Pop Star Candidates and Voice Analysis

Justin Jeffre, the boy-band singer who whined so much about not being taken seriously as a candidate for mayor of Cincinnati, got another smackdown last week as the primary campaign came to a clo

Sep 14, 2005 at 2:06 pm
Matt Borgerding

New Orleans evacuees arrive at Linwood Elementary School.

Justin Jeffre, the boy-band singer who whined so much about not being taken seriously as a candidate for mayor of Cincinnati, got another smackdown last week as the primary campaign came to a close. An anonymous racist generated a recorded phone call to many voters urging people to vote for City Councilman David Pepper, calling him "the only white candidate."

Pepper was understandably outraged and has asked the phone company to investigate. But consider how Jeffre must have felt. He not only couldn't get people to treat him seriously; he can't even get them to admit he's white.

Whatever the outcome of the Sept. 13 primary — the polls don't close until after CityBeat goes to press (see citybeat.com for results and election night coverage) — race inevitably played a role, and the few public manifestations were inevitably stupid. Jason Haap, who calls his blog "Cincinnati's intellectual headquarters," actually devoted time to analyzing a "race neutral" voice used in a phone campaign by State Sen. Mark Mallory (D-West End). Left unsaid was the clear implication that Mallory, an African American, has no business using people who sound white, whatever that means.

On the Good and the Bad Use of Buses
In a fabulously ill-conceived gesture of goodwill, City Councilman Christopher Smitherman last week lined up three charter buses to evacuate people from the Gulf Coast, where hurricane Katrina left hundreds of thousands homeless. But the usually levelheaded Smitherman neglected to first do something fundamental, namely ask if anyone wanted to move here.

After driving to Louisiana and expecting to bring back more than 100 grateful evacuees, Smitherman found just 17 who wanted to come here. He might have been more helpful if he'd sent a check for all the gas he wasted going to and fro.

The Bring Them Home Now Tour visited St. Monica/St. George Church on Sept. 7. Launched from "Peace Mom" Cindy Sheehan's impromptu encampment outside President Bush's ranch, the tour is winding its way to Washington, D.C., for next week's National Mobilization Against the War. More than 150 people turned out for the last-minute event. Cincinnati, like most of the country, seems to be turning against the war in Iraq.

"When we asked for housing (for the tour), over 60 people responded," said Kristen Barker of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC).

Tour participant Bill Mitchell said his son was heading home from Iraq when he died in the same ambush that killed Sheehan's son.

"He was one week from Kuwait, two weeks from Germany and three months from his wedding date," Mitchell said at the event.

Mitchell said is Sheehan's encampment shows the country is starting to pay attention to the war's cost.

"We've started a dialogue," he said. "Finally America is talking about this war."

Barker said so many Cincinnatians are going to the protest in Washington that IJPC had to charter a second bus. To join the march, call Barker at 513-579-8547 or visit united forpeace.org.

Dan La Botz of Cincinnati Progressive Action provided some of the best political analysis on the passing of Chief Justice William Rehnquist last week. Praised by Bush — who won the White House after Rehnquist and his colleagues barred Florida from counting all the votes cast in the 2000 presidential election — the chief justice was unworthy of the encomiums heaped upon him after death, according to La Botz. His column appeared in CounterPunch.

"Though he dressed like an opera buffa judge from the commedia dell'arte, putting golden chevrons on his sleeves to elevate his rank above his peers, he was no clown," La Botz wrote. "Whatever else may be said of him, he knew who his friends were, he knew which side he was on — and it wasn't ours."

To read the entire column, visit joun.leb.net/ labotz09082005.html.

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