Wednesday, November 20, 2002

City Hall

First choice for monitor said `no'


Dr. Alan Kalmanoff, who resigned last week as the monitor overseeing Cincinnati's two historic police reform agreements, wasn't the first applicant to back down from the job.

Documents obtained by The Cincinnati Enquirer Tuesday reveal that another applicant for the monitor's job passed on the appointment shortly before it was offered in August.

Saul Green, the former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan, was the unanimous choice of all four parties to the police reform agreements: the City of Cincinnati, the Cincinnati Black United Front, the Fraternal Order of Police and the U.S. Justice Department.

There was just one string attached: Mr. Green had to agree to take on Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andrew Douglas as a deputy monitor.

Mr. Green met with Justice Douglas, and declined the position. According to a Sept. 20 letter from city general counsel Billy Martin to U.S. District Judge Susan Dlott: "Mr. Green concluded that, among other issues, he envisioned a `hands on' operational deputy position that he felt would not be appropriate for Justice Douglas."

Being a co-monitor was never an issue for Justice Douglas, a former Toledo City Councilman soon to retire from the state's high court after 18 years because of age limits. In a July 15 letter to the Justice Department, he elaborated on the benefits of such an arrangement:

"I would be willing and pleased to be a co-monitor with any other team chosen by the parties ... A joint monitorship might be the best approach. Such an approach would save organizational time and could provide the parties the best use of our various skills."

The parties to the Collaborative Agreement on police-community relations agreed.

The Fraternal Order of Police and the Black United Front liked Justice Douglas - the FOP for his opinions supporting police and unions, and the BUF for his opinions on civil rights - and would likely have agreed to have Justice Douglas as the sole monitor.

But the Justice Department and the city, which signed a separate agreement on the police use of force, apparently thought he lacked the technical expertise to do the number-crunching and data analysis that the federal agreement would require. They insisted on teaming him with a more experienced monitor.

They recommended Dr. Kalmanoff, only to have City Council run him out of town after a dispute over his billing and the scope of his work.

Look for Justice Douglas to be teamed with another monitor candidate - perhaps the Virginia-based Alexandria Group - when the parties meet with Judge Dlott Friday.

Your tax money: Any time a city official proposes changing the tax code to bring in more money, the first argument you'll hear is: "Other cities do it, so why shouldn't we?"

Councilman David Pepper cites Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and St. Louis when he argues that Cincinnati ought to be able to tax visiting athletes and performers in what's being called the "jock tax." Those other cities charge Ken Griffey Jr. and Takeo Spikes for playing there, so why shouldn't we tax their athletes?

Cincinnati was one of those "other cities" last week when New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed a new "commuter tax," applying his city's income tax to nonresidents.

"As a matter of fact, it is the general policy throughout this country for municipalities that have income taxes to charge nonresidents," Mr. Bloomberg said. "Cities like Los Angeles, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Daytona, St. Louis, Newark, Kansas City, San Francisco, Yonkers - all tax nonresidents the same way as they do residents. ... So taxing nonresidents is not something new."

Mr. Pepper wasn't surprised. "I guess the moral is, the grass is always greener in other cities," he said.

City Hall reporter Gregory Korte can be reached at 768-8391 or

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