Monday, February 24, 2003

West End council waits impatiently

$10,000 sought from city for more security

By Jane Prendergast
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Almost two months after West End residents asked the city for $10,000 to hire private security to boost neighborhood safety, the community council is still waiting for an answer.

After two homicides in the neighborhood in three days in January, West End leaders said they needed more protection than the police department has time to give.

So President Dale Mallory tossed out a plan: hire private security officers to help police.

The police department responded to the neighborhood outcry over the killings by temporarily assigning extra officers to the West End on overtime. Mallory praised that effort, saying the neighborhood had stayed relatively quiet since.

But he wants to keep it that way, and he hasn't heard anything about the $10,000.

Toni Selvey-Maddox, of the city's community development department, said her office has been working with the city's law department on the issue. She said the community's request must go before City Council for approval because it is "not consistent" with council's previous directive for the money, which came from a deal 22 years ago with Automatic Data Processing. The neighborhood business agreed to pay for programs in lieu of paying property taxes.

Council, Selvey-Maddox said, has ruled that money must be used to further development. She said she expects to present the request to council in about two weeks.

"No," Mallory said Sunday. "No. We cannot wait that long."

He said he has been "as patient and as diplomatic as humanly possible," but that he has set his own deadline - Saturday. If he doesn't have an answer then, he'll head to City Hall to start asking Mayor Charlie Luken and other elected officials to intervene.

"This is our money - it's not like Pettus-Brown or anything," he said, referring to the city's $180,000 loan to former basketball star LaShawn Pettus-Brown, who has since defaulted and disappeared.

"I'm being patient with the system," Mallory said. "But it's long enough by now for everyone to have taken a look at this."


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