Curly tales of the city


Slinking Back in
Mayor Charlie Luken has an uncanny ability to avoid crowds — at least crowds of African Americans protesting Cincinnati Police violence (see "Slinking Away," issue of April 12-18). Rev. Damon Lynch III led a group of 60 chanting protesters into City Hall the afternoon of May 8. One minute later, after the crowd was indoors, along comes the mayor, strolling up Plum Street.

The editor of this column is an overweight asthmatic who smokes cigarettes. But he managed to catch up with Luken.

"Mayor, do you have a moment?" the editor says. "No, I don't," says Luken.

"Can I call you?" the editor says. "No, you can't," says Luken.

"Will you call me?" the editor says.

"No, I won't," says Luken. "You work for CityBeat, don't you?"

"Yes, sir, I do," the editor says. "Who do you work for, Mayor?"

"The people," says Luken, raising his fists to the height of his shoulders and almost looking as if he weren't sarcastic.

Then the mayor went into City Hall, using the side door. Again.

By contrast, City Councilman Jim Tarbell was on the street the evening of May 7, when a boisterous crowd gathered outside Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen's office. In his oversized hat and bow tie, Tarbell walked with the angry crowd that marched to Over-the-Rhine. On Main Street, a small group of black men and women surrounded Tarbell, screaming at him about the police. Tarbell listened.

We Dare You
You think some of the protesters' signs are extreme? Consider the published comments of two leading Cincinnati Police officers.

The May 2 Cincinnati Post quoted Police Chief Thomas Streicher on the conditions officers faced in Over-the-Rhine last month: "There was constant gunfire all night long. Thousands of shots were fired."

Does anyone believe that? Either the shooters were the most godawful marksmen or police rounded up the wrong bunch in its 832 arrests. Where were the guns that fired these thousands of shots? Did police return any of the fire?

Then comes Keith Fangman, president of the Queen City Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police. The May 7 Cincinnati Enquirer quoted Fangman about reaction to the grand jury investigation of Thomas' death: "There have been many in the black community, including black leaders, who have stated that anything short of a felony murder indictment and they're going to burn the city down."

Really? Black leaders said this? OK, tell us who said it. Tell us two or more black leaders who threatened to burn the city down and we'll hold them accountable for their remarks.

Cincinnati is asking the Ohio Controlling Board to reimburse most of its $2.23 million in riot-related expenses. Ohio municipalities that spend more than 0.5 percent of their budgets during a state of emergency are eligible for a 75 percent payback, according to Dick Kimmins, spokesman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

Things to Fight About
Promoter Don King brings heavyweight contender Larry "The Legend" Donald and IBF bantam champ Tim Austin home to Cincinnati to fight June 16 at Xavier University's Cintas Center. The last title fight in Cincinnati was when Aaron Pryor beat Antonio Cervantes.

Greg Hand is an innocent man! The University of Cincinnati spokesman says he's not the person who sends five-page faxes whenever a reporter incorrectly states UC is in Clifton. The perpetrator, he says, is a woman who four years ago solicited a statement saying UC is not in Clifton. Ever since, she's been making use of Hand's statement to straighten out miscreants who get it wrong.

According to the city, UC isn't in any Cincinnati neighborhood. Hand says the city has several disputed territories, including UC, Burnet Woods, the boundary between Avondale and North Avondale and the boundary between West Price Hill and Westwood.

Porkopolis TIP LINES: 513-665-4700 (ext. 23) or [email protected]

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