Citizens For A Better Norwood

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Two letters to Mayor Williams

Our January 11th blog "Did the Mayor miss an ORC deadline?" elicited quite a few comments, both on and away from this site. Some were critical of the way we handled the topic Councilperson Schneider brought up at the 1/9/07 council meeting regarding ORC 705.18. In the interests of enlightening our readers, we are publishing two letters to Mayor Williams, both of which are self-explanatory: 1.) Councilperson (and attorney) Keith Moore’s 1/12/07 letter setting forth precisely why he doesn’t believe ORC 705.18 applies to Norwood and 2.) Rick’s 1/26/07 hand-delivered letter setting forth precisely why he doesn’t believe our blog accused Mayor Williams of breaking the law. We hope these will satisfy anyone who thought we should have tried to bring more clarity to the subject.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Councilperson Moore’s February, 07 “Ward One Update”

A new periodic feature

We just found out from reading Mr. Moore’s recent Ward 1 newsletter that he and Mayor Williams are hosting a live call-in show on cable channel 24 at 7:00 p.m. on the 2nd and 4th Thursday’s of each month. We missed last Thursday’s show but certainly hope to catch the next one on March 8.

Our thanks to Mr. Moore for giving us the opportunity to spread his news to community members beyond the borders of Ward 1. Our readers are welcome to comment on the content in his newsletter, but please do so on this page…or call him on March 8 and let him know what you think.

And a short disclaimer: We are not responsible for the content in "Ward One Update," do not necessarily agree with or endorse it, etc., etc.

3/3/07 UPDATE:
Keith Moore's and Tom Williams' new show “Upfront ” broadcasts live on cable channel 24, but the replays for their 2/22 program will air on channel 23 with this schedule:

Sunday @ 9:00 p.m.
Monday @ 12:30 p.m.
Tuesday @ 4:00 p.m.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

2/27/07 Norwood City Council meeting agenda

Since this Tuesday’s council agenda has four interesting ordinances for introductory readings and isn’t yet published on Norwood City Council Online, we’ve posted it for all us avid council meeting watchers.

Resolution A also caught our eye:


According to this website , “The Cities Readiness Initiative (CRI) is a pilot program to aid cities in increasing their capacity to deliver medicines and medical supplies during a large-scale public health emergency such as a bioterrorism attack or a nuclear accident.” This sounds like an excellent idea.

We noted on our visit to Norwood City Council Online that a batch of council meeting minutes for the 11/7/06, 11/14/06, 11/28/06, 12/12/06 and 12/28/06 council meetings appeared on the 1/13/07 agenda for approval. However, none of these has been posted yet. The last published minutes are for the 10/24/06 council meeting. Clerk of Council Brian Mumper has done a spectacular job improving and adding value to Council Online. We just hope whatever difficulty there is can be overcome so the minutes can be brought more up to date in the near future.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Introducing…this year’s candidates for city offices

One Republican primary, some running unopposed

(D) Tom Williams
(R) Al Boehm

President of Council: (R) Jane Grote

Law Director: (R) Ted Kiser

Republican Primary for Auditor:
Donnie Jones
Tom Brown

Ward 1:
(D) Keith Moore
(R) James Stith

Ward 2:
(R) Steve Thornbury

Ward 3:
(D) Chuck Barlow

Ward 4:
(D) John Mumper
(R) Todd Tittle

Council-at-Large Democrats:
Joseph S. Geers, Joe Sanker, Peter Tepe

Council-at-Large Republicans:
Mike Gabbard, Victor Schneider, Cassandra Brown

2/25/07, 10:15 p.m., UPDATE: In response to our inquiry about the unfilled Democratic candidate slots above, Councilperson Keith Moore, also Co-Chair of the Norwood Democratic Club, had this to say, “We should not be surprised if there are more candidates by the May independent filing deadline.” He indicated things are still in flux and more candidates are likely to come forward.

2/23/07, 1:15 p.m., UPDATE: We just received word from the Republican camp that their intended candidate for council for Ward 3, Sean Mangialardo, missed yesterday’s filing deadline, in large part, because he was on the receiving end of a clerical mishap with the Board of Elections. Having been given outdated petition forms, Mr. Mangialardo's petitions were rejected when he submitted them 3 days in advance of the deadline. Needless to say, this created a crisis, and replacement signatures were not gathered in time. The good news? It’s expected that Mr. Mangialardo will file in time to become an independent candidate for Ward 3 with the full support of the Republicans.

While we do not know if the intended Democratic candidate for Ward 2 met a similar fate or not, we were told by the Board of Elections this morning that a female Democrat attempted to file but did so after the 4:00 p.m. deadline.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Jeff Anderson’s Rookwood Exchange property taxes down again…waaaaaay down!

Where‘s the Enquirer update on this June article?

The question we asked in our 8/30/06 blog, “Jeff Anderson’s yo-yo property taxes - up, down, where next?” was answered this past October when his 73 Rookwood Exchange parcels were reassessed for their land value only. Our recent check of most of the Exchange parcels (Atlantic, Garland, Edmondson Avenues) on the Hamilton County Auditor’s website showed each new reassessment with the notation, “Value of Bldgs, Destroyed or Demolished.” Without a doubt, the total value of these properties has plummeted from Anderson’s original purchase price of $21.6 million to the approximate pre-purchase value of $11 million after he protested, and now to the land values only, which may be as little as $3.2 million or less.

Below is a typical “value history” page posted on the Auditor’s website for one of Anderson’s parcels:

2639 Garland:
2006 -10/13/2006 - $18,800 - $0 - $18,800 - Value of Bldgs, Destroyed or Demolished

2006 -10/13/2006 - $18,800 - $118,400 - $137,200 - All ReClassified Real Property

2005 - 9/29/2006 - $18,800 - $118,400 - $137,200 - Changes by Board of Revision, Tax Appeals, Courts

2005 - 9/17/2005 - $18,800 - $216,200 - $235,000 - Reappraisal, Update or Annual Equalization

2002 - 10/8/2002 - $18,900 - $100,000 - $118,900 - Reappraisal, Update or Annual Equalization

1999 11/6/1999 - $16,200 - $85,900 - $102,100 Reappraisal, Update or Annual Equalization

The 2005 above-market sales prices of the Exchange properties played a part in adding value to the Auditor’s last reassessment of Norwood homes, yet now those same properties are worth a fraction of the sales prices, as well as the pre-sale prices, and will be taxed accordingly for an unknown number of years. What will this loss of property tax revenue cost Norwood and Hamilton County taxpayers over time? Plenty. What, if anything, will this do to our home values the next time they‘re assessed? Why does it now feel like Norwood’s misadventure with Jeff Anderson is dipping into taxpayers’ pocketbooks? Because it is.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

December '06 Norwood Police call stats

A monthly feature

The December NPD call report showed a lower total call volume than November’s report.

Total NPD calls:
August: 2,853 = 92 per day = 3.8 per hour
September: 2,688 = 89.6 per day = 3.73 per hour
October: 2,850 = 91.9 per day = 3.83 per hour
November: 2,407 = 80.2 per day = 3.34 per hour
December: 2,358 = 76.06 per day = 3.16 per hour

Below are the number of calls for some of the more serious incident categories the NPD tracks. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to format with a chart. The first set of numbers below is for August, followed by September, October, November, and December in this partial breakdown by categories of calls:

Auto Accidents: 78-78-70-75-74
Criminal Damage: 58-54-47-42-41
Dom. Violence: 35-34-39-20-27
Fights: 40-42-43-37-42
Burglary: 34-16-26-15-22
Traffic Stops: 298-184-317-287-189
DUI: 6-5-11-7-9
Assault: 20-26-29-14-14
Noise Complaints: 50-71-49-36-37
Theft: 145-102-139-125-105
Theft/Motor Vehicle: 21-12-14-7-12
Rape/Attempted Rape: 4-2-4-1-1

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Everybody's invited to Jesse Layne's retirement party!!

Superman calls it quits…

Most everybody’s got a Jesse story, right? Well, here’s mine. One day about 5 years ago, I finally tired of 3 orange traffic cones some X.U. students decided to use as decoration on their front porch overhang around the corner from me. Having never called a city department before, I phoned my then councilperson Keith Moore who said he would notify the Health Department. I’m thinking, “I never would have guessed this was a Health Department issue.“ About 10 minutes later (maybe less) this Jesse Layne person called with a funny story about retrieving the cones. When Mr. Faster-Than-a-Speeding-Bullet knocked on their door, the students said they didn’t know how city-owned cones wound up on top of their porch. (Sure, sure, that‘s happened to everybody at least once.) But when Jesse told them the consequences of stealing city property, the cones were quickly handed over, and no arrests were made. Then, about 30 minutes later (or less) my doorbell rings, and there’s Keith Moore following up with me on the cones! Now I’m thinking, “If this is how fast 3 traffic cones are dealt with, what happens when there’s a real problem?” Anyway, that’s the day I found out from Keith not to call Jesse unless you‘re ready for serious action right that minute.

Here’s when and where we can bid Jesse our fond farewell:

When: Friday, February 23rd
Time: 5:00 p.m to ll:00 p.m. and beyond
Where: Norwood Community Center, 1810 Courtland Avenue
R.S.V.P. to the Norwood Health Dept. at 458-4600 by Tuesday, 2/20, to assure enough food and liquid refreshments.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Special Report - Mr. Schneider’s campaign workshop a success!

Our roving reporter just phoned in the following report on this morning’s nonpartisan campaign workshop at the Norwood Health Department:

“Approximately a dozen Norwood residents attended. Mr. Schneider’s presentation was excellent, showing he’d done a lot of preparation. He covered important deadline dates (2/22/07, 4:00 p.m., at the Board of Elections is the filing deadline for partisan candidates; and 5/7/07, 4:00 p.m. at the Board of Elections is the filing deadline for independent candidates); political parties; networking; campaign finance, including complimentary cd.’s for everyone, etc. A Q & A session followed, then folks just networked and socialized. Judging from some of the conversations I had, there seemed to be some potential candidates for council as well as other city offices, and a good time was had by all.”

2/14/07 UPDATE: Mr. Schneider has provided us with a statement regarding his positions on the subject of levies, much discussed in the comments box for this blog: "I am totally against renewing the emergency temporary levy (8 mill renewal levy that expires this year). I don't think we constantly need to renew a temporary levy meant to be temporary. To put a levy on the ballot that's earmarked for a specific thing, like streets, public service or safety, I'm for looking at what the city needs. I'm in favor of that and letting the voters make a decision on whether they support that kind of levy or not."

Friday, February 09, 2007

Last plug for Mr. Schneider's nonpartisan campaign workshop tomorrow

We’re hearing from Councilperson Schneider that response to his campaign workshop has been favorable. If everyone shows up who says they’re coming, he’ll have a nice group of potential candidates to work with. But there’s plenty of room left for anyone who’d like to take advantage of this free opportunity to learn about running a local campaign.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

BOE to discuss Linden Pointe TIF at Monday's committee meeting

Tuesday’s bad weather caused the BOE to cancel their regularly scheduled committee meeting and reschedule it to Monday, February 13, at 5:30 p.m. One school official told us matters related to the Linden Pointe TIF will be discussed and added, “We’re getting more (revenue) than a vacant lot (an undeveloped site) but not as much as no TIF.” The first opportunity the BOE has to approve or not approve the TIF is at their Thursday, 2/15, BOE meeting.

Bessie’s COW report for February

In spite of this past Tuesday’s treacherous weather, the COW meeting wasn’t cancelled, according to the clerk of council’s office yesterday. However, the meeting wasn’t televised because NCT employees were sent home early before the 7:30 p.m. start time. Sad to say, but without a video record of the proceedings and with the last three meetings cancelled, this is the fourth month in a row without my COW report. All I have to say to that“Boo!”

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Congrats to five highly rated NHS student musicians!

Greater Cincinnati District 14 of the Ohio Music Education Association held its annual Solo and Ensemble contest at Princeton and Taft High Schools on Saturday, January 27. The event brings together area high school music students to perform before a judge for an award certificate.

Musical performances were evaluated at difficulty levels ranging from the most difficult (Class A) to the least difficult (Class C). Student ratings range from a number 1 (Superior) through a number 5 (Poor). A round of applause for these outstanding Norwood High musicians:

Matt Hursh - Superior - Class A Vocal Solo
Page Pilman - Excellent - Class A Trumpet Solo
Lena Brumley - Excellent - Class B Clarinet Solo
Laura Wilson - Excellent - Class B Clarinet Solo
Kevin Sluder - Excellent - Vocal Solo **

** Our apologies to Kevin for misspelling his name "Suder" and our thanks to the commenter who corrected the mistake.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Norwood BOE Prez unresponsive to Enquirer’s emailed test question

But was it a fair test?

According to the Enquirer’s study of 63 schools districts’ websites in 7 counties on both sides of the Ohio River, “73% don’t list direct phone numbers for school board members; 40% don’t offer direct e-mail addresses, and 33% of school systems offer neither.” While the BOE page on the NCS website does list email addresses for each board member “,” it doesn’t list either their home email addresses/telephone numbers or a specific school district office phone number with voice mail for them. In contrast, all 7 Norwood city council members’ home phone numbers are on council's webpage on the City’s website, 5 members list their personal email addresses, each has a voice mail number, and some have included mobile, work and fax numbers. Obviously, the BOE has a ways to go to be as easily accessible to the public as Norwood’s city council.

We called the NCS district offices this morning to find out exactly how the email system for school board members works. We were told the system does not prompt board members when they have an email; rather, each member must remember to periodically check the system for emails and can do so from any computer by using a special code. We were also told the 2006-2007 District Calendar publishes each board member’s home telephone number. That being the case, why not also publish them on the school board’s webpage, which is where we think most people would actually look for and expect to find them?

As for the Enquirer’s email that Board President Rick Guy didn’t answer after a week, we’re not convinced a fair test was conducted. We think the Enquirer should have sent a minimum of two emails in different weeks for their test to have any kind of validity. But we also think the school’s system is flawed in terms of board members not being prompted/notified when they have emails. Why not post the personal email addresses of board members - a la Norwood city council - on their webpage? Wouldn’t that result in faster responses to parents' and community members' emailed questions and concerns?

1/10/07 UPDATE:
Yesterday, we contacted a high ranking school official to ask if emails sent to BOE members “” are previewed by anyone at the district before the members see them. Our source has no knowledge of this being a practice and said there is no evidence that emails are previewed by anyone prior to board members reading them. S/he confirmed that the school email system does not prompt board members when emails arrive and that each one must remember to regularly check the system for emails from a home or other computer.