Plans for a beach getaway by Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory led to some confusion last week over the last-minute cancellation of a neighborhood forum that he'd scheduled in May. At 2:19 p.m. June 29 the mayor's office issued an oddly worded press release informing media that the event, scheduled for 5 p.m. that night, was canceled.
"The cancellation has been previously announced, but not necessarily widely announced," said the statement by Jason Barron, Mallory's communications director.
That's because the earlier announcement was made during Mallory's weekly press briefing, which has been sparsely attended in recent weeks. The City Hall session mostly involves Mallory listing what appointments he had in the previous week; and TV news crews, as well as some print reporters, have stopped regularly attending. Just why the neighborhood forum on housing issues was canceled, however, remained a mystery for a short time. But CityBeat was contacted June 29 by two Cincinnatians who were on the same airline flight to Fort Lauderdale as Mallory and a friend. Barron later confirmed the forum was canceled because of conflicting vacation plans.
"The mayor took some time off, but I don't know where he went," Barron said. "He hasn't taken any time off in about a year because of the campaign and everything."
Mallory's office contacted housing agencies and told them the forum had been canceled, Barron said. But some residents didn't know and showed up at Memorial Hall in Over-the-Rhine. Barron and another staffer were present to tell them about the cancellation and take some input on housing issues. Barron said Mallory's cancellation isn't newsworthy.
"I really would hope the mayor wouldn't be blamed for going on vacation," he said.
Some residents, though, noted the forum had been planned at least four weeks earlier. Mallory should have either scheduled his flight for another day or provided earlier notice of the cancellation, they said.
Dope, Witches and Blogging
Congress rejected a proposal June 29 to ban federal prosecutions of medical marijuana patients in the 11 states where medical marijuana is legal. But the 259-163 vote contained some good news, according to Bruce Mirken, spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). The vote included 18 "yes" votes from Republicans, up from 15 last year.
"Although the measure failed to pass ... medical marijuana advocates hailed the record vote as the result of a growing groundswell of support for medical marijuana from across the political spectrum," Mirken said. "Last summer the amendment received 161 votes, which was the previous record until today's vote."
Equally surprising are some of the supporters who came out in favor of the bill before it went up for a vote. The conservative organization Citizens Against Government Waste and the USA Presbyterian Church spoke in favor of the proposal. The Presbyterian resolution affirmed "the use of cannabis sativa or marijuana for legitimate medical purposes as recommended by a physician" and urges "federal legislation that allows for its use and that provides for the production and distribution of the plant for those purposes."
Maybe, as more groups and citizens recognize the legitimate use of drugs that were once legal in this country, the witch hunt that victimizes people who are already struggling with medical issues can end.
If you are one of the millions of people victimized by the witch hunt — er, Drug War — the Ohio Justice and Policy Center (OJPC) might be of help. Each week OJPC holds free legal clinics for former offenders. The clinics started in 2004 in an effort to help former offenders get back on their feet after receiving criminal convictions. Since then, OJPC has consulted with over 650 men and women in need of help. The clinic helps ex-offenders with record expungements for those who qualify; child support cases for people who owe support; unfair parole, probation and post-release control conditions that interfere with employment; and terminations from educational programs due to criminal records.
"I am energized to be reaching out to low-income ex-offenders in Cincinnati who are struggling to get back on their feet and become productive members of the community," says Stephen JohnsonGrove, the primary attorney in charge of the Second Chance clinics. "Everyone in our community wins when former offenders are given opportunities to succeed."
OJPC holds clinics each Tuesday from 10 a.m.-noon at Our Daily Bread, a soup kitchen in Over-the-Rhine. More information is available at 513-421-1108 or [email protected].
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