Sunday, May 12, 2002

Alicia Reece

Nobody wins this word game

        No wonder more and more people have decided to sit in suburban bleachers to watch the spectacle of Cincinnati. And while I have no doubt that the good citizens of Montgomery and Covington and Monfort Heights are rooting for us, they must feel very much like Bengals fans, wondering why Cincinnati can't manage to put together a winning team.

        If Mayor Charlie Luken is our quarterback, then I guess Vice Mayor Alicia Reece is our wide receiver. And, by that, I am just torturing the football metaphor. I do not mean anything more complicated. In fact, she is very svelte. And gives as good as she gets.

        The vice mayor — and I mean the word “vice” in the sense of being second in command, not in the sense of any sort of corruption — can be very thin-skinned. Not that the thickness of a person's skin or, actually, anything at all about someone's skin is important. I hope I have made myself clear on this matter because I would hate to find 150 firefighters outside my house.

        Unless there is a fire, which is what we pay them to do and what we have seen them do, reliably and most heroically. It would be shameful to imply that they are enforcers, thugs, muscle for an elected official.

A cheesy display

        “I have 150 firefighters who will do anything I ask them to do,” Ms. Reece said, according to John Fox, editor of CityBeat, which published a Kathy Wilson column critical of the vice mayor. “If you won't convince Kathy Wilson, then I'll send firefighters to convince her.” And I think this means “convince” in the sense of “threaten.” In the sense of “shut her up.” In the sense of “or else.”

Alicia Reece
Alicia Reece
        Kathy Wilson accused Ms. Reece of “pushing her father's business interests.” And wrote: “I'd rather they play out their Joe and LaToya Jackson scenario on their own time.” By this, I assumed Ms. Wilson meant that Steven Reece was managing his daughter's career.

        Reading a two-page statement at Wednesday's City Council meeting, Ms. Reece said, “LaToya nationally accused her father of incest, and I took the CityBeat column to be a thinly veiled attempt to imply the same thing about my relationship with my dad.”

        In this cheesy public display — and I mean that not in the sense of Brie or Camembert, but in the sense of shabby and cheap — Ms. Reece explained her behavior by trotting out the health problems of her mother. She spoke of the federal lawsuit filed against her by attorney Kenneth Lawson as “a political attack.”

        She spoke not a word about firefighters, except that she sent a note to John Fox saying she never meant to threaten anybody and “if you construed anything I said that way, I apologize.” I guess he is just thin-skinned and not careful about the way he construes things.

        All in all, it was quite a spectacle.

        Those of us who love this city are hoping our suburban neighbors will visit us, dining in our fine restaurants, shopping at our retail stores, buying tickets to concerts. We hope some will decide to live here. Because we could sure use more players and fewer spectators.

        But, of course, what is happening in our city is not really a game. It's more like theater. And I mean that in the sense of a tragedy.

        E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393.


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