ARNOLD’S BAR & GRILL: Step aside, Happy Days. If everything goes well, the average American might think of downtown Cincinnati’s historic watering hole when they hear TV characters talking about “going to Arnold’s” after this fall. That’s because producers of the NBC drama series, Harry’s Law, have decided to use exterior shots of the East Eighth Street bar and recreate the tavern’s interior in a Hollywood studio. To give the series — which is set in the Queen City — more local flavor, attorney Harriet “Harry” Korn will hang out at Arnold’s while pondering her legal cases and personal problems. A midseason replacement that premiered in January, the series was an unexpected hit for the Peacock Network, perhaps due to star Kathy Bates. There’s no truth to the rumor, however, that execs are casting for a rascally character named “Jim Tarbell.”
STEVE CHABOT: In a move that only can be viewed as crass politicking for his angry white, anti-urban base of supporters, Congressman Steve Chabot wrote a letter last week to the U.S. Transportation Department, asking it to rescind $25 million it awarded last year for Cincinnati’s streetcar project. The GOP lawmaker alleges the project might not have the same benefit now that it’s been scaled back after losing $51.8 million in state money, which was yanked by another Republican, Gov. John Kasich. Thankfully, federal officials appear unmoved. Hey, Steve: Voters in 2009 soundly rejected Issue 9, which would’ve required a public vote on any rail funding, with 56 percent opposing the potentially deal-killing restriction. Chabot needs to remember the will of city voters has been expressed and that he represents more people than a few vocal activists in Westwood.
PEG’S PUB: We’re not sure how to feel about the Ohio Division of Liquor Control’s decision to revoke the liquor permit of Peg’s Pub in Evendale. It was yanked due to repeated and possibly willful violations of the state’s smoking ban in bars and restaurants, division officials said. In the four years since the ban took effect, the bar has been cited 17 times and owes more than $55,000 in unpaid fines. On one hand, a bar owner probably shouldn’t ignore a law passed by voters just because he doesn’t like it. On the other, we personally know of at least three bar owners who say their business is off since the ban kicked in — including one who ultimately closed his tavern. It does seem that businesses which cater exclusively to adults should be allowed to decide if smoking can occur. After all, no one is being forced to drink or work in such establishments. Vexing.
RICHARD CORDRAY: The former Ohio attorney general, who lost his reelection bid in 2010, was selected by President Obama this week to run the enforcement division of the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which begins operating this month. Obama chose Cordray after it became clear the Senate wouldn’t confirm the likely front-runner for the job, Elizabeth Warren, a Harvard law professor who is an outspoken critic of Wall Street excesses. Cordray, however, is also a good choice. The Grove City native zealously helped protect consumers while he was Ohio’s top lawyer. As Obama put it, “As Ohio’s attorney general, Rich helped recover billions of dollars in things like pension funds on behalf of retirees and stepped up the state’s efforts against unscrupulous lending practices.”