To paraphrase Mark Twain, reports about the demise of the anti-porn, anti-gay, anti-anything different Citizens for Community Values are greatly exaggerated. In fact, the antiquated group is probably affecting your life in ways you haven’t even imagined.
Quick: Tell me why U.S. and NATO troops are in Afghanistan. If you say it's to retaliate for the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and destroy the government that allowed the rural nation to serve as the launching pad for the bloody offensive, well, that's already been accomplished. It's disappointing, then, that President Obama has granted a request from his military commanders to commit another 30,000-35,000 troops to the Afghanistan War for an indefinite time.
Here's yet another example of why one-party rule of any institution is usually a supremely terrible idea. The local Republican Party has long dominated the little-scrutinized Hamilton County Courthouse, making it a bastion of patronage for friends and campaign workers, along with serving as a launching pad for up-and-coming politicians. That would be bad enough, but an incident last month has troubling implications for how justice is meted out in the county.
If someone manages to shut up self-indulgent U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman long enough and the current health care reform bill approved by the House makes it through the Senate more or less intact, no doubt President Obama will be spinning it as a major victory. It might be a victory for Obama's administration, but I'm not sure it will be a victory for the American people.
I’ve been covering City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz as a reporter and columnist since her first council campaign back in 2005. On a personal level, she can be funny and intelligent and prone to uttering newsworthy quotes. Like every public official I've covered, sometimes I agree with her, sometimes I don't. During this campaign season, unfortunately, Ghiz presented herself as a much harder-edged, angry and occasionally rude candidate.
Ask anyone who knows the Rev. Charlie Winburn, and they're sure to have one or two favorite anecdotes about the bombastic, fast-talking former Cincinnati city councilman. Equally well known for his flamboyant oratorical style and his conservative views on issues like abortion, gay rights and gun control, Winburn served for seven eventful years on council and once again is attempting to re-enter the local political world.
It's always surprising which columns elicit the biggest reaction from readers. I might think my pieces on health care reform or the Religious Right would trigger a heated reaction, but inevitably it's the ones I consider mostly self-evident and not particularly controversial that kick up the largest shit storm. Let's check out some of my recent correspondence.
Cincinnati’s Westwood neighborhood is a beautiful place filled with gracefully aging homes in a mix of architectural styles, family-owned businesses and a diverse population. It also has a horrible reputation in the rest of the city due to a small group of passionate residents who probably mean well but whose tactics are misguided at best, delusional and hateful at worst.
When he was on trial in Nuremberg after World War II, Nazi leader Hermann Goering told a panel of judges how clever officials could manipulate the public to do their bidding. He was referring to persuading a reluctant population to go to war, but the same scare tactics apply to most matters of public safety. Above all, people want security and, if it seems threatened, they will panic and do almost anything.
Although he’s done his best to keep it under wraps, it appears Cincinnati Police Chief Thomas Streicher Jr. had a change of heart about his No. 2 man in the department. Either that, or the complaint filed by the police union forced him to reconsider. Responding to a public records request by CityBeat, a police spokeswoman confirmed that Lt. Col. Richard Janke, the assistant chief with the most seniority, has been given his old job back as Investigations Bureau Commander.
It was an all-around bad week recently for Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding. He was unendorsed by the local Democratic Party after a long history of opposing initiatives proposed by Mayor Mark Mallory and other Democrats on City Council and criticizing them on radio and TV. But even his day job as the Cincinnati Bengals' sales director caused him grief. It looked like the Bengals' regular season-opener wouldn't be broadcast live on TV because the game at Paul Brown Stadium wasn't a sellout. Fortunately, at the last minute the team, WKRC-TV (Channel 12) and Kroger stepped in to buy the remaining 5,000 tickets.
In an unfortunately all too rare case of political courage and discipline, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and a City Council majority ignored negative headlines and stuck to their guns last week in a budget showdown with the police union. The two unions that had balked at any furloughs to save jobs (the Fraternal Order of Police and Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees, representing middle managers) finally agreed to deals to save the city from having to eliminate employees, including 138 in the police department.
Cincinnati is a city that was settled predominantly by German Catholics, but I doubt if even the most devout modern-day resident knows Latin well enough to understand what "e.g." means. The obscure abbreviation is at the center of the latest debate over whether Cincinnati should build a $185 million streetcar system that connects downtown and Over-the-Rhine with the uptown area near the University of Cincinnati and local hospitals.
For the last few weeks, prominent leaders in the local Democratic Party have been privately talking about a dispute between Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and first-time council candidate Tony Fischer that could have serious consequences for Fischer's campaign. Well-connected sources at City Hall and within the Democratic Party say Mallory and Fischer recently had a stern confrontation during a meeting of the party's slate of candidates for City Council. Mallory told Fischer (a one-time political protege of sorts) not to mention Mallory's name or use the mayor's image on Fischer's Web site or in any campaign literature.
Did you know that Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes likes taxes and hates foster children? OK, that’s not entirely accurate. But it is just the sort of simplistic distortion of the facts and political posturing that Rhodes himself used recently when he announced that he might have to report everyone to the Internal Revenue Service who has used Hamilton County’s luxury suites at the Reds and Bengals stadiums over the years.