Tuesday, September 30, 2003

Inside City Hall

Reds great Robinson a hit with Luken

Mayor Charlie Luken issues hundreds of proclamations each year, and gives away enough keys to the city to open a locksmith shop.

But none compare with the honors he lavished on Hall of Famer Frank Robinson.

In a short City Hall ceremony before Robinson's statue was unveiled at Great American Ball Park on Friday afternoon, Luken said he had been looking forward to meeting Robinson since returning to politics in 1999.

"I've met movie stars and presidents, and nothing can compare to this day," he said. "I'm not just making this up, folks. This is one of the great moments of my career."

Robinson, who spent 10 years in Cincinnati before being sent to Baltimore in the worst Reds trade since Christy Mathewson for Amos Rusie, said he was "devastated" at his treatment by then-general manager Bill DeWitt.

"I guess I grew angry at the organization here and stayed away," the Montreal Expos manager said. "Now that I have the key to the city, I can come back any time I want to."

• • •

Cue Will Rogers: In a letter to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio Democratic Party chairman Denny White clarifies that he supports all seven Democratic candidates for Cincinnati City Council.

Some Democrats interpreted his remarks this month at an Alicia Reece fund-raiser - that he wanted Reece to finish first and that union members should withhold support from officeholders with whom they disagree - to the contrary.

Councilman David Crowley - whose union voting record is every bit as solid as Reece's - wanted at least an invitation and an honorable mention from the state chairman.

But when Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe came to Cincinnati last week to talk about President Bush's economic record, only Reece was invited - leaving Crowley and the other Democrats out in the cold once again.

• • •

Truth detector: After Councilman Pat DeWine went on record opposing the new security measures at City Hall, Reece felt the need to defend the armed guards and metal detectors.

"We have a woman working at the front desk of City Hall who's not exactly a black belt in karate," the vice mayor said.

Actually, the receptionist is Debra Vitt, and it so happens she does have a black belt in karate.

• • •

Quotable: "There are a lot of people in this city who had lost faith in the Police Department - not because of anything individual police officers have done, but because of the procedures. I know I'm not making any friends with that position in this room."

- City Council candidate Nick Spencer, a Charterite, on the Collaborative Agreement before being booed and asked to "sit down" at a Westwood neighborhood meeting last week.

• • •

Calendar: City architect Bob Richardson will hold a second public hearing Wednesday to reconsider his decision blocking construction of developer Craig Hilsinger's $20 million condominium project in East Price Hill.

This time, the hearing will be at 7 p.m., after some supporters of the project complained they couldn't make a 2 p.m. meeting.

The hearing will be in the Centennial Two Building, 805 Central Ave.


E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com or call 768-8391.

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