Top o' the Morning
So much for smashing stereotypes. Friends of Sinn Fein held a fund-raiser March 14 featuring Martin McGuinness, chief negotiator for Sinn Fein — the party that has led opposition to British occupation of the six counties in the north of Ireland. McGuinness rang the World Peace Bell in Newport and spoke about Sinn Fein's commitment to peace.
For a $100 contribution, guests got to dine with McGuinness — a fine way to mark St. Patrick's Day. But whoever wrote the invitations seemed to forget that old saw about the Irish and their liquor. "Two beers/wines included," the announcement said.
Sex, Crime, Unions and Shopping
Zero tolerance for drug abuse meets safe sex at a Clark Oil station, in staid old Green Township, of all places. "New policy," the sign says, "We will sell condoms to minors, but not medicines."
It happened again. Two more opponents of globalization of the economy went to court on charges filed by Cincinnati Police, and two more were exonerated. On Nov. 18, officers rounded up 47 people protesting the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue.
Aside from 19 women who pled no contest and were found guilty, every protester who has taken the charges to trial has walked away acquitted or with charges dismissed. The two most recent are Jeffery Goddin of Columbus and Blake Pendergrass of Oxford, charged with disorderly conduct. Charges against both men have been dropped.
Xavier University might not be able to maintain much longer its neutral position on a union struggle involving cafeteria workers on campus. XU contracts with Sodexho Marriott for food service. Local 12 of the Hotel Employee and Restaurant Employee Union (HERE) says the company will not even take a seat at the bargaining table with workers who want to unionize. (See "Food Fight," issue of Feb. 15-21.)
Xavier is run by the Society of Jesus, which is known for championing economic justice in Latin America. The school has so far taken a hands-off approach to the union dispute, but the religious order is now faced with students demanding XU end its contract with Sodexho Marriott.
The student group Not With Our Money might have learned too well about Catholic social teaching. In calling on XU to dump the company, the students quote both the Pope and the head of the Jesuit order on the importance of supporting labor unions.
Are Phil Burress and his band of moralizing thugs asleep on the job? Surely this one went right by Citizens for Community Values.
On March 31, Lazarus department stores presents "A Sale That Cares," an all-day shopping event to benefit several area non-profit organizations. Among the groups participating is Stonewall Cincinnati, the lobby for gay, lesbian, bisexual and trans-gendered persons.
Hard Times in Hamilton
The city of Hamilton's unencumbered cash balances, essentially cash reserves, dropped precipitously last year, according to a memo circulating in Hamilton circles. The memo cites the city's budget figures in showing end-of-year balances in the four utility funds and the general fund totaled $45 million at the end of 1999, dropped to $23 million by the end of 2000 and are expected to fall below $12 million by the end of 2001. The city fell short of money in the gas fund in January and had to borrow $5 million to buy gas supplies.
With spending in the utilities and the general fund running at a clip of more than $150 million this year, the $12 million cash reserves are a thin cushion, and with the city's bond rating under scrutiny, city council might have a tough time scraping together enough to pay the bills and keep the repo man from the door long enough to get through the November elections.
The firefighters and police unions are organizing a campaign that might turn on the incumbents, and the year could well close with a whole new leadership team.
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