07 November 2012


Obama won re-election last night.  Hamilton County elected a Democrat for sheriff for the first time in maybe forever.  And even more dramatic to my mind, the Freestore decided to renovate housing instead of tear it down. 

One of my earlier blog posts, in 2007 was about how the Freestore Foodbank was trying to demolish historic buildings in OTR.  That post got tons of hits and publicity.  It also triggered the director of the Freestore, John Young to invite me over to try to convince me his position was correct. 

But when I met with John Young, I was struck by how out of touch he was with the neighborhood surrounding his business.  He was extremely dismissive of Over-the-Rhine, comparing it to the Gaza Strip.  It was obvious he was totally disconnected to all the positive change happening around him.  I also met with his architect, whose name escapes me.  But he too was dismissive of not just OTR, but totally dismissive of the idea that people in America would desire to live in dense urban settings like OTR. He believed only the poor who couldn't afford a car should live in the inner City.  I remember the architect saying that that these buildings they wanted to demolish had a European feel about them, but that people in the Midwest want parking, and that is exactly what the Freestore needed, more parking. 

But what the Freestore clients actually needed was this housing restored.  Housing near services.  Housing near transit, and near jobs.

Today the Enquirer has an article that was already partially covered by Building Cincinnati back in March, that the new director of the Freestore has plans to renovate 1606-1608 Walnut Street.  The Freestore has changed their leadership and their attitude to the neighborhood.  This is fantastic. 

I think that parts of today's Republican party are like the old Freestore management.  They do not see the way our City and our Nation have changed.  Locally, a growing portion of our citizens wants to live in urban areas and care about transit options.   Nationally, a growning portion of our citizens support gay marriage and universal health insurance.  Republicans cannot continue to run on Ronald Reagan's ideas.  Obama is akin to Reagan in that Reagan totally understood the mood of 1980; Obama understands the mood and the needs of our country in 2012

Our kids made this sign, which somehow ended up on the front of the New York Times today. Wow.


Unknown said...

Good Job!

Jen said...

Mike-great post, and AMAZING sign. Tell the kids we saw it the other day and did a little cheer. NYT-how awesome is that! :)

VisuaLingual said...

If you think about how many AP photographers were trolling around for these kinds of images, even considering that a photo taken in Ohio would be a likely candidate for inclusion, and even considering that a photo taken in Hamilton County, which went Democrat, it's astounding to me that this is the leading photo in the AP article, and that the NYT used it as its own leading photo.

Suddenly I feel strangely honored to know you and your family!

Anonymous said...

How great for your kids! Hope you were able to get enough hard copies for everyone in the family to keep and treasure.

Blue Ash Mom

Rick Calkins said...

Very astute comparison between Reagan and Obama.