Monthly Archives: January 2008

Cincinnati ruled, not governed

Recently, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory released his GO Cincinnati “Growth and Opportunities” Project report “outlining recommendations for a strategic approach for economic development.” According to the City website:

the GO Cincinnati Steering Committee and Project Teams – more than 200 community and business leaders – presented 14 recommendations to help the city reposition its assets to attract businesses, employees and residents.

I wonder who the community and business leaders were? For, also recently published is the voluntary association of scholars, activists, and community residents, Cincinnati Studies’,  “Who Rules Cincinnati?” which

argues that seven corporations have dominated the City of Cincinnati’s economy, society, and politics, leading to “distorted development” and “grotesque contrasts between rich and poor” with “a particularly damaging impact on the African American population.”

The study, a compendium of information on Cincinnati-based corporations, their revenues, profits, the salaries of their officers, and their political contributions, also describes the role of corporate coalitions such as Cincinnati Business Committee (CBC), Downtown Cincinnati Incorporated (DCI), and Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC).

The findings of the study as summarized are fascinating. Both reports are available at their respective websites and should prove interesting reading in conjunction with each other.

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A cold and broken Hallelujah

Dutton, who is, (according to the bio — see the link) , a professor in Miami University’s Department of Architecture and Interior Design, and is director of the university’s Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine, gets it right with his guest column, which I was really pleased to read. It’s not just that he is spot-on with the Drop Inn’s contribution and value but that he points out the terrible problem with the Enquirer’s previous approach to its earlier, Jan. 12, “story” on the Drop Inn in terms of the Over-the-Rhine neighborhood’s current and ongoing gentrification.

The front-page headline of The Enquirer on Jan. 12 read “Will Drop Inn Center be pushed out?” bolstered by the subhead “Some wonder if homeless shelter hurts Over-the-Rhine development.” If those questions weren’t bold enough, readers were encouraged to register their opinions to the question “Should the Drop Inn Center move?”

The prejudicial character of these questions should be obvious. People say that to really solve a problem, the question that frames that problem is crucial. These questions are no example of a decent framing. They are sly and specious, harboring assumptions that in no way reveal what the Drop Inn Center is and does. Example? The questions presuppose incompatibility, and worse, that such incompatibility rests with the Drop Inn Center. The questions place you too far down the road to recognize a more fundamental question: What is our society’s capacity for empathy?

Read the rest of the column here: The Enquirer – Drop Inn Centers power is capacity for love

Cincinnati Sun and Soot

So there is today finally a bit of sun redeeming Cincinnati, almost enough to make one forget about all the particulates in the air while one is outside. Almost, not quite. It’s a terrible irony that here, while one attempts to do what was once considered the healthy thing to do — get outdoors, in the sunshine , get active, take in the “fresh” air — one is actually taking in the elements of death.  If you’re so inclined, you can get a good look at what this “sunny” deadly day looks like here via the Cincinnati Pollution Air Web Cam, which also gives readings of fine air particulates (ranging just inside the high zone at the moment).

Ohio Public Interest Group:

• Cincinnati ranks 2nd statewide and 11th nationwide for the worst chronic fine particle pollution among large metro areas in 2004. Fine particle pollution was high year-round in Cincinnati and exceeded EPA’s standard for what is safe to breathe over the long-term (the annual standard).

• Ohio ranks 5th nationwide for chronic soot pollution.

In 2005, the Bush administration’s science advisors and EPA staff scientists concluded that the current health standards for fine particle pollution are too weak to fully protect the public. They recommended that the administration make the standards more protective, which would require power plants and other polluters to clean up. The Bush administration rejected these recommendations and instead proposed a very minor change to the health standards. It is unprecedented for an administration to disregard the recommendations of the independent Clean Air Science Advisory Committee.

“The American Lung Association strongly believes that the Bush administration should listen to its advisors and strengthen fine particle pollution standards. Current standards do not do enough to protect the public from the serious health dangers associated with this form of pollution,” stated Joel Kaplan, Executive Director, American Lung Association, SW Ohio.

EPA’s own risk assessment shows that the current annual fine particle standard of 15 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) and 24-hour standard of 65 µg/m3 protect only 56 million people. The administration’s proposal would maintain the annual standard at 15 µg/m3 and only slightly lower the daily standard to 35 µg/m3.

Cincinnati blues

Why is it that everyone I meet here must inevitably pronounce, “I’m a Christian!”

More to the point, how much longer should I go on suppressing, out of politeness, my response, That is too bad.

Porkopolis and Christians. It seems like a bad joke. I wish I could laugh.