by Kevin Osborne
The sole Republican and independent members of Cincinnati City Council have called a special meeting of the group tonight to address black on black crime. Councilman Charlie Winburn, a Republican, and Councilman Christopher Smitherman, an independent, want their colleagues to allocate an extra $300,000 for CrimeStoppers, which offers cash rewards for tips leading to the arrest of suspects in crimes. Winburn and Smitherman, both of whom are African-American, say more needs to be done to help quell shootings and violence in Avondale and elsewhere. The special session is at 6 p.m. at City Hall, located at 801 Plum St., downtown. Smitherman also is president of the NAACP's local chapter.Winburn, however, was part of a council faction that voted two years ago to dramatically reduce funding for the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). The program involves using “violence interrupters,” usually ex-offenders, to intervene with gang members and offer advice for leaving their lives of crime. City Council cut CIRV's budget from $861,000 in 2010 to $184,000 for 2011, which reduced the number of street advocates from 16 to five. Councilman Cecil Thomas, an African-American and a retired police officer who heads council's Law and Public Safety Committee, opposed the cuts and said CIRV needs more support.The unexpected death of attorney and real estate investor Lanny Holbrook in January has led to an awkward legal battle over a promised donation to a Catholic high school. In fall 2001 Holbrook pledged $500,000 to McAuley High School in College Hill, in return for renaming a section of its building The Nancy & Lanny Holbrook Art Wing. A few payments were made, but Holbrook fell behind before his death. Now the school is seeking the $430,000 that was never paid.A well-known Cincinnati chef who once had his own television show on WKRC-TV (Channel 12) was arrested in March for drunken driving. Officers stopped Jean-Robert De Cavel on March 16 in Fairfax. De Cavel refused a Breathalyzer test, and eventually was convicted of a reduced charge of reckless operation. He served three days in a driving program and got his license suspended for six months with limited driving privileges. De Cavel owns Jean Robert's Table, and is a former executive chef at The Maisonette.Sunday was Earth Day, and Kemba Credit Union marked the occasion a day early by offering free paper shredding services at its locations in Bridgetown, West Chester and Florence, Ky. More than 100,000 pounds of paper were shredded and recycled, using special equipment donated by Cintas Corp.In news elsewhere, George Zimmerman was released early this morning from the Seminole County Jail in Florida. Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February, posted $150,000 bail and left the Sanford jail fitted with an electronic monitoring device that the Sheriff's Office and Seminole County probation officers will use to keep track of him while he awaits trial on a charge of second-degree murder.The trial of one-time vice presidential candidate John Edwards begins today in Greensboro, N.C. Edwards is accused of accepting more than $900,000 in illegal contributions during his 2008 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination to pay the expenses of his mistress and hide the extramarital affair. Edwards rejected a plea deal in the case, which would've required him to admit wrongdoing and serve some time in jail.What liberal bias? President Obama received more negative coverage from the mainstream media than GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, according to a new study. The Project for Excellence in Journalism, a Washington nonprofit that examined 52 key newspaper, television, radio, and Web outlets from Jan. 2-April 15, found Romney’s coverage was 39 percent positive, 32 percent negative and 29 percent neutral. That compares to Obama’s coverage, which was 18 percent positive, 34 percent negative and 34 percent neutral.French President Nicolas Sarkozy is trying to lure Far Right voters after losing narrowly to his Socialist rival in the presidential election's first round. Francois Hollande came top with 28.6 percent of the vote, compared to Sarkozy's 27.1 percent. It's the first time an incumbent president in France has lost in the first round. The second round of voting will be held May 6.Syrian government troops reportedly stormed the Damascus suburb of Douma early Sunday, with soldiers shooting at an armed rebellion against President Bashar al-Assad. A United Nations team of observers has arrived in Syria to try to get both sides to abide by a cease-fire agreement.
by Kevin Osborne
In a reaction to economic sanctions pushed by the United States, Iran today stopped exporting oil to six European nations. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said the nation would no longer sell oil to Greece, France, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands and Portugal. Also, he appeared on TV to announce that an underground bunker complex for uranium enrichment needed to create nuclear energy is now fully operational.
by Kevin Osborne
A resident has filed a complaint with the city's Law Department, alleging that Christopher Smitherman’s dual role as a Cincinnati city councilman and president of the NAACP’s local chapter constitutes an abuse of corporate powers.In his complaint, resident Casey Coston states that the NAACP’s status as a 501(c)(4) organization under the federal tax code allows it to lobby City Hall and participate in political campaigns and elections without jeopardizing its tax-exempt status. Such activities are a conflict of interest with Smitherman’s council duties, Coston alleges.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 18, 2011
First Ohio’s clueless governor rejected $385 million in federal aid to create a passenger rail line between Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland — a project that would’ve created 16,000 jobs. Now Kasich has caused the stoppage (temporary, we hope) on casino construction here and in Cleveland.
3 Comments · Wednesday, April 13, 2011
For those not familiar with the concept, codependency is a psychological term that refers to the tendency in a person to become fixated on another person for approval or sustenance. In the instance of the two demagogues named Chris, Messrs. Finney and Smitherman, the underlying reasons are all about relevance, credibility and (mostly) free legal services.
0 Comments · Tuesday, February 8, 2011
How can you tell when an idea is really, really bad? When it brings together people to oppose it who otherwise are typically political foes, that's how. Mayor Mark Mallory, police union President Kathy Harrell and local NAACP President Christopher Smitherman all are united against City Council's proposal to consider letting the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office take control of policing in the city.
Some police use weapons on nonviolent suspects
3 Comments · Tuesday, January 4, 2011
Local attorney Al Gerhardstein is concerned about the training and policies of law enforcement agencies regarding the justification and constitutionality of Taser use on nonviolent suspects.
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 22, 2010
When a group of Westwood residents decided to form Westwood Works (WW) last winter, they envisioned it as a more positive, productive counterpart to the Westwood Civic Association, which is known for its strident rhetoric. One of WW's first actions was to invite the nonprofit ArtWorks to paint a public mural in the neighborhood.
0 Comments · Tuesday, August 3, 2010
I'm still laughing at the credulity of the NAACP national office, the White House and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack over the firing of Shirley Sherrod. You can't make this shit up. And when I'm done laughing, I want to weep. Some of the brightest people in our public life believe anything that's on the Internet.
3 Comments · Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Less than 18 months into its existence, the Tea Party movement is in the throes of an identity crisis. It began when the NAACP announced it would consider a resolution at its annual meeting that asked the Tea Party to condemn and expel its racist elements, calling them "a threat to democracy." That was enough to get the temperatures rising of some Tea Party leaders, who certainly are all too willing to dish out criticism but never seem able to take it. But what happened next really lit their fuse.