is a source of great pride for me. And there are many neighborhoods in this city that have just as much to be proud of.

Mount Adams: home to Playhouse in the Park; the Cincinnati Art Museum; and Rookwood Pottery, the first female owned manufacturing company in the United States; and Nicholas Longworth, a Congressman and Speaker of the House of Representatives in the 1920s.

Madisonville: Founded in 1809 by Revolutionary War veteran, Joseph Ward, and named after newly elected president James Madison. It was also home to Dr. Lucy Oxley, the first Black woman to graduate from the Cincinnati Medical College.

Walnut Hills: home to Harriet Beecher Stowe.

In Clifton, the first Hebrew Union College was established by Isaac Wise in 1875. The University of Cincinnati, where cooperative education was pioneered in 1906. And, Cincinnati State, nationally known for its school of culinary arts, which you are going to get a taste of when I am finished talking.

And there is Westwood, once home to James Gamble, an industrialist, civic leader, and inventor of Ivory Soap. Legal issues aside, the reason people on the west side are so adamant about keeping the Gamble House is that it is a huge source of pride.

And that is exactly what I am talking about. Every neighborhood should celebrate its own history.

We need to do more to celebrate our history in order to create more pride in Cincinnati. Pride inspires people to commit to improving our city. Pride also gets people to invest in making this city a better place.

Stan Chesley is a great example of that. He grew up in Avondale, and as a kid, swimming was an important outlet for him because he did not have much else. And I think you all know that Stan is a very successful attorney. But, he still takes a lot of pride in his community. So, what does he spend his time doing? Making sure that our public pools remain open. Making sure that today’s kids have that same opportunity that he had growing up. That is the type of investment that impacts the community.

Those individual investments are shaping the present landscape of Cincinnati. They are paying off.

Take businessman Greg Hardman. He left a successful career and decided to buy Cincinnati’s historic beer brands and bring them back to Cincinnati. He invested in our history. In February, he opened the Christian Moerlein Lager House at The Banks and hired 250 people. The place is always packed. And by the end of the summer, Greg will be brewing all Christian Moerlein beers in Over the Rhine, restoring Cincinnati’s grand brewing tradition.

Look at what else is happening at The Banks.

Two years ago, after a Reds game, win or lose, fans got into their cars and drove out of Downtown.

Tonight, after the Reds beat the Cardinals, fans will have countless opportunities to celebrate within walking distance of the stadium.

If they want to hear some country music, they can go to Toby Keith’s. If they want to get a milkshake, they can go to Johnny Rocket’s. If they want to watch highlights from the game, they can go right across the street to Holy Grail. As a matter of fact, the Holy Grail has been so successful since they opened last year that they have already expanded their space.

This was what The Banks looked like on opening day. PHOTO

And people ask me all the time, “Why do you focus so much on Downtown development?”

The truth is: Downtown is the economic engine for this entire region.

There is no West Chester without Downtown Cincinnati. There is no Mason without Downtown. There is no sub without the urban.

It all works together. A strong and healthy and vibrant Downtown Cincinnati benefits this entire region.

And our Downtown is very successful. That is why companies want to locate in Cincinnati. There is renewed energy. It is vibrant. It is alive. Last year, five companies either moved downtown or increased their investments in downtown.

First Financial Bank relocated their corporate headquarters to 5th Street. Omnicare moved 480 employees into the Atrium 2 Building. KAO USA is in the process of relocating its corporate headquarters into downtown.

And yeah, we lost 270 jobs last year when Chiquita moved to Charlotte. But you know what, Nielsen moved into the Chiquita building and brought 600 jobs.

And dunnhumbyUSA: they started in Cincinnati in 2003 with 3 employees. In March of 2009, I cut the ribbon on their current headquarters when they had 265 employees. Today, they have 520 employees. And just last week, we announced a deal to build a new office tower downtown, which will grow dunnhumby to 1,000 employees by 2014.

The bottom line is that business is thriving downtown.

And those companies are choosing downtown because it is the place to be. They see it as hot. They see that there is activity. They look at Fountain Square and see that there is something going on everyday. They look at the new restaraunts that are coming in; the anticipation of the new 21C hotel. And their employees have told them, “We want to be downtown. We want to be where the restaraunts are. We want to be able to ride the streetcar when it is done.”

And you all know that I could not let you out of here tonight without talking about the streetcar.

Well, we broke ground a few months ago, and we are moving water lines. And, for the last several months, our City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. and his team, Chris Eilerman, project manager, and Michael Moore, the Director of Transportation, have been working with consultants, engineers, and transportation experts from around the country to select the streetcar that we will purchase to begin our system. And tonight, I am happy to announce that we have made the selection. Here is what the car will look like. PHOTO OF NEW STREETCAR

It will be built by CAF USA.

And, before we are even finished with the first phase, we have started work on the second phase. I have already asked for federal funds to study which route will be used to connect to our assets in the uptown area—UC, the hospitals, the zoo, the EPA.

And, imagine for just a moment what the future of passenger rail transportation in this region could look like.

SLIDE 1 (phase 1 of the Streetcar)
Here is the first phase of the streetcar, connecting Findlay Market to the Riverfront. This is what we are currently doing.

SLIDE 2 (adds phase 2 of the Streetcar in Uptown)
Here is a potential option for phase 2. But it does not have to stop there.

SLIDE 3 (adds potential additional future phases)
Future phases could connect to Walnut Hills, the Museum Center, and Northern Kentucky. And rail transportation should include more than just the streetcar.

SLIDE 4 (adds potential light rail lines to the map)
We could do light rail along I-75 and I-71.

SLIDE 5 (adds potential commuter rail lines to the map)
And we could even add a passenger rail line along the Ohio River. And I have got to tell you, I do not believe that we should give up on the idea of high speed rail in this state. Remember, we have got to be willing to make investments for future generations.

The best investment we can ever make in Cincinnati is the effort to keep our community safe.

I have talked about pride. I have talked about investment. The formula for a successful Cincinnati also involves commitment.

And there is nothing more important than the commitment we must all make to keep the community safe.

Last year, we hired two new chiefs: Fire Chief Richard Braun and Police Chief James Craig. Both of them have made improvements in their departments. They have found efficiencies and they are both having a tremendous impact on this community.

A few months ago, while pouring concrete at the casino site, 13 workers were injured when the floor collapsed during construction. When I think about that day, I think about our first responders and their training, their professionalism, and their quick action.

Their response to that emergency situation was impressive. Our firefighters and police officers were organized. They were innovative. They literally built a bridge over a trench in order to evacuate the injured workers.

I am extremely proud of the quick action of our first responders on that day. I mention this to remind you that the city of Cincinnati is prepared to deal with emergencies and we are committed to public safety.

The formula for a successful Cincinnati involves the commitment we must have today and for our future. So, how do we shape Cincinnati’s future?

I talked to a recent college graduate who grew up in Cincinnati and left in the fall of 2005 to go to school. Her plan was to go to school and not return to Cincinnati. When she graduated last May and came back to visit her parents, she saw that the city had changed.

She told me personally, “Mayor, this is a different Cincinnati than the one I remember.” She said she decided to stay because she was optimistic about Cincinnati’s future.

Her story shows that what we are doing is paying off. If you look at how far we have come, I believe we should be feeling good about Cincinnati.

Where are we going in this city? What does our future look like?

For the last two years, Charles Graves, the planning director, and his team have been engaging the community, talking to people about what they want to see developed in their neighborhoods. (PLANNING VIDEO)

I talk about the city as a whole and how we view Cincinnati, but people analyze their individual quality of life by their own neighborhood. I talked about neighborhoods earlier in the speech because that is what we see every day.

We know what we like about our neighborhood and we know what we want to see changed.

The comprehensive plan will be our guide to making those changes happen.

In order to find out what people want, we actually talked to people. We had open houses and meetings in communities across the city for two and a half years. We talked to college students and to high school students.

We even talked to kids. (PICTURES OF CHILDREN’S POTS) In fact, we had kids decorate clay pots with what they wanted to see their city become. The concept is that they planted their dreams in these pots.

Now, it is our responsibility to grow their dreams, to water them. We have to provide nourishment and the proper environment, to make sure their plans see the light of day so the dreams of Cincinnati’s children become a reality.

That is the responsibility that we have as civic leaders. This is exactly what we are doing, preparing our city for the next generation of people. This is why we are building the streetcar. This is why we do all the development that we are doing in Over the Rhine, Downtown, and in our neighborhoods. This is why we are working hard to attract companies here to create jobs.

I have talked about pride, investment, commitment. Here is the fourth element, partnership.

All of you know that 3CDC has been working in partnership with the city of Cincinnati in Over the Rhine to make a dramatic transformation and that partnership has been very successful.

It used to be that on Sunday mornings, people would come to Over the Rhine to buy a week’s worth of drugs. Now, on Sunday mornings, people come to Over the Rhine to eat chicken and waffles at Taste of Belgium.

Jean-Fran├žois recently opened Taste of Belgium in Over the Rhine. Five years ago, his business was just him and a waffle iron. Now, he has three locations and 60 employees.

The space that he occupies at 12th and Vine went from being a hot spot with police runs nearly every day to becoming a hot spot for brunch on Sundays.

That transformation was made possible because of the city’s partnership with 3CDC.

Over the Rhine has truly been transformed. With places like A Tavola, Bakersfield, the Lackman, Senate, Abigail Street, Lavamatic, and the 1215 Wine Bar. Before I was mayor, none of those were there.

So far, 3CDC’s work in Over the Rhine has transformed dilapidated buildings into more than 200 condos and apartments and created 87,000 square feet of commercial space. And there is much more to come.

But the partnership does not stop there. The city parks department and 3CDC are working together to renovate Washington Park.

Established in 1855, Washington Park is one of the oldest parks in our city. The bandstand is 101 years old, and there is a canon in the park that was used during the Civil War. In 1888, the city’s centennial celebration was held in Washington Park to highlight the success of the city’s first 100 years.

Today, with new housing to the north and the east, the School of Creative and Performing Arts to the south, and historic Music Hall to the west, the new Washington Park will bring together residents, students and the arts.

With new features, a redesigned landscape, a parking garage, a fountain, and a full calendar of events, Washington Park will bring people together in a way that it has not been able to in years, just like we saw with the transformation of Fountain Square.

Our partnerships go beyond development. They extend to improving the individual lives of Cincinnatians. I have focused on financial literacy and getting people away from check cashers and into banks and credit unions through my Bank On Greater Cincinnati initiative.

Take a look at this. (BANK ON VIDEO)

Sharon is just one of nearly a thousand people who have gone through Bank On Greater Cincinnati last year.

Let me tell you why this is so important. People who do not have bank accounts spend on average $900 dollars a year on check cashing fees. People who have gone through programs similar to Bank On Greater Cincinnati went from spending $900 dollars a year to saving about $1,000 dollars a year.

If that holds true for Cincinnati, 1,000 people who have gone through our program will go from spending $900,000 dollars a year to saving a million dollars a year. That is nearly a 2 million dollar swing. That is a lot of money being put back into our community.

There is another major partnership that is helping to shape our city. It is great to be able to tell you that President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are partners with me in moving Cincinnati forward.

When I ran for mayor, I said I was going to use my relationships with the state and the federal government to bring resources back to the city of Cincinnati. And that is exactly what I have done. In my six and a half years in office, I have gone out and brought back $121 million dollars for various projects to help improve our city. That is just from the federal government.

And sometimes I have to leave the Mayor’s office to make my case because frankly sending a letter or an email or filling out a grant application is not enough to bring back $121 million dollars. The competition for money is tough and the bottom line is, we sent that money to Washington, and I want to bring some of it back, and put it to work in our city.

This brings us to the final part of the formula for a successful Cincinnati: promotion.

I said I would go out and promote the city because it is important, not just nationally, but internationally as well.

Business leaders will tell you all the time that this is a global economy. Well, if we want to compete, we need to be a global municipality. We have to be a global city.

That is why I spend so much time promoting Cincinnati around the country and around the world.

And it is paying off. (FILM COMMISSION VIDEO)

Cincinnati is becoming a destination for film and television production. And that is thanks to the hard work of the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission. The video you just saw highlighted the movies and television shows recently shot in Cincinnati.

People around the country and around the globe are paying attention to Cincinnati.

In China, they are talking about our emergency preparedness. In Saudi Arabia, people are looking at Cincinnati for potential business investment. In Germany, people are talking about our cutting edge efforts in the area of sustainability. And right now, all over the world, people are talking about the World Choir Games. (WORLD CHOIR GAMES VIDEO)

We have created an international presence and because of that buzz, we were able to attract the World Choir Games. Make no mistake, this is the greatest opportunity to showcase the city that we have ever had and we earned it.

And now, we have got to be ready. So far, there are 367 choirs from 49 countries registered to compete. Safe to say, tens of thousands of visitors are expected to come to Cincinnati this summer.

We need volunteers. We need people to translate, help manage the crowds, and take tickets. We need people show these visitors around our city.

The city manager is actively encouraging our employees to volunteer at the World Choir Games. Here is how it will work: if a city employee volunteers two hours, they will get an hour of time off up to twelve hours. I think it is a great idea.

So tonight, I am calling on area employers to follow our lead and encourage their employees to volunteer for the World Choir Games.

Now you do not have to do exactly what the city is doing. But, like my mom always said, “You have to do something.”

We need all of you to show our city in the very best light.

Think about what you do when you are expecting a houseguest.

There is a lot of excitement. We vacuum our living rooms. We take out the trash. We polish up the silver. And we start cooking.

We are going to show Cincinnati in the best possible light for the World Choir Games.

Pride. Investment. Commitment. Partnership, and Promotion. That is the formula that we have used to transform our great city.

Tonight, I have shared with you points of pride and stories of success that we can celebrate but what I want to stress is that we cannot stop.

We can celebrate downtown development. We can celebrate our streetcar. We can celebrate those companies that have come to Cincinnati to create jobs.

But there are still a lot of people whose circumstances have not changed. We must continue to challenge ourselves to improve the quality of life for all of those living in Cincinnati today and we must continue to challenge ourselves to invest in our city for future generations.

As I think about the future of Cincinnati, I find myself wondering, what will the mayor say 50 years from now in his or her State of the City address that speaks to this period of time? What will that future mayor be able to cite as examples from this time that talk about pride? Will the mayor be able to talk about investments we made to benefit future generations? Will the mayor talk about our commitment to our city? Will he or she say that we were following the formula for a successful Cincinnati?

Let’s help that mayor, 50 years from now, write the State of the City address. Let’s write it right now. Let’s be one of the stories. You pick the project to commit yourself to. Let’s give the mayor a lot of options from this period of time.

Let’s write our history, together, today.
The Mayor's theme is exactly what Cincinnati and more importantly the surrounding suburbs and exurbs need to feel about greater Cincinnati: Pride. There are too many people who transfer their political and social anger into a hatred of the City and far too often into prejudice of the people living here. Everyone needs to reflect on the positive moves we are making and see them through. We don't need division, like the GOP wants, we need unity. Speeches like this don't bring about much unity, because few are paying attention, but I commend the mayor for his efforts.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

We Need a Tax to Support the Arts and Culture in Cincinnati

Sunday's Enquirer had an article detailing the movement to create a county sales tax to help fund arts and cultural organizations in the Cincinnati area. This or something like it needs to be done. We must continue Cincinnati's incredibly high quality level of arts and culture. We far out rank other cities of our size on the richness and depth of arts and culture and we have the potential of being so much more.

It has been long debated what is a better tax for this type of thing: property or sales tax. The problem with a sales tax is that it is dis-proportionally affects the poor. Property taxes don't directly hit the poor as much, but instead hit the wealthy and corporation more fairly. The rich and corporations (via their Republican representatives)don't like paying their fair share so they go nuts when anyone thinks about raising property taxes, and much of the middle class follow suit, no matter the cost to them in the long run.

We can't in this case use an income tax. Since the county has multiple municipalities and no ability to level a uniform tax, it is just not feasible.

The fight is going to end up being the typical anti-city struggle falling on geographic and political lines. County Commissioner and anti-arts Republican Chris Monzel puts that up front in this section from the article:
“The city owns those buildings, and they're trying to pass the cost of repairing them on to Hamilton County taxpayers,” said Commissioner Chris Monzel, referring to Music Hall and Union Terminal. “The city should pay for these buildings, not be building streetcars or atriums.”
Yes, Monzel blames the city for having all of the Cultural institutions, but forgets that two of the institutions included in this plan already have county wide property tax levies (Union Terminal and the Zoo). Monzel is just totally anti-city and anti-Urbanist. He appears to just want all art to die. I don't know how this guy pretends to be representative of the entire county. He only cares about helping Suburbanite Republicans, who I guess he thinks hates arts and culture. He may want to check the voter registration of the Board of nearly all of the major arts organization and he will find Republicans.

The Republicans in Hamilton County must wake up and understand that for a large metro city, like Cincinnati, to grow, it must have a vibrant urban core. You can't live by bread alone and you certainly can't live by Suburb or Exurb alone.  We need our arts and culture to thrive, not die off because of ignorance.

The urban areas have the history and have the culture that the suburbs don't have and do little to cultivate. It is almost a social/cultural belief by many that anything with history and depth is bad. I don't get where this comes from. I could guess rampant consumerism has pushed this along, but there must be something else. I hope it is not religion or politics or bigotry. It just seems like those are the only reasons for this anti-arts and culture attitude. Maybe it will change, but when the same people attack science as much they do the arts, don't expect any change.

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Enjoy Opening Day!

Get out and enjoy Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds. Even if you are not going to the game find a party going on and celebrate a Red's win!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Enquirer Continues Anti-Urban Core Development Articles

I am just going to presume that the Enquirer is making a direct appeal to people in Price Hill, Madisonville, and Avondale to become subscribers by giving them lip service.  Here's the article on Price Hill, which is part two from Sunday's Fairmont Story and part three about Madisonville and Avaondale.  A simple fact brings out the underlying anti-ubran core development when these two sections appear in the articles. First from Part Two:
She and others are upset because they see massive development projects reshaping Downtown and Over-the-Rhine, while boarded windows and substandard rental housing spread in Price Hill. They want more help.
Here's the repeating of the dogma in Part Three:
As city leaders focus millions of dollars into remaking downtown and Over-the-Rhine, Madisonville and Avondale are in a battle to rebuild their aging communities.
Add these passages to this one from Part One and you get a Enquirer created narrative:
She and others are quick to point out that their neighborhoods have continued to decline even as tens of millions of dollars has poured into new housing and infrastructure in Over-the-Rhine, Downtown and the Uptown area.
What better way to create conflict than to fabricate it? The Enquirer is doing it all in the hopes of boosting circulation in these neighborhoods.  So is the Enquirer treating all of the communities it serves equally?  I think not.

This series is not news nor analysis, the Enquirer is pushing an underdog story and painting Over-the-Rhine, Downtown, and to a degree Uptown as the villains of a fable they are trying to construct. This is tabloid journalism in sheep's clothing. They have taken an editorial point of view and gone out and found people to fit their narrative.  This will get the Price Hill/Westwood/Suburban anti-city crowd in a frenzy, a market they want to reach, on an emotional level.

The odd element of part two of the series on Price Hill was how the black/white elements were discussed. The problem of white-flight was mentioned indirectly, but not as part of the narrative.  It can't be denied, but isn't the conflict that the newspaper is trying to exploit.

Monday, April 02, 2012

Neighborhood Problems Are Decades Old, Not Recent

In another "exclusive" the Cincinnati Enquirer attempts to explain the plight of several of the most depressed neighborhoods within the City. They do this by allowing an anti-Urban Core message to be presented. The basic premise of the article asks if the City CURRENTLY is treating neighborhoods "Fairly." Then they trot out anecdotal evidence of decaying areas of many neighborhoods, and talk about areas like North/South Fairmont which have been declining for decades. Just looking at the rate of decline over the last decade is not a valid measurement alone. If the neighborhood was already depressed and was small and just got smaller, that's not a fair assessment.

Places like Price Hill and Fairmont are not economic centers, they are residential neighborhoods.  As the article begrudgingly mentions, these neighborhoods were once home to large numbers of working class people who left when the manufacturing jobs left.  This started to happen well over 40 years ago and ended still decades ago. So trying to claim these neighborhoods are being held back today because the City is focusing on rebuilding the urban core, is a fallacy. Putting money into places that exist to support the job centers of the city will do nothing.  You have to support the Job Centers first and that will build up demand for housing in these neighborhoods.  That demand will bring development dollars.

What does this rely on, strong job centers, which are located in the Urban core (Downtown/Pill  Hill).  So the answer to the question in the article asking if all neighborhoods are treated equally, the answer is no, and has always been no.  Neighborhoods are different and serve different purpouses. It if funny that Queensgate wasn't really mentioned.  It is just as depressed and hurting. Why?  No one lives there, no one complains.

The City of Cincinnati must focus on building up the urban core.  This is the basis of city development.  Trying to prop up neighborhoods that don't have a viability beyond residential, can't be the focus. If these neighborhoods want to grow, they have to grow as the job centers grow.  Support job center growth and they have a chance.

Another thing not covered by the article, but a factor none-the-less is the affect white-flight had on these neighborhoods.  That's clear in the statistics and this isn't the initial wave that took place in the 1960's, this is a clear disparity.  East Price Hill shows this the most, where since 2000, white population dropped nearly 40%, while the Black population increased by more than 50%, and the Hispanic population rose 340%.  That doesn't fit the narrative, so it's ignored, like the neighborhood squeaky wheels claim they are being ignored.  Ironic?

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bunbury Music Festival Adds GBV and Fills Out Line-up

Yesterday the Bunbury Music Festival announced nearly all of it's line-up for the three-day music festival in July.  The big news was the addition of legendary alt-rockers Guided By Voices.  Additionally many local bands are included, like Wussy, the Seedy Seeds, and the Minor Leagues.

These additions are on top off the previously announced mega headliners of Jane's Addiction, Weezer, and Death Cab For Cutie.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Howard Wilkinson to Retire From the Enquirer

CityBeat is reporting that long time political reporter Howard Wilkinson is retiring from the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Gannett, the Enquirer parent company, has offered early retirement buyout packages to qualifying employees.

Wilkinson has been a bedrock of political reporting in Cincinnati as long as I have been in town.  He's an excellent journalist and provided great reporting and analysis of political races over the years that will be impossible to replace, as will the other 18 possible buyout options pending in the newsroom.

This is yet another loss at the Enquirer that I don't see how the paper can recover.  They are losing so much city political knowledge.  One of the keys to a great reporter is to know the history of the subject they are covering.  Wilkinson has that.  At this point, no one has that at the Enquirer in the area of politics the way Howard does.  This I believe is one reason that the political reporting ends up being nothing but giving crazy nut jobs a platform to spout anti-city issues.  Wilkinson wasn't a sucker.  He didn't give COAST or Smitherman and their ilk reams of free press.  This is a massive loss for the Enquirer.

If will be a gain for someone.  Howard needs to continue to write.  He should blog.  If he is staying in town, he is more than welcome to blog here at Cincinnati Blog.  He certainly will have better spelling and grammar than I do.

Monday, March 26, 2012

The Definition of Hipsterism, So Before Most Hipsters Were Born

The Cincinnati Monocle has found what may be the real definition of hipsterism from a French Writer.

Speaking of Hipsters I've been working on a couple definitions myself.  I won't try and define hipster, but instead think about two different levels of hipster: Aging Hipster and Aged Hipster.

An Aging Hipster is not a new term.  I define it as simply a hipster who is getting older, likely over age 30.  Maybe has a kid, maybe just finally got a 9-5 job.  This period can last well into their 40's.

An Aged Hipster is a newer thought under development.  One idea I have sees this as a newly found hipster who hit age 50, kids are gone, and wants to be relevant again.  Another more simple definition could just be what happens to the Aging Hipster. They finally get old and stop going out to see new bands, but still buy new music online and is sure to Tweet about it.

Boomers Don't Get Extra Sympathy From This Gen Xer

Yesterday the Cincinnati Enquirer highlighted the difficulties of Baby Boomers who lost their jobs during the Recession.  I don't have a ton of sympathy.  Those mentioned in the article are over 55 and most over 60.  These are people who are close to retirement age and often early retirement.  They are the type of person who it was extremely difficult to layoff in the recession because of their age, and the discrimination prevention laws that exist for people based on being older.

As a member of Generation X, I don't have any extra sympathy for Boomers on this issue.  Generation X has long been subjected to the collective excesses and selfishness of Baby Boomers, to our detriment.  Here the issue is Retirement.  Boomers don't seem to want to retire or maybe far too many of them are ill prepared to retire as they reach the appropriate age.  So, instead of retiring, like their parents did, they continue to work or in case of this article, continue to seek jobs.

For the people involved, they have no choice, they have bills to pay.  On a personal level, that is understandable and I hope they all succeed.  Collectively I wonder why so many Boomers, and maybe this is pointed to the older Boomer already past 65, are not retiring?  Why are they not getting out of the way for those younger?  How many people delayed retirement during the recession because they lost money in their 401K and wanted to wait to make sure they retired at the level they are accustomed.  They should have been invested in a way to prevent such a radical loss.  They instead took a risk, lost, and forced someone younger to lose their job because laying off an older person is not possible, even though they may be less qualified.

Younger generations are suffering just as much as these Boomer are.  Sure, a 41 year old father of two likely has a far wider skill set that would allow him to get other jobs more often, but he has far less of a safety net, having had far less time to prepare for these types of problems. More of my sympathy goes out to the 41 year old who lost his job.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Yelp Helps After School Special - March 30th

On Friday March 30th the Cincinnati Yelp community and a laundry list of local non-profit organizations are congregating at the Clifton Cultural Arts Center for a great event to help out a wide variety of causes. The Yelp Helps After School Special (A Giant Party For A Good Cause!) brings the vibrant social media community here in Cincinnati together with a strong collection of very worthy non-profits. Hopefully fun and a little education will ensue.

Groups like Caracole, Crayons to Computers, Enjoy the Arts, and Women Helping Women will be present and attendees will have a chance to learn more about those organizations and find out what they do and how you can support them.

Enjoy the Arts is presenting the entertainment with an ETA Cabaret with spots from grand organizations like the Cincinnati Ballet, Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, and the NewEdgecliff, Theatre.

Come for the food and drinks from tons of local Restaurants. It will be great opportuny to find a great organization that could use a contribution or voluneer support and while you mingle and eat you can chat with non-profit representtaives.

Full lists of the organisations, Resturants, and entertainment is on the website link above.

It all starts at 8PM, but you need to have an RSVP to attend. Get out and have some fun for a good cause.

Oh, and if you are so inclinced to dress-up, the theme is school themed, so nerd it up, dig out the prep school wear, or the ladies can use their imagination. If I find some tape, a pair of nerd glasses may be in order. I

Thursday, March 15, 2012

This is What a Douchebag Thinks Like

When you are at home pondering about what a Douchebag looks like, you most often get the image of a frat-boy or some guy wearing a baseball hat inside a bar on a Friday night.  Well, if you want to know what someone like that has rolling around in his head, I will point you to anti-education and anti-women Rich Hoffman of West Chester.  Based on his photo in the Enquirer article, this guy looks more like someone with a really misplaced Indiana Jones fetish, than a frat boy. His thoughts make him the spokesman for Douchebags the world over.

This guy is part of the effort to block any and all tax levies for the Lakota School district out in Exurban paradise of West Chester.  This is one guy I am so glad lives out there.

Greg Harris Has Dropped Out of County Commision Race

CityBeat broke the story earlier this week that former Cincinnati Council member and Democratic Candidate Greg Harris is dropping out of the race for Hamilton County Commissioner.  Harris's job will be requiring him to travel extensively, so he won't be able to effectively campaign or later serve on the commission.

The Hamilton County Democratic party will be able to name another person to run in November.  Harris was unopposed in the Primary last week.  This opens up the possibilities.  I would not be surprised to see some familiar names brought up as possible contenders to face off against Hartman.

With the Presidential election taking place this year, the Democratic nominee will have very strong coattails to seize upon.  President Obama won Hamilton County by pulling in non-regular voters to the polls.  All expectations are that he will do this again in 2012.  Republican Hartman ran against an non-endorsed candidate in 2008 and still only got 216,000+ votes, compared to 251,000+ votes for Democrat Todd Portune, running the same year in a separate race.

With the right candidate, say a John Cranley or maybe even a Jim Tarbell, Hartman could go down.

The problem is having a campaign team.  Neither Cranley or Tarbell have a campaign up and running and it will take resources.  Both have the most important resource to have in November: name recognition.

The other name I could think of would be Cincinnati Council member Cecil Thomas. Thomas is term limited and he ran against Tarbell in 2010 Dem primary for commissioner, so he has interest in the job.  Thomas does not have the name recognition of Tarbell or Cranley, but he's a pretty conservative Dem and a former police officer.  That type of resume plays well in the inner-suburbs.  Add the fact that he's African-American and likely can county on support of Obama voters who bother to vote down ticket, he could be a strong candidate, if he can get a campaign off the ground soon.

Salon Writer Comments on Occupy Cincy Settlement

Natasha Lennard of Salon has some mixed thoughts on the Occupy Cincinnati settlement with the City of Cincinnati. She's not pleased with the limited free-speech zone.  I myself actually find the over-all elements of the settlement to be reasonable.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Did Kasich Allies Offer Quid Pro Quo to Control the Ohio GOP?

The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that the chairman of the Portage County Republican Party, Andrew Manning, has filed an affidavit with police claiming that "allies" of Ohio Govenor John Kasich offered Manning influence over Gubernatorial appointments in return for not running for Republican Party statewide central committee.

A Kasich spokeperson claimed the Governor would never do what was alleged.  That sounds like something close to a non-denial denial, meaning that it may have happened, but without Kasich's knowledge. So that might let the Governor off the hook, at least if his supporters don't turn state's evidence.  It all then comes down to who these "allies" are.  Manning needs to name names so police can get to the bottom of this and then the public can judge the politics of what is alleged to have happened.

If Kasich is another Nixon, we need to get him out office now.

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

John Fox Hired as VP of Events and Programming for 3CDC

Former CityBeat publisher, editor, and events director has been hired by 3CDC as the Vice President of Event Productions & Programming, accroding to a press relase issued this morning. His responsibilties will include the events at Fountain Square and the soon to be finished Washington Park. He will also be in charge of fundraising and sponsorhsips of the programming at the Square and Washington Park. Fox's position I conclude is filling the job left open when Bill Donabedian left 3CDC Last year. Bill is a co-founder of MidPoint and was key in the success of Fountain Square's popular summer music programming. I really like John and I believe he has been a vital member of the Midpoint team, so I hope he can carry much of the same ideals to the Square and the Park. I hope Midpoint itself can become part of the Park's future voice.

Monday, March 05, 2012

CityBeat Sold to SouthComm

CityBeat has been sold to SouthComm of Nashville, Tennessee. SouthComm ( is the owner of five other alternative weeklys beyond CityBeat. The purchase includes A-Line Magazine and the Midpoint Music Festival. Dan Backrath will remain as the leader of the paper.I know nothing of this company or of any of its other publications, so no word on what if any other changes will occur. Time will tell. This is the second big change after changing editing staffs earlier this year.

UPDATE: CityBeat Editor Danny Cross has a blog post discussing the acquisition of the newspaper.

Luke Brockmeier Is the Only Choice for the 31st District

This Tuesday there is only one choice for the Democrats in the New 31st Ohio House district and that is Luke Brockmeier.  I fully support Luke Brockmeier and here is a short list of the countless reasons to vote for him in the Democratic Primary on March 6th.

  1. Luke Brockmeier is the Future of the Democratic Party. 
  2. Luke stands with the full Democratic platform..
  3. Luke is from the grassroots of the Democratic Party.  He is not part of the power structure of the party.
  4. Luke is not part of a local political dynasty that has strayed out of its region of influence.
  5. Luke does not take big corporate money and won't be endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce.
  6. Luke is the ONLY PRO-CHOICE CANDIDATE in the race.
  7. Luke supports no-co-pay coverage for birth control.

The New 31st is a progressive district and needs a Progressive Force to represent it in Columbus. Please vote for Luke Brockmeier tomorrow.

For more information please check out

Friday, March 02, 2012

Conservative Economic Planning Fails Again

The Mason, Ohio area has all of the earmarks to be considered a Conservative Republican mecca.  It is an Exurb.  It has lots of cul-de-sacs, strip-malls, chain restaurants, churches, white people, and lots of businesses.  The Mason area, to be fair, has a significant amount of office parks and corporate operations.

So that leads it to be a place where the free market system would flourish and the problems that arise from a growing population would be solved by private entities.  You know, like if traffic became a job killer, where people literally would leave or avoid the area because traffic happened their ability function either when trying to go to work, come home from work, or just go shopping.

So, today I read a story in the Enquirer that indicates that traffic mess that is the Field-Ertel exit off I-71 is no where near being improved or better yet cured of the problems that plague the mangled interchange.  Why are the roads not able to be improved to keep the economics of the area chugging along?  The answer is there are not enough Government funds to build all of the the road improvements needed.

Yes, you read that right, the Conservative mecca of Mason can't improve their roads because the Government doesn't have the funds.  The place filled with Republican voters who regularly attack Government spending on everything short of Defense and Religious schools, is not fixing its own roads because there is not enough funding from the Government to get the job done.

When people complain about Government spending, remember the subtext of what they are really saying: "the Government is spending too much, on other people."  If the Government is doing something to benefit Republican communities, then those programs are championed.  When the Government does something for a mostly Democratic community, the Republicans oppose it and call it wasteful.  You don't need to look past the Streetcar to see that.  That will help the City of Cincinnati.  Not enough Republicans live there, so Republican voters don't tend to care what happens in places that are not mostly Republican.  That's a sad state to live in, but the modern GOP has become a sectarian movement.  It's like living in the Balkans or Iraq.

I for one would like the State of Ohio to kick-in funds to improve the Fields-Ertel interchange.  The Republican run State government should get on that.

Dear Chief Craig: Just Take the Test

Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig has given notice he will not take the Ohio police certification test, which would be required for him to have police powers.  This sounds bad to me.  Why would he not just take the test?  It's reportedly 200 questions.  I don't know how hard of a test it is, but I would have presumed he could pass it quite easily.  By him not wanting to take it leas me to assume it may be more difficult, thus his knowledge of Ohio laws may not be up to snuff, yet.  That may be the reason for him not taking it.  I'm just surprised this has become an issue for him to address at all.  He should just take the test like every other police officer has to do.  I understand he doesn't literally need police powers, but I think the Chief of police of Cincinnati should have the power to make an arrest if needed.