Wednesday, October 16, 2002

Cranley takes aim at interchange


A post as Cincinnati's representative to the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments has never been the most glamorous assignment.

So when Councilman John Cranley begged Pat DeWine to let him take over the job, his colleagues on City Council thought he was crazy.

Crazy like a Fox.

Mr. Cranley said his first priority is to kill the proposed Michael A. Fox interchange at Interstate 75. The Butler County commissioner for whom the highway is named wants the interchange included in OKI's list of priorities, beginning the long, bureaucratic process of gaining state and federal approval.

"I will openly say that the first thing on my agenda is to stop the Liberty Township exit," Mr. Cranley announced. "(Mr. Fox) obviously wants it and thinks he needs it, and I'm concerned that it will take jobs and opportunities away from Hamilton County and move them to Butler County."

When told of Mr. Cranley's agenda Tuesday, Mr. Fox said: "Tell him I think he and some other council members are doing too good of a job on their own killing Cincinnati. They don't need our help. And you can quote me on that.

"I think the very idea that they define our success as the cause of their failure speaks to how hollow and shallow their approach to development is."

Mr. Cranley wants to forge a coalition of first-ring suburbs to kill the interchange and any other transportation projects that he thinks would promote sprawl. After all, he said, a new northern mall would hurt Tri-County Mall, Kenwood Towne Centre and the mall formerly known as Forest Fair.

Instead, he wants new Cincinnati interchanges on Interstate 71 that would promote shopping in Oakley and redevelopment in Walnut Hills.

Mr. Fox warns that Mr. Cranley's strategy could backfire.

"I don't believe it would be in Cincinnati's interest to declare war on the suburbs," he said. "John Cranley cannot stop growth in Butler County anymore than he can stop the rising of the sun."

Broadcast news: Jay Shatz, the host of WCPO-TV's "Around the House," has profiled some of Cincinnati's most beautiful, historic and expensive homes.

This Sunday, as part of what he calls "politicians' month," he will profile a $128,500 tax-abated West End condo owned by Mayor Charlie Luken.

It's admittedly not as nice as Gov. Bob Taft's mansion in Bexley, or the Liberty Township home of Ohio Treasurer Joe Deters, profiled earlier this month.

"I asked the mayor's permission to call it a bachelor pad, because that's what it looks like," Mr. Shatz said. "I don't think anyone will confuse it with the Indian Hill mansions we usually profile."

It certainly doesn't stack up - in architecture or in political lore - to the mansion Mr. Shatz will profile Oct. 24.

He will travel to Frankfort and the governor's mansion of Kentucky's Paul Patton.

The show airs at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

Garbage in, garbage out: With City Council preoccupied lately with littering and cleanliness in city neighborhoods, Mr. DeWine has an observation:

Road signs warn that the fine for illegal dumping is $50.

The minimum cost to dump a load of garbage at Rumpke is $66.

"So it seems to me we're actually inviting people to illegally dump," Mr. DeWine said.

Actually, the city fine for illegal dumping is as much as $1,000, and has been since at least 1975.

Mr. DeWine suggests the city change the signs with the times.

City Hall reporter Gregory Korte can be reached at 768-8391 or

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