Friday, December 31, 2010

City Council Approves Budget, Ghiz Throws a Rock in a Glass House

The Cincinnati City Council finally approved a budget for 2011. The deal nearly fell apart after Cecil Thomas and Charlie Winburn temporarily pulled their support over curtailing the Marijuana ordinance. I'm not actually clear what the budget could do to actually repeal the ordinance. I am inferring that they cut the budget for enforcement of the law, but did not overturn the law. The details of the whole plan are quiet sketchy and clearly Thomas and Winburn didn't understand it and only relented after some lobbying from the Mayor. If they did actually repeal the Marijuana ordinance, that's the one good thing to come from this mess.

Leslie Ghiz spewed a gem
"'There are five members of council who won't part with a thing,' she said."
by "thing" I presume she means the non-public safety workers. Trash Collectors must be things in her world. Things can be dumped in the hands of the private sector to be consumed and destroyed. Cops and Fire Fighters are not things in her world. They are gods, that must be appeased all costs. They are not be touched. Not one god can lose their job. That would bring an end to all that is holy. By holy in this case I mean endorsements and conservative voter support, which for some reason isn't considered sacrilegious, even in the slightest. Leslie shouldn't complain about not cutting 'a thing' when there was massive chunk of the budget she refused to cut, even though the evidence shows they should be. I guess she has the "do what I say, not what I do" part of being a mother down pat.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

City Council Found a Way to Punt, AGAIN!

Call it election year gaming,call it gutless, but after basically no one on Council could agree on an honest budget, we got a budget that repeats last year's short term thinking. We punt.

Terrible idea.

In other words we got a big pile of steamy poop.

Politics rules again. Fear of the FOP and Fire Fighter's unions ruled, again. We had multiple council members willing to fire all of the garbage collectors, but not touch the CPD or CFD staff levels at all. That is not honest, that is appeasement to special interest. Refusing to raise fees for trash collection because you want to push through an ideological concept, isn't responsible governance, it a political ploy.

A handful of social service cuts (Pools, school nurses) and a cut to Police overtime, which a couple of years ago wasn't even used, and then the city raids other funds for a ONE TIME FIX.

What that means is unless money falls from the sky, we will be right back where we are this time next year.

We are unfortunately going to get 10 months full of bullshit and hollow political stunts where Ghiz and Winburn will promise the moon and the stars, then in the case of Ghiz put forth no plan and in the case of Winburn be the person who made the steamy pile of poop we got this year, happen again.

Monzel ends his tenure as a City Council member without contributing anything to the City.

As for the rest of council, I am disappointed. The only one making a strong case was Laure Quinlivan. She stood up to the FOP and Fire Fighter's union, pushing both union's leaders to get ejected from Council Committee meeting for disruption. Her ideas were good, but I think her lack of political experience showed in her in ability to muster public support for her plan to cut the excess police staff, something we should do.

There are now clear issues for candidates to run on for election next year. The problem is that few candidates will have the guts to discuss those issues honestly and specifically.

If anyone is paying attention, they might spend some time learning about the candidates and voting for people who would not be afraid to actually make real choices and not use hard economic times to push through selective ideological ideas.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So What Do You Make of Porkappolis?

A new local social media application is out for the iPhone and it is for Cincinnati. It's called Porkappolis, and it's from the Enquirer. If you want it, you need to go to the AppStore on your iPhone and sign-up. At this point, the website is only a place holder.

Picture a localized FourSquare and you have Porkappolis, at least in a nut shell. I've signed up for it and checked in at a whopping one location, which I created myself. I copied a place I created on FourSquare, I'm so original. Porkappolis doesn't stray far from FourSquare's functionality. I don't know yet what makes it better.

Greg Sterling at www.screenwerk.com comments on the new app and is optimistic.

Is Kathy Harrell Possessed By Kabaka Oba?

It has been over four years since Kabaka Oba was gunned down outside City Hall, but his spirit clearly is living inside local FOP President Kathy Harrrell. No, seriously, Harrell is possessed by Kabaka Oba. When she got thrown out of a City Council Committee meeting yesterday for being disruptive, nothing short of Kabaka Oba's spirit entering Harrell's body and taken over her actions can explain it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Piece of Coal For City Council

The City will not be getting a nice gift wrapped 2011 budget under the tree this year. Instead we get more bickering, contradictions, and lack of planning. I think it is time for the mayor to come in and knock a few heads together, assuming he still has any pull left. If not, we will headed towards a New Year's Eve showdown.

I still don't understand how Leslie Ghiz can be out to protect police and fire union jobs, but more than willing to crush the unionized trash collection workers with the effort to outsource trash collection. I can understand how she might believe ONLY police and fire functions should be provided by the government, a position held by extreme right wing politician, but why the hypocrisy in support for only some union jobs? If she is wiling to outsource part of city services, why not outsource it all? Why have a government at all? (Yes, I am asking rhetorical questions.)

Ghiz and others on council are using the budget crisis as cover to push their goal of outsourcing many government run public services. This has been a long standing political point of many Republicans, and trying to force it through now is far more distasteful then trying to offload the patrol function of the police on the Sheriff. At least the plan to outsource police patrols was vetted with the Hamilton County Sheriff and current police would have good opportunity to keep a job. No plan would exist with the outsourcing of trash collection.

The Enquirer Editorial Board is not pleased with the city council's lack of progress.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I really hope this Cincy Cop is on the layoff list

Seniority likely will rule who gets laid off in the Cincinnati budget cuts, but this cop needs to go. If he's not laid off, then he should be booted off the force without question as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrate Arnold's 150th Birthday on New Year's Day

Cincinnati's oldest bar, Arnold's Bar & Grille, is celebrating 150 years of serving great food and drinks.  Come out New Year's Day night (January 1st) at 6PM for birthday specials and .  In addition, enjoy for the first time the Arnold’s 1861 Porter from Christian Moerlien, the first beer brewed at their newly opened Over-the-Rhine brewery. Here's more of the details:
On New Years Day, Saturday January 1st, Arnold’s and Christian Moerlein are having a Birthday Bash to honor Arnold’s 150th year of continuous operation. We are more than honored to announce that this will also be the release of Arnold’s 1861 Porter, the first beer brewed in Christian Moerlein’s new Brewery in Over The Rhine. We are not shooting for some fancy-shmancy anniversiary party. We want to have a blowout for everyone. For this duel event, 12 oz drafts are just 1.50 in honor of our 150th year. Keeping with the 1.50 theme Arnold’s will also have a 1.50 specials menu. On the menu, hamburgers, veggie burgers, french fries, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Vegetarian Spaghetti and Marinara. That is not a typo, all will be just 1.50. You can effectively get an entire gut-busting meal and several craft beers for under ten bucks. Oh, and did I mention? Free Cake! A Birthday party is nothing without free cake. Keeping with the party theme, The Cincinnati Dancing Pigs are on stage from 8-10 singing all the drinking songs that they are known so well for. This is just an event for Cincinnati’s oldest tavern to say Thank You to Cincinnati for keeping this old codger around so long. So please come celebrate with us. For those that can’t wait for the new beer, we also will be making it available at midnight on New Years Eve at the stroke of Midnight, for the same 1.50 special price.
Enjoy entertainment from the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs from 8 to 10 PM. Even if you are hung-over from New Year's Eve, you can have a dish of spaghetti or a burger and porter.

What a Fucking Circus, What a Fucking Mess

I am not sure if I have ever seen the Cincinnati City Council be more like a three ring circus, but Tuesday's antics rank up there with the most pathetic in my memory.

Today we don't have any better action.

Where were all of these new plans six months ago?

I have to just ask everyone on Council to please just cut the crap and layoff the Police and Fire Department staff that have been called for in the City Manager's plan. No more false promises,  no more gimmicks, no more pie in the sky dreams.

Gutting all of the rest of the City Services will not erase the city's problems, instead they will get worse. Protecting specific voting blocks(FOP Boosters) is not going to win anyone more votes. None of the other plans are thought out enough to actually work. We are heading into a grandstanding zone when there are about 9 days to get this done. Some of these plans have ideas worth exploring, but that should have been started last December when the new Council began it's current term. We now will face an election year with every candidate promising magic beans in every pot. I'd like some truth and honesty from the current council. There is some there, but not 5 or 6 votes worth.

The worst idea I heard, was the idea to borrow capital funds. Who in the right mind wants to punt layoffs another year? Oh, Monzel was part of that, go figure.

I really wish ego wasn't such a driving force behind so many on council. If the egos were checked at the chamber door, why might not have all of these last minute half-assed plans that don't even add up.

Side Note: Is Charlie Winburn a 7 year old kid? He seems to like to pretend that math is not real and you can not cut anything or get more revenue yet still make the budget balance. If he is planning on performing an exorcism on the City Budget, I really hope he can get it broadcast on local TV. That would be entertainment.

UPDATE: My reading on the capital funding was wrong, updated above.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Sounds Like a Trial Balloon and It's Losing Air Quickly

Three members of City Council with One non-committal member on the fence, put forth a budget plan that includes a transformation of the Cincinnati Police Department. In some form, details are not really known, it either merges the CPD with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, or subcontracts the patrols of CPD to the Sheriff's Department. Either way it would shift police officers to the Sheriff's Department at presumably lower pay rates, thus saving money.

Both possibilities are rather radical. They are the type of ideas that get studied and reviewed and publicly discussed for a reasonable amount of time. I think these plans sound like a trial balloon. These council members want to see how the public reacts and then work on making these plans happen in the coming years, where the cuts that are made in the police force now can be made up by contracting with the Sheriff. We have a year end requirement to pass a balanced budget. We don't have the time to just put this idea into action and hope it works out. That would be foolish.

Yes, it seems clear to me there are going to be cuts in the police and fire departments, but with the latest news the cuts will be less than originally planned because of higher tax revenue projections. We need to face those cuts. Some on council can say they did what they could or still have future ideas, but were forced to make the cuts. Ghiz and Winburn will complain and vote against it, but still refuse to put forth an plan that balances the budget. One that is feasible and doesn't rely on kindness of delinquent tax payers.

Keven Osborne has more on this new plan and the possible conflict with the City Charter in how the council members discussed it with the Sheriff.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tom + Chee Is Open on Court Street

Fountain Square used to be the only place to get the best Grilled Cheese sandwiches in town, but now Tom + Cheehave a restaurant open on Court Street.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

City Publishes Fire Company Closures

Via the Enquirer's Jane Prendergast's Twitter Feed: The City has published the details on which Fire 'Companies' will be closed as a result of layoffs. A total of 4 'Truck Companies' and 7 'Engine Companies' will be closed effective January 2nd under the current proposed budget plan.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Streetcar Project Fully Funded With a New State Grant

The Cincinnati Streetcar Project got yet another boost yesterday with news that the State of Ohio is providing an additional $35 Million grant to fund the construction of the Streetcar lines running from the Banks through Downtown and OTR to the Uptown area. As UrbanCincy Reports, the City now has recieved a total of $150 Million for the $128 Million project.


This doesn't stop the anti-city forces from lying, again. This time they are lying about the position of the Council Member on the Streetcar. The semi-positive news is that in the Enquirer article the reporter indicates that at least someone at the Enquirer is getting closer to the truth about the Funding of the Streetcar and how ending the project will do NOTHING to prevent layoffs of Police and Fire due to the Budget gap.
With the FOP, Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48, Westwood Concern and other groups searching for ways to preserve some of the 370 city jobs at risk, the controversial streetcar project – and Berding – have become their primary targets. Berding’s support is needed to guarantee a majority vote on council for streetcar matters,

By law, state and federal money that City Hall has received for the $128 million-plus streetcar could not be spent for other purposes. That also is the case, City Hall officials say, with the $64 million in local bonds that the city plans to commit to the streetcar project.

For that reason, supporters insist, blocking the streetcar would have no impact on City Hall’s current $60 million budget deficit. Opponents, though, argue the system’s future operating expenses would divert dollars that otherwise could fund jobs and services.
The Enquirer is closer to the truth, but the reporter still fails on two levels. First they fail to point out that the future expense of operating the Streetcar is IN THE FUTURE. The Streetcar is NOT built yet. We have a budget deficit NOW that will require laying off police officers and fire fighters. If we don't get an economic turnaround and the City's revenues are hurting again, they can have that argument again in 5 or 10 yearrs, when it would be relevant.  The real reason this argument is made, is because the groups making it are against development of the City and Urban core.

The second failure of the reporter comes in how they segregate City laws as something more mysterious than State or Federal Laws. I would prefer that if any media outlet publishes someone demanding an end to the Streetcar and even HINTS that this would save cops or fire fighters jobs (a lie), then the media outlet must print the facts about the Streetcar funding. In this article it would have been nicer for the Enquirer to not just report "City Officials Say" when talking about the $64 Million in bonds to be issued by the City for funding of the project. City Laws are just as much laws as State and Federal laws. We have to follow all of them. The reporter fails to 'have' all of the facts when they write "By law" in regards to the State and Federal Grants, but not for the City Funds. Who did the reporter get to confirm that the State and Federal funds grants are an issue of law? Could it have been a State or Federal official? Are not City officials as much of a definitive source of information on City laws as a State or Federal official on State or Federal laws, respectively?

As we learned recently how the bias in national media outlets affects news coverage and distorts the truth, we must insist that the media be fair to the truth, not just a blind reporting on what one side says.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Winburn Needs to Get Serious

I don't expect Charlie Winburn to be sane. I don't expect Charlie Winburn to be reasonable. I would like him to be serious for five minutes and stop wasting everyone's time with one big ass big pipe dream. I think a bake sale will do about as much good as his 'idea.'

If this plan would have any affect at all, it is the kind of thing he might have thought about mentioning about 12 months ago when he first took office, but that wouldn't have been as dramatic.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Finkles' Theater Show Opens at the Know on December 6th

The 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival Robert J. Theirauf Producers' Pick of the Fringe, The Finkles' Theatre Show returns for a special encore performance in December.

Carl & Wanda (and Tinkles Sprinkles Finkles) are going to put on a show for you! It's their first ever theater show, and they will dance, sing, and act just for you! This story of two professional amateur actors, and their very exciting world of secret handshakes, crimped hair, long dance numbers, and big-budget action sequences. They will have you laughing so hard, you may forget to breathe, but don't.




Upcoming Performances
Monday December 6 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday December 7 @ 7:30pm
Wednesday December 8 @ 7:30pm
All tickets are $12
Click here for more information or to purchase tickets

UC Bearcat Mascot Cited For Snow Ball Incident

The University of Cincinnati's Mascot got into a bit of snowball fight with some of the fans today at the UC-Pitt Football game and reportedly when police told him to stop, he wouldn't. At that point things got a little bit ugly as this video shows:


The Enquirer has the story with more of the details.

This has not been a good year for Ohio college mascots.

Miami Wins MAC Football Championship!

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.


Miami won on a last a minute touchdown pass to beat NIU 26-21. Miami was 1-11 last year and finishes the year 9-4 and bowl bound. Miami's 2nd year coach Mike Haywood won MAC Coach of the Year this year for good reason. Read about the game Here

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Miami 75 Xavier 64

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.


Read about it Here

Stadium Fund 'Deal' Reached by the County

Hamilton County Commission passed a deal to fund the gap in the Stadium fund. That deal included some concessions from and incentives for the Bengals and Reds. The deal mostly fills the gap by reducing the amount of the Property Tax rollback. It is a deal that got the job done, not a wonderful deal for anyone but the Bengals and Reds, who got of pretty easy. It is a deal that Jim Tarbell would have gotten done, but one Chris Monzel (on the surface) would never have voted for because he says he would rather destroy things than have the citizens chip in to save their county.

There is trouble ahead for the Poor, I fear, when reading this from the Enquirer article:
"Commissioner Greg Hartmann – who will be the board’s president next year and in the majority – committed the board to cutting all county levies next year, which would reduce property taxes."
So Hartman likely will go after the funds from the tax levy passed by the voters of Hamilton County to fund indigent health care. Tax cuts will trump life for the Poor. Got to love the logic of that. "Let them Eat Cake" is what must be stamped on Hartman's forehead. With the Monzel willing to destroy any and all parts of the county, Hartman will have the second vote he needs. If Hartman means to cut other levies the voters of Hamilton County passed, then the public good will be hurt, all for the sake of a little bit of money. The short term profit and appeasement of the greedy shouldn't be allowed to undermind the structure of a viable society. When you have a moat around your Mcfiefdom, I guess you don't care.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Joe Noriega Deters Appears To Be Our 'Dear Leader' Now

Well, I thought we lived in a land where the rule of law was followed by our elected officials. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters doesn't follow the rule of law and instead he has put himself in charge of running the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Funny, I don't recall Joe Deters being allowed to break the tie of the Board of Elections. I thought Ohio Law stated the Secretary of State did that.

Hey Deters, keep your nose out of the BOE unless directed to do that by the BOE or the SOS or by an applicable court. Being the Prosecutor doesn't make you King. Not even a Burger King. Not even a Little King(s).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Republican Mike Wilson Is Paying To Be Racist

So Republican and 'Tea Party' candidate Mike Wilson is paying for a partial recount in the 28th House district election. I'm at a loss for words at how to describe how a man would be willing to pay $255 to be a racist. How's that, you may ask? How is this racism? Well, it's a bit of a repeat from his efforts before, but Wilson has picked 5 precincts to recount. ONLY Five. All just happen to be overwhelmingly African-American. All of the precincts being recounted just happened to go strongly in favor of the Democratic candidate.

Blue Ash Precinct 2-C went 65% to 31% in favor of the Democratic candidate. It WAS NOT one of the precincts being recounted under the wide reaching plan of Mike Wilson, who, looking for odd things, picked a bunch of majority Black groups and doesn't trust that Board of Elections correctly counted those votes the two times they were previously counted. I would think Mike might be concerned with Blue Ash 2-C, since it is the only precinct in Blue Ash that voted majority Democratic, the rest went for him. Why didn't he pick on Blue Ash? Oh, wait. Blue Ash is full of white people...right...the People of Blue Ash can be trusted to have the same people at the Board of Election, who counted all of his questionable votes, count their votes two times, instead of three.

This just all makes total sense to be. I'll be able to explain Wilson's lawsuit claiming that his vote wasn't counted enough times.  That will be easy and I didn't even have to push a button.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

New Math At the Enquirer: Is It the Ghiz Formula?

I am not sure what math courses Enquirer reporter Jane Prendergast took in school, but in this article on the City Budget she has defined a new way to determine a Minority and Majority:
Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz, in the minority on budget issues and therefore often less in the know, went to City Solicitor John Curp on Monday after Acting Fire Chief Mike Kroeger wouldn't provide details on the number of layoffs and other cuts his department proposed to Dohoney.
Ghiz, Monzel, Winburn, Bortz, and Berding have voted together on most budget related issues. There isn't a majority that is agreeing on anything at the present, but those Five have been the new Fiscal Five and five is the majority on council. Ghiz was part of the old five, too, but who's counting?

Ghiz's real problem is that she isn't playing fair nor doing her homework. Why should the City Manager give any information to Ghiz? She's not bothered to come up with any ideas on how to make meaningful cuts and her current and past grandstanding efforts make any information she gets her hands on the fuel for the spin machine, no matter how out of context she puts it.

This is a tough budget cycle and their are going to be cuts. It would have good for Ghiz to have done some homework a little sooner.

Tom Callinan, Enquirer Editor Retiring At Year's End

The Enquirer has announced the retirement of Tom Callinan as Editor of the Enquirer. I wish to thank Tom for doing a difficult job well. He, I believe, has done his best to hold the line in favor of journalism against the dark business forces. The Enquirer is a very thin paper these days, and signs ahead point towards even less journalism. I've not agreed with many of the directions of the Enquirer over the last 10 years I been watching closely, but every time Callinan acted, he came across as an honorable man in a shrinking honorable profession.

I am very glad Tom is sticking around Cincinnati to work at UC. I hope he can instill a sense of traditional journalism into the students, before the ideas of journalism die completely.

For more on Tom Callinan's retirement check out CityBeat or the GannettBlog.

The next game will be seeing who get's Callinan's job. Many think there are three internal contenders. Who ever gets the job will have a mountain to climb and not much time to make it to the summit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

CEA Winners Announced

CityBeat's annual Cincinnati Entertainment Awards took place on Sunday night and the winners show the strength of Cincinnati's music scene.

Mike Breen has an account, something close to a play by play of the night.

I was unable to attend the awards show, but the photos put the Grammmys to shame!

With the merger of the Theatre CEAs with the Acclaim awards, should the Music CEAs take on a more musical name? CMA is already taken, however, so I don't know if there's as good of an acronym out there.

Monday, November 22, 2010

And They're Off: Council Race Starting to Take Notice

Howard Wilkinson of the Enquirer has a summary of possible candidates for Cincinnati City Council, with are up for election in November of 2011. The list of candidates includes:

Incumbents:
Jeff Berding
Chris Bortz
Leslie Ghiz
Roxanne Qualls
Laure Quinlivan
Cecil Thomas
Charlie Winburn
Wendell Young

Previous Candidates:
Kevin Flynn
Amy Murry

New Candidates:
Wayne Lippert Jr.
Chris Seelback
P.G. Sittenfeld
Cahterine Smith Mills
Yvette Simpson
Jason Riverio
Mike Robison


This is a very early slate, so some of those listed will drop out, but more than likely there will be many more candidates adding their name. The number of African-Americans with their hat in the ring so far is way too low. Jim Tarbell isn't listed either. I would be surprised if he isn't at least contemplating another council run. Greg Harris, Bernadette Watson, and Nicholas Hollan would be strong candidates as well, but it is not known if they are interested in running again. Brad Wenstrup would be a strong Republican candidate.  He's mentioned as a possible appointment for Monzel's seat.  As a former Mayoral candidate, he stands a good a chance as any other strong prior Republican council candidate, maybe even stronger if GOP turnout stays as high as it was in 2010.

In the early part of 2011, the Political Parties will hold interviews for endorsements. Well, at least the Dems hold interviews, since they usually have more applicants than endorsements. If all of the Republicans listed run (6) that will be the more than 2009's lowly 5. As it stands now the party association (not endorsement) stands with:

Democratic: 7
Republican: 6
Charter: 3
Independent: 1

If there are more candidates out there, chime in with some names.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Capital Funds For Westwood Don't Get Protests?

So, Charlie Winburn is is proposing the City of Cincinnati spend capital funds to buy the Gamble House, located in Westwood. For the record I am personally very much in favor of doing this. I really have to wonder, however, where's the FOP protest? Where's COAST? Where is Westwood Concern complaining that a City Council member is spending money on something new, while cop layoffs loom? Where is Charlie Winburn protesting himself for additional spending? Where's Ghiz?

It is a really good question: Why don't you see Westwood Concern complaining about this? The answer is oh so clear, they are leading the effort to encourage the City to buy the Gamble House. Yes, that is correct. Westwood concern is in favor of using capital funds in their neighborhood, while not in favor of it in places where spending those capital dollars will actually produce economic development that will benefit the entire City and the region.

No, the hypocrisy is not surprising. $300,000 is good for at least 3 or 4 police officers, after all, but the cries for blood on someone's hands is missing here, for some reason...

I hope the City is able to buy the Gamble house and preserve the history it holds for Cincinnati, especially Westwood. It would be nice if Westwood Concern could avoid the hypocrisy.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Special Decree: It's Spelled C-ASS

I am taking it upon myself, using my infinite amount of bloggish wisdom (yes such a thing exists..no really), to decree that the real spelling of the anti-city group "Citizens Against Streetcar Swindle" shall be forever spelled as C-ASS. An early incarnation had is listed as "CASS." That was an oversight.

Pillich Wins, Racism Loses

Democrat Connie Pillich has won her race for Ohio House over 'Tea Party' Republican Mike Wilson. The vote difference rose from an election night total of 5 to 602 votes. Wilson can still pay for his own recount. He didn't return comment to the Enquirer's request.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Dayton Has Cut 100 Cops Since 2001, Yet Crime Rate Still Falls

I am afraid that Charlie Winburn will call this the work of the Devil, but Dayton, Ohio has cut 100 police officers since 2001, but the crime rate still fell. Leslie Ghiz, every member of the FOP leadership, and all of Westwood Concern just shit a brick.

The world didn't end for Dayton with fewer police officers. Cincinnati will be fine with fewer cops.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

'Tea Partier' Mike Wilson Sues to Disenfranchise Blacks

So the election results are not even official and a government paid recount is in the works, but 'Tea Party' Republican Mike Wilson is suing for the right to question black votes over all others. Wilson finished behind his Democratic opponent Connie Pillich. Wilson has chosen Lincoln Heights as his target. The predominately black community has three precincts with what Wilson believes have irregular totals of provisional ballots. He wants them to be investigated more than all of the other provisional ballots in the district he is running for State Assembly.

Let's get this straight. Mike Wilson has decided that the number of provisional ballots are too high in the districts that have mostly black people who traditionally vote Democratic. Wilson is targeting black districts on purpose. It is clear he believes that any additional voter turnout in traditional black district must mean voter fraud. He has no evidence of this, other than who lives in the neighborhoods he is targeting. Those stereotypes play into the bigoted and racist elements of society Wilson and the 'Tea Party' movement have failed to expunge from their ranks. In this case I think they are counting on those elements to change public opinion and lay a ground work to claim fraud as the deciding factor.

This is foolish. Id he wants to have all provisional ballots addressed, then have at it, that is fair. Targeting black voters, and I'm not going to mince my words on that, is unconscionable. If he get's one vote tossed out without smoking gun proof that the person voting was not allowed to vote in this election, then any miracle victory Wilson gets will be on the back of racism.

Remember, Pillich had more votes and won after the initial count.

In a race this small, the number of post election night vote changes are always small. Every additional vote Wilson get's should get the same attention as any vote Wilson is challenging. We'll see how Judge Winkler rules. I hope he doesn't play partisan politics and throws this case out and let the final results be presented before it has to go to court and some type of equitable and judicious basis.

Monday, November 15, 2010

How Many Cops Could $1.8 Million Save?

The FOP (the police union) and COAST raised questions about projects the City has voted to fund, while allowing Police layoffs to be considered.  The only project I have heard them mention is the Streetcar.  They lie or just forget to mention that the money for the Streetcar can't legally be used for operating expenses (paying for police salaries), but they still use the Streetcar as a means to get the ignorant portion of the public angry and help them preserve FOP jobs.

What I am wondering is why are they not mentioning the $1,824,500.00 which was voted on by council back in June of 2010 to transfer funds for the purpose of paying for something that will be demolished because of the I-75 Expansion.  Why don't they include that project in their rhetoric?  That's $1.8 million dollars spent this year.  The ordinace passed unanimously, by the way.  Monzel, Ghiz, Winburn, all voted in favor of it.  None of three of them indicated that it would be legal to use these capital funds to pay for operating expenses.  I also didn't read a news article with questions asking why it is necessary for this amount to come from City funds when it is for rebuilding something that will be destroyed because of the highway improvement.

Yes, these are hypocrites and manipulators.  The FOP, COAST, Monzel, Ghiz, and Winburn all don't seem to care that is what they are doing.  If anyone is surprised by that, well, welcome to Conservative politics in Cincinnati.

Friday, November 12, 2010

This Cop Should Be Part of the 144

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that a Cincinnati Police Officer "bilked" money from Kroger and violated the CPD code of ethics for clocking in to work special details at a Kroger store, but then leaving for hours. He reportedly did this multiple times (54) earlier this year.

Will this cop be part of the 144 police officers that are slated to be laid off because of City budget cuts? Spec. Darryl Chatman should be fired today, but if not, he should be part of those to be let go next year. Instead, will the FOP Union defend him without question, and keep him on the force in place of a younger non-corrupt officer?

The FOP has a history of defending bad cops and keeping them on the force. I expect they will continue this vile tradition.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Dear Steve Chabot: The Election Is Over

Someone needs to tell Steve Chabot that the election is over. He won. It is time for the winner to be gracious and stop using his political website to attack Democrats for daring to have internal caucus elections or actually hold views he doesn't agree with. It is a classless asshole that attacks Nancy Pelosi or the President at this point. This is the time when elected officials start preparing to take office. This isn't the time to play politics, this is the time to try and work together. It is called governing. It is what adults do. Chabot needs a time out. He needs to be classy. It is embarrassing for me as a resident of his district that he can't at least pretend to be magnanimous a week after the election. Steve Chabot clearly does not want to work with anyone who disagrees with him.

Chabot owes an apology to Nancy Pelosi. He owes the members of his district an even bigger apology for wasting the time he or his staff took to write the blog post linked above. I'd like to hear from Republicans giving me reasons how this tone is good for America, Ohio, or our Congressional District. I sure you can find a way to defend an asshole, but why would you do it?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kasich Owes Ohio 400 Million Dollars

The Federal Government is wise to John Kasich's bid to provide welfare to big business with his request to use the $400 Million Federal Passenger Rail grant to fund improvements on freight rail systems, which would benefit out of state corporations, but do nothing for Ohio citizens. Luckily, the Feds
said no. New York Governor-Elect Andrew Cuomo has already asked the Feds to give the Ohio Money to New York State to use for Passenger Rail. That's what a governor is supposed to do: fight for the citizens, not for big business from out of state.

Kaisch cost us (us being Ohioans) that grant. We could have benefited from greatly improved transportation for the people and increased development and integration between Ohio's major cities. I would surmise that the improvements to the Passenger rail lines would have in turn also improved the freight rail lines as well, but sine Kasich is against the public benefiting from improved transportation options, we'll never know. He is the sole person responsible for losing the grant, so he owes us that money (and the jobs he cost Ohio).

So, John, we will accept a cashier's check or money order, but not a personal check.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

COAST Protests Greg Hartmann...Wait, What?

Did I miss COAST's protest of Greg Hartmann's plan to use the proceeds from the indigent healthcare fund to pay for the Bengal's Stadium deficit? I'm thinking that not funding healthcare for the poor is going to....oh....I don't know, KILL PEOPLE? Won't there be blood on Greg Hartmann's hands?

I read this and I just assumed that COAST had actually protested the proposal from a government official made a few months ago that at its core takes money from a tax levy voted on by the people with the purpose of funding health care for those who are indigent, but then uses it to pay for the up keep of Paul Brown Stadium, something that benefits Mike Brown, Bengals players, and the employees of the Bengals. Am I clear on this?

Yesterday COAST made a totally false claim about what money has been and will be used to fund the Fire Department. They lied about it. I am sure they are not going to lie about something and claim that Council members have blood on their hands for something that isn't true. COAST surely wouldn't do that and let Greg Hartmann go without protest for his plan that clearly would KILL PEOPLE. They wouldn't do that, would they?

COAST surely would have protested a government official planning on 'stealing' money from a fund expressly voted on and passed by the people in fairly held election? Did I just miss that?

Monday, November 08, 2010

A True CPS Success Story: Taft High School

Please read up on the wonderful news about Taft High School. In less than ten years its graduation rates have gone from 21% to 95.2%. Attendance is up, math & reading scores are way up, and disciplinary actions are way down. That is an amazing job. Students, parents, teachers, staff, and school administrators should feel proud.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Bad Business Leaders and Bad Politicians

I am in no way surprised that the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce supported John Kasich for Governor. What I find horrible is that they don't appear know why they supported him at least not publicly. They don't now how he's going to do anything, but still voted for him:
Van der Horst and other Southwest Ohio business leaders aren’t concerned with a lack of specifics. They say they, too, have not yet determined specific program requests for the new administration.

What kind of business blindly makes a decision to do something without knowing the details of the deal they are making? Well either a foolish business or one that is lying about not knowing what the deal is. I think the Chamber knows full well what John Kasich is going to do. Kasich is going to do what ever the Chamber of Commerce wants, no matter how many more jobs it will cost Ohio. Watch for Corporate Tax breaks and other sweet deals to be made under the darkness of night in the coming years.

Way to Go Ohio

Cincinnati Police Officials Propose CPD Layoffs

Cincinnati Police Department Budget officials have put together a proposal to cover part of the 16 million dollars allotted for cuts from the police department budget which includes laying off 144 officers and demoting another 160. The Enquirer news story does not detail how many, if any, senior level police officers would be let go in this plan.

On hand to give a petty and irrelevant quote was Kathy Harrell, president of local FOP (the Police Union), who again appears to be unwilling to face the fact that Cincinnati and the rest of the country are facing difficult financial times. Instead she'll lobby for more police jobs, and not care were the money comes from. Further more, the FOP leadership will create a false fear in the public, a manufactured fear that crime will rise if there are fewer police officers. In 2009 the FOP were aided by Council Members Monzel and Ghiz, who got to pretend to fight crime, but were actually more concerned about protecting votes when both ran for County Commission. Monzel got more votes and will thankfully be off council soon. I'm sure he will have a brilliant plan to prevent layoffs and save the day. He has so many plans, I can't keep them all straight. It's amazing. It's tough keeping a straight face as I type this.

In the end however, the FOP leadership will force or even deal away a higher number of jobs of lower paid street cops in favor of the nearly retired cops, who are still able to get nice fat bonuses at retirement in a couple of years. I guess it's more important for 1 "seasoned" cop to get bonuses and sit at a desk for the next couple of years as opposed to two or three cops to actually be in a car on patrol protecting the city. I guess money for high level cops trumps a balanced budget for the City. I guess we are heading into another budget battle. I am so very glad that Roxanne Qualls is running the Finance committee instead of former council member Laketa Cole, who along with Leslie Ghiz, made the committee meetings into a circus. We need an efficient and well run police force, we don't need a circus with an FOP run sideshow.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Another High End Bar Downtown?

I've seen the sign a few times over the last week, but Soapbox has the story on the new nightclub 'Scene'  on Walnut Street with a schedule opening this Winter.

Are we seeing a solidification of Downtown as the nightlife center of Cincinnati, or at least the high end scenester nightlife? We've had such a spread out entertainment spectrum in this town for a long time, with Mt. Adams, Covington, Northside, Main Street, Short Vine, Clifton Heights,Mt. Lookout, and Newport as the main sections of semi-consolidated entertainment districts. Main Street and Short Vine have taken a big downturn over the last 10 years. Main Street has seen an up-tick, but Short Vine has been dead for a while and shows not signs of life. Is Downtown hurting any of these other areas or is Downtown drawing new crowds from the suburbs/Exurbs?

Cincinnati Unchained Returns November 20th

Local Blog, Buycincy.com, has announced the return of Cincinnati Unchained, an event designed to promote locally run retail outlets as great destinations for shopping for the Holidays.  Look for more details on their website with participating stores.  It all happens on Saturday November 20th.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Who Will Fill Monzel's Seat on City Council?

Tthe silver lining of Chris Monzel's win on Tuesday means he will be leaving Ctiy Council (and the crowd goes wild.)  Speculation now turns to who will fill his seat. The Enquirer wasted no time probing local Republicans on who they think will get the appointment. The buzz on election night at the Republican event was pointing to Amy Murray, who was the Republican council candidate with the highest number of votes, but short of winning a seat in 2009. The other name being thrown around was Brad Wenstrup, the failed Republican Mayoral candidate in 2009.

The Enquirer reports that both Leslie Ghiz and Charlie Winburn get to somehow jointly pick Monzel's replacement. I was not aware that this could be given to more than one person. I actually question the logic and legality of that, but the GOP is not going to let them do it alone, at least not without future consequences.

So, the possible candidates:

  • Amy Murray
  • Brad Wenstrup
  • George Zamary
  • Dare I say Sam Malone?
I could throw out a few more names of prior Republican candidates, but none at this point come to mind as being interested or willing to compete with Murry or Wenstrup for the spot.

Murry deserves it based on the votes, but votes don't matter much with the GOP, Ghiz can tell you that personally. Wenstrup could have won a seat on council his time out with the kind of money he had in the mayor's raise, but he foolishly listened to the GOP leadership and faced off against Mallory. Will Brad be a bigger fool and run again against Qualls?

The most important thing that should happen now is that Monzel should resign as soon as the vote for Hamilton County Commissioner is certified.  There is no reason for him to stay as a council member, since  1) he's going to be looking ahead to county issues and 2) he doesn't do anything as a council member anyway, so why not let someone else who may actually care have the seat on council?  The Monzel of 2007 would resign well before January.  The Monzel of today is a 'son of the suburbs' and would rather take a paycheck for nothing from a cash strapped city than actually roll up his sleeves for two months and work for the people currently paying him.

Local Lawsuits Field Over Twitter and Facebook Posts

The Cincinnati Enquirer is reporting that local attorney Eric Deters has filed multiple libel suits based on Twitter and Facebook posts. Suits were filed against two Kentucky Attorneys who allegedly posted disparaging social media posts that reportedly commented on Deter's work as an attorney relating to two separate legal cases.

It is very concerning to see this type of case, for anyone who uses Twitter or Facebook. If I were a lawyer and social media user, I would pay very close attention to how this turns out. Eric Deters is by my standards a public figure, so his suit may have problems getting any traction at all. The flip said to that hindrance is that these two lawyers, based on their profession and/or job, may have more knowledge of the cases in question or carry more weight when they write "publicly" about someone in their industry.  That, however, is a question far beyond my knowledge of libel cases.

What ever the situation, my amateur advice is to watch what you say about other people on Twitter and Facebook, even if your posts are not public to everyone.  You never know who may not like what you say about someone else.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Kasich Job Creation Total is Negative

With an anti-city tone, Kaisch has already killed jobs in Ohio before he is even is sworn in. How much more money will he throw away? Way to go lose more jobs, Republican voters, thanks for thinking of Ohio workers when you went to the polls. (Cough, cough)

More Bias and Bad Taste From the Enquirer

In what was clearly an attempt to solicit insulting comments about Nancy Pelosi, the Enquirer posted this query on it's Opinionati Blog this afternoon. They are asking in what is billed as jest but more of a thinly veiled insult what Nancy Pelosi should change her twitter handle to now that she has lost the Speaker's chair. Complete with unflattering photograph and ignorant insults, we get what we've come to expect from the Enquirer, more Republican bias. It was rather surprising to read what the writer of the post suggested as a new name for Pelosi's Twitter account: "welcometowalmartpelosi." Someone at the Newspaper may want to inform the writer that Nancy didn't lose her congressional seat, so she'll still have a job serving the people of her district. I'm sure that little fact was lost behind behind the chance to make a cheap political shot when someone's down.

Way to be classy Enquirer.

Not A Lot To Look Forward To In Clermont County

Here is one Republican commissioner-elect for Clermont County who has a lot more to worry about, than just doing his new job.

Thoughts on Election Day: We are to Blame

Yes, we lost. There is no other way to put it. In Ohio we lost even worse the rest of the Country. Our state is headed for harder times, if the GOP does what they have done in the past. The problem is that they didn't say what they are going to do, which was the message they won on. A message of nothing.

The GOP won for many reasons.  Here is my list of what happened.

  1. Democratic Voters stayed home.  In the City of Cincinnati voter turnout in 2008 was 63.59%.  In 2009 the unofficial totals had the City at 39.47%  That is a drop of 24.12% or over 63,000 fewer votes. Some of these are Republican voters, but basic logic indicates that local Dems stayed home yesterday. I would extrapolate that across the county similar findings would generally hold true.  Republicans may have increase their votes, but Dems staying home was the reason for winning. On a side, for some unknown reason we had about 20,000 few registered voters this year than in 2008.  I don't see how that happens, since we had only 4,000 less in 2009 from 2008.  The only problem with these initial numbers may be in the number of provisional votes not included. When the final numbers are submitted, I will try and update the numbers and figure out why they differ so much.
  2. The GOP had tons of Money.  The Republicans have more of it and will do what every it takes to keep it.  That includes dumping money into every race. This money bought nothing but negative attack ads that were manipulations of reality at best or just out right lies at worst.
  3. Fear and Ignorance and Hate works.  When you don't have any ideas, run on fear and hate.  Other than slogans, I would challenge any Republican voter to list out 3 specific things that National Republicans are going to do, especially on the economy. They can't repeal heathcare reform.  They are lying to you now if they say they can.  Keeping the Bush Tax cuts going isn't much of a plan, since the Dems were going to do that for 98% of us anyway. I never heard the GOP offer an actual new tax cut plan, did they? How would they pay for it?  "Cut Spending" is a slogan, not a policy.  What are they going to cut?  What are they going to cut that will amount to anything substantial? What will this do?  Will this just shift the burden to states or local governments?  How will it affect society?  Voters just don't know anything about government.  They all too often vote based on ignorance.  That ignorance is manifested in a self-centered uninformed perception of how vague slogans will affect them.  Taxes, government, jobs.  People really don't understand how these things work and they equally are ignorant to history.  If one more person actually thinks President Obama passed TARP, I think I may vomit. Throw in a fear of Mexicans and Muslims, and you have winning platform.
  4. The Right Wing Media control the Agenda and the Rest of the Media don't cover government. FOX News and Talk Radio are completely biased media outlets.  Calling FOX News the conservative Pravda isn't just blowing smoke.  I question anyone's honesty if they claim otherwise.  I must assume they don't watch the station.  Talk Radio has been this way for 20 years, so no big surprises there.  The rest of the media just doesn't cover government.  Sure they cover the political races and arguments like they are sporting events, but they don't cover government. They don't cover the details of legislation and when they do,.  When they do, and that is far to rarely, they don't do it good enough.  How do we know this? When the public is so vastly misinformed about the details of the laws put into affect, they can be no other reason but the lack of proper reporting and coverage and the HeathCare Reform law is the classic example.  Sure, the media says they can't make the public read the details out there, but where do they get the misinformation from and how are they consuming it readily? If right wing media outlets are feeding lies and misinformation, it is the duty of the honest media to make the facts the center piece of their reporting and make it news when propaganda outlets pretend to be news outlets. Also, the rest of the media let the Republican's carry on in this election cycle with little critical questioning on their lack of detailed plans.  Sure, we heard about scandals, but that is all we get.  We don't get actually detailed plans or platforms, we just get infotainment.
  5. We are lazy.  Yes, basically all of us are lazy.  We are too lazy to vote and too lazy to be informed enough to know when a politician is lying to us, We are also too lazy to actually consume quality news media, and instead only really care about Reality TV or Glee or Football games.  We are too lazy to talk to our family, friends, and neighbors and both correct them when they are mistaken about an issue or encourage to (or even shame them to) vote.  We no longer value learning, we have stopped wanting to know about things, especially those unsexy and boring things, like budgets and taxes and human rights and peace treaties and the freedom of (and from) religion.  When is the last time people actually read the U.S. Constitution? Can people look up what Socialism actually means, instead of just using it as a slur?
The causes of this loss are wide spread, but the solutions are rather simple.

  • More people need to vote in EVERY ELECTION
  • More people need to not take what they read, hear, see at face value and consume their media more wisely.
  • People need to stop being afraid of everything.
  • People need to care about other people at least 50% as much they care about themselves.
The interesting part to me going forward now will be watching Republicans cheer and claim massive victory.  Again, I'll let them have their fun for a while, but they really are not in a good position.  When you claim a mandate, you get ownership of the Economy.  So, it is time for them to govern.  It is not time to run around attacking people who disagree with you anymore, it is time to start making sense.  If Republican don't make sense, they are going to lose. A minority of the country elected quite a few extreme candidates who if they make good on some for their promises are going to make fools out of the GOP leadership. The first bit of sense the GOP needs to understand is that they can't make any law without help from the Democratic run Senate and the President. The second bit of sense they need to understand that governing doesn't mean just saying no, it means running the country.  The GOP has been refusing to help run the country since Obama took office.  It is time they start carrying some of the burden.  If they do, and actually work with the President and the Senate, they may keep some of the new congress members elected, past the 2012 elections.  If not, we will see gains back the other way, when the Dems push to keep the White House.

I am very fearful for what will happen over the next two years.  I don't see the GOP willing to govern at this point.  I see them out to keep power.  Keeping power is not the same thing as governing, something I hope the few rational Republicans left can understand and communicate to their party's leadership.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Time to Vote! Any Funny Business Going On?

I am getting myself ready to go out to vote. I'm off work today, something I like to do every year, and follow the happenings during election day. Today there's not a lot of news out there locally, except what I think maybe some odd monitoring of discounts being offered by some businesses. I'm not sure who's monitoring social media outlets or if political foes are dropping a dime to their buddies in the prosecutor's office, but it doesn't seem consistent. What got attention was one business that offered a discount if you showed your "I voted" sticker. The prosecutor that contacted this business explained that he wording of the offer was against the law. The law I believe that would in question is Section 3599.01. I'd like to know why this business was targeted, but this is the type of abuse of power that goes unchecked in a Deters run Prosecutor's office. I hope this business also get's or has gotten a similar phone call. They certainly are a bigger business with more locations that would matter more if offering this type of discount actually was a violation of the law. This happened across the country in 2008, were phone calls made then?

Any other irregularities going on? I'm expecting the bogus fliers to make the rounds in Bond Hill or the West End, trying to reduced the African-American vote, but no reports yet.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Because You Need Quimbob's Endorsements

There are few things in life that you will need more tomorrow than Blogging Isn't Cool's Endorsements. A trite cliché to include with this post is currently escaping me, so I'll just end by saying this: "A Robot From Space Has Never Killed a Human." Look it up.

The Folly of Monzel: Even a Computer Knows Why He's Wrong for Hamilton County

Yeah, this videosums up why Chris Monzel is a terrible candidate and makes the case very simple as to why NO ONE Should vote for him, have a watch:


I'd like to hear from a Monzel supporter and refute ANYTHING from this video. Instead, if you attack me, or Tarbell, or the Democrats, or the butcher, baker and candlestick maker, then everyone else know you have nothing to logically argue and we'll all laugh at you. Laugh at you loudly.

The computerized theme works great as a subtext, by the way, great job.

Vote for Tarbell!!!

What Are Your Election Day Predictions?

It is time to play everyone's favorite game: predict what will happen on election day. Here are my predictions:

  1. In Ohio, voter turnout will be about 47% (+/- 11.2%).
  2. In Hamilton County someone will lie about voting just to get a discount.
  3. The Hamilton County Board of Elections will complete counting the votes at 5:42 AM on November 3rd (+/- 5 minutes).
  4. A Republican official will claim that ACORN stole both of the votes he cast.
  5. A Republican official will complain that NOT all of his anonymous contributions were spent on attack ads.
  6. There will not be any good post election victory parties, at least nothing  toping last year's. (I still need to call her back, is 12 months too much time?)
  7. I will get 5 more robo calls on my land line in the next 36 hours, but zero on my cell phone.  Hmmmmm?
  8. No matter who wins, a 'Tea Partier' will stomp on someone's head.
Your turn, what are your predictions?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Kingdom for an Editor

Getting the facts right is the bedrock of Journalism. To my disappointment, but not my surprise, I read this short news report today in the Cincinnati Enquirer. This story reports the tragic murder of a Restaurant worker. That isn't the problem. The problem is with the location listed: "West End." It is exacerbated later in the article when the address of the incidence is listed: "The shooting occurred inside Richie’s Fast Food Restaurant, 4871 Reading Road, West End, at 11:54 p.m. Saturday."

Here's what it looked like online:
I did a Google Search for "4871 Reading Road, Cincinnati, OH" and the first thing that comes up is a map link for Richie's Fast Food Restaurant and a small map with a pin signifying the Restaurant's location right above a label on the map indicating it is located in Bond Hill. The West End and Bond Hill are miles apart. It took me longer to write this blog post then to determine where this incident took place, Google is actually quite fast.

Does this change story?  Not really.  It doesn't ease the pain of the family and friends of murder victim or help the Restaurant Owner overcome the robbery . One thing it does hurt, is the public's knowledge and perspective in trying to catch the criminals responsible.  The article ends with information on how to contact Crime Stoppers with information on the crime.  Well, for those who read this story may now be confused as to where this crime took place and may be less likely to report something they may have seen near the location of the crime.  With that in mind, the Writer and the Editors need to do better and know the City.  They should know that while Reading Road winds through many neighborhoods in the City, the West End isn't one of them.

Fact Checking is a lost art in the online newspaper world. I really hope the Enquirer can do more of it and maybe after reading this post, they may update the article.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Bortz's Freedom of Speech Being Questioned

I can understand that the Ohio Ethics Board can see conflicts of interest for public legislators or officials who take actions, like voting or rulings or ordering funds to be spent, in specific situations. I don't aggree a conflict exists for Chris Bortz, for example, but I can comphrend the argument being made. I can further agree that officer holders should not vote on issues that they stand to meaningfully and directly profit from. I don't understand how any official can be prevented from speaking in meetings or to other officials or in open legislative sessions on any topic. How is pubic or private speech an ethics violation? Bortz should be allowed to give his opinions and offer his knowledge and expertise on the Streetcar. He's not a Judge, he is a legislator. This lawsuit is without merit and is politically motivated and should be seen as nothing else.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Monzel Still Has Nothing to Offer

Cincinnati Council member Chris Monzel, candidate for County Commission, had no questions or ideas about the City's Budget during a Council Budget Committee meeting. Here's what the article states he offered to the meeting:
"Councilman Chris Monzel, who is running for Hamilton County commission, didn't submit any questions this time, but reminded that he has, in the past, suggested cutting car allowances and using managed competition."
This is the man claiming he will work towards balancing the County's budget. Why isn't he doing it in his current job with the City?

Jim Tarbell's TV-Commercial Hits the County



His opponent's commercial lies about Jim, how's that for a contrast?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

OhioDailyBlog: Jean Schmidt Lectures 1st Graders On Abortion

The OhioDailyBlog is reporting that Ohio 2nd District Congresswoman Jean Schmidt while speaking to school students, including 1st Graders, on a "day in the life of a Congresswoman", launched into a "graphic discussion about abortion. This reportedly took place in a Hamilton County School. The School also reportedly sent a letter to parents, altering them to the incident that occurred last week.

Schmidt should come clean on this and say what happened and apologize if what is reported is true. She has yet to reply. Even if this was a private school, something not published, kids should not be subject to this type of thing.

I am waiting for COAST to condemn Schmidt for doing this. I guess since they kids here can't vote, Finney won't be going GOP-TV to complain.


Side Note: Schmidt's website (which I will not promote directly) does not list any of her positions. All it has is a way to volunteer or contribute or contact her. Plus the only way to contact her is by direct mail or telephone. Not even a webform for questions. I've never seen a campaign website have less information a week away from the election. It is sad, it so incredibly sad that a SITTING congresswoman does not list her basic positions on the version issues. It's like she's counting on Party ID and the ignorance of the public to win. Imagine that.

I don't think we'll see anything in the media about the abortion lecture, unless a parent will go on the record. A copy of the letter should be enough, but the local media won't bother pissing off the anti-abortion crowd, unless there national ratings in the mix. We've not read much about the details of Schmidt in the Enquirer. I guess writing off the assumed victory is how they serve the public. Oh, wait, they don't do that anymore, I keep forgetting that.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Miami Hockey Unanimous #1 In the Nation

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.


Read about it Here

Dear O'dell Owens: Resign as Coroner

I really appreciate O'dell Owens' service as Hamilton County Coroner, but he needs to resign. I think he will be a great President of Cincinnati State, but he needs to quit the office of Coroner and make way for a new person to complete the rest of his term.

I don't really care why he's waiting. There is no good reason that helps the residents of Hamilton County.

Tim Burke, get the job done and announce the person who will fill the position. There is no reason to wait, make the announcement today. That will add some pressure to Owens. We don't need any more artificial confusion in County government then we have now.

Friday, October 22, 2010

On Oct 25th Buy Greek Spaghetti at Arnold's & Help Jim Tarbell

The wonderful people at Arnold's Bar & Grille will be donating 50% of Greek Spaghetti sales on Monday October 25th to Jim Tarbell's Campaign for Hamilton County. Come out on Monday and support Jim while enjoying the great food from Arnold's!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Most Ignorant Enquirer Editorial Ever?

Nothing was going to change the Republican Enquirer's prior endorsement of Chris Monzel for Commissioner no matter how much they claim they had an open mind. That being said, I have to say that who ever wrote this editorial is about as ignorant of what makes for good leadership and governance as I have seen in professional journalism in long time. If that is not true, then someone on editorial board is just not paying attention.
"Monzel sometimes will advance provocative ideas - such as selling the Reds and Bengals stadiums outright or collaborating with other counties on a regional jail - that may not have been fully thought through and may not be practical. But why should it be out of the question to even advance such ideas? Couldn't the discussion at least lead to viable alternatives?

Tarbell has a keen grasp on what didn't work in the past, but Monzel offers a stronger vision of what will work for the future."
Let's review:

  1. Monzel has not offered a vision for his basement, let lone for Hamilton County, yet the Enquirer claims he has one.  I'd like to read about that vision, especially if it is so certain that italics were needed to emphasize the "will" in the online version of the editorial.  We don't read it in the editorial, because it doesn't exist, unless Chris has secret vision for Hamilton County.
  2. What actual 'provocative' ideas has Monzel put forth that are not acknowledged to be impractical?
  3. Monzel has never put forth a plan on what he would cut from the County Budget to make up the deficit, so what is the Enquirer basing their hope on?
  4. Monzel has served as a City Council member and has failed to put forth a plan with DETAILS that outline how the City can balance its budget.  He has failed to do this in office covering multiple years.  Why would the Enquirer think he will not do the same thing to the County?
  5. This one takes the cake: The Enquirer admits that Monzel didn't think through his notion to sell the stadiums and agree it wouldn't be practical.  They know that Monzel stoletook the idea from David Pepper, current Commissioner, who determined it was not practical.  Yet by pushing the discredited idea the Enquirer believes it is a sign that Monzel is better for office?  Having stupid ideas that people who pay attention know will not fly and have already been publicy addressed should be a sign that Monzel doesn't have any vision or plan or care in making the County a better place.  He is just a Republican empty suit the GOP power structure is using to try and win a majority on Commission.
It is obvious to me that the Enquirer wants the Republicans to have a majority on Commission and really don't like Jim Tarbell, so they would have endorsed a bowl of Skyline Chili if the GOP had put it on the ballot. It would be heartening if they could present a believable endorsement of Monzel instead of what they put forth, but the Enquirer can't turn water into win.

More on the Brinkman-Finney Voter Suppression Effort

WCPO has a story detailing who witnessed a group of voters arriving at the Board of Elections and testified via an affidavit that these where students from CPS. WCPO reports that Steve Johnson, a volunteer working for Tom Brinkman, made a report to Tom Brinkman, Republican candidate for County Auditor. The information provided to Mr. Brinkman and the details of his Affidavit were not available on the Clerk's website. I wonder if Mr. Johnson was deposed. I am guessing it didn't get that far. Here are some of the questions I would have asked him:

  1. How did you know the people in Church Vans were Students?
  2. How did you know the people in Church Vans were Cincinnati Public Schools Students?
  3. Have you ever seen other Church Vans or Buses or other groups of people arrive at the BOE to vote in mass?
  4. Do you report all people arriving to vote at the BOE to Tom Brinkman? (I would assume the answer would be "no.")
  5. If you don't report all people arriving to vote to the BOE to Tom Brinkman, why did you choose to report this group of people to Tom Brinkman?
  6. What time did this group arrive at the BOE?
  7. What prompted you to strike up a conversation with one of the drivers to learn the group of people voting were allegedly being treated to ice cream after?
  8. Did you witness the group going anywhere for ice cream?
  9. Were you or any other political volunteer prevented from speaking to or handing out materials to these voters?
The last question would be the key.  This is the question I believe is the basis of their case, but it would appear nothing prevented Mr. Johnson from having as much impact as any other campaign.  The other key point I would make with these questions is why this group of people was singled out.  What drove Mr. Johnson to think there was anything wrong?  This is not a unique occurrence.  If he's not reporting every group, then why he singled out this group makes this situation troublesome on his and Brinkman's part.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

COAST Suppressing the Vote, Again

Chris Finney, head of the anti-government right-wing extremist group COAST, is all bitter about a group of 18 year old adults exercising their right to vote. Yeah, the "students" talked about are 18 years old, or will be by election day. They are of legal age. They are no more mislead by anyone else who gets a free ride to vote, which happens all the time by both sides.

I wonder how he even knew this group went to vote, unless someone at the BOE tipped him off. That alone is worth a few questions by the defense attorneys.

I would like to know if Finney is doing anything about what is going on in Suburban schools. How many football coaches in this area are pushing Republican candidates?

I also would like to know why Finney isn't more concerned about Church Vans allegedly being used in this case. Because that's not be mentioned, I would then wonder how many church vans are used to give Republican voters rides, where only lists of Republican candidates are passed out. I guess that would look bad if he brought it up. It raisers questions, however. How many clergy are out pushing Republicans during bible study? Why don't Democrats sue to find out? I would surmise they don't want to appear to be suppressing votes, unlike some Republicans. Democratic supporters suppressing votes is news. Republicans suppressing the vote, is left to the Bloggers of the world to point out.

Finney is trying to prevent Democratic voters from going to the polls any way he can, but does nothing to identify or prevent the same type of thing from happening in Republican majority school districts.

Until Finney devotes equal time to expose the Suburban schools and the Private schools who allow the same type of thing to occur, then his partisan efforts to suppress Democratic votes will be apparent to anyone paying attention.

Monday, October 18, 2010

All Good Things . . .

I'll leave it for you to determine whether my blogging here has been a "good thing." But good, bad, or unnoticed, my blogging here has come to an end.

Beginning November 1, I'll be starting in a new job. For the first time since I started blogging here, I'll have a boss. And while the new boss hasn't told me I have to stop blogging, I've decided that I won't be comfortable blogging about potentially controversial topics any longer.

I've thoroughly enjoyed my time here at the Cincinnati blog since my first post. While someone else may have appropriated the moniker for himself, the real dean of the Cincinnati blogosphere is Brian Griffin. It's been an honor to blog alongside of him since my first post nearly three years ago. I've also enjoyed the many dialogues with the readers of this blog, as well as my interactions--both online and in "real life"--with other Cincinnati bloggers.

This blog is at its best when its readers take the time to engage in thoughtful, respectful discussions with each other about important topics impacting our city. It's at its worst when it devolves into name-calling and flame wars. I hope my posts here have inspired more of the former than the latter.

The end of my blogging doesn't mean the end of me. You'll still be able to find me hanging out downtown. And from time to time, I'm sure my name will pop up in the comments here, setting Griff straight whenever he becomes too dewy-eyed about the Red Hawks.

I offer thanks: to this blog's readers for paying attention to my random thoughts. To the blog's community of commenters for challenging me and, sometimes, educating me. To my fellow bloggers, both here and across Cincinnati, for inspiring me to be a better blogger. And finally, to Brian Griffin, for providing this forum for discussion and reflection about our amazing city.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

When Did Personal Spats Become News?

If you read CityBeat this week you also read the story that someone got pissed off about something and did something minor to someone else. It then would appear that 'someone else' happens to be someone Kevin Osborne (of CityBeat) knows, so what better way to get revenge then to have a personal spat aired in public.

I don't know how or why this is news but obvious problem is that this does nothing but make the local Gay Rights movement look divided between adults and whining children. The Adults know how to act and know when to take action. The Children complain when the Adults don't want to waste their time on pointless and costly symbolism. It appears the Children leaked an email to Kevin Osborne and he parsed it up into an attack on the Adults. Someone has a bee in his bonnet about the Adults not pushing the charge to force City Hall into fighting a culture war battle over an ant hill. No, this isn't news, this is petty personal bullshit that should be left alone.

What is the point of an article that shows trivial division in the Gay Rights movement? It comes across as a purposeful ploy to bring about change in the leadership of the movement, locally. One group wants to be Adults and actually achieve goals. The other group wants to break out the AK-47's and go to war over a minor issue, with no hope of actually achieving anything, outside of wrestling control of the movement from the Adults. Going to war over trivial pursuits does nothing but gain you more enemies. The Gay Rights movement is not about war, last I checked, but what do I know, I am just a possible future "breeder."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Job Opening(?)

I know another blogger has cornered the market on posting craigslist ads, but I couldn't resist this one, under the Jobs--Legal/Paralegal category:

Judicial opening on Common Pleas Court of Hamilton County, Ohio. Job applicants must be residents of Hamilton County Ohio, registered to vote, and licensed to practice in the state of Ohio for at least 10 years and in good standing. Send resume and copy of Supreme Court of Ohio bar card indicating good standing.

The ad promises compensation of $121,350 (which is the salary for a Common Pleas court judge).

I didn't know you could become a judge by responding to a craigslist ad.

It Must Be Fall . . .

. . . because I just ordered my Thanksgiving pumpkin pie from Fred & Gari's.

I don't even have plans for Thanksgiving yet, I just know I want that pie to be involved.

COAST: We Demand a Vote, Except If You Vote Democratic

In an attempt to help Republicans, the Hypocritical, anti-government, and anti-everything group COAST has joined the Conservative movement to disenfranchise Democratic voters. They are part of the Conservative movement, so this is really just the local shock-troops making a call to arms in the fight against Democracy.

Yes, COAST and other Conservatives are trying to prevent Democratic voters from voting in this election. What are they mad about? They are mad because the Hamilton County Board of Elections is going to be open for early voting on Sundays. I guess drinking beer and watching football is good on Sunday, but doing your civic duty is not, in the eyes of the extreme right-wing. Alas, local control of elections appears to be a bad thing. Nothing stops other counties from doing the same thing Hamilton County has done, but that type of self-determination is a COAST way of thinking.

Yes, Sunday voting would benefit every voter, Republican-Democratic-Independent-Other, but that doesn't matter. COAST and other conservatives believe that the more difficult we make it to vote, the more difficult it will be for working and middle class people to vote, who trend Democratic. Why stop voters from voting on Sundays? Well, many employers and corporate managers don't like giving people the required time off to vote, unless they are voting the way they want. In the case of Employers and corporations the voting preference would traditionally be more Republican than not. Republicans have been against all efforts to make it easier to vote, including early voting and voting by mail.

In reality most middle and larger size companies do a good job overall of staying out of the voting lives of voters. Individual managers and supervisors are hit and miss, along with smaller companies that rely on the attitude of the owner. Early and mail voting have been a huge success and I would bet most companies think it works far better than having to give workers any time to vote on Election Day.

COAST should be asking why other counties are not doing the same thing! If the issue is that other counties don't have the population to warrant the additional hours on Sundays, then complaints should be dismissed.

This shouldn't be a partisan issue. Republicans should be in favor of helping foster every opportunity for our citizens to vote. It clearly shows their intent when they fight to make it more difficult to vote for those more likely NOT to vote for their candidates. That is not Democracy. The problem is that today's conservative Republicans are not interested in Democracy.

Finally, in case you missed it: COAST is the group that spearheaded the effort behind "We Demand a Vote", the coalition demanding the public vote on various local issues, instead of elected officials. This was, on its face, an effort to make our local government more "democratic" in a non-representative and more mob-like manner. I wonder if the local Green Party or the Local NAACP, who also worked with COAST, will denounce COAST and local Republicans for efforts to disfranchise voters? Mr. Smitherman, this is your cue to issue a press release. I'd ask the Green Party, but I can't expect a political party that can't field a basketball team to have the time to issue press releases on voting rights.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not So Good Eats: Fountain Square Chipotle

Has anyone else noticed a marked deterioration in the level of service at the Fountain Square Chipotle in the last few months?

I'm a frequent patron of that restaurant--far more frequent than I should be, perhaps. So it's possible that I'm hyper-sensitive to changes in the quality of the experience and food there. But I don't think so.

When the downtown Chipotle first opened, I thought it was great. The staff was friendly and the service was good. Lately, though, the opposite is true. The food prep areas always seem dirty. The line seem to constantly run out of food, making customers wait while more ingredients are prepared. The people behind the counter vary from indifferent to discourteous; the last thing on their minds seems to be waiting on customers. It's now common to feel like your order is a distraction from some conversation being carried on between employees. On a recent visit, the man working the cash register made me wait while he went somewhere behind the kitchen and retrieved his cell phone, with which he sent text messages while he assisted me and other customers.

You'd think Chipotle would view the Fountain Square restaurant as its flagship store in Cincinnati, since that is the one that will get a lot of tourist traffic, including people from areas of the country that don't presently have a Chipotle. Right now, though, I'd just as soon drive up to Clifton or Stetson Square than deal with the downtown store. Or better yet, skip Chipotle altogether, head five blocks away, and get a chorizo burrito from Taqueria Mercado.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Seven Years

For each of the last two years on today's date, I've been tempted to write something like what appears below. For various reasons--not the least of which is that we just don't do much personal blogging here--I haven't. But this year, for some reason, I feel compelled to do so. Or maybe just more able to. My apologies for this lengthy, self-indulgent post.

Seven years ago today, my only sibling--my sister, Julie--died in a car accident. She was 27 at the time. She was traveling between the two families she loved the most: after spending a long weekend with her boyfriend and his parents in Pittsburgh, she was on her way to our parents' house for dinner in New Jersey. Julie worked in Brooklyn and lived on Long Island, so she'd planned to spend the night in New Jersey, head into work the next morning, and then return to her own home.

Julie had managed to touch a lot of people in her 27 years. Following her graduation from college (which, unlike me, she completed in four years), she joined the Peace Corps, living and teaching in Burkina Faso, a small nation in West Africa. She worked for a few years as a youth minister in Presbyterian churches in Pennsylvania and New York. Eventually, she returned to school, earned her master's degree, and became a teacher. The 2003-04 school year was her first as a full-time teacher; she taught English at a public school for gifted and talented kids.

Julie's death was devastating for me, as it was for so many others. I can remember that terrible, terrible phone call from my parents as though it were yesterday. I was talking on my cell phone with my best friend from law school, chatting about women and football. Monday Night Football was on the TV; the Bulger-led Rams were playing. My land line rang; the caller ID said it was my parents. Thinking they just wanted to chat at the end of the holiday weekend, I'd told my friend to hang on for a minute (and that I'd ask my folks if I could call them back). Then my dad's voice: Donald, I have terrible news.

Still without any premonition of what was to come, I told my friend I'd need to call him back. Back to my dad: Your sister has been in an accident. Oh my gosh, I thought, she'd just gotten a new car, had she totaled it already? Where is she, I asked. Donald, it was bad. She didn't make it. Julie died.

With those last two words, my world changed. I think it's only recently I've realized how much. Part of who I was--who I am, who I'd always been--was Julie's brother. I don't think she knew exactly how much that was true. I was a year ahead of her in school. We'd gone to different grade schools, but the same high school. Since I was there first, a lot of teachers came to know her as "Donald's sister." But socially, the opposite was true. Among the student body, I was Julie's brother. To this day, I have friends (or at least "Facebook friends") who stay in touch with me only out of a sense of loyalty to Julie.

In October 2003, I'd been living in West Virginia for a month. I'd graduated from law school the previous May, and had just begun a year-long clerkship for a federal district court judge. It was supposed to be a great year, full of intellectual challenges and the beginning of learning my craft. Instead, work was a necessary distraction from what seemed to be a huge hole in my soul. The only people I knew in town were the people I worked with, and I'd only known them for a few weeks. Thank goodness that they are among the most caring, wonderful people I've ever encountered.

Work was a useful distraction for a while, but it, too, eventually became an all-too-painful reminder of what my sister had meant to me. As kids, Julie and I fought as often as any closely-aged siblings do. But as adults, we'd been really close, even though we weren't living in the same state. We regularly talked about our personal and work lives. She was beginning her career as a teacher, and I was beginning mine as a lawyer. We called to tell each other about the cool stuff we were doing. And suddenly, that was gone. Six months after my sister's death, I was sworn in as a lawyer at a ceremony in Columbus. And I couldn't stop my eyes from overflowing with tears. I couldn't shake the thought: my sister didn't live to see me become a lawyer.

It took a while--longer than I could have imagined--for the wound left by my sister's death to begin to harden into a scar. As anyone embarks upon their profession, they want to believe that what they're doing matters, that their work has meaning. But I couldn't shake the feeling that nothing mattered. After all, my sister had done as much as could be expected of her, and she had still died far too young. Making matters worse, probably, was that the circumstances of her accident yielded no one to blame. It was just a freak occurrence, one that 99% of the time would have resulted in a fender-bender or no accident at all.

Learning to be a lawyer (which is really what a lawyer does for his first two years in practice) is tough. It's even harder when you no longer have a firm conviction in the value of your profession--or any profession, for that matter.

I'm always amazed by the people who find meaning in tragedy. I've been moved, over the last couple years, by Kate the Great's discussions of her niece's illness and death. Why couldn't I find such serenity? Why couldn't I let go of the sadness, the bitterness? I remember the platitudes offered by well-meaning people: God needed another teacher in Heaven was a common one. I wanted to scream back, Really? I can think of a couple He could have had instead.

Work wasn't the only hard thing. When I returned to Cincinnati in 2004, my friends welcomed me back with open arms. Or at least, they tried to. I'd never been a really big party animal, but for a long time after Julie died, the thought of just hanging out with a bunch of people was intolerable. One or two was OK, but more than that? Couldn't do it. Weddings were out of the question. Every time I received an invitation (to a wedding, or a party, or just a happy hour), I really wanted to come. I'd even say yes. But I usually found a last minute reason--a headache, a work project, undone laundry--to skip out. It became so common, my friends had a name for saying you'd show up somewhere and then not doing so: "pulling a Caster." I avoided meeting new people. First dates were unbearable; inevitably, the question comes up: Do you have any brothers or sisters? How was I supposed to answer that? No. Oh, so you're an only child. Well..... Or: Yes, a sister. Really? What does she do? Umm.....

Thanks goodness for the patience--and loyalty--of those friends. My best friend--the one I'd been talking to when my dad called that terrible night--was amazing. He knew when to call, when to worry a bit if he'd not heard from me. He knew when to prompt me to talk about how I was dealing with things, and when to talk about anything but. And over time--a long, long time--things got better. Over the last couple years, I'm no longer just accepting invitations, I've begun actually showing up. I take joy in being an attorney again. As I begin a new chapter in my life and my career (more on that in the next few days), I'm filled with a sense of optimism. For a long time, change--no matter what kind--only brought a sense of dread. I enjoy my friendships and the company of others again. I'm not sure I could have ever predicted this when I chose to make it my home, but it turns out that Cincinnati was a good place to learn to live again.

I can't say that "hole in my soul" has healed or closed completely. That will never happen. But I've learned to fill it with other things. I've learned that it's OK to let go of some things, and grasp hold of others. I've learned that it's OK to move forward--and that moving forward isn't the same thing as "moving on."

So why do I write this here, exposing myself in such a public way? I don't know. Partially because I'm sure there's someone reading this who is where I was five or six years ago. Someone who experienced some loss recently, who feels stuck in the mud, and who can't seem to gain any traction. My message: keep the wheels turning. It gets better. You'll start to gain some momentum. Just be patient with yourself. And for those of who know someone in that spot: don't give up on them. Keep throwing them lifelines. Eventually, they'll grab on to one of them, and let you help pull them onto solid ground. Just be patient with them.