'Egregious' Political Pandering

Now we know where City Councilman John Cranley acquired his annoying habit of melodramatic political pronouncements: He learned it at his mama's knee. The Cincinnati Board of Education recently h

Share on Nextdoor
Jymi Bolden


Setting crime-reduction goals will help police reduce crime, according to City Councilwoman Laketa Cole.



Now we know where City Councilman John Cranley acquired his annoying habit of melodramatic political pronouncements: He learned it at his mama's knee. The Cincinnati Board of Education recently hired Rosa Blackwell as school superintendent. Susan Cranley, candidate for the school board, objected to the selection process, issuing a press release declaring, "Closed Door Selection of Superintendent Is Egregious!"

It was just four days later that the younger Cranley objected to a proposal to allow city council to meet in closed sessions. The Cincinnati Post recorded his umbrage during a meeting of the Law and Public Safety Committee last week: "That is egregious and exactly the opposite of good government."

Mayor Charlie Luken last week issued a press release that was less pompous but still far from plainspoken.

"Citywide, violent crime is down 12 percent year-to-date. Districts 1, 2 and 4 had double-digit decreases in violent crime compared year-to-date with 2004," Luken's statement said.

But the good news is less than it seems. An accompanying statistical table showed that the most serious violent crime, homicide, is up almost 12 percent for the first three months of the year.

Now we know where City Councilman John Cranley acquired his annoying habit of melodramatic political pronouncements: He learned it at his mama's knee. The Cincinnati Board of Education recently hired Rosa Blackwell as school superintendent. Susan Cranley, candidate for the school board, objected to the selection process, issuing a press release declaring, "Closed Door Selection of Superintendent Is Egregious!"

It was just four days later that the younger Cranley objected to a proposal to allow city council to meet in closed sessions. The Cincinnati Post recorded his umbrage during a meeting of the Law and Public Safety Committee last week: "That is egregious and exactly the opposite of good government."

Mayor Charlie Luken last week issued a press release that was less pompous but still far from plainspoken.

"Citywide, violent crime is down 12 percent year-to-date. ... Districts 1, 2 and 4 had double-digit decreases in violent crime compared year-to-date with 2004," Luken's statement said.

But the good news is less than it seems. An accompanying statistical table showed that the most serious violent crime, homicide, is up almost 12 percent for the first three months of the year. Even worse, homicides are up nearly 27 percent over the same period in 2002. Cincinnati has had 19 homicides so far this year.

In a weird assertion of victory, the American Family Association (AFA) has dropped its boycott of Procter & Gamble. The right-wing "family values" lobby went after P&G when the company urged employees to vote for repeal of anti-gay language in the charter of the city of Cincinnati. Voters repealed the offensive charter amendment last fall.

But while claiming P&G no longer sponsors TV shows and Internet sites that AFA objects to, AFA said its boycott succeeded.

"We cannot say they are 100% clean, and we ask our supporters to let us know if they discover P&G again being involved in pushing the homosexual lifestyle," says a letter to supporters from the Rev. Donald Wildmon, AFA chair. "But judging by all that we found in our research, it appears that our concerns have been addressed."

That's not to say the struggle to spread homophobia is over. AFA is dropping hints that it will soon go after another corporation as yet unnamed.

"There is another national company which is doing nearly exactly what P&G was doing," Wildmon writes. "The company is a household name. If, after getting our information, you feel our case is justified, would you be willing to participate?"

Voting Away Murder
City council last week approved a motion that asks the city administration to draw up a plan to reduce homicides and violent crime by 20 percent in the city's 10 most susceptible neighborhoods: Over-the-Rhine, the Central Business District and Riverfront area, Avondale, East Price Hill, Walnut Hills, Westwood, West End, West Price Hill, Corryville and Northside.

Setting such specific goals has worked in other cities, according to Councilwoman Laketa Cole, who proposed the motion. St. Louis was able to reduce its homicide rate by almost 60 percent over three years by focusing on its most violent neighborhoods, she said.

The city administration didn't much care for Cole's suggestion. A report submitted Jan. 19 by City Manager Valerie Lemmie argued, "Given the number of variables potentially influencing crime, many criminologists ... discourages (sic) announcing numeric crime reduction goals."

The report redirected city council's attention to areas outside police jurisdiction such as overcrowded jails, recidivism rates and sub-par performance by community service agencies.

Council passed the motion anyway, in a unanimous vote that could signal growing frustration with police attitude.

"Earlier this year when Cole asked how the police planned to reduce crime, she was told they would continue with the status quo," according to a press release from her office.

"If you want something different, then you have to do something different," Cole told fellow council members before the vote.

"This is a statement of both our frustration and our hope for improvement," Councilman David Crowley said.

Before voting for the motion, Cranley said he has sympathy for the notion that police know best how to address crime. It might not be council's job to tell police how to go about reducing crime, he said, but it is council's job to set policy direction.

"We expect to be held accountable for this," Cranley said. "It's also to give police the ability to tell us what we need to do to support them to actually achieve this goal."



Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 138)

Scroll to read more Cincinnati News articles

Newsletters

Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.