(Pictured Above: Cincinnati City Council Member and Resident Know-It-All Christopher "Sillyman" Smitherman and Cincinnati City Council Member, The Chairman of The Law & Public Safety Committee and Former Cincinnati Police Officer, Cecil Thomas.)
Greetings Brothers and Sisters,
Here are a series of emails between Cincinnati City Council members Christopher Smitherman and Cecil Thomas, who is the head of the city's Law & Public Safety Committee. These two "black men" are fighting and arguing about the scourge of black-on-black violence in the city.
Read the emails below and let us know what you think. Looks like City CLOWNcil members are once again "hard at work" for you!
UPDATE: The e-mails continue. Smitherman says he and Charlie Winburn will call a special session of council to discuss black-on-black violence.
Your answer is unacceptable. There must be a comprehensive discussion about the violence. I do understand CIRV, but they are not the answer alone. Councilmember Winburn (R) and I will call a special session of council to address the comprehensive problem of black on black violence.
Councilmember Smitherman (I)
From: Thomas, Cecil
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 5:11 PM
Subject: RE: Black on Black Violence
As a former law enforcement officer with twenty-seven years of experience and the Chair of Public Safety, my focus has always been the safety of our citizens. My expertise, that of CPD, and several criminologist from the University of Cincinnati and John Hopkins University School of Criminology in New York have developed the methodology/strategy of CIRV. It is a proven strategy that works as evident by the year end reports provided to you.
Prior to the budget cut, CIRV had in place a coordinated effort utilizing many of the service organizations you referenced. It was based on the need of the CIRV client.
Also, let me be clear, from a law enforcement standpoint there are things taking place that can’t be discussed but I can assure you that the Law Enforcement component of CIRV is still in tack and they are doing their job. It involves local, county, state and federal investigations. It involved judges, prosecutors, adult probation and parole authorities. However, the services and analytical components were cut, and the CIRV street team is only at 60% of its original capacity.
Again, what you are proposing has already occurred and the result is CIRV.
In closing, the solution to our problem rest in the political will of this council to support CIRV and reinstate those parts that were lost. The meeting to discuss this matter will take place in committee on May 1st. Interested citizens are encouraged to attend. I hope that you will take the time to get a clear understanding of CIRV and be prepared to have a productive meeting. Most if not all that was said at the meeting in Avondale has been taken into account in forming CIRV.
If we choose not to restore CIRV, I’m afraid the group and or gang violence will continue.
Note: The other component that isn’t a part of CIRV is the political will to investment in all the other Social ills of a community. Poverty, Education, Housing, Jobs, Health etc.
The two councilmen have gone back and forth today via e-mail over what should be done about violence in the black community. Christopher Smitherman wants the city to have a plan to handle it, implying there isn’t one, and wants a public hearing about it.
We do have a plan, Cecil Thomas says – it’s called CIRV, the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence. He’d be the one to schedule – or not – a public hearing in his public safety committee.
From there, I’ll just let you read the emails. Here they are, in order:
Dear Council member Thomas,
I am very concerned about the ‘black on black’ violence in Cincinnati. You are the Chair of the Public Safety Committee and control the agenda. I am requesting, as a member of the Public Safety Committee, that a special session be held to discuss this issue directly. It is important that City Hall provide the leadership on how we plan to address this issue.
If as the Chair, you decide to not grant a public hearing at the Public Safety Committee, I will call a special session of Council immediately. At the meeting, City leaders like CIRV and Ozie Davis should be invited. The weather will return to normal this weekend and I am concerned that City Council has no clear public policy plan on how we intend to respond and coordinate resources to decrease the violence. It is my hope that I can get a clear response from your office today on the above matter.
Councilman Christopher Smitherman
From: Thomas, Cecil
Sent: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 2:00 PM
I appreciate your concern; however, I wanted to make you aware that I have been working to restore the CIRV Budget, which was cut approximately 80% by City Council in 2009. I have attached the 2008 & 2009 CIRV Reports for every Councilmember’s review. These reports outline the strategy that was successful prior to the devastating budget cut. I will be circulating an additional budget proposal for CIRV very shortly, and I hope that you will support this request.
My goal is to restore CIRV to its full capacity in order to continue the success that was demonstrated prior to the 2009 budget cuts. At the May 1st meeting of the Public Safety Committee we will focus on further discussion of this topic. The success of CIRV is centered on the ability to reduce group and/or gang-related violence, i.e., homicides, and I believe it is an integral component of our efforts to address this issue. It is my hope that all members will examine these reports prior to our discussion on May 1st.
Please give me a call if you have any questions.
President Pro Tem
Cincinnati City Council
801 Plum Street
City Hall – Room 356
Cincinnati OH 45202
Council member Thomas,
The death rate due to gun violence each day continues to climb. I am very aware of CIRV. I am attempting to get City Council focused on the bloodshed and finally take ownership of the problem with direct leadership. I thought it was most appropriate for the Chair of Public Safety to take the lead for the City of Cincinnati on the comprehensive plan to lower the gun violence and murder of African-American men.
I have heard you speak in public settings that this issue was a priority for your office. However, there has not been a public hearing by your committee with a focus and a solution to the problem. As a member of your committee, I would like to suggest to the Chair that there is nothing more important than this issue. A political discussion on funding CIRV in the budget is one solution, but does not address the coordination of organizations and services that the City of Cincinnati currently funds beyond CIRV.
Again, if the Chair is not interested in having a meeting a black on black violence, I will request a special session of council to address the issue. My initial question that was not answered is will the Chair of Public Safety allow a broad hearing for the City of Cincinnati on this subject matter ASAP?
Councilman Christopher Smitherman