Bring Back the Stacks

We were going to ask again if anyone is working to revive Tall Stacks, but one of our readers said it for us in a letter from Huntley, Ill. Christopher Kent is among thousands who have traveled to Cincinnati for Tall Stacks festivals. He fell in love with the way they bring our Mark Twain, paddle-wheeler history alive. He wrote, "Like others, I am astonished that this event lost money." (So are we). "The younger generation needs to know and understand the history of this great country and the river that helped support a nation. There's more to life and history than the 20th and 21st centuries. Let's find a way to keep this event on the book. On our last visit we traveled from Charleston, S.C. That's how much we enjoy this event. Don't let a good thing die. Find a way to make it work." We couldn't agree more.

Help Wanted

Tired of pessimistic, end-is-near reports about the economy from the gloomy media? Tired of economists who can find a cloud behind every silver lining? Here's good news: Our informal poll of our Manny Award winners asked, "What's your company's employment outlook for 2010?" The answer was surprising:
82 percent said "We expect to add employees." While politicians and talking heads wring their hands about the world's worst recession, the people who actually run the businesses that keep our economy humming are pointing to a different R-word: Recovery.

Get Out of Jail Free

During the jail-tax election in 2007, opponents said the plan was too costly and was either too soft or too tough on crime. Worries that lack of jail space would aggravate crime were exaggerated or "scare tactics," they claimed. But Hamilton County Sheriff Si Leis and Cincinnati Police officers warned that criminals were already being bounced back onto the streets because of jail crowding.

Fast-forward to 2010 and check the headlines: Shootings are rising, killings are an almost weekly occurrence and the slow but steady gains against crime are being reversed. Yet nobody is talking about finding ways to open a new jail.

The jail 2007 plan was hardly perfect. It had enough missed stitches to unravel when opponents pulled loose threads. But Cincinnati and Hamilton County may regret the rejection. Rising crime hurts everyone who calls Greater Cincinnati home. It should be a regional priority.

Taxed Enough Already

If Boston is the proud founding father of the original Tea Party in 1773, Cincinnati is a founding uncle. Long before the latest Tea Party protests swept the nation, a local group named Taxed Enough Already brought the TEA to a boil with local protests in 1993. They were mostly triggered by what was then called "the largest tax increase in history."

That $35 billion tax hike looks like spare change now, compared to more than $787 billion in stimulus spending alone.

And anyone who thinks Tea Party protests are just a fringe of suburban conservatives should consider this: In our April poll of local businesses for the Tristate Success Awards, we asked about the biggest roadblock to business growth. The overwhelming answer, by 42 percent, was "government regulations and taxes." The "economy" was next at 27 percent.

Scarce jobs, anemic economic development, slow growth, declining quality of life, crushing debt, crippling taxes "” those are the symptoms of government obesity that are driving normally sedate citizens into the streets and driving companies out of business or overseas. Cincinnati Tea Party protesters said so in 1993 and again this year on April 15. They were right.

Next Stop, Sharonville

Suppose you're planning a rail line to connect Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Cincinnati. Where do you put the first stop for Cincinnati? Sharonville. At least, that's the plan by the Ohio Department of Transportation. "They see Sharonville as the preferred northern collecter," says Richard Osgood, director of building, planning and zoning for the City of Sharonville. He says Sharonville has the site "” behind the local BMV in the business district. And ODOT has a point. Cincinnati would also get a station, but passengers in the population-rich northern suburbs won't want to drive into the city to catch a train. For Butler, Warren, Clermont and northern Hamilton County, it's all aboard for Sharonville.