Winners and Losers

Ups to C.I.R.V. and streetcars, down to Smitherman, not sure about Environmental Justice

C.I.R.V.: Cincinnati actually got some positive national press about its police for a change. The New Yorker did a glowing article about the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (C.I.R.V.), the program begun in July 2007 that targets gang members for intervention and helps them get jobs. This is what happens when the department opens itself to new ideas.

ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE: Despite a rally of supporters outside City Hall last week, a proposed “Environmental Justice” ordinance got no love from Mayor Mark Mallory. He delayed a vote on the ordinance, which would require an environmental impact assessment from developers for new projects in distressed areas. Mallory disliked the $125,000 cost at a time when the city is facing a deficit. Vice Mayor David Crowley, its architect, vows to keep fighting.

[Update: City council passed the EJ ordinance 5-4 on June 24.]

STREETCARS: City officials selected Cincinnati Streetcar Development Partners to design, build, operate and maintain the proposed $102-million streetcar line. The firm is actually a coalition of 12 companies including Parsons Brinkerhoff Inc. and HDR Engineering. Combined, the various firms have worked on about 80 percent of the streetcar projects across the U.S. Speaking of which…

CHRISTOPHER SMITHERMAN: The president of the local NAACP has been losing credibility lately by making bizarre claims. Some critics thought Smitherman got the NAACP to back an antistreetcar petition effort as some sort of shakedown to get money for the group or for poor neighborhoods. One of the firms selected to build the streetcar system is Jostin Concrete, owned by Smitherman’s brother, Albert. Christopher remains opposed to the project, adding, “I deeply respect the independence of my brother’s company.”

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