Friday, April 09, 1999


New set-aside plan not race-based

        COLUMBUS — Just a day after the Ohio Supreme Court upheld a 1980 law that sets aside a portion of state contracts for minority-owned business, two GOP lawmakers introduced legislation to replace it with a colorblind program based on economic disadvantage.

        “Racial preferences and quotas in the law are contrary to the American spirit of fair play and individual — as opposed to group — rights,” Sen. Gene Watts said Thursday.

        The Dublin Republican outlined plans to create a “challenged business enterprise” program in place of the Minority Business Enterprise program resurrected by Gov. Bob Taft on Wednesday after the high court unanimously said at least part of it was constitutional.

        Instead of guaranteeing a percentage of state contracts to businesses owned by blacks, American Indians, Hispanics, Asians and Asian Indians, Mr. Watts said he wants the state to assist companies just starting out.

        Rep. Bryan Williams, R-Akron, introduced a companion bill in the House.

Mayor plan to be hashed at dinner
        The Avondale Community Council will review Cincinnati's strong mayor proposal at a dinner meeting April 23.

        Coming Together for Cincinnati is pushing a ballot issue calling for a directly-elected mayor and adding to the powers of the office. Critics say the plan would give too much power to the mayor at the expense of a weakened city council.

        Supporters and opponents will be featured speakers at the meeting.

        The dinner, which organizers say will become an annual event, will be in the banquet room of Club Oasis, 1752 Seymour Ave., beginning at 5 p.m.

        Reservations can be made by April 19. Tickets are $20 and can be bought at the community council offices at 870 Blair Ave., or from any board member.

UC moot court pits top students
        The public is invited to watch some of the nation's top law students compete at 2 p.m. Saturday in the annual University of Cincinnati College of Law moot court contest.

        The final two teams will argue an appeal of a product liability case involving the Y2K computer bug. State and federal judges from around the country will determine the winner.

        The oral arguments will be in the fourth-floor en banc courtroom of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit at Fifth and Walnut streets.

        The contest — which began this week with teams from 21 schools — is endowed by a local law firm, Rendigs, Fry, Kiely & Dennis.

Insanity defense possible in death
        Psychiatrists will evaluate accused killer Belanda Moore to determine whether she could be eligible to plead not guilty by reason of insanity.

        Ms. Moore, 29, is accused of whipping and kicking to death her 7-year-old daughter at her Winton Hills home. She is charged with murder, involuntary manslaughter and child endangering.

        Prosecutors say she beat Jasmine Wilkerson with a belt and kicked her in the chest on Feb. 12 for misbehaving in school.

        The beating, they say, left Jasmine with a lacerated kidney and liver.

        Judge Robert Kraft will review Ms. Moore's evaluations before deciding whether she could consider an insanity plea.

Woman found dead along Ind. creek
        EAST ENTERPRISE, Ind. — Police are investigating the death of a woman whose body was discovered Thursday along a creek bed in Switzerland County.

        A woman walking near Upper Grants Creek discovered the body of a white female shortly after noon, Indiana State Police Sgt. Marvin Jenkins said.

        “There's no question that this is a homicide,” Sgt. Jenkins said. He declined to comment on cause of death.

        The woman is described as about 5-foot-1 and 140 to 145 pounds. Her body was transported to the Hamilton County Coroner's Office in Cincinnati, where an autopsy will be performed, Sgt. Jenkins said.

        The homicide probably occurred within 48 hours of the discovery of the body, he said.


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