Thursday, October 12, 2006

Enquirer Exposes Lies in Another Chabot Ad: 2001 Cincy Riots


You know Steve Chabot's campaign is hard up when one of the main things they're attacking Cranley for was his role in the build up to the Cincinnati riots. Anyone that knows anything about riots and civil unrest knows just how complex and dynamic they are. For instance, Cincinnati's Congressman at the time - STEVE CHABOT - is also to blame.

Of all elected officials, community leaders, police officers, and others to blame, John Cranley should be on the very bottom of the list. It was his first months in Council, he was a freshman just back from Harvard, and he led one City Council meeting that got a little crazy - which isn't unusual these past few years.

So according to Chabothead, it must be all John Cranley's fault.

That argument is so baseless it really doesn't even deserve a blog post. Oh well, if Chabot's going to run so blatant lies, I may as well set the record straight; better yet, let's have the Enquirer do it for us:

What did Cranley do during 2001 riots?
Ad Watch

BY GREGORY KORTE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER

ABOUT THE AD

"Riots," a 30-second television ad from the Steve Chabot for Congress campaign. It attacks the record of his Democratic opponent, Cincinnati Councilman John Cranley. It started running last weekend.

Male announcer: "Cincinnati riots. April 9, 2001. The Enquirer said John Cranley 'lost control' of the Law & Public Safety Committee at the start of the riots. Cranley admitted he didn't know what to do. So Cranley turned his back on the police and voted to pay off riot sympathizers with millions of our tax dollars. The result: almost 400 murders, and a 16 percent increase in violent crime. John Cranley lost control, and we're still paying the price." Chabot: "I'm Steve Chabot, and I approved this message."

STRATEGY

The Democrats-are-soft-on-crime strategy is a GOP staple. In fact, some of the most powerful language in the Chabot ad - "riots," "turned his back," "riot sympathizers" "millions of ... dollars" and "murder" are identical to key phrases in the commercial Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich is now running against his Democratic challenger, former Councilman David Pepper.

FACT CHECK

The footage of that fateful committee meeting will haunt Cranley for his political career, and he knows it. He had been on City Council exactly four months when the police shooting of Timothy Thomas led to bedlam in City Council chambers. Things only got uglier when an angry mob - getting no satisfaction from city officials - poured out into the streets and started riots that lasted four nights.

The 2001 quote from The Enquirer that John Cranley "lost control" of the committee meeting is accurate. But it came in an editorial endorsing him for election to City Council. The full passage, in context, said: "Democrat John Cranley, appointed last year to succeed Todd Portune, also has been a strong consensus builder. He has proposed hiring 75 more police officers and curtailing the development of new subsidized housing projects within the city. Mr. Cranley has made some beginner's mistakes, most notably when he lost control of the Law and Public Safety Committee at the start of the April riots. But he has since regained his feet and shows promise of real leadership in the years to come."

The police-reform agreements, passed unanimously by City Council in 2002, were supported by politicians across the political spectrum, including two Republican councilmen (Pat DeWine and Chris Monzel) and former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft. The Fraternal Order of Police was also a signatory to the agreement, and the national president was present at the signing ceremony. Cranley was endorsed by the FOP for City Council twice after he supposedly "turned his back" on them.

It's not entirely clear who the "riot sympathizers" are that Cranley voted to pay off. The vote for the Collaborative Agreement, which settled a federal class-action lawsuit alleging racial profiling, called for changes in the Police Department and outside monitoring. The reforms cost taxpayers millions, but none of that money went to "riot sympathizers." The plaintiffs had their legal bills paid for through private contributions.

Although no one has scientifically proved a causal relationship, it's well documented that arrests declined and violent crime soared after the riots. But to imply that Cranley is personally responsible for 400 murders is a hyperbolic quantum leap.

RESPONSE

"It's pathetic that Steve Chabot is viciously attacking Mr. Cranley's proven crime-fighting record," Cranley spokesman Elliott Ruther said in a written statement. "Chabot's attack cites a unanimous vote of City Council that was endorsed by the police and the FOP. To blame Mr. Cranley for the crime in our city - which Chabot has represented for over 20 years - is a cheap shot and underscores how desperate Chabot is to hold onto power at any cost."

E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com

VISUALS: Television news footage of 2001 riots, followed by video of Cranley chairing the raucous April 9 Law & Public Safety Committee meeting. It ends with swirling newspaper stories and headlines about crime.

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