Monday, December 31, 2007

Blogroll Update

I'm ending the year with a big revision to my blogroll (it's that section in my sidebar labeled "I Read".) It's not a complete list of everything I read, but it's what I find to be consistently good or relevant. For those of you reading this via RSS, I'll provide the entire list here. Items with a star are new to the list today. I've found some really great new blogs this year and I'm looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the next year.

* Around and About

Building Cincinnati

Buy Cincy

Chris Glass

* Cincinnati, As I See It

Cincinnati Blog

Columbus RetroMetro

CoolTown Studios

* Design Cincinnati

* ekalb

* GetCincy

Live Green Cincinnati

* New to Cincinnati


* Porkopolis (CityBeat)

* Queen City Survey

Report This! (Joe Wessels)

* RRD Photo


The Cincinnati Beacon

* The 'Nati Life

The 'Nati (Joe Hansbauer)



Also, (if you're reading in a feed reader) you may not have noticed that I have a "Recently Shared Items" widget over there in the sidebar as well. This is a feed of all the items that I "share" while reading my feeds in Google Reader. I try to highlight things that I think people might not otherwise see. It has a lot of Cincinnati stuff in it, but there are other things mixed in too. You can read the feed at this page, or subscribe to it with this feed link.

Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Gateway Quarter featured on CoolTown Studios

The 'Q' was featured today in a short blurb on CoolTown Studios, one of my favorite blogs.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The Lions Rampant

It's funny how things can move into your consciousness really rapidly sometimes. A couple weeks ago, when I went to The Mad Hatter I had never heard of The Lions Rampant. In the Mad Hatter men's room there were several of the band's stickers and I thought they were pretty cool looking so I actually bothered to try to remember the name. I did manage to remember the name long enough to go home and google it and I checked out their website. It said that they were "blues infused, garage brewed rock n roll" and that was enough to get me to download the mp3s they have on the site. So, I listened to 'em and liked 'em. Then just a couple days later I read that The Lions Rampant were going to be on an upcoming Lounge Acts. And then I saw them listed in this post on EachNoteSecure's favorite music of 2007. Now whenever I see the name it jumps out at me and I'm seeing it everywhere. I've listened to pretty many of their songs at this point from various places and I have to say I'd probably go see them play if I had the chance. Their next show is this weekend in Indianapolis, then they'll be going to Philly and then Dayton.

See Also:

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Tomorrow Night -- One World Wednesday: Canada

One World Wednesday - Canada:
One World Wednesdays at the Cincinnati Art Museum are the hottest cultural event in town for young professionals. This month we bring you the culture of Canada.

- Live performance by Siqiniup Qilanta, Inuit
Throat Singers from Ottowa, Canada
- Canadian tunes spun by DJ Splotty Kaeco
- Fashion Show by Dillards of Nygaard and other Canadian designers
- Art making
- Gallery strolls
- And more

Admission is free for museum members and $8 for non-members and includes 2 free drink samples. Free parking is available at the museum.


Full Season:

Sunday, December 02, 2007

BOE needs a smack upside its head

It'd be hilarious if it weren't so soul-crushingly disappointing.

Ars Technica reports on ( and rightly mocks ) this story involving the Board of Elections in Cuyahoga County near Cleveland. ( original story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer )

This is surreal. The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports (via TechDirt) that Ohio's Cuyahoga County—ground zero in the nationwide e-voting debacle that I've been chronicling here at Ars—is holding a "recount" of their November 6 local elections by going back to the memory cards in their Diebold touchscreen voting machines and reprinting all the paper ballots, so that they can tabulate paper copies of the votes in compliance with a law that defines the paper record as the only official record of the vote. How stupid is this idea?

This is like printing out all of your bank statements from Quicken, and totaling it all up by hand because you don't trust that the software is displaying your real balance on the screen... no, actually, it's even dumber than that. Let me see if I can explain.

And the worst part is that our new Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has approved this as a perfectly logical and appropriate course of action! Either she truly mis-understands the concept of a Voter Verified Paper Trail, or she is willfully ignoring it. I don't know what to say. It is truly ridiculous. I never thought my confidence in the integrity of the electoral process would actually go DOWN after we managed to get Ken Blackwell out.

"When I'm faced with the situation where counting the actual ballot may result in not counting all the votes, I think the public would prefer me to err on the side of counting all the votes," she said.

Here is the problem: they are assuming that the votes on the memory card are correct.

The way it is supposed to work is when a voter casts their vote, they see a printout and confirm that it is what they really voted. Then these printouts are preserved as the true record of the vote. They are "voter-verified". They are to be used if the integrity of the electronic records is suspect.

Instead of using the paper votes as the true record, they are using the electronic votes as the true record. This is the opposite of what should happen because the electronic votes are not "voter verified".

Also, if the electronic votes are assumed to be correct, printing them out has no effect on their validity. In fact, printing will likely introduce more errors to the counting process than simply using software to count. They are saying that they trust the software to record all the votes, but not add up how many of them there are.

Brunner explicitly states that she would rather count "all the votes" even if the votes being counted are the non-verified electronic votes, rather than count the official voter-verified paper votes which is what is required by law.

That is a serious problem if you ask me.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

More I-Team Coverage of Vine Street

Thanks to GetCincy I found out Laure Quinlivan was revisiting Vine street to examine its most recent developments. I didn't catch it on TV but the video is up on (transcript).

This is a much shorter and less in-depth report than the original 2001 Visions on Vine or the 2006 update. It focuses on Quinlivan's interview with Jean Robert and his plans to put a new restaurant in the "Gateway Quarter".

A lot of stores have recently opened in that area and a lot of condos are being built as well. I think it's pretty exciting myself. Park + Vine, City Roots, Mica, and Metronation are all stores that feel like they're designed just for me. I really hope that the momentum on that block continues, both over time and geographically.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At The Mad Hatter

11/14/2007, originally uploaded by Pez King.

Went to see The Mountain Goats last night. They rocked.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

OTR Foundation opposing The Banks

In my last post I wondered about the complaints I had been hearing recently about how The Banks would compete against downtown. I was thinking of the downtown building owners who are complaining that the new construction would create too much competition in the market for space to rent. I was basing that on this:
"Downtown property owners have criticized the higher-density version of the Banks project, saying it would directly compete against downtown." --quote from the Business Courier

Also this Enquirer article confirms:
"Several building owners in the downtown business district represented by Cincinnati attorney Joseph Trauth, also oppose the Banks. The businesses believe the project is too big and will steal their tenants." --quote from Enquirer

I still think that that is a goofy criticism, but the main topic of the above quoted Enquirer article is actually the opposition coming from another group that I wasn't thinking about before: the Over-The-Rhine Foundation.

Thanks to Kevin on Building-Cincinnati, I have been able to find out a lot about what they think. The OTR Foundation published a letter stating that now was not the right time for The Banks. Kevin summarizes the letter and links to the full version of it he uploaded to Scribd in this post.

The OTR Foundation's complaint is of a somewhat different nature that that of Joseph Trauth and I feel much more sympathy for it. OTR Foundation isn't complaining about too much competition in a real-estate / rental-space market, they are more complaining about disproportionate use of city tax dollars. OTR as a district (as well as other neighborhoods) will have to compete with The Banks for funding in the city budget. They ask: why would we spend $1 billion on brand new district when we're spending $500,000 per year tearing down the historic district we already have? (OTR is on the National Register of Historic Places) OTR could see substantial benefit from just $10-20 million.

And the letter brings up some other important points as well, such as whether the type of development The Banks is trying to be would actual yield the purported benefits for the city.

I have to say I was somewhat convinced. The questions I now have for city council are: How much money is being invested in OTR? How closely is the OTR Comprehensive Plan being followed? Will future budgets cut funds from OTR related projects to pay for Banks related projects? Does Michael Morgan have a legitimate point when he claims that funds will be diverted?

I still think that The Banks needs to be built. Something needs to be built. I also still don't buy the argument that The Banks will compete against downtown for visitors/residents/businesses. I think that if the Banks does well then downtown will do well because The Banks is a part of downtown.

Nonetheless we shouldn't take this as an opportunity to strip money from existing projects in existing districts. OTR is too valuable to lose even if it is in exchange for The Banks.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Banks competing against downtown?

The Banks Working group has finished it's assigned task and approved a "development agreement" this week. The next step is to have this document approved by city and county officials, which should happen very quickly.
On particular quote jumped out at me when I read the Business Courier's article on the completion of the deal (emphasis mine):

"The 24-story maximum building height is a compromise by developers, who previously sought approval for buildings of up to 30 stories. The latest agreement shrinks the height of the Banks, but not the density. Developers still want to build up to 2.8 million square feet of real estate on the 18-acre site.

Downtown property owners have criticized the higher-density version of the Banks project, saying it would directly compete against downtown."

I have two issues with this:

1) How exactly is the Banks not a part of downtown? I mean, this makes it sound like they're going to build a new city somewhere else. The Banks is downtown. What is good for the Banks is good for downtown. Which leads me to #2:

2) What basis do these businesses have for complaining about competition? How is this any different from a Wendy's trying to prevent a McDonald's from being built across the street? I don't know why we should prevent competition between office space on opposite sides of Fort Washington Way. It comes across as big business interests having undue influence over the planning. What if it turns out to be a really good idea to have a 25 story building? Do we have to ask permission from all the businesses in the neighborhood?

I guess my complaining is too late now. I'm happy that this step is finished. I can't wait to see some shovels hitting the dirt down there.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


This is pretty close to my view on the streetcar proposal:

The streetcar system that has been proposed for Cincinnati is a good way to connect the city. The current proposal connects Fountain Square with Findlay Market, two hubs of activity in our city. Connecting these areas is a first start at bringing people in these areas together. However, although I like the streetcar plan, we must not implement it blindly. Building this system with the mentality “build it, and they will come” is not what this city needs. A full plan should be in place to make the streetcar line a WALKING line, too. Businesses and restaurants should be encouraged to locate along the line, and they should be committed to locating here before ground is broken on the streetcar system. Only if there are stops along the line that are appealing, will the streetcar truly serve its purpose of revitalizing the city and encouraging people to move back into the city. Only then, will it be a true success.-- George Zamary Response - Streetcar System (Today at the Forum)

I think "build it and they will come" mentality is the wrong way to think about it. I think some people are getting a little bit ahead of themselves in thinking it will be some kind of cure all. Check out this quote from Mitch Painter:

We must bring the streetcars here immediately in a surge to make Cincinnati the next young, hip, urban, green city that is user-friendly. We must also bring them to decrease our reliance on the automobile, thus lessening our impact on the environment. Furthermore, we must bring them to retain our young professionals and attract new businesses and home buyers.

The streetcars will be an investment that will pay great dividends through new development and new jobs. We must elect leaders that have the ability to generate this forethought if we expect to evolve as a city from conservative to growth-oriented. We must also elect leaders that will fight tooth and nail to obtain state and federal and private money to fund these essential projects. -- Painter on Streetcars (Today at the Forum)

I just hope we're really sure that it will be a net benefit before we start dumping money into it. I still want it to be pursued, believe me. I think more transit options is a Good Thing. I'd definitely ride a streetcar if it went from downtown to Newport (or from downtown to The Banks if The Banks ever get built.)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Buy Cincy

I found this cool website today called Buy Cincy. No, it's not about buying the city. It's about buying in the city. I'm a big fan of patronizing local shops, restaurants, and businesses, so I'm excited to get their tips, especially since they seem to have excellent taste.

A little investigation reveals this smart article on why buying local is cool and this database of local businesses. Now, that looks seriously useful!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cincinnati Enquirer featured in Wired

Jeff "Crowdsourcing" Howe featured The Cincinnati Enquirer as his exempli gratia in an article appearing in the August issue of Wired Magazine. It details the strategy of The Enquirer's parent Gannett for capitalizing on / surviving the effects of new media on the newspaper business. It features stories of, and quotes from a number of Enquirer employees including editor Tom Callinan. Howe touts the Data Center and cincyMOMS for exceeding profitability expectations and ushering in the "pro-am" future.

(The article is not up online yet, but as soon as it is I will provide a link.)

UPDATE: Here's the link to the Wired article.

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Live Green Cincinnati suggests Spring (ok, Summer) cleaning as productive and green activity. Cleaning out my closet is definitely a big item on my todo list. I have way too much clothes. I really need to get rid of some of this stuff that I never wear. The normal process is to offer it to the younger cousins and take what they don't want down to Goodwill. I think, though, that as we get older the hand-me-down system is not what it used to be.

I was in Columbus last weekend and I had a chance to go for a ride down High Street. I was reminded of so many places that I loved while I lived there, one of which was Rag-O-Rama. I didn't shop there a lot (mostly just when I was looking for something odd). I did sell things there once or twice.

It struck me as we drove past that as far as I know there is no analogous business in Cincinnati. Goodwill is great and everything, but it would be cool if I could get some cash for clothes I'm getting rid of. Also, Rag-O-Rama always seemed to have a certain amount of fashion sense. It wasn't just ugly stuff nobody wanted anymore. It was kinda inspiring to shop there. Maybe there are shops like this in Cincinnati that I just don't know about?

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One World Weekend: A View of the World

A progressive party around the world -- each hour, the food, drinks, and entertainment change hemispheres.

TICKETS SOLD IN ADVANCE ONLY! -- cut off at 1,000 or on Friday 7/20 at 5 PM. Purchase online for $35 each at or by calling 513.721.2787.

Ticket good for 1 free drink
Free food samples every hour
ChicagoAfroBeatProject - their first Cincinnati appearance
Fashion show
3 DJs and other local entertainment
Free parking and free shuttle from/to Vinyl
Pre- and Post-party discounts at partner bars/restaurants

For more information:


Monday, June 25, 2007


I don't know why, but my house got robo-dialed by Steve Chabot's conference-call / virtual-townhall meeting tonight. It's not what I first think of when I think of e-democracy, but hey, it's something.

Actually, it was kind of cool. Around 7:30 or so when we were finishing up dinner, the call came in and told us we were being connected to Rep. Chabot's conference call. After hearing about how to get in the queue to ask a question, we heard Steve Chabot introduce himself and the town hall meeting. He was in his office in Washington and was holding the meeting with his constituents here on the west side of Cincinnati.

I guess it was like many town hall meetings. My biggest complaint would be regarding the screening of the callers who had a chance to ask questions. They mostly fell into two categories: 1) Vague softball questions for which Chabot had canned answers, and 2) Rambling non-questions. There were a few exceptions, notably the guy who asked the final question (about Iraq) which was fairly articulate and not easy to answer.

About halfway through the meeting the system said something along the lines of "You have been entered into the queue to ask a question." even though I never touched any buttons. At that point I was a little bit worried that they might actually ask me for a question so I starting surfing on I couldn't really come up with any good questions that seemed relevant to Chabot in particular, but luckily the queue never reached me. It wrapped up sometime around 8:30 or 8:45 I think. Everyone left in the question queue was transferred directly to his voicemail.

Despite the fact that Steve said a few things like "As far as illegal immigration, I'm against it." (Wow, really? Are you against any other illegal activites?) overall it was a neat experience. I respect Chabot for actually reaching out and talking to people. And I got to find out some things about him that I didn't know before.

Has anyone out there heard of these before? Was anyone out there listening along with me? Speculation as to why Chabot might have decided to have do one of these? Does he do these all the time?

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Take Cincinnati Back(wards)

You know what I've noticed in a lot of campaign talk from City Council Candidates? A lot of people are saying stuff like: "I want to bring Cincinnati back to the great city it once was." Or something along those lines. I hate that.

I suppose in some cases this is just something that they say because they think that's what people want to hear. But to be perfectly honest, that type of talk is gonna make a candidate lose my vote. When it comes to voting, I don't care about how awesome Cincinnati was back in the 70's or the 50's or whenever these people were kids. I wasn't born yet and I don't remember it. That type of nostalgia doesn't work on me.

And it think it's a faulty game-plan on another level as well. We can't bring back the past. We can't make Cincinnati like it was before. Older residents may have fond memories of the past but that doesn't mean that if we make the city the way it was back then we will be in good shape. Demographics, global economics, technology -- everything is different now and it's going to keep getting different. We need to be thinking about the future. The past can't save us from anything.

Last, I think the "let's go back to the good old days" attitude makes for a overly-negative image of Cincinnati as it is today. Cincinnati has some problems, sure; every city does. But Cincinnati has a lot of good things going for it. It was recently ranked 38th most desirable place to live. I think when people talk about "taking Cincinnati back to the way it was" it subconsciously re-enforces the idea that the Cincinnati of today sucks. And that just ain't so.

< / rant >

Sunday, June 10, 2007

What is Inclusionary Zoning?

Many groups that advocate for affordable housing cite "inclusionary zoning" as one tool to help achieve that goal. Inclusionary Zoning (IZ) is basically a requirement that a certain percentage of new housing stock must be affordable to households with low to moderate income. Usually this percentage is somewhere between 10-30%. Frequently IZ ordnances provide incentives to developers in return for the creation of affordable housing. The idea is to prevent homogeneity of income levels in defined areas, since a mix of income levels is seen by many as healthy for a neighborhood. In many cases IZ achieves it's goals of affordable housing, mixed-income neighborhoods, and less sprawl, but it does so with certain costs. IZ is seen by many as essentially a tax on new development assessed against developers. In addition, some question whether it's effects on the redistribution of low-income households is really a net benefit to those households. Last, as in the case of Madison, WI's ordnance, IZ may be viewed as rent control which is illegal in Wisconsin.

Further Reading:

Wikipedia: Inclusionary Zoning

PolicyLink: Inclusionary Zoning - What is it?

Guide to Pros and Cons of IZ (.PDF)

Who is Tim Burke?

This week Tim Burke's name seems to have popped up in enough places to register on my mental radar. In hindsight I realize his name must have been floating through the news for years now, but I just now made the connection. He was involved in the eminent domain case in Norwood representing the City of Norwood. He is also the Hamilton County Democratic Chair and sent out a letter explaining the reasoning behind the Hamilton county Jail Tax recently passed by Comissioners Portune and Pepper. And he was a prominent proponent of the City Link center. He is also currently involved in a battle over zoning in Hyde Park.

So, when someone has this type of profile, I think it's useful to have an independent source of information about them. Toward that purpose, I've created a stub page for Tim Burke on the Beacon's Cincinnati Wiki. Do you know anything relevant about Tim Burke? Help us all out by heading over to the wiki and editing it.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Economist cites need for muni Wi-Fi

Two good articles popped through my feed-reader today via

The Economist cites need for muni Wi-Fi

Opinion: What municipalities should be asking in citywide Wi-Fi planning

"Internet access for residential users was never going to be the mainstay for municipal Wi-Fi. Most communities are pretty well served these days by cable, DSL and satellite internet services. As a result, competition has beaten broadband-access charges down to around $15 a month. And where such services are not competitive, they quickly become so the moment municipal Wi-Fi presses its nose to the window.

No, the future of municipal wireless broadband rests on making cities safer, saner and simpler to manage. Trivial pursuits like downloading songs or posting video clips can be safely left to phone and cable companies." ~ The Economist

What is happening in OTR?

Let me just say it plainly: I want facts.

I have two conflicting attitudes:

1) The new Gateway Quarter in OTR is (or could eventually be) my ideal neighborhood.

2) I have no interest in living there if my doing so is encouraging a social injustice.

I have tried to create the best definition I could of what "gentrification" means. See my entry entitled: "What is gentrification?". I have read a few papers written by people who should pretty much be the best experts on the subject. This one offers a definition of gentrification that differs from mine. The purpose, in my view, of that paper is to bring a new phrase into the discussion: "equitable community development" and to differentiate the meaning of this phrase from "gentrification". In this one they explain that, in addition to "gentrification", the term "economic mix" is also dangerous and it's use is frequently accompanied by numerous negative underlying attitudes.

But at this point in my life journey, the semantics of urban planning and community development are only minimally interesting to me. In other words, I don't want the "Miami University Center for Community Engagement in Over-the-Rhine" to be linguists; I want them to help me make a decision. What is right and what is wrong in this neighborhood. Be concrete and specific. That is what I want.

The experts will clearly say (if you pay attention) that the market-rate housing and an increase in home-ownership are not bad things. They will clearly say that market-rate housing and an increase in home-ownership are good things, but they are opposed to the use of these two things as the only tools to "improve" a neighborhood.

So, what do they want? Well, for starters they are asking for the same thing I am:

"In order for development to be equitable, we would need an accounting and monitoring system that tracks the rise and fall of property values and demographics in the neighborhood in order to ensure a just distribution of benefits from development and to avoid a patchwork of wealthy, isolated enclaves amid deep poverty in OTR."

That means they want facts, and numbers, and data, and studies that can be used to really say what is going on in OTR. If we had some way to know what was happening (for example if we had details regarding "displacement") then we could in turn answer whether or not what we're doing there is good or bad. I honestly don't know who should have responsibility for that kind of information, but we NEED it.

The paragraph that tells what they want continues like this:

"In addition to a serious effort to gather information to inform decisions, we need to be able to direct some of the benefits of rising property values, local incomes, investment opportunities to local residents. While this is not the place to lay out a detailed plan – for that would require broad consultation and revision – we note that TIFs, Real Estate Transfer Taxes, inclusionary zoning, and development fees are among the ways that some of the increased value of property and opportunity in OTR could be captured for more inclusive purposes. These mechanisms are in addition to those already operating, such as housing round funding, the ABC, LISC managed community development operating support, and city spending on infrastructure, safety, transportation and so on. "

So, I'm asking: Can anybody show me a specific law they want passed or repealed? I'll vote for it. Just put it in front of me. Give me an action item.

In the rest of the paper we're basically referred to PolicyLink to look for more concrete "best practices". That is an exercise I'll have to save for another day.

For now I'm interested in an answer to the following question:

"What specific injustices, if any, were committed in the creation of the Gateway Quarter condominiums?"

Much blame is put on 3CDC for "pushing out" residents. How was this done? Was it illegal? Where are the residents now? Is OTR actually so full that people are being displaced out of it?

I encourage any and all feedback. I am learning all the time.

Further Reading:

New blogs in the sidebar

I added a few blogs I've been enjoying lately to the sidebar:

Live Green Cincinnati


Building Cincinnati

And, last but not least: I've been hanging out on the new Cincinnati Digg-style news aggregator Cinplify and it's pretty cool.

They all rock; check them out!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Think critically about municipal Wifi

You may have read this Enquirer editorial that raises some questions about municipal wifi. It doesn't fully commit to an opinion one way or the other, but importantly it includes this paragraph:

"But the city should seriously consider the warning signs Tuesday's AP story noted regarding municipal Wi-Fi - and at least learn from other cities' mistakes. Critics point to wasted tax dollars, incomplete systems, and lack of usage among residents in other cities. If not done right, municipal Wi-Fi could become a mere toy for tourists and tech-savvy residents, more a bragging point than a practical utility."

I laughed a little bit when I read this because only yesterday I read this article on entitled "AP article critical of muni Wi-Fi is wrong: most cities are not using public funds". Forgive my quoting it at length:

"I have seen pieces like the AP article before making their way around the Internet (recall the fuss last spring about St. Cloud). When news agencies like the AP write something, it tends to spread like a brush fire throughout the US. It's a cheaper, more efficient way to fill the space in your newspaper. Depending on the mood of the editor that morning, a newspaper might put on a more lurid headline like this one (my personal favorite): Wireless Projects Drain City Budgets, which replaces the more sedate Cities Struggle With Wireless Internet. In fairness, most AP reporters I've talked to have been meticulous about their fact-checking.

In the end stories like these, including the ones favorable to citywide Wi-Fi, focus too narrowly on Internet access – or an even narrower subset of that called web surfing -- as if that were the only point of setting up a municipal wireless broadband network and its only use. What regular readers of this website know is that these networks are being deployed for many more uses: public safety (police, wireless camera surveillance and so on), wireless automated meter reading, mobile office use by inspectors, traffic management, parking control, voice over Wi-Fi, vehicle and asset tracking, and about a dozen other things you could think of if you spent five minutes with your eyes shut in a quiet room drowning out the noise from all of these “news” reports. Just read any of the RFPs I've posted on this website. Almost all of them want to use it for public Internet access and municipal applications.

So "failure" or "success" should include an assessment of whether those services are working well. Of course in most cities, they're still rolling out these services so it's difficult to say. But some are already up and running with automated meter reading and public safety applications. Where are the reporters crawling around checking on the wireless meter reading systems at cities like Corpus Christi? Anyone out there concerned about the public safety agencies using not just unlicensed (2.4 Ghz) Wi-Fi but also the dedicated 4.9 Ghz space to “surveille” us with their wireless cameras? Does this type of surveillance work? (In many places, crime has dropped dramatically where they have installed cameras). These are all relevant factors in determining whether or not the network is doing what it's been set up to do. "

Now, I have never believed the Enquirer to be a paragon of journalistic insight. I myself never read it, unless a particular article is specifically pointed out to me. But in this case, since I am somewhat more interested in muni-wifi than many other issues, I felt compelled to point out their shortcomings.

I will be the first to admit that there are good reasons to be for and against municipal wifi. I happen to be in favor of it. But the most important thing is that people don't start throwing around arguments and citations that don't make sense.

Please, don't trust everything you read. Especially in the Enquirer.


Public Web access is crucial need for Cincinnati

City 'Wi-Fi'? Here's Wi, and Wi not

AP article critical of muni Wi-Fi is wrong: most cities are not using public funds

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Muni WiFi in Cincinnati

I am excited to relate to you, dear readers, that the City of Cincinnati is officially requesting the money needed to pay someone to think about the future possibility of municipal wifi.

Enquirer article

Announcement on

As I have said before, I think municipal wireless is a Good Thing for several reasons. Among which are improving city services, encouraging economic development, and decreasing the "digital divide". It's not just about giving everybody free internet. See this excellent Boston Globe article for a good overview of how to approach municipal wifi projects.

Andrew Warner has already taken some sharp action on this and he's asked all of the city council members for their positions on the matter. David Crowley has already responded. Stay tuned to Mr. Warner's blog for updates on that.

Here's hoping that our leaders can put together a smart RFP and get this project rolling. There are plenty of examples to learn from, so this should be easy.

What do you think?

Social Distortion coming to Cincy

@ Bogart's on July 17th

I'm so there.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Open Source Software in Ohio's Libraries

I recently discovered that last month there was a meeting hosted by the State Library of Ohio about the future of ILS software and they're seriously examining the possibility of open source solutions (which I personally think is awesome).

Meeting minutes:
"Librarians share a similar concept of property with open source, that of stewardship and distribution. "

An OPLIN podcast:

Even more about OSS in libraries:

Two articles about libraries that have already taken the plunge:
"The open source movement and libraries have a lot in common, not the least of which is the belief in free and open access to ideas and information. "

Furher discussion on a blog set up for this new initiative:

Friday, May 04, 2007

Great Streets

This recent article on BLDGBLOG is one of the best things I've read in weeks if not months. This is EXACTLY how I feel when I reminisce about OSU. BLDGBLOG has rapidly become one of my favorite blogs.

image stolen from this awesome collection:

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Cinco de Mayo

I just signed up for It seems pretty cool. They have a good number of events listed and apparently the (free) membership card gets you lots of deals. I stumbled across this YouTube account for ZipScene videos and it's actually pretty decent as well. The events they cover actually sound like things I might like to do. The most recent one is a video for Saturday's Cinco de Mayo event in Covington. I think people were talking about going to Arnie's, which is in Newport, so it might be possible to convince people to stop by Clique also / instead.

It's shaping up to be a busy day. :)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Free Comic Book Day

Wow, it just so happens Saturday is also Free Comic Book Day!

What is Free Comic Book Day?
"As the name implies, Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops across North America and around the world are giving away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their stores."
You can use this really handy locator to find stores in Cincinnati that are participating in FCBD. Here are the results that appear if you put in 45202:

(513) 661-ROCK

(513) 661-6300

(513) 231-0484

(513) 351-5674

(513) 521-4900

(859) 371-9562

(859) 647-7568

Check out the official website for more details.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

GalaxyCon: Where Galaxies Collide at Your Library

GalaxyCon starts this weekend! In honor of the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, GalaxyCon, a series of special events and programs will be taking place at the Library throughout May. There will be some notable speakers and activities for Sci-Fi fans of all ages including games, movie viewings, book discussions, costumes, comics and more. Events kick off on Friday with guest speaker Matt Stover (author of notable Star Wars novels including Shatterpoint and Revenge of the Sith) at Sharonville Branch, but they will continue throughout the month at branches all around the city, so be sure to check out the website. I plan on being there! :)

GalaxyCon on Turning the Page Blog
GalaxyCon on

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Wire & Twine

I am a big fan of the the work of the multi-talented Chris Glass. His work as a tshirt designer was featured today on another blog I read, Preshrunk. They posted this cool video of making the TiiShirt:

Wire & Twine has a lot of really cool shirts and when I stopped by today I spotted a new one that I think is awesome. Check out Cincinnati Transit Map (For Optimists):

I think I'm gonna order one. :)

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention: Wire & Twine gives 10% of it's profits to good causes.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

What is gentrification?

Gentrification is generally understood to be a complex phenomenon that occurs in urban neighborhoods characterized by two main features:

1.) Increases in general economic activity, specifically increases in: average income levels, property values, commerical and residential rents.

2.) Demographic and cultural changes including displacement of commerical and residential residents by "high-end" new arrivals.

There is no exact definition of gentrification and it has both proponents and opponents in urban planning, activist, and academic circles. Proponents of gentrification generally cite item 1. above as the motivation for active encouragement of gentrification. Opponents of gentrification generally take the opposite position by putting more emphasis on item 2. above. Whether 1. or 2. is more important and whether they are inextricably linked are matters of heated debate. Understanding this basic dichotomy is essential when approaching the field or urban development.

For more see this excellent article at P.O.V. - Flag Wars . What is Gentrification? | PBS

Redleg Ruckus

Reds fans: Be sure to check my good friend Ryan's new blog Redleg Ruckus for peerless Reds coverage.

Monday, February 05, 2007

About Those Turbines

After the the city announced its new Solar and Wind Energy Project , at least one resident of nearby Morris St. was not too pleased.

"This will be flickering in my windows as it goes by everyday," complained Fred Orth, a retired city worker and resident of Morris Street, near the proposed site of the 120-foot high turbine, which will have a 10-foot blade span.

"I am very upset that they are ramming this through."

But a big pat on the back goes to Mr. Orth, because he didn't just complain about the problem. He didn't just oppose it and try to end it because it made him unhappy, which is often the course people tend to pursue. He took time to understand the situation and made a valuable, reasoned suggestion, which officials are now considering. Because of Orth's actions, the project leaders are bringing in more public comment on the project.

The Park Board will have a public meeting to discuss the turbine at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at its administrative offices, 950 Eden Park Drive.

Kudos to Fred Orth for being helpful citzen and tip of the hat to Joe Wessel's article in The Cincinnati Post.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

MusicNOW Festival

This sounds like a good time:

After a successful first year in 2006, the Music Now festival returns to Cincinnati this April 5-7. Curated by Cincinnati-born musician Bryce Dessner, guitarist of rock band The National and the instrumental band Clogs, the Music Now Festival will present musicians from around the world, ranging from rock, experimental, contemporary classical and world music in a three-day event at the exquisite Memorial Hall in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine neighborhood. The festival highlights include a small theater acoustic performance by Sufjan Stevens (appearing with string quartet), a double-bill with Icelandic string quartet Amiina (best known as frequent collaborators of Sigur Ros) and indie-songstress My Brightest Diamond, and the US debuts of renowned flamenco guitarist Pedro Soler, and the haunting experimental Czech duo of Vojtech and Irena Havel The Festival will kick off with a marathon-style concert featuring a solo performance by Soler, world premieres of string quartets by Sufjan Stevens and Maria Sigfúsdóttir of Amiina, and a collaborative set by Clogs featuring many of the festival performers.

Offical Festival Website

on EachNoteSecure

on CityBeat

I added it to

Friday, February 02, 2007

Civic Footprint

I wish we had one of these for Hamilton County:

Civic Footprint via Columbus RetroMetro

Saturday, January 06, 2007

City Council 2007

After reading Brian Griffin's post about candidates and The Dean's post about this Holbrook character I was inspired to create a page in the Beacon's Cincinnati Wiki for City Council. It's just a stub right now, but I hope to eventually fill in some info about each of the current councilmembers. I'd also like to get pages started for the candidates to serve as a reference point for who they are, etc.

Friday, January 05, 2007

A new mindset for a new year

My good friend Chris Feldhaus has penned an article for UC's The News Record:

"The fact is that this is a great university in a great city with some very solvable problems. UC students need to stop planning their quick exit after graduation, and start creating jobs in the area by opening businesses. They should advocate for improvements to the city that help students and local residents, such as better public transportation, aggressive crime-fighting tactics and finishing the developments along McMillan."

I concur.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Greater Cincinnati Originals

The Greater Cincinnati Originals is a community of independently owned and operated restaurants as well as a local chapter of Dine Originals America. The idea is to promote local, original restaurants. Their list of members is my new list of places to try out sometime.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A wiki? Really?

No. Despite what you may have read, Hamilton County has not started a wiki. They have opened a publicly-editable, online database, and I think that that is a good thing. Really, props to whoever had this idea. But it is not a wiki by a longshot.

See my previous post for more on what it takes to be an actual wiki.