Tuesday, October 21, 2003

Inside City Hall

Ministry tied to political action groups

Cincinnati City Council is considering a $4,332 grant to 1919 Paradigm Ministries Inc., an Avondale organization that would put young men to work cleaning up Burton Avenue, Greenwood Avenue, Martin Luther King Driveand Reading Road.

At the same time, a flier is circulating in Avondale and surrounding neighborhoods from an organization called Pic Six and Quit. The group wants to elect six - and only six - candidates for City Council: Howard H. Bond, Laketa Cole, Damon Lynch III, Sam Malone, Alicia Reece and Christopher Smitherman.

The connection: Pic Six and Quit purports to be affiliated with 1919 Paradigm Ministries, which is registered in Ohio as a church. To keep its non-profit status, its bylaws forbid it from participating in political campaigns.

Councilman David Pepper, whose Neighborhood & Public Works Committee approved the grant, said the only connection between the two is that Pic Six members were graduates of the 1919 Paradigm program.

But the flier lists Antwoine Meyers as the secretary of Pic Six, and business registration records at the Ohio Secretary of State list the same Meyers as the director and statutory agent of 1919 Paradigm.

Another problem: Pic Six is soliciting campaign contributions. As of Friday, the organization had not filed the required declaration of treasurer statement with the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said elections director Julie Stautberg.

Meyers did not return calls seeking comment.

Action Jackson

Don't tell Elizabeth Sherwood of College Hill that Charlie Luken is not a strong mayor.

With the ongoing turmoil in the Department of Community Development and Planning, Assistant City Manager Deborah Holston promoted Tom Jackson to succeed the retiring Susan Paddock as acting program manager for workforce development.

But Jackson has been working to bring development to the corner of Hamilton Avenue and West North Bend Road. Some previous City Hall liaisons never visited College Hill, neighborhood business leaders say.

Sherwood wrote Luken to complain Oct. 6, saying Jackson is "invaluable." Four hours later, Luken wrote Sherwood to say Jackson was staying put.

"Did you fix that whole mess in a couple of hours? Whoa ... you are da man!" Sherwood wrote back.

"I ain't da man," Luken responded. "They just don't want to hear me yell."

Departing Community Development Director Peg Moertl said she shuffled some of Jackson's other responsibilities to keep him working with the neighborhood. "College Hill is right: Tom is aggressive and smart, and our goal is that he is available to them as much as he has been," she said.

Men behaving badly

The debate over Cincinnati's form of government almost turned violent at a public hearing in Bond Hill last week.

District election advocate Douglas Springs, 54, suddenly charged at Electoral Reform Commission member Elijah Scott, 76, and had to be held back by Art Slater, 60, a devotee of proportional representation.

The next public hearing is 6 p.m. Thursday at the Dunham Recreation Center, 1945 Dunham Way in Price Hill.

Contact City Hall reporter Gregory Korte at gkorte@enquirer.com or 768-8391.

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