Thursday, May 22, 2003

WLW host would ship beggars to West Chester

Suburban Insider

Compiled By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

When it seemed like a proposal to register panhandlers in Cincinnati might stall, West Chester Township was briefly pulled into the fray.

Radio talk show host Bill Cunningham of WLW-AM announced on the air Monday he would take action to remove beggars if Cincinnati didn't. Recently, he said, "bums, vagrants and panhandlers" would be rounded up "in a derelict rodeo round-up of sorts" and bused from downtown Cincinnati to an area of the Tristate "that many consider the new and future downtown, West Chester."

WLW would supply the bus, malt liquor and cheap wine for the one-way, 20-mile trip, Cunningham claimed.

"West Chester, until recently just a lot of farmland with weeds, has now become a mecca of new office buildings, hotels, restaurants and shopping," read a radio station press release.

"In fact, thousands of acres remain for development. There is no better place for the bums to meet with people of money and, as an added benefit, the vacant land is perfect for a new shantytown to be created in the former wilds of the Buckeye State."

Darryl Parks, WLW's director of AM operations, insisted the plan was genuine, not a gimmick or prank.

West Chester officials were flooded with calls this week from frantic residents seeking clarification. But most leaders were amused and not taking Cunningham too seriously.

"He just does stuff like this to have people listen to his radio show," Administrator Dave Gully said.

Jennifer Edwards

• • •      • • •      • • •

Reading Road re-blighting? Now here's a heckuva start.

Evendale Mayor Douglas Lohmeier and Reading Road property owners clashed when the Village Council decided to designate 130 Reading Road properties as blighted. Then the council took it back, repealing the designation that was part of an urban renewal plan adopted in 2001.

But business owners didn't have time to give much of a hurrah. Another urban renewal plan, which could mean another blight designation, is before planning commissioners.

Dan Regenold and Bruce Hassel, representing the Reading Road property owners, have asked to speak to the mayor so that they could provide input. But, thus far, the mayor isn't interested in hearing their remarks outside of council chambers.

Susan Vela

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