LAURE QUINLIVAN: Mayor Mallory didn't do it. Vice Mayor Qualls didn't do it. It finally was left up to the ex-TV news reporter-turned-city councilwoman — a first-termer — to present hard, cold facts and figures about staffing levels in the Police and Fire departments. Quinlivan outlined at a council meeting how there's been more than 30 percent growth in the departments since 2000, at a time when Cincnnati's population was essentially stagnant and the rest of City Hall has cut back. “Police and Fire make up 67 percent of our General Fund budget,” she said. “City Council can't balance a budget responsibly, absorbing a $60 million dollar deficit, without right-sizing Police and Fire.” Finally, an elected official who understands the problem, explains it clearly to residents and isn't afraid to draw the ire of the public safety labor unions, instead of hiding behind the city manager's apron. Too bad none of the cuts ended up happening.
HARRELL & MONAHAN: Spoiled, bratty children like to throw tantrums when they don't get their way; it's a sign of being indulged in their every whim for too long.
That's what happened Dec. 28 at City Hall, when police union President Kathy Harrell and firefighters union President Mark Monahan both were kicked out of council chambers for disrupting a meeting. The pair shouted that Quinlivan's statistics were wrong, and later claimed they've never been allowed to make their case about why their departments shouldn't be cut — an opportunity they've been given numerous times before. By the way, Ms. Harrell and Mr. Monahan, let's see your own facts and figures now, well in advance of next year's budget drama. We doubt they will do it, because they always like to obfuscate data to serve their purpose. (It's harder to hit a moving target, don'tcha know?)
CAROLYN WASHBURN: It's no secret that Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan never got along well with her second-in-command, Editor Tom Callinan. So, when Callinan retired Dec. 31, the imperious Buchanan lured an old friend, Des Moines Register Editor Carolyn Washburn, to assume control of The Enquirer's news operation. Buchanan and Washburn — both loyal cogs in The Gannett Co. machine — had worked together at an Idaho newspaper. It remains to be seen whether Washburn, a Bridgetown native who's happy to return home, will reinvigorate the flagging newsroom or simply will acquiesce to Buchanan's demands that it become ever more of a public relations tool for area business interests. Here's hoping for the former. If Carolyn is lucky, Madge will keep busy with her 3CDC and University of Cincinnati board meetings, and steer clear of editorial planning.
HOLY GRAIL: Finally! When Cincinnati and Hamilton County leaders were wooing residents years ago, trying to explain why it was a good idea to invest taxpayer money into developing The Banks riverfront district, one of the selling points they used was that it wouldn't be a cookie-cutter project that could be found in any city. It would be “uniquely Cincinnatian” in character, they insisted. Well, architectural drawings shown so far don't follow through on that promise, and neither does the signing of national chain restaurants like Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill. Thus, the announcement that the Holy Grail, a well-known locally based restaurant, had signed a lease was a welcome relief. Hopefully, more local and regional businesses will be lured down to the river. Maybe we can start by making offers to all the viable shops forced away from Fifth and Race streets by city officials years ago for the aborted Nordstrom project.