In a popular article on the blog, The Shallow Brigade, writer Kim O’Connor continued to deal with the current reputation Nick Spencer wins as a writer and social media commentator online and contrasts and compares it with his previous political career, which she ran for the 2005 charter party in the Cincinnati local elections, which she describes as “the cornerstone of Nick Spencer’s shitty politics.”
It’s a topic we briefly touched upon in an article a few years ago – and referenced by Kim O’Connor – but it was far better at bringing up his earlier promoted guidelines and statements at the time.
I read through it even though I didn’t think all the conclusions were the same, but there was a lot to ponder. Especially since Spencer is also painted as someone writing Nazi fantasies in Captain America and Secret Empire, which makes Steve Rogers a sleeping Hydra agent, regardless of his intent.
I think there is an additional context to consider. 2005 was twelve years ago and a week is a long time in politics. Nick Spencer has since moved left in his beliefs, and his politics seem a bit Hawkish today, but still on the Sanders / Clinton spectrum.
But O’Connor sees that in 2005 “his political platform was rooted in elitism, white fear and submission to petty criminals. The ongoing issues I see now when he is” liberal “is a blind belief in authority , pathological excess and a strange persecution complex. “
She quotes much from Spencer’s 2005 campaign document, “Fighting for a Safer Community,” which emphasized his policy of increasing the number of police officers, cracking down on drug traffickers, and increasing prison terms and space.
Meanwhile, she says she will pay for it by completely defusing social services. She says, “Spencer knew these 200 new cops he was about to hire weren’t going to come cheap. His idea? Cut social services for the city as a whole,” citing Spencer’s policy “To help pay for those increases (8, 8). $ 6 million a year) … I will also suggest cutting the human services budget (usually $ 4 million a year) with the US dollars going to security guards instead. “
She reiterates that speech about seeing Nick Spencer “fascist tendencies in his demand to cut social services in Cincinnati to fund the rapid expansion of broken windows policing”.
Basically, Nick Spencer is judge Dredd and paints Cincinnati as Mega-City One.
But here’s the thing, Nick Spencer wasn’t calling for all social services to be removed in their entirety. He called for the removal of a particular social service that was heavily criticized on the ground at the time for not properly, desirably, or efficiently allocating resources.
And “Breaked Window Policing” wasn’t such a controversial policy at the time and was pursued or accepted by many across the political spectrum. And it seemed like a possible solution for Cincinnati, especially the business district, which was a criminal haven at the time.
She also looks at his policies and asks if they are “ousting squatters. Spencer wanted to create (or expand?) A” Blight Team “to evict squatters from buildings,” quoting him as saying, “We have to against absent landlords who offer. ” A safe haven for the criminals terrorizing our streets … I’ll be working to expand and strengthen the City Hall’s Blight team, tasked with tackling troubled buildings across the city and enforcing building violations and codes is responsible. “
And she identifies a policy that describes her: “Use a great domain to move homeless shelters and services out of the neighborhood he lived and worked in. Per Cincinnati CityBeat, Spencer’s 2005 campaign blog urged the Mayor of Cincinnati to using a standout domain against Mary Magdalene House (a homeless shelter) and the Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless, “citing Spencer as saying,” It’s time to stop playing around and get tough here … The city needs to use all its powers to protect existing civic and financial investments has been made in the region. The flood of social services promoting panhandling in the district must be addressed. “
Again without the context that the city at the time was concentrating the homeless in one area of the city rather than distributing services across the city to manipulate the voices, but at the expense of solving the problem. Nick suggested a city-wide solution rather than solving every problematic problem in one district.
She also highlights a number of his statements as racist and characterizes black people as drug dealers as opposed to actual drug dealers. At best, it’s clumsy language and the frustration of a businessman in a high-crime area who may use it to target rival club owners. But an example of a mother’s concern that police put her hands in her 18-year-old’s pants to find the supplies of cracked cocaine he was hiding there seems entirely appropriate.
And allegations of a persecution complex when he found a bullet hole in his windshield and was at some point under police protection seem stretched. Or his complaints to the police about overt criminal activity in his business district, including the robbery at gunpoint at his club and the police statement that they were stretched, seem to explain why it took an hour to answer that call not being paranoia, or some kind of right-wing fantasy.
Because what Nick Spencer was fighting for at the time was the so-called collaboration agreement, in which the police worked with black community groups and churches and held themselves accountable to an independent public body that investigated police excesses. This was a measure that the Cincinnati police objected to his support for, and he was yelled at at a candidate meeting in a more conservative area of the city for being the only candidate who held it.
Charter Committee candidate Nick Spencer defended the “historic” deal, saying police-community relations were much better in Westwood than in other parts of the city. So unpopular was Spencer’s response that Westwood Concern co-founder Mary Kuhl told him to sit down. “You use the word ‘historical’. Historical for whom? The police?” Kuhl shouted. “At the end of the day, the cops were the bad guys.”
Here you can read the full story about how that has changed in the years to come.
This was the big police / crime problem in the city at the time and the council almost resigned. Spencer’s support also fought for a major reform of the use of violence reporting, citizen screening, and police interaction with the community.
You can see here how the various candidates were compared by the media at the time, which is how Nick Spencer was described;
Opinions on the Cincinnati Police Department range from Eby’s boosterism for underrated cops to Charterite and Nick Spencer’s carefully balanced criticism for openly condemning Lynch’s current municipal police and many independent candidates.
Spencer, co-owner of the Alchemize bar Over-the-Rhine, promises that as a councilor he will drive one night with the police every night. No word yet on how the police feel about this, even though Spencer hasn’t received police union approval.
He did, however, get support from Citybeat, the city’s left-wing Village Voice-esque weekly newspaper. Unsurprisingly, the political party he belonged to was pretty much the definition of progressive at the time. And he was a strong advocate and volunteer for the campaign to repeal Article 12, a law against homosexuals that was on the books in Cincinnati, and his club hosted the election night victory party when everyone expected it to lose . He was quoted here speaking about it in 2004, saying:
“In the Republican Party, there is currently a split between fiscally conservative East Side Republicans who don’t have great taste or zeal for social issues like the rest of the party, especially those on the West Side,” said Nick Spencer, one former Republican who founded the Cincinnati Tomorrow Young Professional Group.
The collaborative edition and Article 12 were the two biggest problems of the time in this city, but he was also a critic of the corporate welfare packages for Convergys and a critic of the city hiring a developer who wanted to create a rather dodgy sounding entertainment district.
Regarding the area over the Rhine where his business did business, and on which O’Connor has focused much of their criticism of his stance, you can read a long story about what happened in the area and what turned it around. Although Nick had moved on, they achieved success by following guidelines pretty much the same as those he had advocated.
Nick Spencer is far from perfect. Especially twelve years ago as a 20-year-old club owner in a neighborhood with serious crime, in which the city apparently wanted to flow all its problems and then forget, and who decided to stand up for the local council.
But I think allegations of “fascist tendencies” and promoting “white fear” fall far short of the mark.
Your mileage can of course differ. Like your opinion on Secret Empire, beating Nazis, and whether or not Nick is an asshole.
EDIT: This piece was edited to change Kim O to Kim O’Connor.
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About Rich Johnston
Founder of Bleeding Cool. The world’s longest-serving digital news reporter since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room with a Deja Vu, The Many Murders of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in southwest London, works at Blacks on Dean Street and shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two children. Political cartoonist.