Thursday, September 21, 2000

Be very afraid

City takes interest in The Banks

        I wonder what might happen if the members of Cincinnati City Council devoted themselves wholeheartedly to my garbage. What if these public servants worked as diligently on this matter as they do on, say, development of the riverfront? What if my garbage were given the same careful attention and signature leadership as downtown retail?

        I would be knee-deep in LaRosa's pizza boxes and Diet Pepsi cans.

        My garbage would be discussed and pondered and analyzed. It would be referred to committees. But nothing would happen to the actual garbage.

Delayed reaction
        Right now, it is collected promptly every Tuesday. I am quite certain that if sanitation procedures came to the attention of this august body that collection day would be Wednesday or Thursday. Friday at the very latest. The following Monday for sure.

        Phil Heimlich would demand that a private company be hired to count my yogurt cartons.

        Paul Booth would check to see whether any federal regulations have been violated. Meanwhile, he would consider the idea of having his own personal garbage sent to a suburban location.

        Jim Tarbell would give a brief history of garbage collection. Well, a history. He would be dressed as a historic garbage collector.

        Former Mayor Dwight Tillery would meet with Minette Cooper at Sugar 'n Spice Restaurant to pass along his advice.

        Alicia Reece would call for a public hearing.

        Charles Winburn would make a speech. Two of them. No, make that three.

        Todd Portune would demand better communication from the city manager.

        “Why, Mr. Shirey, were we not informed that certain garbage is collected on certain days and certain other garbage is collected days later?”

        John Shirey would allow himself a tired sigh and respectfully refer Mr. Portune to a previous memo.

        Mayor Charlie Luken would allow himself a sympathetic sigh, careful not to roll his eyes as well.

Vermin convention
        Meanwhile, the flies would be gathering, the rats having a banquet and stray dogs ordering carryout.

        But just now, Cincinnati City Council has no interest in my garbage. Instead, it is devoting its energy to the land between our billion-dollar sports palaces, land in danger of becoming a permanent parking lot.

        An expanded port authority, whose membership would be controlled jointly by the city and the county, would oversee development of The Banks, a neighborhood of parks, shopping, housing and entertainment in place of the sea of asphalt.

        Some council members objected to the board having taxing authority. So this power was removed.

        “That ought to be the end of the discussion,” Councilman Pat DeWine said. Bless his heart. Hasn't he noticed there is never an end to discussion? Discussion is what this group does most, if not best.

        This is exactly why a port authority is needed. Developers are not entertained by the exhibition of oratory and delay we have grown to expect whenever Cincinnati's City Council lavishes its attention on something.

        When The Banks first was presented to city and county officials, the proposal was greeted enthusiastically. Green space and glamour instead of pavement. A standing ovation. They loved it.

        And now the city appears ready to love it to death.

       E-mail Laura at or call 768-8393.


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