Monday, November 11, 2002

Team up to fire the monitor

Anyone who reads Superman comics knows that being invaded by Mars can be a good thing if it gets all the Earthlings to quit killing each other and join forces to fight the alien invader.

So thank you, Alan Kalmanoff, for being Cincinnati's favorite Martian. Mr. Kalmanoff comes from Berkeley, Calif. - which is as far from Cincinnati as Mars. His bill proves he's living on another planet. And after only a month as the "monitor'' of our police and race problems, he has everyone in Cincinnati so mad, we might join forces - to dump the monitor.

Mad as heck

City Council was insulted by the way he brushed off questions. Then he billed for $55,000, including charges for packing his suitcase, answering e-mail and going to dinners.

"The days that we will be pushed over are over,'' said John Cranley.

Pat DeWine and others threatened to blow up the "historic'' collaborative agreement if Mr. Kalmanoff is not dumped. They all voted to fire him.

One problem. They signed away that power to federal judge Susan Dlott, who picked him. And Mr. DeWine discovered on Friday that Mr. Kalmanoff was one of the finalists sent to Judge Dlott - by the city.

"It's embarrassing,'' he said, "but I still think it is in everyone's best interest to remove him.''

Another problem: The city is also at the mercy of the other collaborators - the Fraternal Order of Police, the Black United Front, the ACLU and the Department of Justice.

"I was surprised she picked this guy,'' said Roger Webster of the FOP. "He was not on our list. The way she explained it, he wasn't at the top of anyone's list, but she felt he was the best for the job.''

Ken Lawson, spokesman for BUF, said Mr. Kalmanoff was not on their list, either.

"Some of the things on that bill were just stupid,'' he said. "He wasn't our choice, but you have a process to follow.''

Nobody called

There's the chapped spot. Mr. Webster and Mr. Lawson were never consulted about firing the monitor. "It irritates me that the city has not even contacted us,'' said Mr. Webster.

Mr. Lawson said, "What I was angry at is that the city doesn't understand they don't run it. If everybody called and talked with each other and we all say `Hey, this bill is crazy,' that's different.

"I can guarantee you they can't tell this guy to stop working.''

But wait - this is good news. Who could have guessed that Mr. Kalmanoff could unite council - and even get the FOP and the BUF to agree.

Judge Dlott isn't talking. But if she sticks the city with Mr. Kalmanoff, the "historic'' deal is probably doomed.

The solution is comic-book obvious: City officials should meet with the collaborators and ask them - politely - to join forces and tell the judge she reached too far into the apple barrel and pulled out a lemon.

Oops: Last Friday I reported that Detroit had 42 homicides last year. That is the adjusted rate of homicides per 100,000 residents. The actual number is close to 400, according to Detroit media.

E-mail or call 768-8301.

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