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Resisting Prejudice and Shady Elections

By Gregory Flannery · May 2nd, 2007 · Porkopolis
  Reminding drivers about the war are (L-R) Dick Manoukian, Beverly Jones and Elizabeth Motter.
Joe Lamb

Reminding drivers about the war are (L-R) Dick Manoukian, Beverly Jones and Elizabeth Motter.

Americans of Irish, Italian and Chinese descent remember the prejudice and hostility that often greeted their forebears when they first came in large numbers to the United States, let alone the cruelty that awaited Africa's forced "immigrants." In the 21st century, we have the opportunity to do better than was done to our forebears -- we can welcome the new wave of immigrants from Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Peru and the rest of Latin America.

One year ago, on May Day 2006, more than 1,000 immigrants and their supporters marched in downtown Cincinnati, in conjunction with millions of others across the United States, to promote just immigration policies.

This year the march is in Columbus at 1 p.m. May 6. The Coalition for the Dignity and Rights of Immigrants (CODEDI) and three other Ohio immigrant organizations -- the Farm Labor Organizing Committee in Toledo, the Immigrant Workers Project in Canton and Miguate in New Philadelphia -- make up the Ohio Immigrant Network, which has called the demonstration. The rally will take place at the state capital building.

"There have been more raids and deportations, disrupting the economy and increasing fear and mistrust in the immigrant communities," says Sylvia Castellanos, CODEDI coordinator.

"It is time to march again for immigrant rights."

CODEDI and its supporters will gather for a brief sendoff and then board buses between 9 and 10 a.m. at Roberts Paideia Academy, 1700 Grand Ave., Price Hill.

The No Jail Tax Political Action Committee is asking supporters to call state legislators and ask them to oppose Hamilton County's request to hold a special election on a tax to build a new jail. The board of county commissioners wants an exemption from a state law that bars putting a sales tax hike on the ballot in February or August. Voters rejected a similar tax hike in November 2006.

A special election would cost an estimated $1.6 million and would draw far fewer voters than the general election on Nov. 6. But low turnout is exactly what county officials want, according to a statement issued by the No Jail Tax PAC.

"Special elections with single-issue ballots have notoriously low turnouts," the statement says. "If the commissioners waited until November when several city and county races will be contested, a higher voter turn-out will most certainly occur. ... This proposal deserves the widest possible scrutiny so that the facts of the proposal, including the balance of funds left over for any real reform after the costs of jail expansion, can be brought to light. An accelerated election schedule may not allow for that examination."

To join the effort to block a special election, write nojailtax@yahoo.com.

Peace, Streetcars and Other Unfinished Business
After four years and hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, the Democrats in Congress have finally stood up to President Bush, demanding the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq. Local peace activists took to highway overpasses May 1 to mark the fourth anniversary of Bush's declaration -- now widely derided as an absurdity -- that "major combat operations have ended in Iraq." Volunteers with the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center went first to Interstate 75 and then to Interstate 71 to display for passing drivers a 50-foot banner saying, "Mission Not Accomplished."

Streetcars and other means of public transportation will be the focus at the first meeting of the Cincinnati Salon, a new group committed to discussion and debate. Antoine Clarke, a transportation expert from London, will talk about the benefits and hazards of implementing a public transportation plan. The salon begins gathering at 6 p.m. Thursday, with discussion beginning at 7 p.m. at an apartment downtown. For more details, visit cincysalon.wordpress.com.

Cincinnati leaders have settled on a preferred route for a proposed new streetcar system through downtown and Over-the-Rhine. To ensure the system generates the most redevelopment spin-off on surrounding blocks, the chosen route is longer than initially discussed and covers a larger area. Although three different routes -- each about four miles long -- originally were mulled, city planners have chosen a slightly altered version that is 4.6 miles in length. Cincinnati City Architect Michael Moore said HDR Engineering Inc. will complete an economic feasibility study of the route in mid-May.

For a look at the proposed streetcar route and a view of what Loyalty Day could look like if we all really worked together, visit the Porkopolis blog at blogs.citybeat.com.

Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138) or por(at)citybeat.com


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