BRIAN TROTTA: It doesn't take a degree in biology to know leaving any living creature — including infants or animals — in a vehicle for an extended period during a heatwave is a stupid, dangerous idea. With temperatures in the 90s and extreme humidity that makes it seem much hotter, even sitting in a car with the windows rolled down and the air conditioning turned off is a sweaty proposition that leaves a person dehydrated.
So whether Cincinnati Police Officer Brian Trotta last week had an alleged “family medical emergency” or not, it would've taken just a few minutes to leave his police dog with a colleague or a few seconds to at least roll down the windows. Trotta did neither, leaving Juno to die a slow and miserable death in a locked cruiser. At the least, Trotta should be charged with cruelty to animals, a second-degree misdemeanor that carries a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and a $750 fine.
DROP INN CENTER: Word slowly leaked out last week that the Drop Inn Center's board of directors fired longtime director Pat Clifford. Most people found out when another agency, the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, issued a press release bemoaning Clifford's loss.
With emotions running high over 3CDC's renovation plans in Over-the-Rhine and a proposal to move the Drop Inn elsewhere, the shelter's board bungled the situation.
Clifford worked there for 20 years and is well-liked by many in the neighborhood, so his abrupt departure stoked fears that 3CDC and City Hall might have squeezed him out using heavy-handed tactics involving funding. That might not be true, but we don't know with board members being so tight-lipped. More information, please. Maybe Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan, a 3CDC board member, can clue us in.
CITY OFFICIALS & OKI: First, Cincinnati City Council and the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments butted heads last month after the city blocked OKI's effort to apply for a federal grant for the proposed Eastern Connector commuter rail line. City officials said the application might threaten funding for Cincinnati's proposed streetcar system.
At OKI's Aug. 12 meeting, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls questioned why the group wasn't asking for the full $5 million allowed for a federal housing grant, prompting a testy exchange with Travis Miller, OKI's planning manager. It seems to us that members should know well in advance of meetings what they'll be voting on, including dollar amounts. Raising the issue at the last minute seems counter-productive. City officials and OKI staffers need to improve their communication earlier in the process.
CHRIS BORTZ: “Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” So said Publilius Syrus, the famous Latin writer in the 1st Century B.C. What ol' Syrus meant, of course, is that true leaders are most needed in times of crisis and conflict, to show the way to a better future.
After hearing options for dealing with a potential $1.5 billion shortfall in the city's pension fund, Councilman Chris Bortz opined that City Council shouldn't take any action for at least two years. Instead, he prefers handling a $50 million deficit in next year's operating budget. “We need to focus on the big problem that is right in front of us and then take our time to make sure we're addressing the pension issue the right way,” Bortz said.
Baloney. Council has known of the pension problem for years, and the options remain the same: reduce benefits, cut services to pay for a one-time cash infusion or some combination of both. Stop kicking the can farther down the road and make a decision already.