Friday, June 17, 2005


More LilyPad

You may have seen in today's Enquirer a couple articles about Project LilyPad. This project which I mentioned about a week ago is an intiative to bring free wifi to every public space in the region. This project is a mini-project of Give Back Cincinnati with it's own leadership team, and should help to bring attention to our region.

The article by James Pilcher goes into detail about the project, and an article by Maggie Downs gives a brief insight into LilyPad and other initiatives in the city that will help to reshape our image. So, hop on... go wireless, and help create a buzz about our city.

A few of you emailed after my last post with interest. I haven't forgotten about you, and will get back with you early next week. You and everyone else can also now hit the website for more details about the project: LilyPad USA. If you hadn't previously contacted me, but would like to help with the project, or would simply like to assist in making your local public space/business distrcit wireless, shoot me an email:

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Sad Story - Innocent Life Lost

This is truly a sad story. You hear it all the time, that the homicides in the city are drug related and innocent people aren't harmed. This time that wasn't the case.

23 year old Renee Hill was shot down as an innocent bystander at a park in Over the Rhine last Saturday. She was caught in the crossfire of a drug fiend. She leaves behind her son who now has no parents. It's unfair and unacceptable.
Here is the story behind the piece of human garbage who thought it was a good idea to open fire in the middle of a crowded playground.. Jason Baker, 27... He spent time in prison in 1999 for having a stolen gun and in 2001 for selling cocaine. Twice this year, he was convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana - most recently June 6, five days before Hill was shot.
Well, on June 3rd David Pepper introduced an idea to stiffen the penalty for possession of small amounts of Marijuana. Now, I will be the first to say that I think it's crazy to toss someone in jail if their first and only offense is holding a bit of pot. However, what I think does make sense is giving the police and the courts an addition tool for getting these types of thugs in jail. If that law had been in affect, perhaps Mr. Baker would be sitting in Hamilton County Justice Center today, and Ms. Hill would be alive, looking after her young son. Does Mr. Pepper's proposal cure everything that is wrong in the city? I don't think so, but it's a step in the right direction for a city struggling with violent crime.


My Big Fat Greek Festival

If you've never been to the Panegyri Festival you need to get to it. It's tons of fun... if you are the Young adult looking for a party, I suggest heading down Saturday night.... if you're doing the family fun thing, then a Saturday Afternoon, or Sunday Afternoon is your best bet.

The festival is at Holy Trinity - St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Finneytown.


Good News for the Square, Bad News for the Banks

Looks like there may be a hiccup in the Banks plan announced by the county. There was a sum of $25 million in place through a federal grant for building some of the parking garages (the gist is that because the garage ties into the 2nd street bus depot money for 'mass transit' could be used for the garage). Now that the county recieved $10 million in private money to help pay for the garages, they were going to shift half of the federal grant to build streets instead. Only problem, apparently that money can't be used for streets.

But before folks start jumping up and down I think there are two things to take note of. First this comment from the guy at OKI that manages the federal grant money:

Mark Policinski, executive director at OKI, said there is a possibility OKI
could route funds through the Surface Transportation Program, which does not
carry the requirement to reduce congestion. He said local officials should
pull together to ensure that the change doesn't endanger the entire project,
especially with a promise of $10 million in private money from Corporex and

"My reaction is, we have worked very diligently with 3CDC and the port
over eight or nine months to move this issue forward," he said. "And now
literally in one thunderbolt, they (county officials) have brought in $10
million in private-sector money. To me, that's very impressive. Nothing talks
like other people putting their money into the game."

So straight from the gatekeepers mouth, there should and will be a way to work through this. But the second thing that comes to mind is that you shift the $10 million that the developers came up with from the garage to some other portion of the project. Perhaps the building of the flood wall, or building the streets. There is nothing saying a developer can't hand over some cash to the government to build roads. So, while this isn't good news, I wouldn't say this is the end of the line for the County proposal.


Fountain Square a Go!

The plans were approved by City Council, so the Fountain Square redevelopment is a go. This is truly amazing for a counicl that usually can't get anything done. Glad to see that it went well, although Chris 'the sky is falling' Smitherman managed to cast the lone 'no' vote. I think if Carl Linder walked in and offered to eliminate the city income tax for all residents with a cash donation, Mr. Smitherman would vote no on the proposal.

Anyway, it's great news, the only downside at all that I can see is construction starts late August and two of my good friends are getting married late Sept. They had planned Fountain Square pictures, and had all their guests staying at the Westin because of the square which will now be in rumble during their wedding!


Saturday - River Sweep

A great event this Saturday to help clean up that Ohio River Bank! But more exciting in my book is the charity concert that night at Southgate House - Rivertown Breakdown. Put on each year by Jake Speed, this years event has every great folk/bluegrass artist in town... Katie Laur, Comet Bluegrass Allstars, Sidecars, Jake Speed and more! Unfortunately I am going to have to miss it. This Saturday is absolutely jammed for me, niece's birthday, going away party for a friend, bachelor party for another friend, Rivertown Breakdown, and Fox Sports Cap day at the Reds... unfortunately the Reds, and Rivertown are definitely out, and I am going to try to squeeze in the rest.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


What's Wrong With This Picture?

Well if you are Alicia Reece, the problem is it has 5 white faces.

And Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, a Democratic candidate for mayor, held up the
front page of Saturday's Cincinnati Enquirer, with a photo of city and county
officials, one of the developers, and Reds and Bengals officials lined up for
the announcement - five white men.

"This picture tells a story about how we're going to do business," she said. "We talk about how we're going to have inclusion, but I look at this picture, and I don't see inclusion at the top level of the decision-making process. ... It left out a whole segment of people who pay the sales tax.

Okay, there are so many things wrong with this. First of all, it is terribly racist. What does that mean, that if you are black you can only represent black people, and if you are white you can only represent white people? That is inherently racist.

Secondly, let's take a look at the picture and who is in it. Mike Brown, President of the Bengals (owns parking rights at the Banks), I suppose they could have had Marvin Lewis or Chad Johnson sit in, but 1) They likely wouldn't be interested and 2) they wouldn't be the ones involved in making any concessions the Bengals might make on parking.

Next, John Allen (CEO - Reds). Same thing, as the Bengals, they own parking. Next, Pat DeWine (Hamilton County Commissioner), no choices there, all 3 are white males. Next (Luken, we'll come back to him). Finally, Bill Butler (President - Corporex). Again, obvious choice for the press conference, he owns Corporex and will be integral in making the banks happen. Does this mean that no minority or women owned business will be involved in the Banks project? Of course not. I am going on record now to say that significant portions of the development will be managed by minority owned businesses. Just like the Bengals, Reds Stadia and the Freedom Center were.

Back to Luken, could he have been replaced by a minority or woman from City Council? Surely he could have. However, he IS mayor. So is this really a display of keeping minority interests down, or is this just Reece playing the race card because she wishes she could have had her face on the front page of the Enquirer?

Monday, June 13, 2005


Hooray for the Hannaford!

Hannaford Suites in Newport is being converted into luxury Condos with new townhomes in it's backyard. This is great news for Newport, as the city continues its increase in home ownership. It also happens to be great news for me, since this is my neighborhood. The Hannaford is at the end of my street. The 1,000-1,800 square foot condos will market for $200,000-$300,000 which is also good news for my neighborhood.


The Banks - Catching Up

A little catching up to do, since I was swamped with Give Back Cincinnati's Paint the Town all week. Probably the biggest news story was the new information on the Banks. In general I'm glad to see it happen. However, I am a bit nervous how all this seemed to come together in a few weeks, and it was outside the process that was set up with the Port Authority and 3CDC for proposals for the program. Just seems strange that you have a group set up to manage the project on the riverfront, and you side step that and do your own thing the way the Hamilton County commissioners. The positive side is that the Reds, Bengals, and the city all seem to be on board, because that is required to make this deal happen. Reds/Bengals have rights to parking and to approval on what goes above the parking. The city owns the 'air rights' to most of the area, meaning they get to approve anything that gets built above the street level. So that fact that the city seemed to be left out of these discussions worries me about the long term prospects of this thing taking hold. The only city rep at the news conference was Charlie Luken, and Chaz will be long gone before any of the development actually happens.

So I am excited, but not overly excited to see the new developments. It's great to see Corporex involved. With his new condo development on the Southbank in Covington he has a vested interst in making sure the other side of the Roebling doesn't remain a dirt track. I was not so excited to see Vandecar involved, as their 'Center of Cincinnati' project is nothing but a bunch of big-boxes, and their other large 'development' is a Wal-Mart in KY. I'm assuming they are both smart enough not to ruin the banks with a Target.

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