About 200 people rallied March 19 on Fountain Square, marking the fourth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Each year, beginning with the first day of the attack, the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center has sponsored a peace rally calling for an end to the war. This year it happened after City Councilman David Crowley intervened to make sure the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC), the square's manager, didn't charge hundreds of dollars in new fees.
Crowley received loud applause at the rally for sponsoring city council's recent resolution against escalation of the war. He urged participants to continue organizing to end the war.
"Keep up the struggle," Crowley said. "Keep up your voice. Make a lot of noise. Continue, continue, continue."
The crowd was mostly middle-aged and older, but Reed La Botz, a member of Students Against War, spoke about student walkouts and anti-war art projects at Walnut Hills High School. Students Against War encircled the rally with a tape bearing the names of 3,200 U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq.
"As we were writing them, every few minutes someone would stop and say, 'He was 18. She was 19,' " La Botz said. "And I was thinking, 'I'm 16. In two years I don't want to be one of those people fighting and dying.' "
Barbara Wolf was one of several speakers who complained about acoustics on the still unfinished square.
"3CDC or the city has to do something about this echo," she said.
But the crowd then made sure its message got out. At Wolf's urging, hundreds looked toward the office of U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Cincinnati) on the Carew Tower's 30th floor and shouted, "Chabot! Chabot! Peace now! Sign up for peace now!"
Wolf was one of four people convicted last week of trespassing for refusing to leave Chabot's office unless he signed the Congressional Declaration of Peace.
As the war begins its fifth year, Cincinnati's peace movement continues to grow. Last weekend two Cincinnatians, Jon Blickenstaff and Jim Torren, were arrested during a national anti-war demonstration in Washington, D.C.
But not everyone gets it. The March edition of City Councilman Chris Monzel's monthly newsletter, The Monzel Report, explains why he opposed Crowley's peace resolution. Far from supporting an end to U.S. hostilities, Monzel seems to be calling for war on Iran.
"I support fighting for freedom and against tyranny," he wrote. "It was Hitler and Mussolini in WWII, today it's militant Islam, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Iranian President Ahmadinejad."
Crime Tip: Do It While Cops Change Shifts
A string of break-ins at bars in Northside are particularly galling to the owners of a business that's a one-minute drive from the area's police station. It took officers more than 15 minutes to respond after their burglar alarm was activated — longer than it would take for police to walk there if they had responded immediately.
Club Bronz, a nightclub on Hamilton Avenue formerly known as Jacob's, was burglarized in the morning hours of Feb. 24. Thieves took an undisclosed amount of cash and attempted to take some electronics equipment before moving a couple of doors down the street and robbing another bar, Bullfishes. The two bars are the latest in a series of Northside drinking establishments targeted by thieves. In recent weeks, other bars that have been broken into include Ginger's Bar & Lounge, the Gypsy Hut and the Fifth Amendment. One business, Boswell Alley, has been struck twice.
As with most of the thefts, the break-in at Bronz occurred during early daylight hours, shortly after 7:30 a.m. The club is located in the heart of Northside's Hamilton Avenue business district, on the same street and just across a highway overpass from Cincinnati Police Department's District 5 station. MapQuest lists the club's distance as 0.47 miles from the station, with an estimated driving time of 1 minute. Of course, that takes into account obeying traffic lights. With lights and sirens on, police cruisers can travel through intersections, making the travel time a matter of seconds.
Bradley Pugh, one of the club's co-owners, says he's walked the same distance in less time than it took police to arrive. Had officers responded more quickly, they perhaps could have caught the thieves in the act at Bronz or the bar next door.
"It's a crock," Pugh said. "It's a seven-minute walk from my bar to District 5. I know, I've done it. There's just no excuse."
According to police, there is — albeit an unsatisfying one. The break-in occurred shortly after a shift change for officers, who were in roll call at the time.
"It's horrible," said Bronz co-owner John Schaefer. "I believe the thieves know that and time when they do it. The thieves are smarter than the cops, it seems."
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