Saturday, August 30, 2003

Lynch is not a resident, and Lindner is not cheap

Peter Bronson

The Three Stooges are having dinner. Moe chokes on the salad and asks, "Criminy, what did ya put in this?" Larry answers, "Vitamin L."

"I thought so," Curley says. "It sure tastes like L."

So here's your daily adult requirement of Vitamin L.

L is for Lynch. City Council candidate Pete Witte has challenged the residency of boycott leader the Rev. Damon Lynch III.

"If he's not willing to raise his family in Cincinnati, why should he serve on city council?" Witte asks.

Lynch has lived with his family in Woodlawn - until he decided to run for council. Then he registered to vote at a condo he owns in East Price Hill.The Hamilton County Board of Elections will consider it on Sept. 5. But don't hold your breath.

The residency rule has been a joke since 1999, when Councilman Paul Booth was challenged - and the Board of Elections voted 3-1 to ignore that Booth lived outside the city, while renting an apartment in Oakley, to run as a resident.

The Board of Elections is trapped. If they enforce the rule against Lynch, they will be accused of racism and revenge for his boycott.

If people who pretend to live in the city can be on council, non-residents who pay city taxes should get to vote in city elections.

L is for levy. Cincinnati Public Schools flunked its state report card, with test scores among the worst in Ohio. On the first day of school, a quarter of the students stayed home. Half were missing at some schools. So naturally, the school board gave Superintendent Alton Frailey a $6,800 raise, to $181,000.

They said Frailey was too new to be blamed for low scores. But he was not too new to get credit for passing a steep bond issue last November. One reason the board gave for his raise: "helping to pass and implement the $1 billion school rebuilding project."

Scores are slipping, students are skipping - but the money is pouring in, so the boss gets a raise.

At this rate, the city schools are well on the way to having the nicest half-empty classrooms of failing students in the state.

L is for Lindner. When the Reds traded Aaron Boone, I heard a New York sportswriter on ESPN say, "The people of Cincinnati rue the day that Marge Schott sold the Reds to Carl Lindner."

Maybe guys in New York know more about Cincinnati than people who actually live here. But I don't think so.

Reds fans cried for Ken Griffey Jr. So Lindner dug in his pockets and brought him to Cincinnati. Reds fans cried to keep Barry Larkin. Lindner gave them their wish.

And now the same ingrates are whining that Lindner doesn't spend enough.

So I asked the Reds owner about it. "I was hurt that I was called cheap in the press," he said.

Although usually quiet about his donations, he said that in the past 10 years he has donated $200 million to charities, with 80 percent going to the Cincinnati area. In the past year, he said, the Reds have lost $12 million.

The Reds are not a charity, and Lindner is not cheap - he just knows the difference between a millionaire athlete and, say, inner city kids who need a choice besides CPS.

If Cincinnati collected a $10 fine from everyone who whines about the Reds, we could raise enough dinero to buy the Yankees.

And they'd still whine about it on talk radio.

E-mail or call 768-8301.

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