POLICE & RESIDENTS: Well, he finally made it official. Confirming what we’ve all suspected for awhile, Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. told WLWT-TV that he will retire early next year. Through a spokeswoman, the city manager said he didn’t know details about the retirement. That’s not surprising: Streicher has a history of ignoring or mocking his superiors and acting like he is an all-knowing emperor. During his horrible tenure, we’ve endured Streicher’s periodic temper tantrums, front-page headlines about the chief abusing his (now ex-) wife, overtime scandals and low morale among the ranks. We’ve also had poor police-community relations, race riots, a police slowdown and a chief who is frequently out of town. Streicher is the worst example of a type of affirmative action known as “the old boys’ network.” Don’t let the door hit ya on the way out, Tommy.
SMITTY’S: Something sure smells funny in Over-the-Rhine, and it’s not just the urine in Washington Park. Smitty’s, a longtime clothing store on Vine Street, was gutted by a fire in April.
Shortly afterward, city officials ordered the four buildings that comprised the store be demolished, alleging it was a threat to public safety. They were torn down before fire inspectors could determine the cause of the blaze. Now, the city is working with Smitty’s owner, Larry Ashford, to sell the properties to 3CDC, so the area can be redeveloped. Oh, did we mention that Ashford got his insurance company to pay him $500,000 after the fire, even though the buildings had faulty wiring that was never repaired? We’ve never known insurance adjusters to be so forgiving. All of this begs for a closer look.
JEAN SCHMIDT: The high-strung congresswoman from Ohio’s 2nd District always seems to stick her foot in it. With a lackluster legislative record, Schmidt spends her time doing things like getting caught on video sympathizing with birthers about President Obama’s legitimacy. After the 2008 hoopla about why a woman from Miami Township was getting donations from the Turkish government quieted down, Schmidt filed a lawsuit against the ex-challenger (independent David Krikorian) who questioned the ties. She alleges Krikorian defamed her and succeeded in reviving the issue in the public eye. Now Krikorian has filed an ethics complaint against her for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars to help pay her legal fees, without reporting the gift as required by federal law. Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington is supporting his effort.
COUNTY SURVEY: Nearly 1,000 Hamilton County residents have stepped up to tell officials what they think about hot-button topics facing the county. They participated in the county’s citizen survey that examines attitudes on various issues including the stadium fund deficit, the criminal justice system, mass transit and streamlining county government. The survey doesn’t shrink from asking some tough questions and more than 900 residents have taken about 15 minutes to make the same kinds of decisions that their elected officials are making every day. The other 800,000-plus residents can still take the survey through Aug. 8 at www.hamiltoncountyohio.gov. It’s a perfect opportunity to do more than just complain about government, but also offer constructive solutions. Hey, COAST: Are you listening?