March 25 would have been David Crowley’s 75th birthday, and his family is planning an event that day which would bring a smile to his face. For those who didn’t know Crowley, he
served on Cincinnati City Council for eight years, from 2001-09, the
maximum allowed by term limits.
When I was first told by a friend Sunday morning that former Cincinnati City Councilman and Vice Mayor David Crowley had passed away at age 73, I was taken aback by how much the news affected me. After all, I knew that his prostate cancer, which he successfully battled in 2005, had returned last year and he had begun chemotherapy. But I soon realized that David was one of those rare people I admired both professionally and personally.
The last decade has seen the repeal of Article 12 and adoption of the Human Rights Ordinance, both huge victories for Cincinnati's LGBTQ community. But since Article 12's repeal in 2004, Cincinnati Police have processed just seven hate crime charges based on sexual orientation, compared to 19 in Columbus in 2007 alone. Local gay rights advocates say the incidents are being under-reported or under-pursued by police.
As Mayor Mark Mallory and the new City Council are sworn in this week, the city says goodbye to two of its trusted progressive allies, David Crowley and Greg Harris. With the return of hard right-winger Charlie Winburn, council's conservative coalition now owns a 5-4 vote margin. It's now time for them to step up and offer a more inspiring plan than their current "No."
Some Cincinnati officials are saying a controversial move last year to yank a longtime contract from a private company is now hampering the effectiveness of the city's network of neighborhood councils. A perfect storm combination of leadership infighting, a struggling economy, City Council's decision to move control of funding in-house and the ensuing bumpy transition has caused concern for the future of the neighborhood groups.
On July 8, an interesting private meeting will occur that could influence who sits on Cincinnati City Council next year. At the request of Mayor Mark Mallory, a high-powered group of Democratic officials will convene behind closed doors to discuss growing discord on council. He called the session after CityBeat's blog reported last week that some Democratic Party precinct executives were angry about recent actions taken by Councilman Jeff Berding, a Democrat who's running for his third term. Those precinct executives are trying to build support for calling for a special meeting of the party's Executive Committee to rescind Berding’s endorsement.
Cincinnati actually got some positive national press about its police for a change. The New Yorker did a glowing article about the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (C.I.R.V.), the program begun in July 2007 that targets gang members for intervention and helps them get jobs. This is what happens when the department opens itself to new ideas.
For almost three decades, Invest in Neighborhoods Inc. has overseen how taxpayer money is distributed to Cincinnati's neighborhood groups, doling out hundreds of thousands of dollars to areas ranging from Avondale to Winton Place and all points in between. But that role might soon come to an end amid allegations about the organization's slippery business practices and secretive decision-making process.