Downtown Duke Energy Holiday Train Display

Made it down to the long-running CG&E Cinergy Duke Energy Holiday Train Display this year.  Of course, the one day we went was just about the single coldest day this fall/winter yet.  I swear I left part of my face on 4th St. after it froze and fell off.  The winds howled through the streets and between the buildings, making what was 30 deg F. feel more like -5 deg F.  What is this, Chicago?  We made a quick pass of Fountain Square before settling in at the real downtown holiday destination: Starbucks.

Speaking of wind, check out the new-this-year Duke sustainable energy windmill farm in the last picture.





Downtown Child Care?

Seeing this blog about a new child care center opening up downtown got me thinking.  The city may finally be starting to regain population, depending on whom you ask (but at least you can ask!)  But I wonder how the 18-and-under population as been trending.  I could not find any demographic trends for just children after some quick searching.  My feeling is that the trend has been going down.  One obvious sign is the growing list of vacant CPS buildings.

My feeling is that most of the people moving into the city are childless.  When they become not childless, they move outside the city limits.  Looking forward to starting my own family, the thoughts about raising a child in either the CBD or OTR that enter my mind are interesting.

Will there be same-aged kids on our street to play with?  Where will our kid go to school?  When I think about how I grew up in a subdivision, surrounded by kids my age, and spending hours of summertime wandering around in the woods, it takes a giant mental leap to imagine how it would be in the city.  I know that people are doing it (cf. CityKin).  Would we be capable of doing the same?

Would I be comfortable with sending our kid to a CPS elementary school, which will be mostly African-American (it's hard to be a minority in any situation), and likely underperforming on state standards.  There are only three elementary/middle schools in CPS with the highest state rating that I'm aware of, and there is only one high school.   That's a small basket to put all your eggs in, if you care about such things.

So another child care center opening up downtown encourages me.  Now, it probably has been long overdue just because of all the workers downtown.  But now, if you live downtown, and work downtown, and have a family downtown, you don't have to leave downtown before work just to take your child to daycare.

Who Says Twitter Isn't Useful?

Lighting The Tree

I attended the Fountain Square Tree Lighting several years ago.  That year, the tree had about 8 lights on it, and the square was maybe half-full.

Last Friday, Sarah and I went to see the Tree Lighting again.  It was quite different this time around.





I Hate Mike Brown

Hate is a strong word. Which is why I use it here.

Photo by David Kohl/AP

This post was originally only about Willie Anderson in his new starting role with Baltimore. But as I dug deeper, and clicked from Bengals story to Bengals story, I grew angrier. I have been boycotting the Bengals this entire season, refusing to waste any part of my Sunday on Bengals TV, radio, and certainly not tickets. (On Mondays, sometimes I read the recaps.) But first, back to Willie.

If you need further evidence of what ails this team, look no further (emphasis mine):

Anderson resisted throwing jabs at the Bengals. But he did say the same pipeline that he said fed Brown bad information about him has been feeding him inaccurate information about players for many years.

"People in the organization continue to mislead him about players," Anderson said, though he would not elaborate.

Another comparison: The Ravens have their personnel and personal issues, too, Anderson said, but the situation in Baltimore is nothing like it is in Cincinnati.

"We have our issues; every organization does," he said. "But here it's all about football. You can concentrate on football here. There are not nearly as many non-football issues here as there were in Cincinnati."

I wish Willie had not been so coy. I wish he had held up a loud, blinking sign that said: "Mike Brown is the problem."

Then, this very morning came a story about a class-action suit against the Bengals by fans who bought season tickets before PBS was built. They thought they were buying Charter Ownership Agreements at $150 per seat per year for 10 years. The Bengals contend they're on the hook for the full seat price per seat per year for 10 years. That's the difference between hundreds of dollars and tens of thousands of dollars, depending on when a season ticket holder attempted to cancel their tickets. I don't know which is worse. Is it worse that the Bengals are once-again saying "fuck you" to some of their most loyal, longest-season-ticket-holding fans, including one guy who has held four season ticket seats every year the Bengals have been in existence up until 2003. Or is it worse that the Bengals in cowardly fashion, are not even fighting the suit, but trying to run out the clock by delaying the case in court until the contracts expire in 2009 anyway. Pathetic.

On a Bengals-bashing roll, I found my way over to WhoDeyRevolution, a blog I've been following for a while. (See their take on the same Willie Anderson story and class-action lawsuit story.) I have glanced at many Bengals blogs in the past couple years, and while many of them have been critical, they all lack that visceral, scathing contempt for Mike Brown. WhoDeyRevolution has that contempt, and more. It's the only blog that focuses more on the real problems of this team, and not just who they're going to draft next year.

So I read this post about the non-Bengals side of Mike Brown:

The plans to build the stadium were underway in 1996, over 12 years ago, for example. And the plan to develop the Banks seems to just now be gaining traction. While many parties are at fault here, it is not like you ever heard of the Bengals being a proactive force. Nope, from what I have heard they were mostly unhelpful and satisfied to earn parking revenue rather than encouraging development that would likely make them more wealthy, successful and popular in the long term.

The post also contains a quote from an apparent source in-the-know that Mike Brown has zero involvement in any local business, charitable, or civic causes. Nice.

Digging further, I was reminded of the original sweetheart stadium lease, "one of the most generous to a team in the NFL," that continues to pay the Bengals dividends for producing one playoff season in nearly two decades:

The team gets all income from concessions and advertising in the stadium.

The team can refuse to let the stadium be used for events it feels could damage the field.

The team pays game-day expenses only; the county pays all other maintenance costs.

The team pays $1.7 million in rent in 2000 - an amount that drops by $100,000 each year until 2009, when it drops to zero.

...Development of county-owned land around Paul Brown Stadium is restricted based on height, appearance and other factors. For instance, the lease forbids an auditorium seating 3,000 or more people from being built just east of the stadium.

The team and the county split the revenue from all non-Bengals-related events 50-50.


Just leave As I said at the beginning, this post was originally about Willie and the on-field performance of the Bengals. But it turned into more. Not only has Mike Brown poorly influenced football decisions that have led to one good season in nearly two decades of ownership. Not only has Mike Brown repeatedly given the middle finger to fans who have been season-ticket holders longer than I've been alive. Not only has Mike Brown enjoyed a stadium lease that is so one-sided it is nearly criminal and probably is, Mike Brown has also shown to be a disruptive force in the progress of our city.

At a time when the city of Cincinnati is struggling to distinguish itself from similar cities as a destination, as a place young people want to live, as a place entrepreneurs want to start businesses, as a place where families do not hesitate to send their kids to the public schools, as a place where nearly everyone who cares about where they live agree we need a strong downtown; at this time, Mike Brown is becoming a dead weight. Mike Brown is like the kid on the block with the rich parents and the nice toys, who doesn't play with anyone else. Sure, he's a nice kid, but when the other kids see his toys and want to play too, he just takes his toys inside.

At the risk of sounding cliché, Mike Brown does not realize that everything is connected. Everything is connected. When he forces the county pay for artificial turf, after he insisted on building the stadium with real grass because "football should be played on grass," it leaves less money for a new small business. When he puts such a piss-poor product on the field, less people will come downtown before and after the game. When he spends more time reminding everyone involved with the Banks that he has veto powers and less time actually coming up with ideas, he only increases the wait before anything but a hole in the ground is built around his stadium.

The Bengals are doing more harm than good. As a football fan, I wish they would just leave.