DENISE DRIEHAUS: The state representative from the Ohio House’s 31st District, covering western Cincinnati and nearby areas, is one of 14 state lawmakers who wrote Gov. Kasich this week demanding answers about the state budget. Specifically, they want to know why Kasich and many GOP lawmakers are pushing for $8 billion in budget cuts when some think tanks and even a Republican state senator say the actual deficit is $2 billion-$3 billion less than initially projected by Kasich’s office. The progressive coalition wrote that making unnecessarily steep cuts will harm local communities, raise local taxes and ultimately eliminate some jobs. “This is not an academic debate, but one of moral consciousness,” Driehaus and her colleagues wrote. “These numbers are real dollars that can be returned to keep jobs in our schools, local governments, and safety net programs instead of Gov. Kasich and his legislative allies slashing needed services beyond the bone causing undue harm to Ohio’s citizens.”
JUDGE BOUCHARD: A judge’s job is to use reason and discretion to make fair decisions, within the scope of the law. But a decision June 24 by Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge Bernie Bouchard strikes us as excessive and vindictive.
As Bouchard was setting the bond amount for a man accused of breaking into a business, a friend of the suspect who was in the courtroom angrily objected. That’s when Bouchard called the female spectator, Nikia Bowman, before the bench and sentenced her to one day in jail. That seems reasonable, as order and decorum must be maintained. As deputies took Bowman into custody, however, she allegedly used a cuss word. The judge then added 30 days onto Bowman’s sentence. First, some observers say it was unclear exactly who mouthed off the second time. Regardless, 31 days for contempt of court is absurd, particularly when the county has a problem with jail overcrowding and are having some prisoners released early. Get a grip, Bernie.
CITY LINK: Commonly referred to over the years as a “social services mall” by detractors, the latest news about the long-planned CityLink Center in the West End seems like a win-win for all sides. Crossroads Community Church in Oakley, the major impetus behind the project, has raised enough money to begin CityLink’s construction in late July. But Crossroads has responded to criticism from some West End and University Heights residents by eliminating temporary housing for the homeless. Critics had said creating the shelter at the 800 Bank St. site would’ve lowered property values, posed a danger to children and hampered efforts to convert the struggling neighborhoods into a mixed-income area. Now the project will focus on services for the working poor like budget planning, health testing and free childcare. CityLink is a $12 million project that would create an 80,000-square-foot building. It will employ about 30 people and also rely on 500 volunteers from area churches.
TOM NEYER JR.: We usually don’t like criticizing anyone when they’re experiencing personal problems, but sometimes extenuating circumstances prompt us to make an exception. Neyer, an ex-county commissioner who is a real estate developer, filed for bankruptcy June 23. He listed $69 million in liabilities and $1.4 million in assets in court documents. Part of Neyer’s financial problems stem from the troubled Kenwood Towne Place project, which stands unfinished next to I-71. Although we feel sorry for him, that sentiment is tempered by knowledge that Neyer was appointed to the county commission in 1996 by GOP leaders solely to provide the crucial second vote needed to approve the sales-tax issue that allowed construction of new Reds and Bengals stadiums and their subsequent leases. Those same deals have left the county with skyrocketing deficits in recent years, causing job layoffs and cuts in services to residents. This strikes us as a clear-cut case of karma.