Six out of nine City Council members signed a motion to use money from the city’s parking lease to conduct a disparity study that would gauge whether minority- and women-owned businesses should be favorably targeted by the city’s contracting policies. Democrats Roxanne Qualls, Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young, Chris Seelbach, Pam Thomas and P.G. Sittenfeld signed the motion. The study, which could cost between $500,000 and $1 million, is required to change city contracting policies after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that governments must prove there is a racial or gender-based disparity before changing rules to favor any specific race or gender. CityBeat first covered a disparity study in further detail here. Council members will hold a press conference about the issue at noon today.
Petitioners pushing to reform Cincinnati’s public retirement system with a controversial city charter amendment turned in almost 16,000 signatures to City Hall yesterday. Of those signatures, 7,443 have to be validated by the Hamilton County Board of Elections. The plan would put future city workers in individual retirement accounts similar to 401K plans used in the private sector. But city officials argue that, unlike private workers, public employees don’t get Social Security benefits on top of their pensions, which means public workers could get considerably less retirement money under the amendment than someone would in the private sector. Supporters of the amendment point to the city’s struggles with properly funding its pension system, which led to a bond rating downgrade from credit rating agency Moody’s. Opponents of the amendment plan to hold a press conference in front of City Hall at 3 p.m. today or after today’s Council meeting, whichever is later.
A majority of City Council on Tuesday sided with the Windholtz family, who will now be able to sell and demolish the old Lenhardt’s restaurant building — also known as the Goetz House — in Clifton Heights. Only Councilwoman Yvette Simpson sided with community members who argued that the building should be declared a historical landmark and preserved. “If I were counting votes, I would go with the community. There are a whole bunch of you and a very few people named Windholtz,” Councilman Wendell Young said. “I believe that the courage to do what’s right this time is to side with the family.”
Election results from yesterday: The Norwood tax levy failed, the Arlington Heights levy failed with a tie vote and the Cleves tax levy passed.
Gov. John Kasich says there’s no need to change oversight over JobsOhio, the privatized development agency that has been mired in controversy in the past few weeks. Most recently, a story in the Dayton Daily News found six of nine members on the JobsOhio board had direct financial ties to companies receiving state aid. Republicans argue JobsOhio’s privatized nature allows it to move quickly with deals that bring in businesses and jobs to the state, but Democrats say the secretive agency is too difficult to hold accountable and could be wasting taxpayer dollars.
Former Gov. Ted Strickland is calling on Ohioans to act now and reduce the effects of global warming. Strickland is apparently siding with the near-unanimous scientific consent that global warming is real and man-made. Scientists generally want to reduce carbon and other greenhouse-gas emissions enough so global warming doesn’t exceed two degrees Celsius, but the planet is currently on a path to warm by five degrees Celsius. If that trend continues, there could be devastating effects, including more drought and other extraordinary weather events.
The second phase of The Banks might include a grocery store.
Procter & Gamble plans to move 50 customer service jobs from Cincinnati to San Jose, Costa Rica.
The house of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held captive and raped three women for more than a decade, was demolished today. The neighborhood is still celebrating the capture of Castro, who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years last week, but many in the area are wondering how the man got away with his crimes for so long.
Entrepreneurs were more likely to cause trouble than teenagers, according to a new study.
Next month, the state’s most important environmental/conservation organization plans to give Taft its award for lifetime achievement as a consistent backer of policies and programs for clean air and water. So the governor who skipped his green fees is being recognized as Mr. Green. The Ohio Environmental Council says it will bestow the honor Nov. 10 at its annual “Green Gala” in Columbus.
Taft is being seen in hindsight as the kind of R who wasn’t afraid of standing up for the environment. That is a rarity in today’s GOP, where Rush Limbaugh routinely denounces tree-huggers as enviro-fascists, and the EPA is widely portrayed as a jobs-killing hydra. Of course, few remember that Republican President Richard Nixon created the EPA. Nor do they seem to recollect that Teddy Roosevelt — when he wasn’t hunting elephants or elk — is the patriarch of the national park system.
Taft gets credit for taking on his own party, which recently considered tapping water from the Great Lakes. He had supported strict limits on withdrawing water from Great Lakes feeder streams for industrial and mining purposes — those streams replenished Lake Erie. Taft believed the Great Lakes were resources that needed more protection from special interests; they did not need more abuse and exploitation.
Taft also favored reauthorization of the federal Clean Water Act, and he wanted Superfund legislation fixed to add so-called “brown fields,” which were old industrial sites that could be cleaned and put back into use as commercial real estate. He supported an energy policy that would have 25 percent of all U.S. energy coming from renewable sources by 2025. He pushed natural gas companies to set aside funds to help low income families pay their heating bills.
As far back as 2003, Taft was urging governors and Congress to take drastic action to stop the spread of the Asian carp, the giant jumping fish that now are in the Ohio River near Cincinnati. He called such invasive species “perhaps the most serious and potentially destructive threat” to Ohio’s natural ecosystem. His warning about all the invaders came too true. Since then, Emerald Ash Borers have appeared and destroyed too much of Ohio’s forestland. And Asian longhorn beetles are on the march in Clermont County, where the Department of Natural Resources and Forest Service have drawn battle lines against the pest. Taft worried about water pollution, too. He said too many beaches were closed from bacteria and sewage, and he saw the solution as “not better information about when to close the beach, it’s not having to close the beach in the first place.”
So Taft is getting a thoughtful reappraisal. He may have been comfortable at play on the country clubs. But his reputation is coming back from low ebb.
Newly restored digital copies of 73-year-old maps detailing where U.S military veterans are buried throughout Hamilton County will be unveiled Wednesday.
The Hamilton County Recorder’s Office recently received map books dating to 1939 that were thought to have been destroyed. Created by the Works Progress Administration, the map books register the burial location of every veteran in the county who had served dating back to the Revolutionary War.
The maps list details about area veterans who served in the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the War with Mexico, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War and World War I.
Eventually, the records were transferred to microfiche between the 1950s and ‘70s, and the map books were given to a local resident. The filmed copies began degrading over time and are of poor quality, causing problems for historians, genealogical researchers and others who tried to use them.
A member of the Ohio Genealogical Society ultimately acquired the original copies of the map books and presented them to the Recorder’s Office in February. Since that time, the office has worked to transfer the images to a digital format and enhance their quality. All of the images now are available on the Recorder’s Office website.
County Recorder Wayne Coates will unveil the newly restored records at 2 p.m. Wednesday. The event will be held in Room 205 of the County Administration Building, located at 138 E. Court St., downtown.
Human rights activist and author Kerry Kennedy, one of the late Robert F. Kennedy’s daughters, will be in Cincinnati Friday to speak about women who create social change.
Kennedy will appear at an event sponsored by the Woman’s City Club of Greater Cincinnati. The speech will begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Millennium Hotel, 150 W. Fifth St., in downtown Cincinnati.
Tickets to the event cost $25 and are available online in advance or at the door.
She will present a speech entitled, “The Power of One: Stories of Inspiration from Women on the Cutting-Edge of Social Change.”
Kennedy, 52, is president of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Justice and Human Rights in Washington, D.C. Also, she is chairwoman of the Amnesty International USA Leadership Council.
Kennedy is author of the best-selling books, Being Catholic Now: Prominent Americans Talk about Change in the Church and the Quest for Meaning, along with Speak Truth to Power: Human Rights Defenders Who Are Changing Our World.
She is the seventh of Robert F. Kennedy’s 11 children. From 1990-2005, she was married to Andrew Cuomo, the current New York governor and son of Mario Cuomo.
Founded in 1915, Woman’s City Club has worked to foster civic reform and social justice in Cincinnati. Among its many activities, the club helped establish the city’s first race relations committee and held study circles on various issues to encourage greater civic participation.
If you know an individual or group that volunteers their time to preserve and promote historic documents or sites in Hamilton County, you can nominate them for an award.
The Hamilton County Recorder’s Office is accepting nominations for its annual Griffin Yeatman Award. Created in 1994, the award recognizes people who work to help others understand historic preservation and promote public interest in the topic.
Application forms may be accessed here.
Past winners include Gorman Heritage Farm, Cincinnati Police Museum, Indian Hill Historical Society, the Cincinnati Observatory and American Jewish Archives, among many others.
The award is presented for excellence in historical preservation, research or achievement that has contributed to the preservation of buildings, sites, structures and objects pertaining to Hamilton County's history.
Deadline for submissions is March 31.
Griffin Yeatman was a Cincinnati pioneer and the Hamilton County recorder from 1828-35. He ran the Square and Compass Tavern, which was visited by famous guests including George Roger Clark, Andrew Jackson and Aaron Burr. Also, Yeatman was the first recorder elected to the position by Hamilton County citizens.
A group that supports preserving the historic Gamble House in Westwood is angry that Cincinnati building inspectors aren't enforcing the law at the property, which is allowing heavy rainfall to damage it while a court battle drags on about whether to save the mansion from demolition.
Bob Prokop, of Save the Historic Gamble Estate Now, said the city's inaction about securing the house contradicts what a building inspector told him would be done at the property in an email from last spring.
In following with Cincinnati tradition, I'll begin this story by telling you where I went to high school.
In April of 2001, I was senior at Lakota East High School in West Chester. I was deeply involved with the school's enthusiastic journalism program. Unlike many teen-agers, I did not suffer from indecision. I knew I wanted to be a photojournalist.
Yesterday marked the 10th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's 5-4 decision that stopped the presidential election recount in Florida and handed the 2000 election to George W. Bush.
It's difficult to believe that was already 10 years ago. And it's amazing still that A) the Supreme Court acted in such a blatantly political manner to step in and resolve a state election issue, halting a legal recount, and B) that Americans didn't take to the streets to revolt against the power grab by Bush and his Republican cronies.
Today is Veterans Day, which began as Armistice Day on Nov. 11, 1919, the one-year anniversary of the end of World War I. President Eisenhower formally made it Veterans Day in 1954.
HBO airs a new documentary film tonight, Wartorn: 1861-2010, focusing on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among U.S. soldiers as well as soldier suicides from the Civil War up through the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Actor James Gandolfini is the film's executive producer and conducts on-camera interviews. Watch a preview here.
With all the blather about banning or restricting the construction of mosques in the United States because of Islam's alleged connections to terrorism, now is a good time to examine exactly what the religion is and what its central tenets are.