Support for Law Enforcement That Obeys the Rules

When you get past the mandatory cheerleading for the cops -- a civic tradition not afforded garbage workers, street repair crews or most other municipal employees -- the latest anti-crime bromide fr

When you get past the mandatory cheerleading for the cops — a civic tradition not afforded garbage workers, street repair crews or most other municipal employees — the latest anti-crime bromide from City Hall has something significant to say. In announcing a press conference for 10 a.m. Jan. 17, City Councilman Cecil Thomas promised to send the message to safety forces: "We support you 110 percent." Thomas and the other participants — including Mayor Mark Mallory, Police Chief Thomas Streicher and Kenneth Glenn of the Citizens Complaint Authority — also want to say, "We will not tolerate lawlessness any longer."

But the interesting part of the statement — a list of conditions for supporting the police — is directed to criminals.

"Our police will have our total support to come after you, consistent with the Constitution of the United States of America, consistent with the Ohio Revised Code, consistent with the Cincinnati Municipal Code, consistent with the Collaborative Agreement and consistent with the rules, regulations, policies and procedures of the Cincinnati Police Department."

On one hand, it's unfortunate that the police must be reminded that they, too, have to obey the law. On the other hand, saying it in Cincinnati is progress. This is an anti-crime campaign that civil rights advocates can embrace. It would be even better if some of them were invited to participate.

At his weekly media briefing Jan. 3, Mayor Mallory referred to a "comprehensive safety plan" he's preparing. Stating that he'd prefer to focus on addressing safety issues in lieu of a body count, he said he'd reviewed a draft of the plan that morning. When CityBeat requested a copy of the draft, under the Ohio Public Records Act, Mallory said he'd misspoken. "Draft" was the wrong word to describe the collection of notes, lists of potential contributors and random ideas — which he declined to release.

"I'm not going to give you my notes," he said.

Mallory hasn't said when his plan, or a draft of it, will be available.

Good Writing and Other Noble Causes
In Cincinnati, some of the most reasoned leftist political analysis comes from Dan La Botz, a member of Cincinnati Progressive Action and a history professor at Miami University. La Botz has a new book, César Chávez and La Causa, a biography of the hero of the California farmworkers' organizing campaign in the 1960s. Chavez' influence made him the most important Latino figure in U.S. history, according to the author. But anyone who knows La Botz knows he takes his scholarship seriously; the book is not a piece of hagiography.

"Many other biographers have treated Chávez as a saint," La Botz says. "But he was a human being with strengths and weaknesses. His achievements are more significant when he is seen clearly as a person challenging but also challenged by his times."

The book, La Botz' eighth, is part of the Living American Biography series and is published by Pearson Longman.

Hamilton County Appeals Judge Mark Painter is also a highly regarded writer, especially considering the obtuse prose that characterizes most legal discourse. Last week Green Bag, a quarterly journal dedicated to good writing about the law, announced its first annual list of outstanding legal writing from the past year. Painter was the only state judge honored.

Meanwhile, Painter's plans to launch a new weekly newspaper are still proceeding. The Cincinnati Times will serve Clifton Heights-Fairview, Corryville, Mount Auburn, Camp Washington, University Heights and Clifton.

"We have designed the format and are working on ad rates," Painter says. "The next step is to secure office space and hire a full-time editor. The planned launch is late summer. Obviously, because of my job I'm very limited in what I can personally do, both time-wise and content-wise."

The Drop Inn Center, the largest homeless shelter in Cincinnati, fell short of its year-end fund-raising goal, according to Nancy Campbell, finance and operations coordinator.

"We missed our Dec. 31 goal by $34,000," she says. "As a whole, donations are off 14 percent. The goal for the year is $300,000."

In the winter, the shelter sometimes houses up to 280 people per night — people who would otherwise be out in the cold. To contribute, send checks to Drop Inn Center, 217 W. 12th St., Cincinnati, OH 45202.



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