by German Lopez
Cincinnati Park Board ends allegedly discriminatory rules
The Cincinnati Park Board today voted to strike down signs enforcing rules in Washington Park. The vote ended Park Rule 28, which
allowed the Park Board to enact new rules by placing a sign on Washington Park grounds.
The signs, which the city could use to enforce any park rule as law, had recently come under fire by
homeless advocate groups. In a statement, Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, wrote, “Park Rule 28 allowed opening for the back-room creation of the special rules in Washington Park that were written by an employee of the Police Department, a couple of Park Board employees and 3CDC employees — completely without the input of the public or any legislative body or process.”Before the Park Board vote, homeless advocate groups
claimed the rules were being written away from public view — in part by
private companies. Jerry Davis, member of the Homeless Congress, cited 3CDC's involvement in the rule writing as an example: “3CDC is a private corporation that does not answer to the
Citizens of Cincinnati. This private group should not get to decide
what rules are created and enforced. 3CDC is saying to the Citizens of
Cincinnati, ‘You pay the bills and we make the decisions.' "
Three Over-the-Rhine residents, including Davis, sued the Park Board on
Sept. 4 to put an end to the signs. In a statement announcing
the lawsuit, Spring claimed the park rules “discriminate against
certain classes of people” — specifically, the homeless and poor.
The Washington Park rules were different than rules at other
Cincinnati parks in a few ways: They did not allow “dropping off food or
clothing,” “rummaging in trash and recycling containers” or the use of
any amplified sound. Homeless advocate groups claimed these rules were
contrary to broader park rules that allow the sharing of food, permit
inspecting and removing items from trash and recycling containers and
only prohibit amplified sound if it disturbs the peace or safety of the public.
Homeless advocate groups said the rules hurt others
as well. Spring wrote in the lawsuit’s press statement, “If a family
decides to picnic in Washington Park and the parents hand their children
food, they would be in breach of these rules, or if a friend hands a
jacket to her walking companion, she would have broken these rules.”
Cincinnati Police Department Captain Daniel Gerard admitted
the rules were targeting the homeless when, according to documents
revealed by homeless advocate groups, he said, “Until the Drop Inn
Center moves, the line about food and clothing drop off being prohibited
is absolutely needed.” The Drop Inn Center is a homeless shelter.Despite the Park Board vote, the lawsuit will continue. The city will file to dismiss the lawsuit, but the city claims the lawsuit should never have been brought forward.“The issue was brought to our attention, we took a look at it and decided to take down the signs, yet they inexplicably decided to file a suit anyway,” said Aaron Herzig, deputy city solicitor. “That's not how it should work. The city looks at a concern and decides to take action, and there's no need for a lawsuit at that point.”Jennifer Kinsley, the attorney representing the three Over-the-Rhine residents suing the city, defended the lawsuit and its continuance.“We congratulate the city on doing the right thing by repealing Rule 28, but the lawsuit covers a broader range of topics than just that rule,” she said, citing statutory damages. She also said she's worried the Park Board ruling will not overturn rules already enforced by the signs: “It may and it may not. We've seen that the Park Board, 3CDC and others are willing to bend the law in order to make special rules for that park, so the status of the rules for that particular area are unclear at the moment.”Herzig says the rules on the signs were not enforced after the signs were taken down “weeks before the lawsuit.” He says the only rules remaining are the rules officially published by the Park Board.
7 Comments · Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Washington Park is a social experiment so vastly successful Cincinnatians might be unaware of the nuances in its meaning.We’re still spastically drunk off the park’s new-park smell.
by Danny Cross
Steve Chabot’s self-righteous attempt to block federal
streetcar funding found new criticism yesterday, as The Enquirer spoke to
several credible sources who say his amendment is broad enough to affect
federal funding for transportation projects beyond the streetcar,
including bus lanes or ferries.
Mayor Mark Mallory and 3CDC representatives were scheduled
to kick off a grand opening celebration of Washington Park at 10 a.m. this
morning. The $48 million renovation includes an underground parking
garage, concession building, dog park and concert space. A rally against
the renovation and displacement of residents was scheduled for 10:30
a.m. CityBeat’s Mike Breen blogged away yesterday about the park’s
scheduled weekly music series.
It’s going to be another sucky hot weekend in Cincinnati.
U.S. hiring is being weak again.
Walgreens is buying mass drug store chains, preparing to cash in on that ObamaCare money.
Brad Pitt’s mom wrote a pro-Mitt Romney, anti-abortion and
anti-same-sex marriage letter to the editor of a Missouri newspaper.
Brad, for the record, is pro-gay marriage and donated to the 2008
anti-Proposition 8 campaign in California. I have given much thought to Richard Stoecker’s letter (“Vote for Mormon against beliefs,” June 15). I am also a Christian and differ with the Mormon religion.
But I think any Christian should spend much time in
prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals,
business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian
conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon.
Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is
casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who
sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public
ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who
supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.
I hope all Christians give their vote prayerful consideration because voting is a sacred privilege and a serious responsibility.First they were telling us that the Higgs boson is the
building block of the universe. How Professor Peter Higgs says he has no
idea what the discovery will mean in practical terms. Come on, Higgs!
Apparently 250,000 people are going to wake up without the Internet on Monday.
Scientists believe they’ve created the most realistic robot legs ever.
by Mike Breen
Weekly music, interactive musical fountains and more planned for renovated OTR park
Revitalization group 3CDC's live music programming throughout the past few summers has helped turn Fountain Square into the heart of Cincinnati's increasingly active downtown area, drawing thousands to the Square every week to catch everything from Reggae and Salsa to Hip Hop and Indie Rock. The group will be doing the same thing in Over-the-Rhine at the newly renovated Washington Park across from Music Hall. The Park officially opens tomorrow (July 6) with a 10 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony. The christening will be followed by tours of the park, then a free 5 p.m. World Choir Games "friendship concert" at the Bandstand.Like with Fountain Square, Washington Park's weekly music series will showcase local musicians, with live performances on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Wednesday will be "Bandstand Bluegrass" night, featuring some of the best area Bluegrass artists. The shows begin July 11 and will run every week, starting at 7 p.m., until Sept. 5. On Fridays, the Park features "Friday Flow," a night of R&B and Soul that starts July 13 and runs each Friday through Sept. 5.The lineups for Wednesdays and Fridays have yet to be announced, but more details have been made available about the every-Thursday Jazz in the Park series. Beginning July 12, the lineup has been curated by local Jazz pianist Chris Comer, who held a similar role on Fountain Square last year. The first Jazz in the Park concert is July 12 and features Comer and his quintet, plus special guest Napoleon Maddox from the progressive Jazz/Hip Hop group IsWhat?!Jazz in the Park performances run 7-9 p.m. through Aug. 30. Other shows in the series include the P&G Big Band (July 19); The Cincy Brass (Aug. 2); Steve Schmidt (Aug. 9), Ricky Nye Inc. (Aug. 16); and the Dick Sorice-Dan Jackson Quintet (Aug. 23).Along with many other special concerts — like Over the Rhine's (the band) free show July 22 and the rare joint performance featuring Cincinnati Pops, May Festival Chorus, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet — the Washington Park summer schedule is filled with other types of events, from community festivals to "dog programs" to movie nights and special "Curiosity Saturdays" for kids. One of the coolest physical changes to Washington Park is the interactive Classical Music Walk of Fame, a project in conjunction with the American Classical Music Hall of Fame and InfoTrust which will enable visitors to use their smartphones and tablets to play various musical selections through the park's sound system or through the very cool "musical fountains," which will change appearance/flow/color depending on which music is selected. Here's a quick overview of how the interactive Classical Music Walk of Fame will work. To read about all of the things Washington Park has planned just this summer alone (remember, it will be a primary venue for the MidPoint Music Festival at the end of September) click here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The $54 million residential and
commercial development project Mercer Commons broke ground in
Over-the-Rhine June 26, paving way for 126 apartments, 28 condos, 17,600
square feet of commercial space, a 340-space parking garage and a
19-space surface parking lot.
by Kevin Osborne
Buchanan says 3CDC is covered fairly, despite her ties
The Enquirer’s top boss has
told CityBeat that her connection to a major real estate development group was “overlooked”
in a lengthy, front-page article about the organization that was published
Publisher Margaret Buchanan wrote
in response to an email that she didn’t influence the preparation, editing or
placement of an article about the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC).
Buchanan sits on 3CDC’s executive committee, and is in charge of overseeing
publicity and marketing efforts for the organization.
The Enquirer published a 1,900
word-plus article about 3CDC, lauding the group for its efforts to redevelop
Over-the-Rhine despite the economic downturn. Buchanan’s role with 3CDC wasn’t
mentioned, but she told CityBeat it has been disclosed in past articles and
will be done again in the future.
Buchanan’s response was sent
the same day that CityBeat published a column criticizing the lack of disclosure,
and questioning whether her role violates The Gannett Co.’s ethical guidelines
Here’s the full text of
Over several years, The
Cincinnati Enquirer has fully covered the pro's and con's (sic) of 3CDC's development
efforts in Over-the-Rhine for our readers and we are very proud of that
As publisher, I sit on 3CDC's
executive committee — and did not influence any of the reporting on this issue.
Our editor is completely responsible for all editorial decisions. Typically my
participation on this committee is disclosed, although it was overlooked for
the article that ran on Sunday, April 15. It will continue to be disclosed in
A search using the ProQuest
database of The Enquirer’s archives found that the newspaper has published 481
articles and news briefs mentioning 3CDC since the group began its efforts in 2004.
(Given how the database is organized, however, it’s likely that some of the
entries might be duplicative.)
Of the 481 entries, Buchanan
was mentioned in 15 articles. That equates to about 1/32nd of the
Most of the published
mentions about Buchanan’s ties to 3CDC weren’t in articles about the group’s retail
and residential development projects. Rather, they mostly occurred in articles
about 3CDC’s efforts to move a homeless shelter away from Over-the-Rhine.
Also, one mention was in an
article about the new School for Creative and Performing Arts, while another
occurred in a piece marking the 10th anniversary of the police
shooting death of Timothy Thomas.
Interestingly, most of the
mentions occurred after 2010, when local blogger Jason Haap and CityBeat began
publishing items about the lack of disclosure.
This week’s Porkopolis column
mentioned Gannett’s ethics code, which includes such admonishments as “We will
remain free of outside interests, investments or business relationships that
may compromise the credibility of our news report,” and “We will avoid
potential conflicts of interest and eliminate inappropriate influence on
The code also states “When
unavoidable personal or business interests could compromise the newspaper’s
credibility, such potential conflicts must be disclosed to one’s superior and,
if relevant, to readers.”
In her email, Buchanan didn’t
address why these rules don’t apply to her connection to 3CDC.
1 Comment · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
For a company whose main purpose is disseminating information to the public, The Enquirer and its corporate owner sure are keeping tight-lipped about an article that was published April 15. The long, splashy article focused on the
ongoing redevelopment of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood and
the central role of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp.
by Kevin Osborne
The Enquirer ran a lengthy, glowing article over the weekend about the ongoing redevelopment of Over-the-Rhine and 3CDC's central role in helping it occur — all of which is well and good. But the piece, which contained more than 1,900 words, could only find space for 125 words critical of the effort and none at all for a direct quote from 3CDC's critics. (That's about 1/16th for the those keeping track at home.) Maybe that's because Enquirer Publisher Margaret Buchanan sits on 3CDC's executive committee and is in charge of publicity for the group, which was yet another fact curiously missing from the article.Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, Hamilton County's new coroner, attended a screening of the film, Bully, over the weekend. Her appearance was part of an effort to draw attention to bullying and child abuse during Child Abuse Awareness Month. The documentary relates the tales of several students across the United States who have been tormented by their peers. Its distributor, The Weinstein Co., released the film without a rating after the MPAA announced it would give it a “NC-17” rating for coarse language, which would've prohibited anyone under the age of 17 — the movie's primary audience — from seeing it.Cincinnati Reds superstar Joey Votto hit a two-run double in the 11th inning Sunday, which allowed his team to avoid a four-game sweep by giving it an 8-5 victory over the Washington Nationals. Some Covington business leaders are upset that a current plan to build a new span to replace the Brent Spence Bridge doesn't include any exits into the city's downtown. As proposed, motorists on southbound Interstate 75 would have to exit the highway about a mile earlier, near Ezzard Charles Drive in Cincinnati, to reach the Northern Kentucky locale.Just up I-75 a bit, a new report reveals the city of Dayton has the highest office vacancy rate among the nation’s metropolitan areas, and the portion of its office space that is unoccupied is at least at a 13-year high. The struggling Rust Belt city had about 27.3 percent of its office space vacant in the first quarter of this year, according to Reis Inc., a New York-based commercial real estate research group.In news elsewhere, Taliban insurgents and government security forces clashed over the weekend in Afghanistan. A series of insurgent attacks Sunday left four civilians and 11 members of the security forces dead. Afterward, security forces launched a counter-offensive that killed three dozen assailants, including some suicide bombers.President Hamid Karzai linked Sunday's militant attacks to intelligence failures, especially on the part of NATO. In his first response to the attacks, Karzai praised the performance of the Afghan security forces. He gave tribute to the "bravery and sacrifice of the security forces who quickly and timely reacted to contain the terrorists," a French news agency reported.The trial began today for Anders Behring Breivik, the anti-Islamic militant who allegedly killed 77 people last summer during a shooting rampage in Norway. Breivik, 33, was defiant at the proceedings. Asked by a judge whether he wished to plead guilty, Breivik replied, “I acknowledge the acts but I don’t plead guilty as I claim I was doing it in self-defense.” He has previously said his actions were meant to discourage further Islamic immigration.As the deadline looms for the filing of federal income tax returns, a new Gallup Poll finds Americans fall into two almost evenly matched camps: those who believe the amount they pay in federal income tax is too high (46 percent) and those who consider it "about right" (47 percent). Just 3 percent consider their taxes too low.The United States and China have been discreetly engaging in "war games" amid rising anger in Washington over the scale and audacity of Beijing-organized cyber attacks on western governments and Big Business, London's Guardian newspaper has reported. State Department and Pentagon officials, along with their Chinese counterparts, were involved in two war games last year that were designed to help prevent a sudden military escalation between the sides if either felt they were being targeted. Another session is planned for May.
by Danny Cross
Topic Design, A Tavola and dojo gelato among winners
Chamber of Commerce today announced the winners of its annual Star Awards,
which recognize organizations and individuals whose outstanding accomplishments
contribute to the revitalization of its five distinct neighborhoods: Washington
Park, Mohawk, Central, Pendleton and Findlay Market.
This year’s award
Chairman’s Award: Cincinnati Center City
Development Corporation (3cdc.org)
Norma Petersen Award: Topic Design (www.topicdesign.com)
New Business of the
Tavola (1220 Vine St.; here’s a link to a recent
CityBeat review of the modern and stylish pizza place.)
Business of the Year: dojo gelato (Findlay
Non Profit Organization
of the Year:
Crossroad Health Center (crossroadhc.org)
Cook, First Lutheran/OTR Learning Center (www.firstlutherancincy.org/learning_center.html)
Special Recognition: Captain Douglas Wiesman, Cincinnati Police
Recipients will be
honored at the OTR Chamber’s annual meeting and luncheon March 20 at Music