Saturday, April 27, 2002

Boycott groups talk of joining forces

By Kevin Aldridge,
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        The three groups calling for a boycott of Cincinnati are in discussions about how to gather all their demands under one umbrella.

        The Rev. Stephen Scott, vice chairman of the Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, said Thursday the boycott groups have met several times to talk about streamlining their demands and putting them on one list.

        The move will provide for a more unified front, he said, and make potential negotiations with city and business leaders that much easier.

        “If you've got one set of demands you are dealing with rather than three or four, it is going to make it easier,” said the Rev. Mr. Scott. “We are going to have to do some real negotiating within ourselves about what issues we are not going to turn our backs on and which ones we can weed out.”

        Although the boycott is often portrayed as a single effort against the city, it's actually the work of three groups with different leadership and objectives.

        The Coalition for a Just Cincinnati, Cincinnati Black United Front and the Coalition of Concerned Citizens for Justice each have demands — some overlapping — that include a complete reform of the way city council members are elected, amnesty for rioters, and millions of dollars for inner-city development projects and programs to benefit African-Americans.

        Critics — and even some civil-rights leaders — say the sheer number of demands makes it unlikely the city could ever completely resolve the issues.

        The Rev. Mr. Scott said a new list likely would cover four areas: police accountability, ending economic apartheid, city government and election reform and supporting and enforcing human and civil rights.

        “When you start a process like this everybody has their pet peeves, things they are more sensitive to than others,” he said. “I think we'll be able to work that out.”

        Mayor Charlie Luken has said he would not negotiate any demands.


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