Mallory Calls Secret Meeting on Nazis
The Nazis might be coming to Cincinnati on Martin Luther King Jr. Day next week, but Mayor Mark Mallory doesn't want you — or local reporters — to know about it. Mallory held a private, off-the-record meeting Jan. 9 at City Hall with the top editors of some of the city's newspapers and the news directors of local TV stations. Sources say Mallory wanted to notify attendees about the possibility that members of the Nationalist Socialist Movement were mulling whether to march on Fountain Square Monday on the holiday that commemorates the slain civil rights leader. Members of the neo-Nazi group distributed flyers announcing the march on the University of Cincinnati campus during the recent winter holiday break. The same group marched through a mostly black neighborhood in Toledo in October 2005, causing a small riot as residents took to the streets in protest and chased them off.
Among those attending the Jan. 9 meeting were Hollis Towns, Cincinnati Enquirer managing editor; Mike Philipps, Cincinnati Post editor; Jan-Michele Lemon Kearney, Cincinnati Herald publisher; and executives of WCPO (Channel 9) and other TV stations, sources say. When Enquirer reporter Dan Klepal and Post contributor Joe Wessels tried to enter the meeting, they were physically blocked by Jason Barron, Mallory's press secretary. CityBeat's editor wasn't invited to the meeting.
At the meeting, Mallory told attendees that it appears the Nazi group might now instead be planning to march in Troy, Ohio, on Jan. 15 and head to Cincinnati next year, when the national NAACP holds its annual convention in the Queen City. The National Socialist Movement, which is known for its racist and anti-Semitic views, is notoriously hungry for publicity and tries to time its public demonstrations for maximum exposure.
Mallory reportedly didn't try to strike any deals regarding coverage of a possible Nazi march here but wanted to make the news executives aware it could happen, sources said.
The usually staid Greater Cincinnati Northern Kentucky Apartment Association is using some pretty strong language in its fight against the city of Cincinnati's new ordinance on "chronic nuisance premises." Under the law, which took effect Jan. 1, landlords can face fines and jail for failing to deal with continuing problems such as loud music, disorderly conduct and drug use. If three or more nuisance activities occur on a rental property within a 30-day period, police can require owners to submit a plan to stop the problem from recurring. The apartment association filed a demand Jan. 8 in Hamilton County Common Pleas Court for a declaratory judgment against the city.
"This sham law passes police responsibilities off onto landlords, while at the same time holding landlords personally and criminally responsible for the criminal activities of third parties," says Charles Tassell, spokesman for the apartment association. "Cincinnati uses the term 'nuisance,' a word usually reserved for littering, to include everything from kidnapping, weapons of mass destruction and felonious assault, as if landlords would somehow be more effective than the professionally trained police, sheriff and FBI forces. As a summary of the poor quality of the bill, a targeted landlord must submit an 'acceptable' plan to the district commander, who is able to require anything — thus creating a de facto police state."
The bill also discriminates against landlords by singling out apartments, according to Tassell.
An Invitation for Rummy
Hamilton County Municipal Judge David Stockdale is scheduled to hold a hearing Friday on a motion to compel former U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to testify in the trial of five anti-war protesters. The activists, arrested during a sit-in at U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot's office in Carew Tower, say they want a jury to hear testimony about U.S. policy in Iraq.
"The current policy in Iraq has led to the deaths of over 3,000 United States military service men and women," said the motion filed by attorney William Gallagher. "It has led to the deaths of over 650,000 Iraq citizens. It has cost the United States taxpayers billions of dollars. One of the architects of the policy and its implementation is Donald Rumsfeld."
The five protesters, charged with criminal trespassing, are the Rev. John Rich, Sister Mary Evelyn Jegen, Barbara Wolf, Ellen Dienger and CityBeat News Editor Gregory Flannery. Their trial is set for Jan. 22.
Meanwhile, a group of animal-rights activists tried a different tack to draw attention to their cause last week — they stripped. Wearing nothing a banner in front that said, "The Naked Truth: KFC Tortures Chickens" and one in the back that said, "Turn Your Back on KFC Cruelty," three members of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked passersby to boycott KFC restaurants. The group says KFC suppliers' abuse chickens in animal factories and slaughterhouses. They protested outside a KFC restaurant on Reading Road in Avondale.
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