Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Forum puts boycott front and center

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

AVONDALE - Candidates for Cincinnati City Council Monday called on the current council to negotiate the demands of civil rights groups boycotting the city.

The newest call for negotiating the boycott came from Charterite Nick Spencer, who said too many candidates - himself included - have been silent on the issue for too long.

Spencer and other non-incumbent candidates addressed the issue of the two-year-old boycott at an Avondale forum sponsored by the Concerned Citizens for Justice, which has endorsed the boycott. The boycott began after the 2001 riots and was an effort to force the city to deal with issues of policing and economic disparities in the black community.

Independent candidate Damon Lynch III, whose Black United Front is one of many factions supporting the boycott, said electing a pro-boycott council member may be the only way to get City Council to address the issues.

"There needs to be an elected voice that speaks to the issues of the boycott," he said. "I have talked to elected officials across the country, and it blows their minds when I tell them our elected leaders won't talk to people they say they represent."

The audience of about 60 people seemed overwhelmingly in favor of the boycott, and the candidates choosing to attend - three Charterites, three independents, a Republican and a Democrat - were mostly sympathetic.

E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com

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