BRENT SPENCE BRIDGE:The overcrowded, dilapidated bridge on Interstate 75 that connects Cincinnati to Northern Kentucky got a shout-out last week from the main man. President Obama mentioned the rusty steel structure in his Aug. 8 speech to Congress as an example of projects that could be expedited if his jobs plan is approved. About 4 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product travels across the bridge each year and as the prez said, it’s “one of the busiest trucking routes in North America.” Still, the $2 billion in funding to replace the bridge hasn’t been identified, and a viable replacement plan hasn’t been created. Obama’s mention could help finally get something started.
MARK MALLORY:Cincinnati’s mayor is using his authority to set City Council’s agenda to block an effort by council’s conservative majority to abolish the Office of Environmental Quality (OEQ). A council faction, led by Chris Bortz and Leslie Ghiz, want to dismantle the office, an idea that’s supported by the Chamber of Commerce. But Mallory noted OEQ has won nearly $24 million in grants, helped save more than $1 million on the city’s energy bills and saved an additional $930,731 through the enhanced recycling program. Meanwhile, the savings estimated by abolishing the office is a mere $225,030. “It would be ridiculous to get rid of a department that’s saving that kind of money,” the mayor said.
COAST:When something happens again and again, it’s a pattern, not an anomaly. In this case, that “something” is the bad behavior of the leaders of the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST). First, we had attorney Chris Finney crashing a political opponent’s press conference in 2006 to call him an “asshole.” Then, the county prosecutor investigated Tom Brinkman Jr. in 2007 for allegedly altering more than 1,000 addresses of voters so they would match registration data on petitions. Now we have COAST treasurer Mark Miller tweeting on Sept. 11 to compare the deaths of New York firefighters in 2001 with the brownouts at local firehouses, falsely blaming the latter on streetcar funding. Despicable.
WENDELL YOUNG:The Cincinnati councilman recently introduced a resolution to make the Reds’ Opening Day a “ceremonial” city holiday. What a waste of time and paper. Young said the resolution, which was approved, is meant to show “civic pride” in the local traditions revolving around the first game of the season and related Findlay Market Parade. Young’s effort was a continuation of the Make It Official Coalition, which tried to get enough signatures to put the matter before voters but failed. As City Solicitor John Curp replied when asked by WCPO-TV if the so-called holiday actually affected anything, “No. Other than City Council expressing their support for the Cincinnati Reds and the great baseball tradition in our town.”