JASON HAAP: Many people have a love/hate relationship with Haap, who operates The Cincinnati Beacon Web site. Say what you will about him, but he has a knack for raising issues before others do and that was the case recently with the need for bilingual signage at Fountain Square.
Noting that the League of United Latin American Citizens and the World Choir Games are planning major events in the ‘Nati, he suggested directional signs at the square should at least be erected in Spanish, along with having “Welcome” signs in various languages as the venue is one of the city’s prime tourism spots. Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls agreed and introduced a proposal to do it.
LEGAL AID SOCIETY: The Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati faced a setback last week when federal housing officials rejected the complaint it filed on behalf of low-income tenants at downtown’s Metropole Apartments. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC) bought the building in November with plans to convert it into a boutique hotel, which prompted Legal Aid to jump into the fray.
It alleged the planned conversion would unfairly limit housing options downtown and that displacing tenants violates U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) policies about promoting mixed-income neighborhoods. HUD rejected the claim, stating the tenants have no legal standing. 3CDC is finding new homes for the tenants and paying for their moving expenses.
GRAINGER FOUNDATION: The charitable organization recently donated $25,000 to the Shared Harvest Food Bank in Fairfield. The money will provide about 50,000 meals for needy children. Shared Harvest’s Back Pack program gives schoolchildren in Butler, Warren and Preble counties backpacks filled with healthy food to take home for the weekend.
The foundation is affiliated with W.W. Grainger Inc., a supplier of adhesives, tools and other items to businesses. About 30 volunteers from the firm sorted and packed nonperishable foods at the Shared Harvest Warehouse for delivery. Each $3 donation to the Back Pack program provides six meals, dairy, fruit and snacks for a needy student.
LOCAL NAACP: Christopher Smitherman, President of the local NAACP chapter, has complained that not enough minority contractors are included in the Cincinnati Public Schools’ ongoing renovation projects. Unless more are hired quickly, he’s promised picket lines to block access to construction sites.
But then Smitherman supplies the school board with a raggedy list of supposed black-owned businesses that included only nine registered SBE firms out of more than 100 submitted. Later, in a Feb. 28 Enquirer article, Jim Clingman, the local NAACP’s economic development chairman, said he hadn’t set a goal: “I don’t know what the magic number is, and I haven’t been that hung up on the numbers.”
It’s hard to take these complaints seriously when the NAACP hasn’t done basic research outlining the alleged problem’s scope.