Barricades along McMicken Avenue in Over-the-Rhine and Fairview
are working to deter prostitution, Cincinnati Police said yesterday in a
presentation to City Council’s Human Services Committee. The barriers sit in
three locations along the street and were put up April 30 as part of a program
to fight sex work and human trafficking in the area. Other efforts include new
laws making penalties tougher for pimps and johns and releasing the names of
those convicted of soliciting prostitutes.
The stretch of McMicken is known for high levels of
prostitution and other crime. In January, a 24-year-old woman was shot in the
head and killed on the street. Authorities suspect she was involved in the sex
trade. Police say the volume of prostitution in the area has gone down with the
barricades, though they also acknowledge that they’ve seen an uptick in
activity in places like the West End. Residents in West Price Hill have also
reported an increase in prostitution since the barriers went up.
Some residents in the area aren’t convinced the barricades
help and say they make their daily commutes more difficult, though others say
they’ve noticed a difference in the level of crime. The barricades will come
down by the end of the summer.
The court ruled both the Coalition Opposed to Additional
Spending and Taxes, or COAST, and the Susan B. Anthony List were harmed by the
Ohio law and could sue the state. In 2010, Democrat Steve Driehaus, then
running for governor, threatened legal action over SBA plans to buy billboards
saying he voted for “tax-payer funded abortions.” SBA cited Driehaus’ support
of the Affordable Care Act as proof of the claim. Though Driehaus dropped the
matter after losing the election, SBA sued, saying their First Amendment rights
were violated. COAST jumped on the suit as well, claiming they did not carry out
plans for similar advertisements due to fear of legal action.
SBA’s assertion against Driehaus was incredibly
questionable — using taxpayer money for abortions is still illegal under the ACA, and abortion
providers must still go to great pains to show they’re not using public money to
administer the procedure — but the larger issue of free speech convinced both liberal
and conservative justices at the Supreme Court. Lower courts originally
dismissed the groups’ suits, but the case will now go back to them to be
• In other sports news, Team USA won over Ghana to kick off
its bid for the World Cup, but you probably already know that from all the
yelling your neighbors did about it last night. At least that’s how I know
about it. We're number one!
• …Except when it comes to health care. In fact, a new study
by the Commonwealth Fund shows the United States is number 11 when it comes to
our health care system when compared with 10 other developed countries. The
U.S. ranked behind the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, Australia, Germany,
The Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, France and Canada in terms of quality of
healthcare available. We’re number 11! That’s like being number one twice! The
U.S. was legitimately number one in a single category, though: We have the
most expensive health care of all the countries in the study.