VINE STREET: Vine is the symbolic heart of the city, stretching like its namesake across the middle of downtown and separating East Side from West Side. It once was so filled with glittering activity that some 19th Century observers called it “the Paris of North America.” So it's fitting that city planners chose Vine Street over West Clifton Avenue for the route of the streetcar system that will connect downtown to uptown.
Recent decades haven't been kind but the street is rebounding, and its selection for the route — and the development it will spark — should only help the progress. Planners said the street was the least expensive option and offered the fewest engineering challenges. That's probably true, but we suspect sentimentality also was a small factor.
GEORGE VOINOVICH: The cynical among us will say it's just because he's not seeking reelection this fall, but U.S. Sen.
George Voinovich (R-Ohio) has always put country above partisan politics, so his recent statements should come as no surprise. Voinovich is supporting President Obama's package of small-business tax breaks and warned Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to stop trying to tack on unnecessary amendments. “We don't have time for messaging. We don't have time anymore,” Voiovich said. “This country is really hurting.”
Referring to the dozens of appointees being held up by the Senate, Voinovich added it's past time to move forward. “Let's stop playing games,” he said. Imagine that, a reasonable Republican. We'll miss you, senator.
CHARLIE WINBURN: Answering a burning question on many residents' minds, Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn abruptly announced at a public meeting Sept. 9 that he doesn't smoke marijuana. For reals? We've long suspected that some of Winburn's outlandish policy proposals and flamboyant sense of style were the result of an altered state of consciousness.
The good reverend felt compelled to make the admission while discussing a proposed ban on texting while driving. Winburn said he doesn't do that and he doesn't light up the indo, either. Still, with all the exorcisms he performs at his church, he must be partaking of something potent. We would prefer he urinate into a cup and have it tested before we'll believe his claim. Remember: Hugs, not drugs.
LOCAL GOP: Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke recently proposed allowing early voting at the Board of Elections offices on two Sundays before Nov. 2. The concept, done in other areas, is meant to attract people too busy working during the week — i.e., the poor. But local GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou nixed the idea, stating, “Our staff works so hard already. They need a day to catch up.”
No, sir, “our staff” is meant to serve voters foremost. We think the $6,651 additional expense is worth it and hope Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner (a Democrat) overrides the 2-2 tie vote along party lines and approves the plan. Don’t fret, Chairman Alex: You can still have monitors on Election Day to question the validity of African-American voters.