Wednesday, April 2, 2003

City Hall

Bickering over collaborative membership likely at meeting


The Cincinnati Black United Front members want out of the "collaborative agreement."

The Fraternal Order of Police wants them in.

And City Council wants them out, but only if they take their lawyers with them.

Have a scorecard handy?

The big commotion at today's City Council meeting is likely to be Councilman David Pepper's attempt to have attorney Ken Lawson removed from the agreement on police reform.

Lawson says City Council is trying to muzzle him, and has taken to the airwaves on black-oriented radio stations urging people to protest at City Council today.

Pepper's argument is this: Lawson represents Kyle Ciminillo, a (white) University of Cincinnati student allegedly shot by police with a beanbag round during an out-of-control Stafford Avenue street party last May.

That lawsuit argues that the city should pay Ciminillo more than $500,000 for failing to follow the reforms in the agreement.

But Lawson, as a party to the agreement, is partly responsible for implementation of that agreement.

So if the Black United Front breaks away from the "collaborative agreement" because of a conflict of interest - its pursuit of a national boycott of Cincinnati - Lawson should go, too, Pepper argues.

The Fraternal Order of Police, another party to the police reform agreement, has never been overly cozy with the Black United Front.

In a motion filed with U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott Tuesday, FOP lawyer Don Hardin said the front's withdrawal will turn the agreement into a "sham."

After all, the whole reason the FOP voted for the agreement was the front's promise that it would be held mutually accountable for the community side of police-community relations.

And the city administration's response to this mess?

Solicitor J. Rita McNeil failed to file one by Tuesday's deadline.


Campaign trail: The Hamilton County Republican Party hasn't submitted a lineup card yet, but clubhouse sources say the starting nine for the GOP in the November City Council election will be heavy on right-handed batters:

John Connelly, 31, lawyer, Mount Washington; Terry Deters, 45, funeral director, West Price Hill; Pat DeWine, 35, lawyer, Hyde Park; Leslie Ghiz, 33, lawyer, Hyde Park; Tom Jones, 57, printer, North Avondale; Sam Malone, 32, banker, Bond Hill, Chris Monzel, 34, engineer, Winton Place; Barb Trauth, 55, artist, Hyde Park; Pete Witte, 34, small-business owner, West Price Hill.

GOP Chairman Michael Barrett did not return several phone calls. If the Republicans run nine, it would be the first time the GOP has run a full slate of candidates in at least a decade.


The Supremes: Cincinnati city Prosecutor Ernie McAdams Jr. has joined the list of lawyers seeking an appointment to the Ohio Supreme Court.

McAdams, 51, said he applied at the request of the Cincinnati Black Lawyers Association, which was dismayed that the 10 initial applicants for the seat were all white.

"I don't want to talk about it now," McAdams said. "I was quite honored to be asked. But I know it's a long shot and I'm very happy with the job I have."

McAdams, who doesn't deny judicial aspirations at some point in the future, is also one of the few Democrats to apply. Gov. Bob Taft will make the appointment, assuming the U.S. Senate confirms current Justice Deborah Cook to a seat on the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.


Bachelor No. 5: Councilman Pepper, a 31-year-old lawyer at a top Fourth Street law firm, finished a disappointing fifth in WCPO-TV's "Cincinnati's Most Eligible Bachelor" poll last November, a tie-in to "The Bachelor," a series on ABC.

But he must have impressed Andrea Canning, the Channel 9 reporter who did the segment. Pepper took Canning as his date to the Cincinnati Fire Department's 150th Anniversary Ball at the Cincinnati Museum Center last Saturday.

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

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