Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Shirley Colbert

Shirley Colbert grew up in the West End. She is a graduate of Taft High School. She has lived her whole life in the West End. She was born and raised a Catholic, and she sits on the Parish Pastoral Council of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in the West End.

Shirley Colbert was president of the Laurel Homes Resident’s Council for two decades plus. Laurel Homes was the largest housing project in this city’s history. They had around 5,500 residents.

In 1990, The Cincinnati Enquirer celebrated Shirley Colbert as a “Woman of the Year”. Every year, the Enquirer selects eight new women into the club.
An article from the Cincinnati Post, May 6th, 1994

“In 1991 the Federal Government singled her out for a national honor for her efforts to encourage economic development, improve maintenance and security and keep drugs and litter off the project”

The 1991 award was from Jack Kemp and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. She met with Jack Kemp. Liked him. The name of the award was a bland “Individual Recognition Award” from HUD. I liked the Post’s description better.

I don’t have a whole list of associations that she has worked with. I jotted down some notes from some of the papers that I have read:

Laurel Homes Resident’s Council
West End Community Council
Ohio Historical Society Advisory Board
CMHA Advisory Board
A Day In Eden Board of Directors
Greater Cincinnati African American Leadership Development Training Program
Cincinnati Women’s Club Honoree at the Seasongood Forum
Applause Magazine Image Maker Award
Associated Managers, Inc. Honoree
Model Citizens Committee for recognition of Valuable and Outstanding Service

She has met personally met with 5 different Presidential Administrations.

She met with:

Richard Milhaus Nixon
Jimmy Carter
Nancy Reagan
William Jefferson Clinton
George Herbert Walker Bush (the daddy)

She said the most honest President that she met was Dick Nixon. She met with him in Washington at the Whitehouse, and she had a conversation where she stressed the fact that it is a bad idea to have a housing complex of that magnitude without a laundry facility. She pressed him on that, and he made sure they got their washers and dryers on site.

Her political activism has always been grass roots, where the rubber meets the road. She has never aspired to have higher public office, though I read a pretty niece piece about how she would be the perfect candidate for Congress. He called her the “Mayor of a small city”. (“Politics Needs Laurel Homes Proven Leader” – Jim Rohrer, Cincinnati Enquirer 4/8/91)

A quote from another article said “There is a dignity to her along with the way that she cares for her neighborhood”. She got unbelievable good press in the late 80s / early 90s. She was meeting with Presidents and Government officials, winning awards, speaking at forums and all the while serving the West End Community.

At one point in the early 90's she convinced Mayor Mann (he was then a councilman) and his wife to live in Laurel Homes for one week. It brought a lot of attention to living conditions, crime and drug dealing and the situations that they had to deal with. During that time she had the ear of editorial boards, all the press, City Council, Federal officials, and even the Presidents of the United States.

She has never strayed from her initial motivations. She has always been concentrated and focused on the betterment of her community. The community she grew up in, married in, worshiped in, raised children in, and consistently fought for.

She was behind a push to evict drug dealers from public housing, which Jack Kemp passed in the late 80’s. It is hard to imagine a time when people convicted of drug trafficking were allowed to live in public housing, but that incredibly used to happen. She even hosted an event with Drug Zar William Bennet at the Laurel Homes Residents Council. She worked with Community Oriented Policing at the onset of the program. She did everything she could to enhance and improve the lives of the people around her.

Shirley Colbert is a beautiful, exceptional and extraordinary woman. She is an invaluable asset to this community.

Shirley Colbert has been under attack. Scripted phone calls to the Buzz claim that she is committing fraud and embezzling funds. And we are only talking about $700 in membership funds that the treasurer refused to accept at every instance, including the last two WECC meetings. The thought that Shirley Colbert would go against a lifetime of grassroots political advocacy and activism for $700 bucks is laughable, but that is what they are pushing.

Her story needs to be told. It has been 16 years since she was Woman of the Year, and staffers and editorial boards have likely forgot or switched over. They need to be reminded when they are comparing her stature and credibility to Dale Mallory.

What does Dale Mallory have on his resume? He was Executive Director of Genesis. He then went on after Genesis disbanded to appoint the same cronies to the Empowerment Zone Board of Directors. Dale Mallory doesn’t have one significant achievement in this community, and he doesn’t give a damn about this community. If they are going to impugn Shirley’s integrity, we need to make it a side by side comparison with Dale.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

My kind of woman.
And Dale wants to beat up on Saint Shirley of the West End....SHAME ON YOU DALE.

10:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anyone who can hang with Tricky Dick Nixon can't be all bad.

4:38 PM  
Anonymous Larry said...

Dale Mallory has an impressive bio of his own. He has bilked money through Genesis, The WECC, and the Empowerment Zone. Come this fall he gets to take his grafting skilz to the statewide level. Nothing can stop him.

2:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shirley Rocks!

4:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What the hell has Dale done to compare with Shirley? He is a fool to attack her like he does.

11:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


6:28 PM  
Blogger WestEndCincy said...

She is a hero. Why Dale Mallory chooses to bash her in the press is beyond me. He is going to lose the vote in his community because of that alone.

12:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow is right, anon.

colbert is a strong woman

11:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He claimed on Newsmakers that Shirley is being bankrolled.

9:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Shirley is being "bankrolled" by her neighbors and friends who know that Shirley had no personal agenda against Dale and was simply performing in the capacity of her role as prescribed by the community council by-laws and Roberts Rules when the impeachment charges were filed against Dale Mallory ... He only wishes that he had the backing that Shirley has...

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a remarkable woman.

1:03 AM  

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