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West End Questions Mayor's Motives

By Kevin Osborne · August 6th, 2008 · Porkopolis
West End residents are nothing if not tenacious, and now they're ready to fight one of their own, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory.

A group in the neighborhood that was once home to Mallory and his extended family recently issued a statement that accuses the powerful clan of numerous conflicts of interest affecting their public service.

The West End Community Council (WECC) unanimously approved a statement in mid-July that harshly criticizes the mayor for his successful effort to have the neighborhood removed from a list of "impacted communities" where social service agencies potentially could be blocked from building new facilities or expanding existing ones. The statement also asks city council to reconsider its June decision and restore the West End to the list.

At city council's last meeting before its summer break in June, a revised version of a resolution first proposed in April was introduced and approved. It stated that the city should strive to avoid concentrating social service agencies and programming in neighborhoods deemed negatively impacted due to over-saturation.

The original resolution listed Over-the-Rhine and the West End as the city's currently impacted neighborhoods, but the West End was removed from the final version at the mayor's insistence.

City council's rules require that any item introduced on its agenda must be voted upon within 90 days. Mallory held the resolution for more than 80 days while behind-the-scenes negotiations continued.

In the proclamation approved two weeks ago by the WECC, the group states, "The mayor willfully and deliberately caused (the resolution) to have the West End removed as an impacted community due to his and his family's financial, professional and political conflicts."

Also, the proclamation continues, "Mayor Mallory was widely quoted as saying that the West End had only one social service agency in the Society St. Vincent de Paul, when in fact there are well over 30 social service agencies in the West End."

That statement refers to a quote that Mallory gave to CityBeat in April, when he said, "Would the West End be deemed to be oversaturated? There's St. Vincent de Paul and not much else. It depends on the radius used."

And the group didn't stop there.

Referring to the fact that the Mallorys frequently refer to themselves as West End residents but spend most of their time at a second home elsewhere, the WECC's proclamation states, "The mayor falsely claims to reside in the West End when he actually resides in Mount Airy."

City council began mulling the new restrictions on social service agencies in April after the city lost a two-year legal battle against the City Link Center, a proposed $12 million "social services mall" that some suburban churches want to build in the West End despite the objections of city council and many neighborhood residents.

Project opponents believe City Link is being foisted on the West End in an effort to move social service agencies out of Over-the-Rhine, which is eyed by developers who want to build more upscale projects centered around Washington Park and the Gateway Quarter on Vine Street.

In 2006 Dale Mallory, the mayor's brother, was impeached as WECC president after it was revealed he was paid to secretly lobby on City Link's behalf after he initially told the neighborhood group that he wasn't connected to the project.

It remains to be seen whether city council -- which also opposed City Link -- will buck the mayor and restore the West End to the list this fall.

PORKOPOLIS TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 147) or pork@citybeat.com



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