Bus Riders: Merry Christmas! People who use the Metro bus system for transportation in Cincinnati and Hamilton County are going to have to dig deeper in their pockets beginning Dec. 27. Due to cuts in federal funding, Metro is raising its fares. People who travel within the city of Cincinnati will see the base fare jump from $1.50 to $1.75, and riders in Hamilton County will see fares jump from $2.25 to $2.65. Disabled people will have it even worse: Riders who use Metro’s Access service will have a $2 hike, with fares rising to $3.50 in the city. Also, Metro is cutting service by 12 percent, meaning parts of some routes will be eliminated and it will lay off 82 workers. This is a bad move in a time when mass transit is becoming more crucial to cash-strapped Americans.
David Krikorian: The excitable, one-time Republican who is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt (R-Miami Township) for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District next year might have some political traction after all. In polling of more than 3,000 Democratic Party voters who participated in the 2006 and 2008 primaries, 56.48 percent of respondents across the district have a favorable impression of Krikorian and believe he can beat Schmidt. Favorable impressions range from 65.43 percent in Brown County to more than 50 percent in Scioto County, the home of Krikorian’s Democratic primary opponent. With numbers like those, maybe Krikorian is the right candidate to send Mean Jean packing. If only he’d stop talking about the Armenian Genocide.
Chiquita: The banana company famously accused of exploiting native workers in South America by The Cincinnati Enquirer in 1998 is being taken to the wood shed again. Two human rights groups scheduled a protest Nov. 18 at Chiquita’s annual stockholders meeting held downtown. The groups — 8th Day Center for Justice and Witness for Peace — want to hold executives criminally liable for payments made to terrorists in Colombia, payments they allege led to the murders of thousands of peasants and workers in the region. In March 2007, Chiquita pleaded guilty to paying a Colombian terrorist group more than $1.7 million during a six-year period, from 1997- 2004. Under the terms of the plea agreement, Chiquita will pay a $25 million criminal fine over five years.
Arnold Barnett: The controversial board member of the Cincinnati Metropolitan Housing Authority (CMHA) is in trouble again. Earlier this year, Barnett triggered a fair housing complaint against CMHA by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for allegedly blocking the use of Section 8 vouchers by qualified applicants. Now, he’s created more negative headlines for the agency by calling a fellow board member a “kike” during a heated discussion. The board publicly reprimanded Barnett Nov. 16, shortly after he stepped down as chairman. Although Barnett apologized for using the term, he insisted it wasn’t racist because he is also Jewish. I guess that means I can call him a “douche,” since I occasionally fall into the category myself.