WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
December 12th, 2013 By German Lopez | News | Posted In: News, City Council, city manager, Mayor, Streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

Streetcar announcement today, streetcar decision nears, interim city manager appointed

streetcarRendering: CAF USA / City of Cincinnati

Mayor John Cranley, Councilman Kevin Flynn and four union representatives from the Fraternal Order of Police, Firefighters Local 48, AFSCME and CODE will make a “major announcement” regarding the streetcar project today at 9 a.m., according to the mayor’s office. Local 12 reported last night that the announcement will be an offer from a private contributor to underwrite the streetcar’s operating costs for 30 years, but Councilman Chris Seelbach tweeted that the rumor is “not true.” If the report checks out, it could significantly increase the streetcar project’s chances of survival by alleviating a major budget concern. (Update: The announcement wasnt as expansive as stated by Local 12, but Cranley said hes open to private contributions. Read more here.)

Flynn and Vice Mayor David Mann could decide the fate of the streetcar project by Dec. 20, a deadline set by the federal government for up to $44.9 million in grants funding roughly one-third of the project. It’s a precarious position for Flynn, who in 2009 and 2011 campaigned in support of the project but completely changed his position during his 2013 campaign. Both Flynn and Mann say they will only support the project if the costs of cancellation are close to the costs of completion, but Flynn says he’s also concerned about the costs to operate the streetcar. Read more about the two council members and their pivotal roles here.

City Council yesterday appointed Scott Stiles as interim city manager, but only after heated debate over Stiles’ compensation package left three council members voting “no.” The package gives Stiles a raise if he isn’t appointed as permanent city manager and returns to his previous position as one of two assistant city managers, which some council members called unfair to other city workers, including the other assistant city manager, who wouldn’t get comparable pay increases. Council members estimated the search for another city manager will take six months.

Former City Manager Milton Dohoney is among five final candidates for the city manager job in Dallas.

The Charter Committee, Cincinnati’s unofficial third political party, yesterday picked Colin Groth as its new leader.

Number crunchers will release a preliminary financing plan for the $2.5 billion Brent Spence Bridge project by the end of the month, according to Ky. Gov. Steve Beshear. The plan will include a mix of federal funding, state funding and tolls, Beshear explained. Ohio, Kentucky and federal officials largely agree the project is necessary to fix the functionally obsolete bridge, but the project stalled over the years as Northern Kentucky officials resisted using tolls for funding.

More than 31,000 Ohio students are using private-school vouchers this year, up 4,600 from the year before. Supporters say the vouchers allow more Ohioans to attend otherwise inaccessible schools, but opponents argue the vouchers effectively siphon money away from the public school system.

The new federal budget deal received support from Republican Speaker John Boehner, but Republican Reps. Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, both from Cincinnati, say they’re unsure which way they’ll vote. The deal increases spending levels established after across-the-board cuts known as “sequestration”; the increased spending is balanced out by cuts elsewhere and hiked fees. The Washington Post gave a succinct rundown of the deal here.

Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana are among the least healthy states in the nation, according to a report from the United Health Foundation.

Ohio legislators yesterday approved an expanded “Move Over” law that “requires motorists to slow down and, as conditions permit, shift to an adjacent lane when approaching construction, maintenance and public utilities commission vehicles that are parked on the roadside with flashing, oscillating or rotating lights,” according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Previous law only requires slowing down and shifting lanes when approaching police and other emergency vehicles, including tow trucks.

The Ohio House approved a bill that could give student trustees voting power on public university boards, which could allow some students to help set tuition levels.

An anonymous $3 million gift created a scholarship fund for University of Cincinnati engineering students.

Here are the nominees for the 2014 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards.

OpenTable ranked Cincinnati restaurant Orchids at Palm Court as the seventh best in the nation for 2013. Cincinnati-based Boca also made the top 100 list.

Miami University and Cincinnati will host the 2016 NCAA hockey tournament.

The coldest place on Earth — in Antarctica, obviously — can reach -135.8 degrees Farenheit.

A one-way, manned mission to Mars got closer to reality after Mars One announced a deal with Lockheed Martin and SSTL to develop technology to colonize the planet by 2025.

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