Si Leis: What a Doll!
It has finally come to this. First the gays joined the St. Patrick's Day parade in New York City. Now Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. is flaunting his stuff in Cincinnati's St. Patrick's Day parade. There it was, a Si Leis blow-up doll — the buffest, most rigid blow-up doll we've ever seen. Only God and Phil Burress know how many young boys were led into temptation.
Downtown restaurants stayed open on St. Patrick's Day, just as they did for Oktoberfest Zinzinnati. The only ethnic festival they close for is Ujima Cinci-Bration, the African-American festival. Yes, we know they promise not to do it this year. Consider this just a friendly reminder.
Back to the Bathrooms
Continuing the push to criminalize every misjudgment a child might make, Ohio's new law on tobacco is in effect. It is now illegal for anyone under 18 to possess or use cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco, chewing tobacco, snuff or rolling papers.
Naughty boys and girls will face a $100 fine, community service, smoking-education classes and loss of driving privileges.
Here's why constant vigilance is necessary: Rights are eroded little by little. For instance, the Ohio Counselors Credentialing Board for Chemical Dependency Counselors, which is now under the direction of the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services, has proposed removing sexual orientation from the proposed language of the "Counselors Code of Ethics." The current language forbids discrimination based on sexual orientation, a protection against homophobic counselors and therapists. It was not so long ago, after all, that psychologists classified homosexuality as a mental disorder. To object, call Tracy Mason, ODADAS/Credentialing Services, at 614-387-1110.
All indications are the November protests against TransAtlantic Business Dialogue ignited a flame of progressive activism in Cincinnati. Citizens for a Humane Economy (CHE), which led the anti-TABD protests, has issued a call to action. CHE is organizing actions to coincide with protests in Quebec April 20, when President Bush and other world leaders convene for the 2001 Summit of the Americas. The agenda is an agreement to create the Free Trade Areas of the Americas, essentially extending the U.S.-Mexico "free trade" agreement throughout the Western Hemisphere.
CHE will meet for potluck and planning at 6:30 p.m. Sunday at Peaslee Neighborhood Center, 215 E. 14th St., Over-the-Rhine.
"We're planning a week of actions leading up to those events in Quebec," says CHE spokesman Heather Zoller.
Racial profiling was not the only lawsuit against Cincinnati Police filed March 14. Steve Steel of Toledo filed suit the same day over his arrest during protests against the TABD. Police charged Steel with disorderly conduct, but prosecutors dismissed the charge. His is the third TABD-related lawsuit so far.
Businesses on 81 Over-the-Rhine parcels controlled by the Woodward Trust are fuming about increases in ground rents. (see "Why Is a Dead Man Raising the Rent?", CityBeat March 15-21, 2001). Attorney Barbara Wiethe says the ground rent for a parking lot she owns just went up from $2,300 a year to $44,000 a year — a nearly 20-fold increase. Businesses hit by the increases, which Wiethe says average 1,800 percent, are contemplating a lawsuit and asking the city to investigate.
It turns out Hamilton County Prosecutor Michael Allen is a man easily shocked. Allen says the art photos taken at the Hamilton County Morgue are "the most shocking" things he's seen in 25 years in law enforcement. The prosecutor's press releases and press clips for the past 18 months show he gets shocked with some frequency: "I was stunned and shocked by the sheer arrogance of his actions" (September 1999). "The more we got into this case, the more shocking the allegations got" (October 1999). "It's always a shock when one of the persons sworn to serve and protect violates the law" (February 2000). "The bite marks and blunt trauma injuries to the child's head and body are shocking and absolutely reprehensible" (August 2000).
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