An area civic group will launch a series of public meetings this week to examine the city of Cincinnati’s ever-growing Police Department budget and help residents make informed decisions about whether some cuts can be made. When the process is complete, the group will present its findings in a formal brief to the city manager’s office and City Council this fall.
Riots. Civil unrest. Uprising. How a person characterizes the events that occurred in Cincinnati during the early days of April 2001 reveals a lot about his or her mindset. On a warm Saturday night, on April 7, two off-duty Cincinnati police officers in Over-the-Rhine recognized a passerby, Timothy Thomas, as a person wanted on open warrants. The officers walked toward Thomas, who ran.
While hopes appeared to dim last week for Cincinnati’s long-planned streetcar system due to a series of legislative setbacks, local leaders say the project is far from dead. “With any large project, I always preface anything by saying that it’s always a very long process and there are always obstacles,” says Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, one of several City Council members supporting the project.
In an effort to fortify Cincinnati’s ailing retirement system for municipal workers, City Council narrowly approved a package of reforms March 16 aimed at reversing the system’s current course toward a projected $1 billion shortfall. In a 5-4 vote, City Council approved reforms that stiffen eligibility requirements, reduce some benefits and increase the retirement age for current workers.
A fledgling political group has slowly been gaining membership in Greater Cincinnati by organizing rallies and meetings where they try to hold local politicians accountable and ask citizens how they can reform their government. Founded in March 2010, the Cincinnati Coffee Party is a nonpartisan grassroots organization that questions the policies of government and strives to get citizens involved in the political process.
While opponents have stepped up calls to shut the Volunteers of America (VOA) center that treats sexual offenders in Over-the-Rhine, operators of the controversial halfway house are trying to assuage longstanding concerns — concerns that flared anew due to two recent cases in which sexual offenders from the program committed new crimes.
Despite attempts to cut its federal funding, officials in Planned Parenthood’s Southwest Ohio Region insist closing isn’t an option. Regional President Becki Brenner's concern isn’t merely for her organization’s survival but for the many people who have lost their jobs, had their COBRA health insurance expire or women who need health-care services and can’t afford them and don’t have anywhere else to go.
In the 14 months since a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision overturned restrictions and allowed for unlimited corporate spending in campaigns for elections, the political landscape of America already has dramatically changed. During the 2010 midterm elections in November, the first major cycle after the decision, so-called “independent groups” spent more than four times as much money as they did in the 2006 midterm elections.
Naomi Tutu is the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the first black Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town who helped bring worldwide attention to the struggle against apartheid in the 1980s. Among his many awards, he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2009. Following in the footsteps of her father, Naomi Tutu is a renowned human rights activist who is visiting Cincinnati March 10 to discuss her first-hand accounts of apartheid, and how racism and violence can destroy the fundamentals of a community.
Some community groups are outraged about a hastily crafted proposal by Cincinnati officials that could result in the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office taking control of all policing within city limits, adding it shows a lack of planning and judgment. Critics say the wide-sweeping proposal, which is being rushed through in three months, would disrupt many of the hard-fought police reforms that resulted from the Collaborative Agreement.
Whether you’re looking at economic indicators, stagnant wages, the persistently high unemployment rate or the continued outsourcing of jobs overseas, it’s hard to quibble that America’s middle class has hit rough times. Local experts weighed in on the topic during a panel discussion Feb. 15 at an Avondale church. The event, “The Vanishing Middle Class in Cincinnati: Myth or Reality?”, was sponsored by the Woman’s City Club, a longtime civic organization.
According to the National Institute for Literacy, between 21 and 23 percent of the U.S. adult population can read a little but not well enough to fill out an application or read a food label. Statistics estimate there are more than 280,000 adults who have trouble reading in the Tristate region alone. That’s a bleak picture that the Literacy Network of Greater Cincinnati is trying to change.
As it awaits the outcome of a multifaceted legal battle that will likely decide its fate, Westwood’s historic James Norris Gamble House is enduring a harsh winter. The uncertain future of the Gamble House has stirred contentious debates between the property’s owners, city government and preservationists across Greater Cincinnati and beyond.
It takes a brave and committed person to take a stand for progressive values in a notoriously conservative city like Cincinnati. Nonetheless, Nancy Minson was up to the challenge, tackling her share of political battles with an ingratiating sense of grace and good humor.
In an effort to spark smaller-scale projects in Over-the-Rhine, the Owner Redevelopment Loan Task Force is working to find ways to close the “development gap” that typically blocks many people from trying to rehabilitate structures in the neighborhood due to inadequate lending options for vacant, historic building stock.