Sunday, August 24, 2003

Hot Corner

Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

Mr. Fix-It-All

The NAACP's local chapter this week called on Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken to settle the 2-year-old economic boycott of downtown. Never mind that it's not his boycott to end, or that the fragmented boycott groups' demands are as confusing, contradictory and changeable as the California recall ballot. As Ah-nold would say, No problemo. Just Do It, says the NAACP. OK.

Well, after Our Strong Mayor has Just Done It, here are some other weighty tasks he can push over with one bulging bicep tied behind his back:

• The Bridge - Newport's end of the Purple People Bridge is a clean, colorful, walker-friendly gateway of festive flowers. Cincinnati's resembles a bombed-out Baghdad parking lot.

• The Banks - That oasis of riverfront residential charm we were promised has become the Sea of Surface Parking we feared.

• The Reds - They need help at third base, a true leadoff hitter, a home run slugger, a Cy Young-caliber starter and a real closer. Dust off your uniform, Charlie.

• The Grid - While the politicos squabble, Charlie should strap on his utility belt and fix the nation's transmission lines to make them blackout-proof. Power to the People.

There oughta be a law(yer)

And you thought only you had trouble getting a lawyer to do what you want.

Commissioners aren't any better off. The two lawyers on the Hamilton County Commission fired their state-authorized legal counsel, Prosecutor Mike Allen. Commissioners Todd Portune and Phil Heimlich couldn't get Allen to staff their meetings, and he would only give a legal opinion if two of the three commissioners asked for it. Answers could take weeks.

Allen's office supplied the Ohio Ethics Commission with information that sided with those saying Portune has a conflict of interest on Bengals matters because of his lawsuit against the club. Allen didn't warn commissioners in advance. Independently elected, he says he represents "the board," not individual commissioners.

In other words, he'd represent them on his terms, not theirs. With a $2 billion budget, they wanted instant counsel at meetings. He wouldn't put a lawyer in the room. Hired help can be uppity these days.

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Hot Corner: Nipping at the heels of the newsmakers

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