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by Natalie Krebs 02.11.2016 24 hours ago
Posted In: News at 10:58 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
pg sittenfeld

Morning News and Stuff

Tensing trial date set; Northside chili parlor has new owners; P.G. Sittenfeld gets biggest endorsement yet

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines.

A trial date has been set for former University of Cincinnati police officer Ray Tensing, who fatally shot unarmed motorist Sam DuBose in Mount Auburn in July. Tensing will face murder and manslaughter charges brought against him by Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters on Oct. 24, a year and three months after he shot DuBose during a traffic stop. Tensing pulled DuBose over for a missing license plate. DuBose refused to exit his car, and after a brief struggle where Tensing reached into the ca and DuBose started his vehicle, the officer shot him. Tensing's next pre-trial hearing will be in April.

• Forty people marched downtown yesterday stopping in front of the John Weld Peck Federal Building on Main Street to protest the U.S. immigration policy.  The protest, which was coordinated with the Christian holiday of Ash Wednesday, was specifically calling on the feds' recent decision to start deporting women with young children and unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. The march also comes a week after U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement raided an East Price Hill apartment complex with a large number of Central Americans for unknown reasons. 

• Park Chili in Northside has new owners. The Cincinnati chili staple, which has been in operation since 1937, was bought by Steven and Susan Thompson to be operated by their daughter and son-in-law Allie Thompson and Kevin Pogo Curtis as The Park. Curtis previously operated Tacocracy on Hamilton Avenue. Curtis says they plan to keep it a cozy diner, and they even have the chili recipe from former owner Norm Bazoff, which they bought along with the restaurant. 

• U.S. Senate candidate and city councilman P.G. Sittenfeld may have gotten his biggest endorsement yet. Former Democratic Ohio Gov. Richard Celeste has come out in support of Sittenfeld. Sittenfeld is currently running against another former Ohio Gov., Ted Strickland, for the Democratic nomination. The winner of the March primary will face the Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman.

• A bill that would defund Planned Parenthood of Ohio is on its way to Gov. John Kasich's desk. Yesterday, while Kasich was celebrating his second place victory in the New Hampshire GOP primary, the House voted to approve the bill with the amendments added by the Senate. Some political analysts are asking if these two things were strategically planned. The House happened to vote on the legislation the day after the New Hampshire primary where the state's moderate Republicans are likely to be less supportive of defunding Planned Parenthood. But it could help Kasich at his next stop in South Carolina where the state's republicans are more stoked on the idea. Republican Senate President Keith Faber denied on Wednesday the vote was timed to boost Kasich's shot at the presidential nomination, but said he does think the bill will please South Carolina Republicans.

• Gov. John Kasich came in a distant second in the New Hampshire GOP primary. The Ohio governor grabbed just 16 percent of the vote to winner Donald Trump's 35 percent. But is it possible that Kasich can run as the anti-Trump? Exit-poll numbers showed that Kasich was grabbing a different demographic of Republicans than Trump. The ABC poll found that Kasich did much better with voters who wanted an experienced candidate and had post-graduate degrees. He got the vote of 22 percent of those with a grad school degree. Forty-five percent of Trump's supporters had a high school education. This article predicts that Kasich is drawing in a different kind of Republican: those who politely disagree with the state of the nation as opposed to those who are completely enraged by it.

Story tips go here. Stay warm out there!
 
 
by Natalie Krebs 02.10.2016 43 hours ago
Posted In: News at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Bill to Defund Planned Parenthood Heads to Kasich's Desk

Ohio takes another step toward completely defunding abortion providers

A bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio of all government funding is on its way to Gov. John Kasich's desk. 

The Ohio House of Representatives today passed HB-294 with amendments added by the state Senate that would ban the Ohio Department of Health from distributing state and federal funds to centers that perform non-therapeutic abortions.

Health organizations are already prohibited from using state and federal funds toward abortion services. The bill will take this a step further by prohibiting federal funding for non-therapeautic abortions, meaning organizations that perform abortions as a result of rape or incest or those that are not medically necessary are banned as well. Along with non-therapeautic abortions, organizations like Planned Parenthood also use such funding for things like services that help prevent infant mortality, breast and cervical cancer, infertility, minority AIDS and HIV infection and teen STDs and pregnancy. The bill also bars the state from contracting or affiliating with any such organization.  

It would redirect the funding into other community health organizations like Women, Infant and Children (WIC) clinics.

If Kasich signs the bill into law, it will strip Planned Parenthood of Ohio, the largest abortion provider in the state, of the nearly $1.4 million it receives in government funds.

The added amendments would direct $250,000 toward infant mortality prevention efforts and allow pregnant women to go to government-sponsored medical programs while they are applying for Medicaid, instead of waiting until after they are approved. 

Ohio ranks 45th highest in the U.S. for infant mortality, with 7.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, according the 2013 Centers for Disease Control's National Vital Statistics Reports. 

On the House floor, Democrats argued that even though the bill's amendments were directing more resources toward an issue like infant mortality prevention, the bill overall is causing greater harm by stripping an organization like Planned Parenthood of funding it already uses for that purpose. 

Rep. Janine Boyd (D-Cleveland Heights) said the majority of Planned Parenthood clinics in the state tackle educational issues like this and do not perform abortions.

"You are not defunding abortions with this bill," she said.  

Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Akron) said she believes the two items are mutually exclusive.

"The rate of infant mortality rate for aborted babies is 100 percent," said Roegner. 

The legislation is the latest move in a long string of new requirements lawmakers have passed for abortion providers.  

Proponents of the requirements say the laws are intended to improve safety standards at abortion providers. Opponents say they are bureaucratic red tape aimed at reducing the number of clinics performing abortions. 

A 2009 law requires that abortion clinics have a patient-transfer agreement with a public hospital but can request a variance, or exception, if they are unable to do so. 

Planned Parenthood in Mount Auburn and the Women's Med Clinic, the last two abortion providers in southwest Ohio, nearly lost their licenses to perform the procedure earlier this year when the Department of Health denied the clinics' request for a variance 

Planned Parenthood sued the state, and a judge ruled in October that the clinics are allowed to operate during the lawsuit. 

If the clinics lose their licenses, Cincinnati would be the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to abortion services. 

Stephanie Kight, the CEO of Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio, told the Enquirer that its health education programs will see the most funding cuts under HB-294.  

Erin Smiley, a health educator at Planned Parenthood of Southwest Ohio, told CityBeat last October the organization stands to lose a $300,000 federal grant for a sex education class for adjudicated and foster care youth it teaches across 18 Ohio counties. 

"I would welcome anyone, the legislature, Senators, whomever, if anyone ever wanted to come and see what our messages are really like and see the impacts that we have and how these young people are empowered by this information," Smiley said. "I really believe it would be hard for those folks to think that what they're doing right now is the best for young people."

 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.10.2016 44 hours ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 03:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
hillary

Clinton's New Hampshire Defeat Highlights Campaign Issues with Women

Bernie Sanders clobbered Hillary Clinton in his neighboring state of New Hampshire last night, and the early dominant performance could send shockwaves through Clinton’s operations.

Once seen as an afterthought in the Democratic primary, Sanders took the Granite State in an impressive 60-percent victory over the former secretary of state’s 38.3 percent.

"Nine months ago, if you told somebody that we would win the New Hampshire primary, they would not have believed you," the Sanders campaign wrote to supporters. With 11 percent of the votes counted, Clinton conceded defeat early in the evening.

“I know what it’s like to be knocked down — and I’ve learned from long experience that it’s not whether you get knocked down that matters. It’s about whether you get back up,” Clinton’s campaign said.

Shortly before Clinton conceded defeat, Sanders’ supporters gathered for a victory speech. Cheers erupted, “Bernie! Bernie! Bernie!” and chants of “We don’t need no Super PAC” were blared when TV cameras went live as the 74-year-old took the stage with his wife.

"The people of New Hampshire have sent a profound message to the political establishment, the economic establishment and, by the way, to the media establishment," Sanders said in his victory speech.

"What the people here have said is that given the enormous crises facing our country, it is just too late for the same-old, same-old establishment politics and establishment economics — the people want real change."

Sanders’ senior strategist Tad Devine said in an MSNBC interview that they believe this was the biggest margin of victory in a contested Democratic primary in history.

Going through the election results, there is virtually nothing for Clinton to claim as a morale victory. Her margin of losing was too great with most voters.

New Hampshire exit polls show 85 percent of women under 30 voted for Sanders. He won 53 percent of the women’s vote overall.

Clinton fell short with every age group except those 65 and older among both genders.

"We are a better organized campaign,” Devine said. We have more people on the ground. And as of today I believe we have more resources, campaign to campaign, to expand. We are demonstrating that resource superiority by going on television all across this country, and it is our ability to organize people — which I think we showed in Iowa, and showed again tonight in New Hampshire.”

One of Clinton’s talking points has been her historic candidacy — the prospect of the first female president has been a major selling point.

However, the gender-politics element of the fight for the Democratic nomination has gotten ugly over the past few days with the recent comment by former secretary of state Madeleine Albright saying, “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”

One Friday’s episode of HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, feminist icon Gloria Steinem suggested that Clinton’s lack of support with young women is because they’re meeting boys at Sanders rallies.

“When you’re young, you’re thinking, ‘Where are the boys?’ The boys are with Bernie,” Steinem said.

These comments were largely seen as dismissive and sexist, suggesting young women are not politically savvy enough to make their own choices. This rhetoric of shaming women — or any American — into voting for a specific candidate is ugly.

It is a safe bet that these troubling comments did not come from a campaign script, however, this brand of entitlement is exactly what is hurting Clinton with young voters.

We can easily sum up why Bernie Sanders wants to be president — his stump speech is simple: The top one-tenth of the one percent control too much wealth; we have gross injustice in campaign finance, and that it is a moral outrage that Americans might have to go into severe debt for healthcare and education.

Why is Clinton running for president? I’m not entirely sure, and I do not think there is that simple elevator pitch she can give to a voter.

I do not doubt Clinton’s ability to hold the Oval Office. However, I cannot easily identify what her key issues are and where her passions lie.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 02.10.2016 48 hours ago
Posted In: News at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_kasichiowanov_maxgoldberg

Morning News and Stuff

Rhinegeist expanding to new market; Ohio House to vote again on bill defunding Planned Parenthood; Kasich finishes second in New Hampshire primary

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines. 

Recently-released federal airfare data says that flying out of the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport is no longer cheaper than flying out of Dayton. The average ticket price is $427 for both. As someone who frequently flies out of every Tri-State area airport but CVG, I'm skeptical, but hopeful. But if CVG can strike a deal with Southwest Airlines, then I'm there. 

• Rhinegeist's Cidergeist is all grown up and is heading out east. The company announced its taking its hard cider to Boston by the end of this month followed by New York at some point. Co-founder Bryant Goulding said the Cincinnati-based microbrewery chose to debut its cider over its beer because market for craft cider market is currently stronger than one for the craft brewing.

• The Ohio House is expected to vote on today on the bill that would strip Planned Parenthood of $1.3 million it receives in state funding. HB 294 would bar health organizations who perform non-therapeutic abortions from receiving state and federal funding. The Senate, which passed the bill on Jan. 27, added minor amendments to the legislation requiring the House's approval before it can go to Gov. Kasich's desk. 

• Public health officials have reported the first two cases of the Zika virus in Ohio and one in Indiana. The Ohio Department of Health confirmed yesterday that a Cleveland woman who had recently returned from Haiti and a Stark County man who also just been to Haiti tested positive for the virus. The virus, which is transmitted through mosquitoes, is most concerning for pregnant women as it has been linked to birth defects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has taken the unusual precaution of recommending U.S. travelers avoid 22 countries in South and Central America. 

• Gov. John Kasich proved he's holding tight to the presidential race in New Hampshire. After aggressively spending the last month campaigning there, Kasich finished second last night in the state's GOP primary behind Donald Trump. Trump, who finished second behind Texas Sen. Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses, grabbed 35 percent of New Hampshire's Republican vote. Kasich, who took 15 percent, didn't exactly come in a close second, but the victory has flung him back into the category of legit GOP presidential candidates. At the very least, it means he won't be dropping out any time soon. 

On the other side, Democratic candidate Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders crushed opponent Hillary Clinton even more than expected. Sanders grabbed 60 percent of the vote as compared to 34 percent for Clinton--the largest gap in New Hampshire's history. Political analysis, however, are predicting a rockier road ahead for Sanders as the candidates head to South Carolina and Nevada. The two states have higher Hispanic and African-American populations, which have shown stronger support for Clinton.


 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.09.2016 66 hours ago
Posted In: News at 04:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Local Lawmakers Call on Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice to Consider Grand Jury Reform

State Rep. Alicia Reece, State Sen. Cecil Thomas among those asking for changes including greater transparency

Black lawmakers from the Ohio General Assembly today met with Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor to press for changes to the state’s grand jury process, including greater transparency in what are currently secret proceedings. 

The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, which includes State Sen. Cecil Thomas and president State Rep. Alicia Reece from Cincinnati, has pushed for grand jury reform in the state in the aftermath of police shooting deaths of unarmed black citizens, including 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland and 21-year-old John Crawford III in Beavercreek. Grand juries declined to indict officers involved in either of those shootings.

State Sens. Sandra Williams of Cleveland and Edna Brown of Toledo also attended the meeting with O’Connor.

“Many of our constituents around the state are calling for action after the year-long grand jury process that culminated in the decision to bring zero charges against the officers that shot and killed 12 year-old Tamir Rice, and the lack of charges in the police shooting of John Crawford,” Reece said in a statement. “We look forward to working with both the Supreme Court chief justice and our colleagues in the legislature to enact meaningful justice reforms that keep us safe, treat citizens fairly and restore faith and transparency in our justice system.”

Late last month, O’Connor announced she would convene an 18-member panel to review the state’s grand jury process, which has been in Ohio’s constitution since it was written in 1802. Currently, grand juries meet in secret to consider evidence presented by law enforcement authorities and prosecutors, then decide whether or not to indict a suspect. That has led many to question whether the proceedings, and the decisions grand juries reach, are just and impartial.

The panel will consider changes to the system but will not look at a full removal of the grand jury system as some activists have called for. Franklin County Common Pleas Judge Stephen McIntosh will chair the group, which has its first meeting Feb. 17. O’Connor has asked for a report on suggested changes from the group by June.

Rice was on a playground playing with a toy pistol in November 2014 when a neighbor called police to say someone was pointing a gun at passersby. That caller stipulated the gun was “probably fake” and that the person was a minor. That information wasn’t relayed to officers, however, who pulled a police cruiser within feet of Rice. Officer Timothy Loehmann exited the cruiser and shot Rice within seconds, video footage of the incident shows. A Cuyahoga County grand jury declined to press charges against him.

Crawford was in a Beavercreek Walmart with a toy rifle over his shoulder when another shopper called police, reporting he was pointing it at customers. Security footage of the incident doesn’t show Crawford pointing the toy at others, and when police arrived, he had it slung over his shoulder. Crawford was shot by officers and died shortly afterward. A Greene County grand jury did not indict officers in that case.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.09.2016 70 hours ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
clintonsanders

Clinton and Sanders to Spar in Flint

CNN is set to host the sixth Democratic debate of the cycle. The Democratic National Committee scheduled the March 6 debate in Flint, Mich.

The Flint debate came after presidential hopefuls Sen. Bernie Sanders’ and Hillary Clinton’s campaigns agreed to additional debates which were motivated by a virtual tie in the Iowa caucuses.

Clinton’s campaign challenged Sanders to an unsanctioned debate on MSNBC at the University of New Hampshire, following their photo-finish race in the Hawkeye State. The DNC officialized the debate, propelling the first time the former secretary of state and the Vermont senator went one-on-one.

Flint’s debate is one of two more debates the Clinton campaign agreed to in exchange for the University of New Hampshire debate.

In the midst of Flint’s water crisis, the town has been at the top of both of the Democratic candidates’ talking points — highlighting what is at stake in this election and what the Democratic party can offer in terms of economic power and regulation.

Sanders went as far to call for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s resignation.

“And I think the governor has got to take the responsibility and say, ‘You know what, my administration was absolutely negligent and a result of that negligence, many children may suffer for the rest of their lives and the right thing to do is to resign,” Sanders said in an interview with The Detroit News.

Sanders further blasted the governor's response to the water crisis during the University of New Hampshire debate, saying, “A man who acts that irresponsibly should not stay in power.” The Vermont senator added that this is the first time he has ever called for the resignation of another politician.

Flint was a stop on Clinton’s campaign trail Sunday as she urged Congress to pass a $200 million effort to fix the ailing city’s water infrastructure.

"This has to be a national priority," Clinton said at the House of Prayer Missionary Baptist Church. "What happened in Flint is immoral. The children of Flint are just as precious as the children of any part of America."

Clinton praised Flint Mayor Karen Weaver as "someone who is working every way she knows how to provide the help and support that all the people of Flint deserve to have." The Flint Water Crisis started in April 2014 after the city changed its water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River — the new water source is contaminated with lead, prompting President Obama to declare a state of emergency.

The Flint River’s corrosion is caused by aged pipes that leach lead into the water supply. The EPA estimates thousands of residents are at risk of lead poisoning, and has recommended testing 12,000 children. The water is also possible responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, killing 10 people.

The Michigan Army National Guard was deployed to Flint to assist in the crisis and President Obama has allocated $80 million in government aid.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.09.2016 3 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:53 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

City, county more CeeLo Green than Al Green on MSD; Ohio has 51 more failing charter schools than recently reported; Kasich's security detail costing Ohio taxpayers

Good morning all. Here’s the news today.

Will Cincinnati and Hamilton County opt to stop working together on the Metropolitan Sewer District? Recent statements by Mayor John Cranley and Hamilton County Commissioner Chris Monzel suggest that the two governments are more CeeLo Green than Al Green right now and that the idea is at least on the table. Since 2014, the two governments have cooperated on MSD, which is owned by the county but run by the city. But things between the city and county haven’t been all that cozy lately, and recent revelations that MSD may have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on contracts without competitive bids haven’t helped matters.

Now officials are at least floating the idea of splitting up — perhaps even dividing MSD’s assets and letting the two governments run separate systems. There are, of course, complications, not the least of which would be the enormous complexity of divvying up one of the county’s largest infrastructure systems serving 800,000 residents. The city says it should be the one solely in charge of MSD, while the county makes a similar claim. Meanwhile, the two governments will have to continue to cooperate on a federal court-ordered $3 billion renovation of the sewer district, no matter what they decide.

• While the above-mentioned $680 million sketchy procurement process was taking place at MSD under former director Tony Parrott, an oversight board that could have put checks on the potential improper spending was fading into the background, The Enquirer reports. That independent oversight board hasn’t operated since 2008, and no records exist of any audits of MSD’s activity from that group. Cincinnati City Councilman Kevin Flynn has been calling for funds and support to beef up that board over the past few months and has renewed his calls for increased oversight ahead of an audit of MSD by Ohio Auditor Dave Yost. The city’s administrative code calls for such an oversight board, though cities aren’t required by law to maintain them. It’s unclear why Cincinnati abandoned its board in 2008 under Mayor Mark Mallory. City officials, including City Manager Harry Black, have said they’re in the process of reviving the board, but that it currently has five vacancies and can’t operate until they’re filled.

• Two neighborhood councils are pushing the city to keep, and expand, the controversial Central Parkway Bikeway, memos to the city reveal. Both Clifton Town Meeting and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council passed resolutions late last month and sent letters to the city administration and City Council asking that the lane be expanded for safety and economic development purposes. You can read more about that in our blog post here.

• Ohio has 10 times the number of failing charter schools as it has previously reported, according to a letter from the state to the federal government. The Department of Education says 57 Ohio charter schools are failing, not six, as the state originally stated. The state also has about half the number of high-performing charters it has recently touted, according to the letter, which was sent as Ohio works to regain access to a $71 million federal school choice grant that the DOE awarded last year and subsequently suspended last November following a charter school data rigging scandal here.

• It’s the big day for Ohio Gov. John Kasich. New Hampshire primary voters head out to the polls today for the country’s first primary (yes, candidates were vying for voter attention in Iowa last week, but that state has a caucus, which is a different system). Kasich has indicated he will drop out of the GOP presidential primary if he doesn’t do well in the state, so we could be talking about the last day of morning news updates on the big queso’s campaign. Heartbreaking.

Kasich is polling well in the state, however, and might finish as high as second place, especially after U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, his main rival there, did pretty poorly in this weekend’s GOP debate. Kasich has spent a lot of time focusing on the Granite State, holding more than 100 town hall appearances there. He even beat Trump 3 votes to 2 in tiny Dixville, N.H. Side note: If you want to know how New Hampshire became the first voters in the primary process, this article has all the interesting political history you need.

• Finally, how much has all of Kasich’s traveling around the country with a security entourage cost Ohio taxpayers? Probably a lot. The Associated Press reports that non-highway security expenditures for the Ohio Highway Patrol have gone from $17,000 a year during Kasich’s first year in office to more than $350,000 in 2015. While that segment of highway patrol funding is primarily used for the governor’s security detail, officials with the patrol say other out of state costs are also involved in that number. They also point out that spending categories changed in 2011, so the two numbers might not be an apples to apples comparison. Still, it’s clear that expenditures have gone up during Kasich’s time in office and that taxpayers have footed some of the bill for the extensive traveling he’s done as he runs for the nation’s highest office.

I’m out. Tweet. Email. You know what’s up.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 02.08.2016 3 days ago
Posted In: Cycling at 03:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
to do_bright ride_photo urban basin bicycle club facebook page

Neighborhood Councils Renew Push for Stalled Bike Lane Expansions

Clifton, Over-the-Rhine community councils call for more on-street bike infrastructure

Community councils for two popular Cincinnati neighborhoods are urging the city to expand its bike lane program, which has stalled after the 2014 completion of a major protected lane leading downtown.

Both Clifton Town Meeting and the Over-the-Rhine Community Council passed resolutions last month reiterating support for the sometimes-controversial Central Parkway Bikeway and pushing for expansions to that bike project and others like it.

"Clifton Town Meeting desires to make Clifton into a premier bicycling community within Greater Cincinnati in order to improve the vibrancy, safety and overall health of visitors and residents," a Jan. 20 letter to city administration and Council reads. "To do so requires continued investment in on-street infrastructure such as the Central Parkway Bikeway, bike lanes, sharrows and bicycle-related signage."

That letter goes on to ask that the city not make changes to the bikeway that would deprive cyclists of a dedicated, protected lane.

Over-the-Rhine's community council, led by Ryan Messer, sent a similar message to the city Jan. 28, saying the council strongly supports the lane and hopes to see it extended in the near future. The letter cites successes with similar lanes in Washington, D.C. and Chicago, quoting research and news reports stating that the lanes increase rider safety.

"Experience with the Central Parkway bike lane has been positive," Messer wrote in his letter to the city. "There has not been an impact on traffic and ridership numbers continue to rise. When the bike lane is completed with a projected lane to and from Ludlow [Ave. in Clifton], we expect ridership to grow even more as it provides the connection to Clifton, Northside and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College."

Not all communication to Council was positive about the lanes, however. Councilman Christopher Smitherman presented a letter to Council today from Robert Schwartz that called the lane a "embarrassingly awful" and called for it to be removed. In the letter, dated late December of last year, Schwartz presented a list of 16 reasons why the lane should be removed, including confusion over parking, damaged plastic markers that are "a blight on what used to be a very picturesque street" and an accident that happened in Dec. 2013, before the lane was installed. Schwartz said he feared more such accidents would happen due to the lane.

The Central Parkway Bikeway was completed in 2014 after multiple bouts of political wrangling. The protected bike lane uses plastic partitions to separate cyclists from drivers along the four-lane stretch of the Central Parkway running from Clifton, through the West End and University Heights and into Over-the-Rhine and downtown. The lane was initially proposed in a bike plan Cincinnati City Council passed in 2010, and Council in 2013 voted unanimously to build it using $500,000 in mostly federal money. 

But that was before Mayor John Cranley took office. Cranley wanted Council to reconsider the lane, saying he preferred off-street bike paths such as the proposed Wasson Way trail that would go through much of Cincnnati's East Side on the way to Avondale. Council narrowly approved the lane in a 5-4 vote. Then there was contention about parking spaces that had to be ironed out with local business owners.

Even the construction of the lane didn't end the debate. Drivers and some local business owners say the lanes, which require motorists to park in Central Parkway's outside lanes during business hours, make traffic in the area more dangerous. News reports highlighted the fact that some of the plastic dividers along the lane had been run over and that some 33 accidents had happened along Central Parkway since they had been installed. That led Cranley last summer to say he was interested in removing the lanes.

"I've got plans to build dedicated bike trails on Oasis and Wasson Way and Mill Creek," the mayor said last summer, "but those are off the road, dedicated lanes, not in the middle of traffic like Central Parkway, which is a major artery into downtown. I think they should scrap it before somebody gets hurt. I think it's been a disaster and I hope that City Council will reverse course and stop it."

National research, like this 2014 study by the National Institute for Transportation and Communities, tends to show that bike lanes increase safety, ridership and neighborhood desirability. The NITC study found that ridership numbers at newly installed lanes in Austin, Chicago, Washington, D.C., San Francisco and Portland, Ore., boosted ridership between 21 and 171 percent, while increasing perceptions of safety and the overall desirability of the neighborhoods they were in for residents and visitors. However, those cities are generally less car-dependent than Cincinnati.

New attention to bike safety has come in the days after the hit-and-run death in Anderson of Michale Prater, who was an active member of the city's cycling community. Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld last week introduced a motion asking the city to study particularly dangerous intersections for cyclists and pedestrians and suggest ways of mitigating that danger. Meanwhile, cycling advocates and neighborhood councils continue to push for protected lanes.

"We need and endorse the full usage of roads for cyclists for a full and productive lifestyle, not just for riding on off-road trails," the Clifton Town Meeting letter concludes.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 02.08.2016 3 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
hillarzgraphic copy

Primary Cheat Sheet: Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton (Democratic)

Fun Fact:

Then-Senator Hillary Clinton had a vodka-drinking contest against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ.) when the two were touring Estonia in 2004, possibly the most legendary drinking story in modern politics.

“We agreed to withdraw, in honorable fashion, having, I think, reached the limits that either of us should have had,” the Democratic frontrunner said in a campaign video. There are unconfirmed reports of Clinton besting Sen. McCain with four shots of vodka, however the former first lady called the game a tie. 

What’s up with the campaign?

Until her virtual tie in the Iowa caucus, Clinton’s campaign has been virtually in cruise control. While the former secretary of state may have had to move to the left a bit on some issues with the surprise threat of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), her rhetoric has mostly stayed in the center.

Aside from New Hampshire, Clinton has stayed on top of the polls, raised more money than any other candidate on either side of the aisle and seemingly has the backing of the entire establishment.

Voters might like:

      Clinton has one of the thickest resumes of any presidential candidate in history. Being a first lady is not usually a political job, but she was the first wife of a president to create an office in the West Wing. She led the way for subsidized health care in the ’90s with the Health Security Act, informally called “Hillarycare.”

      She went on to serve as senator of New York from 2001-2009. After losing her bid for the presidency to Barack Obama, she was appointed to secretary of state — giving her a huge advantage on foreign policy over Sanders.

      Some consider Clinton’s centrist policies as a weakness. However, her consistently not falling into liberalism will likely be the key to winning the general election if she earns the Democratic nomination. Clinton is not calling for free college education, a high minimum wage or universal healthcare — considering how far to the right Congress is at this point might lead to her being a successful president in the early years of her first term.

...but what out for

      Clinton spent more than a decade opposing gay rights. The former secretary of state did not support gay marriage until 2013. “I take umbrage at anyone who might suggest that those of us who worry about amending the Constitution are less committed to the sanctity of marriage, or to the fundamental bedrock principle that it exists between a man and a woman,” Clinton said in 2004.

      Most Americans are weary of getting into another war, and the Iraq War is largely considered one of the biggest foreign policy blunders in American history. Clinton was a part of the 58 percent of senate Democrats who voted in favor of the Iraq Resolution, which authorized President George W. Bush’s invasion.

      On both sides of the aisle, career politicians and the establishment have become toxic. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone in the country that is more establishment or embodies political privilege more than Clinton. The $600,000 she received in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs and millions in corporate donations have raised a lot of eyebrows in this new political climate that is increasingly skeptical of big-money interests.

Biggest policy proposal:

The United States is one of the only developed nations in the world that does not have guaranteed paid family leave. A lot of career jobs offer paid time off, however it is not guaranteed by law — this mostly affects those in low-income jobs. Clinton says she aims to guarantee up to 12 weeks of paid family leave with two-thirds of wages. The campaign claims this will also be accomplished without a mandate on the employer or an increase in payroll tax.

War:

Clinton does not support conventional ground troops conducting combat operations in Iraq or Syria. However, she is in favor of continuing Obama’s air campaign and using Special Operations forces.


The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15, 2016. Go here for more information on primaries. CityBeat will be profiling each of the candidates every week until the primaries in March.
 
 
by Natalie Krebs 02.08.2016 4 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

City Planning Commission OKs downtown apartment complex; report finds Ohio schools aren't reporting restraint and seclusion of students; Chicago police officer sues slain teen's estate

The Cincinnati Planning Commission has approved plans for a 131-unit apartment complex downtown. The $52 million complex will be at Eighth and Sycamore streets pending the approval of City Council as early as next week. The parking garage and apartments are part of a larger development plan for the city-owned site, which will also feature up to 10,000 square feet of street-level retail space. The Cincinnati City Center Development Corp., or 3CDC, will build a 500-car parking garage, while Cincy-based North American Properties is in charge of constructing the actual units. If plans are approved, the parking complex could be ready as early as June, but the apartments won't be completed until the second half of 2017 at least. 

• Prince of Peace Lutheran Church in Over-the-Rhine is calling on community support to help keep its winter shelter open to the homeless through Feb. 29. Rev. John Suguitan says the church is short the funds necessary to keep its doors open through one of the coldest months of the year. The church, which is located on Race Street, has focused on community outreach since 1969 and currently has 45 spots available for homeless individuals to stay overnight.  

• A report from Disability Rights Ohio found major issues with the enforcement a 2013 Ohio law limiting the seclusion and restraint of students for the convenience of staff members.The rule requires schools to report such incidents to Ohio's Department of Education. But, according to the report, many instances still go unreported. Under the law, the DOE lacks the authority to force schools to do so and the schools face no punishment for not complying. It also found many schools were also not notifying parents if their child had been restrained or secluded, which is also a requirement of the law. 

• Chicago police officer Robert Rialmo, who fatally shot a 19-year-old black man and unarmed bystander in December, is suing the teenager's estate for more than $10 million. The officer claims the Dec. 26 confrontation that lead to the death of teen Quintonio LeGrier, who was holding a baseball bat, and 55-year-old Bettie Jones, caused him "extreme emotional trauma." The shooting is still under investigation. 

• I managed to file my taxes yesterday more than two months before the deadline. It seemed more interesting than watching the Super Bowl, and they were also much easier to figure out than when I lived outside the country. Apparently, more than 4,000 American citizens would agree with me. Last year, 4,279 people, a record high, ditched their U.S. citizen and permanent citizenship statuses. The trend has taken off in recent year, caused by complicated U.S. tax laws for American citizens and permanent residents living abroad. Unlike most of the world, the U.S. taxes Americans on their income regardless of where their permanent home is, making paperwork super complex and difficult, and for many, not worth holding their citizenship anymore, I guess.
 
 

 

 

 
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