Tuesday, August 5, 2003

Korte: Inside City Hall

Sometimes, council pronouncements entertain

Anyone who's ever watched a Cincinnati City Council meeting knows that the solons of 801 Plum St. like to talk. A lot.

And anyone who talks that much is bound to say something stupid every once in a while - especially when taken out of context. Here, then, is the annual list of the top five malapropisms, derailed trains of thought and statements of the obvious at City Hall so far this year:

We hadn't noticed: "I've been an African-American woman my whole life."

- Councilwoman Minette Cooper, Feb. 5, explaining the difference between ethnic intimidation and a hate crime law protecting homosexual behavior. She later voted for an ordinance extending the hate crime law to gays and lesbians.

Grandma's pearls: "Like my grandmother used to say, 'The proof of the pudding is in the taste.' Or something like that. What she meant to say was.... I don't know what she meant."

- Mayor Charlie Luken, March 12, speaking on the topic of ... we forget what he was speaking about.

You're welcome: "I'd like to thank the mayor, Mr. (David) Pepper and myself for coming to a press conference we had on Monday."

- Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, April 9, thanking herself for coming to her news conference on state budget cuts.

... And a Covington, and a Norwood, and a Blue Ash: "What we need in Cincinnati is a Newport."

- City Manager Valerie Lemmie, April 24, explaining the proposals of the Economic Development Task Force to the Enquirer editorial board. She meant to say "a new port authority."

Explain again why this is a good thing: "We're voting today to take money from retarded kids."

- Councilman John Cranley, July 25, explaining his support for City Council's vote to give $52.2 million in incentives to Convergys Corp. from future property tax revenues. Cranley reluctantly supported the plan, saying that when City Council takes money from taxes that go to mentally retarded children, it should be for a really, really good cause.

• • •

Back in commission: Luken will try to pick up the pieces of the proposed Electoral Reform Commission today, naming his appointments to the 13-member panel. The group will study whether council members should be elected by districts, by preference voting or by a hybrid system.

Don Mooney Jr. - a Democrat who's chairman of the Cincinnati Planning Commission - will chair the reform panel, Luken said. Beyond that, he declined to name the other three appointments Monday.

Luken had called a halt to the process in June after the three major political parties failed to nominate more than two African-American members among them.

"At this point, we do have to move forward," said Reece, a co-sponsor of the resolution to create the commission. "The alternative is a push by Republicans who wouldn't even put African-Americans or women on the commission. So why would we trust them to draw the lines?"


City Hall reporter Gregory Korte can be reached at gkorte@enquirer.com or 768-8391.

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