Saturday, May 27, 2006

Smitherman's Back!

Having a Democratic majority on Cincinnati City Council has meant nothing in terms of ensuring inclusiveness and openness in the process of developing The Banks. The Old Boys Network and the corporate power brokers have had a free hand from Mayor Mark Mallory and his team. But former Councilman Christopher Smitherman is taking up the fight. In a letter to supporters (below), he defends the progressive principles that the city's "new" leadership seem to have forgotten.

— Gregory Flannery

Dear Smitherman Supporters,

There is a critical issue that has developed surrounding city council, the mayor, and The Banks project. The mayor cut a deal with Phil Heimlich by creating a five member board that will oversee a $700 million project called The Banks. The Cincinnati Enquirer called the Mayor's political move a "winning compromise." The Enquirer has indicated that council and the mayor are a great team.

The Reds CEO Robert Castellini was appointed the chair of the five member committee. County commissioners Phil Heimlich and Pat DeWine get a second appointment to the committee. 3CDC gets the third appointment. The fourth appointment was given to Castellini himself. The fifth appointment was the mayor of the city of Cincinnati. The mayor on 5-17-06 submitted Timothy H. Riordan to the Banks working group and it was approved by City Council. This last appointment sealed the fact that five white men, no African Americans, no Latinos and no women are part of the largest development that the region has seen in recent history. Having diverse boards is a major key to the success of our region.

The land that we are describing is between the Freedom Center and Paul Brown Stadium. Remember that when Paul Brown Stadium was built these same players promised that African Americans and women would get a piece of the action. Jeff Berding was a key architect of that deal. African American citizens in the last election went into the polls in large numbers and voted for the democrats in council right now and the democratic mayor. Now when $700 million are on the table council and the mayor did not find it fitting to include us in the deal. The mayor and council has recently stated they are not changing anything. These same politicians will come out to your churches and parades in 2007 and we will vote for them again ! and again We seem to not get it.

The city is 45% African American. The mayor and council will play like they are surprised when African Americans don't support the project when it is complete. African Americans are not stakeholders and they have not been stakeholders on other projects. Why would we support the project?

The action item is to send out your own e-mail about this issue to your entire e-mail list. Please do something. These are the first baby steps to making change in our community. Whether you are white or black, these are your issues and these are the kinds of decisions that tear us apart as a community.

Christopher Smitherman

PS: Our focus should be on voting out the majority of council. The banks project is the back drop. The larger issue is who we elected in the last election. Council confirmed Tim Riordan as the appointment and you have verbally heard very little from the council members stating that this is wrong.


  • Smitherman said:
    "PS: Our focus should be on voting out the majority of council."

    I've had a Smitherman sticker on my car since I met him up at Tarbell's next-door neighbor--both in my block down here in OTR--before Smitherman actually got elected to City Council.

    My problem with Smitherman is that he can't focus, which explains why he talks about focusing.
    The above quote from him ought to make my case.
    If I were a psychiatrist, I'd be able to give a fancy name to Smitherman's condition.

    By Anonymous david gallaher, at 8:22 PM  

  • Open Comment to Christopher Smitherman

    You failed miserably in your position as a City Council member. Failed to the point you were yourself voted out of office.You have to bring race into ever argument. It is all you ever do.

    Our Mayor chose who he felt was best for the project. He did not look at color of skin, but by the qualities needed to get this project done.

    What you want is one of your 5 or so powerful black so called leaders to get a piece of the action. If you want people of color to get something out of the Banks why not channel your efforts to get young black youths trained to take skilled jobs when the project starts instead of whining about who is one the board.

    Christopher Smitherman you have done nothing to help heal the riff between communities and just want to advance your own personal agenda by exploiting racism. You are a racist.

    The Mayor was elected by all people of the City to do a job. Now that he is doing it you want to dictate to him what needs to be done. Let him lead as we voted him to do.

    Mr. Smitherman why don't you crawl back to the hole you emanate from and let the people of this city forge ahead and once again learn to be a community of people.

    We are tired of people like yourself just playing the race card, the game is over. We want a fair and balanced city and people of all colors to lead and be a part of it based on their qualities, not the color of their skin.


    By Blogger JoRoJen, at 10:09 AM  

  • Greg: As a presumed Smitherman Supporter, please cite a single organizational body that succeeded as a result of ethnic or racial diversity?

    I thought we were to be judged by the content of our character (capability), not the color of our skin?

    Smitherman's still an idiot. Tim Riordan is an impeccable choice. Fascinating no one crapping on the selection of these 5 individuals ever cites or suggests who should be there instead? Steve Reece? Ken Price? Jim Clingman? Damon Lynch? All have claimed or tried to claim a developmental mantle but have failed.

    If something's to be said about Leeper's past performance then please report upon it. But re-treading Smitherman's paeans makes your blog no better than The Enquirer's virtual fax-upon-demand delivery service of Pepper's tomes.

    By Blogger Alicia Doesn't Live Here Anymore, at 5:59 PM  

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