These days it's clear that our governmental systems are breaking down, heavily influence by moneyed interests who care little about citizen well-being. It's also clear that any number of efforts are underway to try to remedy this situation. One dramatic recent example is the awakening of Occupy Wall Street.
But while OWS and any number of entities and agencies are focused on what is wrong, CoreChange is focused on what is possible. As elucidated in the Vision video, we are healing neighborhoods by engaging with citizens to build on community strengths and a commitment to a better Cincinnati.
As we are actively engaged in Cincinnati, we recognize that we are also creating a template for change that can be introduced to neighborhoods and communities everywhere. We are establishing organizational structures and working groups to directly address community issues. We are embedding ourselves within communities to raise awareness about what is possible. And we are educating citizens about what is required to create wholesome and thriving urban neighborhoods.
Part of our approach is to recognize that the old cultural system, based on the power of money, is inadequate for creating peace, prosperity and health. We further recognize that we must operate from principles like peace, love, personal responsibilty, justice and balance to build trust.
This process is not a quick fix. It's a long-term commitment to creating health and safety. It's a commitment to learning to thrive. It's a commitment to our principles. If this feels meaningful to you, please join us.
The Greater Cincinnati Workforce Network seeks to close the “skill gap” in three priority industries by developing career pathways that provide education and training programs to help workers advance in their careers and help employers meet their need for a skilled workforce. Together, our three priority sectors—health care, advanced manufacturing, and construction—represent nearly 1-in-3 jobs in our region and the majority of the middle-skill jobs that offer strong wages and advancement opportunities.
The health care industry is the region’s largest source of private sector employment and generates an economic impact of almost $14 billion per year, according to the Greater Cincinnati Health Council. Health care is also one of the fastest growing industries in our region; employment in hospitals increased by 36 percent in the past five years. By 2014, the industry is projected to add nearly 20,000 local jobs. Our health care employers offer good jobs with advancement opportunities, yet they struggle to find qualified employees to fill these positions, most of which require some post-secondary education or training. Cincinnati area hospitals reported a total of 3,160 unfilled positions in fiscal year 2007.
Advanced Manufacturing is a dominant industry in our region and provides the largest source of private-sector employment after health care. The industry offers strong wages and good advancement opportunities for low-skill individuals. While older manufacturing is certainly declining, high-tech manufacturing will remain a dominant source of employment and key economic driver in our region for years to come. Even in this economy, manufacturers are struggling to find the skilled workers they need to remain competitive, especially as older workers retire. Moreover, the manufacturing of tomorrow is increasingly technologically-driven, requiring a high-tech skill set. Emerging and growth sub-sectors of the industry—such as Aerospace, Biotechnology, Alternative Energy, and Chemical Manufacturing—all offer in-demand jobs for skilled workers.
Construction offers a significant source of employment, strong advancement opportunities, strong wages, and high projected future growth. Our region has multiple major construction projects currently underway, with more expected in the near future due to the federal stimulus package. Emerging areas of Green Construction and Energy Efficiency Retrofitting also require new training programs. Finally, the current construction workforce is rapidly reaching retirement age, which will lead to significant skills shortages.
Gun violence in Cincinnati is all over the news again – activists, rappers, drug dealers and random bystanders shot or killed.
This time, however, Mayor Mark Mallory and University Hospital are doing something about it.
According to a report Tuesday in The Cincinnati Enquirer, they have proposed a plan called “Out of the Crossfire,” where “gunshot victims will be evaluated by a program coordinator to assess their employment history, education, living quarters, drug or alcohol use, environmental factors, socio-economic status, prior episodes or hospitalization for violence, coping skills and support systems.”
It is a plan to keep gunshot survivors from getting shot again – or worse, getting zipped up in a bag.
Why is a hospital running some touchy-feely program against gun violence? It’s an excellent question, because it determines the degree to which the massacre on our streets is about “gun control” or public health.
The answer is brutally simple: It’s both.
The Enquirer reported last January how Dr. Jay Johannigman, a two-tour Iraq war veteran and head of trauma care at University Hospital, “cared for soldiers riddled with shrapnel or bullets in battle and has spent too much of his civilian career digging bullets out of young men who are the casualties of urban warfare. ‘What you learn in a big-city emergency room serves you well in war,’ said Johannigman, a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force Reserve.”
That’s right. We’ve let gun violence in Cincinnati become a trauma surgeon’s training ground for war, instead of the other way around.
Mayor Mallory now has the city’s full attention, and he must lead Cincinnati out of this public safety emergency. Only he can propose a complete strategy to end the violence – one based on data and analysis – that can unite the city’s liberals, conservatives and moderates behind the same cause.
In 2001, professor Lawrence Sherman of the University of Pennsylvania wrote a meta-analysis called Reducing Gun Violence: What works, what doesn’t, what’s promising. Sherman collected research from around America and evaluated anti-gun violence policies in terms of epidemiology – i.e., whether they tackled the causes of gun violence like the causes of a disease.
Sherman found that, while gun buyback programs are a policy failure, “gun patrols” by uniformed police are empirically shown to work. Officers patrol “gun crime hot spots, in areas with homicide rates … above the national average … looking for illegally carried guns.”
A 1992 experiment in a high-crime Kansas City area showed “a 49 percent reduction in crimes committed with guns.”
In 1996, two areas in Indianapolis showed a 50 percent and a 22 percent drop, respectively, in “gun assaults, armed robberies and homicides.”
Sherman also discusses the utility of “ammunition control” and outright handgun bans. While there is no conclusive data yet to show these ideas definitely work, the data we have are “promising.” Sherman argues that the only way to know for sure is to experiment. Therefore, I suggest that:
(1) Cincinnati City Council amends Municipal Code Sec. 708-17 to state simply, “No person shall sell handgun ammunition to any purchaser with whom the seller is not personally acquainted.”
(2) Subject to Ohio’s Concealed Carry law, City Council ban for one-year civilian handgun possession within the city limits. (Note: The Second Amendment does not apply against state and city government regulation.) (3) Mallory and the Hamilton County Commissioners raise city and county taxes to hire the extra police, and build the extra jail space, needed to run uniformed officer gun patrols in high crime areas.
Combined with the social resources of “Out of the Crossfire,” maybe these steps can end our gun violence epidemic.
Seventy-six people have been killed by violence in Cincinnati this year – most by guns.
University Hospital’s trauma unit expects to treat 328 gunshot-wound victims this year. In 2000, the unit treated 111.
Since Jan. 1, 2002, 1,588 people have been wounded by gunfire in Cincinnati.
In the first 10 months of this year, police have received reports of shots being fired more than 2,900 times or about 10 times a day.
University Hospital trauma unit director Dr. Jay Johannigman said he expects to see the highest number of gunshot victims in five years.
“The community has to be aware of these numbers. If we abandon our community to this kind of senseless violence, it speaks legions about where we are. Downtown and areas like Over-the-Rhine and Avondale cannot be abandoned.”
He likened Cincinnati and surrounding areas to a doughnut, sweet on the outside with a hole in the middle. “We can’t put all of our resources in the suburbs. If we abandon downtown, saying we don’t care, we become like Detroit or east St. Louis. I don’t live in those cities.”
So, what’s the problem?
The Enquirer invited 12 political leaders and community activists to a roundtable last week to discuss the growing violence in the city, the reasons behind it and what can be done to curb it.
The group identified several problems. They cited drugs, single-parent households, lack of education, hard-to-come-by jobs in the inner city, a culture that sees nothing wrong with guns and where revenge is a common theme.
They talked about an inner-city culture that glorifies gangs, accepts the pregnancies of 14-, 15- or 16-year-old girls.
Make no mistake, they said, Cincinnati has a problem. In fact, Army trauma surgeons and doctors don’t have to go to the frontlines of war for training – they’re being trained here in Cincinnati.
Mayor Mark Mallory, elected last month, said he will accept responsibility for bringing the city back. He said he has a number of initiatives to do that, but declined to announce them.