Nobody likes crime, but most people don't do anything about crime until they are a victim of it. Cincinnati School Board member Melanie Bates and the people of North Avondale are prime examples of people sitting by and doing nothing about crime until it affects them. Now that Melanie's husband, Phillip Bates, was shot and killed, Melanie and her family have so much to say about crime in Cincinnati. (Something about Phil's death is fishy.) Where was Melanie before when Black people were getting shot down in the streets? And where was City Council?
The Cincinnati Enquirer's Dan Klepal would like you to believe that people from all over the city have come together to demand that Council do something to stop crime. (story) It's not true. Just like Melanie and her North Avondale neighbors didn't lift a finger to help when Maurice Kennedy got killed and the people of Price Hill asked for help, the people of Price Hill aren't mobilizing to help their neighbors in North Avondale. It's always like this.
Another thing that's constant is how poor people from another part of town always get blamed for these upswings in crime. Pete Witte blames poor people moving into the neighborhood from Over The Rhine and the West End for Price Hill's crime problems. And some people, like Maureen Mello, blames a police task force operating in Over The Rhine, Walnut Hills and some West Side neighborhoods for running criminals to North Avondale.
I've been listening to Black talk radio lately (in addition to talking to lots of Black people everyday) and I get the sense that an awful lot of Black people feel sorry for Melanie but they think: (1) Melanie has a lot of power in this city and could've raised her voice to help stop the violence destroying the Black community but never did so why should the Black community care about the death of her white husband and (2) the only reason the white media is paying so much attention to this story is because Phil Bates was white.
Let's look at a few lines from Dan's story.
They were black and white, old and young, loud and quiet.
Scores of people came to City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee meeting Tuesday night to prod and plead for more efforts to reduce crime, specifically violent crime that has risen in some neighborhoods.
I watched part of the meeting on CitiCable and can tell you that scores of people came to blast this worthless City Council for pandering to white voters, downplaying and mostly ignoring the crime problem in the Black community, and, in the case of Jeff Berding and Leslie Ghiz pimping the crime issue to get themselves reelected and get a new jail built. (How is it that Berding and Todd Portune both support raising the sales tax to build a new jail, and both supported raising the sales tax to build two new stadiums, yet don't get held accountable for their positions?)
More than 100 people attended the meeting at the Hirsch Community Center.
John Eby came from Westwood to say his piece.
"Three years ago, about 100 people came down and politely asked council to do something about crime," Eby said. "We were told you would bring together all the resources of the city.
"Now we are 240 more murders into this thing, and that is unacceptable. There's a velvet rope that separates you from us, and there's a disconnect between us."
New security measures were recently added at Cincinnati City Hall, including a movie-theater style barrier that separates citizens from council members.
John makes a good point about the disconnect between the people and the Council. Members of Council don't have to connect with the people. They don't run in districts, they run citywide. The only people they answer to are the moneyboys like Carl Lindner. That's part of the reason why you see Berding screaming and yelling in Council meetings about how desperately we need a tax increase to build a new jail. To listen to Berding, a new jail will solve all of our problems. Reasonable people know this isn't the case, just like building the new stadiums downtown didn't fix the problems in downtown. But the jail rhetoric sounds good to the people who bought Jeff a seat on Council so I expect nothing less from him.
What happened to the 100 people who went down to Council with Eby? Did they become uninvolved in the process when they saw Eby use them as a springboard to Council? And didn't Eby, Pete Witte and POWR PAC endorse 5 of the current members of Council? At the time they made their endorsements, they said they had nothing to do with race. So what do they do if the people they endorsed fail to deliver results?
Tracie Hunter, of Avondale, agreed there is a divide - race and class.
Philip Bates, a prominent member of the North Avondale community and husband of Cincinnati School Board member Melanie Bates, was shot to death on his porch on an upscale street Aug. 27, after returning home from a memorial for another murder victim.
Since then, there have been a series of robberies, home invasions and other crimes in the more-affluent North Avondale neighborhood that have brought people together to talk about the issue and demand action from city council.
"Why wasn't there a summit after that (African-American) grandmother was gunned down at a bus stop?" Hunter said. "She wasn't dealing drugs. We must stop allowing leadership to value some lives over others."
Melanie Bates said she wants all citizens to work together, to reduce crime throughout the city.
"I'm taking great comfort in all the communities coming together," Bates said. "It's action."
Tracie Hunter aka The Devil Lady raised an important point: some lives are more important to Council and the City's leadership than other lives... Again, if Melanie really wants all citizens to work together to reduce crime throughout the city, why is she only now speaking about it. It reminds me of former Cincinnati Police Department Lt. Col. Ron Twitty. Remember when his son was killed and he promised that he'd be involved in helping to fight crime. What happened? I predict Melanie will use her husband's death to launch a bid for Council. This talk of citizen crime fighting will fade away just like it did with Twitty, Witte, Eby, and Kennedy.