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by Nick Swartsell 01.27.2016 13 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

Grocery store could come to downtown; CAC admission free for next three years; Indiana lawmaker invokes Jared Fogle, "psychopaths" in comments about LGBT civil rights

Good morning all. Here’s what’s up in the news today.

Could downtown get a grocery store? It’s looking more like a possibility after the Greater Metropolitan Housing Authority’s board voted yesterday to negotiate a potential partnership to redevelop a former CMHA office building on Central Parkway between Race and Vine streets. The developers, Kingsley + Co. and Anchor Properties, envision a $28 million project featuring a 40,000-square-foot grocery store and other retail space, a four-level parking garage above that and three floors of office space. The Kingsley/Anchor project will be at least 51 percent minority-owned, according to its proposal to the housing agency. CMHA says it has moved operations to Western Avenue in the West End, no longer uses the building on Central Parkway and is looking to find ways to have it generate revenue it can use to redevelop affordable housing around the city. Leadership with the housing authority says putting affordable housing on the site would require zoning changes and is not requiring such housing in proposals from developers. The neighborhood around the site has lost 73 percent of its affordable housing since 2002, according to a recent report.

• This is cool news: A large foundation and a group of 50 donors have stepped up to fund admissions to Cincinnati’s Contemporary Art Center downtown for the next three years. The Johnson Foundation pitched in $75,000, and the donor group, called The 50, each put in $3,000 to raise another $150,000. Those who paid for memberships to the museum will now get exclusive discounts and free admission to some of the museum’s special programs and events, but the museum itself will be free for all to attend.

• If you read this spot regularly, you remember I told you about Peter Santilli, the conservative online radio personality from Cincinnati who went to Oregon to join the militia occupation of the federal Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Well, Santilli has gone and gotten himself arrested by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on felony charges there. Anti-government protesters, including Nevada rancher and militia leader Ammon Bundy, have led that protest, which began shortly after the new year. Bundy and four other militia members were also arrested yesterday in an earlier incident with the FBI that resulted in the death of a sixth protester after a shoot-out with authorities. Few details have been released about that incident, including who fired first and what led to the confrontation.

• Ohioans like booze, if you didn’t already know. And 2015 was a record year for the sale of the stuff, apparently, with residents in the Buckeye State spending more than $1 billion on liquor last year. We apparently have a particular soft spot for whiskey. Among the most popular spirits: Jack Daniels, which sold more than 379,000 gallons here, and Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey and Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey, which both sold nearly 300,000 gallons.

• Finally, let’s go to our neighbors to the west for some uh… pretty interesting comments from an Indiana lawmaker. Woody Burton, a Republican state rep. from Whiteland, invoked convicted child pornographer and former Subway pitchman Jared Fogle, psychopathic killers and individuals with weight issues when fielding questions about proposed legislation that would expand civil rights for LGBT Hoosiers during a town hall meeting. Burton argued that a person’s LGBT status is “behavioral” in the same way and shouldn’t be protected by the law for that reason.

“If I pass a law that says transgenders [sic] and homosexuals are covered under the civil rights laws, then does it say anywhere that fat white people are covered?” he said, reflecting that he has been picked on in the past for his weight. Yikes. Hundreds of academic studies over the years have led the American Psychological Association and other experts to deem LGBT status part of the normal spectrum of human experience, and there is evidence that gender expression and sexual preference is genetic.

Anyway, I’m out. Hit me on that Tweeter thing or via good old fashioned email.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.26.2016 14 days ago
Posted In: News at 04:02 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Is OTR Affordable?

Study: Though housing options have diversified, 73 percent of lowest-income units have disappeared from OTR since 2002

Options for housing in one of Cincinnati’s most popular neighborhoods are becoming more diverse but also less affordable for the city’s lowest-income renters, a new study shows.

Xavier University’s Community Building Institute on Jan. 25 released a housing inventory commissioned by the Over-the-Rhine Community Council of the housing stock in the quickly developing neighborhood.

The study, which uses Census data from 2000, found that the most affordable housing (units costing about $400 for a one bedroom) had decreased by 73 percent, going from 3,235 units in 2000 to just 869 in 2015. After that decrease, such affordable housing now accounts for about 22 percent of the neighborhood’s housing stock.

The study also found that since 2000, the number of occupied housing units in the neighborhood had increased and that many of those units — some 70 percent — were affordable to people making less than the area median income of about $71,000 for a family of four.

Community council members say the study’s finding of plentiful middle class housing and remaining subsidized units demonstrates that OTR is inclusive.

“This shows that we are still very diverse,” OTR Community Council President Rylan Messer told WCPO. “But the big question is, what are the next 10 to 20 years going to look like now that we have this data? If we wake up 20 years from now, and this is a predominately Caucasian, upper-middle class neighborhood, we will have failed miserably. ”

Other community council members, as well as Liz Blume, director of study authors CBI, echoed the sentiment that the neighborhood has housing stock for a diverse group of residents.

Some of the lowest-cost units gone from OTR belonged to Hart Realty, run by former affordable housing magnate Thomas Denhart. In 2001, following the civil unrest in OTR and changes to the way the Department of Housing and Urban Development assessed fair market rents for Section 8 buildings, Denhart declared bankruptcy and got rid of properties containing about 1,000 of the 1,600 affordable units he controlled. But Hart's bankruptcy in and of itself didn't eliminate all those units from the neighborhood's supply of lowest-income housing. Reports from the time show that some of Denhart's properties sold quickly and that between 60 and 70 percent of those units stayed occupied for some time after the bankruptcy, often with HUD tenants. It's hard to know how many low-income tenants eventually trickled out of OTR due to the bankruptcy, but it's far less than the 2,356 low-income units CBI found the neighborhood lost in the last decade and a half.

Questions around the large drop in the neighborhood's most affordable housing remain, and some residents say the change has been difficult. Angela Merritt, who works with Over-the-Rhine Community Housing and lives in affordable housing on East Clifton Avenue, says the shifts she’s seen in the neighborhood over the last decade have taken some adjustment and that OTR’s transformation could be more equitable.

“It’s just about making the change for everyone,” she says. “I don’t think it’s for everyone, and it should be.”

Over the summer, CityBeat shared the story of residents who have had to leave the neighborhood due to rising prices and new development.

OTR has seen rapid change in the past decade, mostly through the efforts of the Cincinnati City Center Development Corporation, founded in 2003 by then-mayor Charlie Luken and city business leaders. At the time, there were more vacant buildings in the neighborhood and much of the housing there was affordable, much of it subsidized for low-income residents.

3CDC has poured almost $1 billion of public and private money into OTR, including an expansive remodeling of Washington Park and intensive residential and commercial development efforts along the southern stretch of Vine Street in what has become known as the Gateway Corridor.

CBI's area median income includes incomes from all over Hamilton County. But the neighborhood's median household income is different. Overall, it's about $15,000 a year, according to Census data, though that number has risen quickly in the southern portions where development has occurred most heavily. In the tract containing southern Vine Street, median income is nearly $40,000 a year. In the northern Census tracts, it remains around $10,000 a year.

The southern section of OTR has seen the biggest shift in housing. According to the CBI study, more than half of the housing stock in the area around Vine and Main streets south of Liberty Street is affordable only to those making more than 60 percent of the area median income, or about $43,000 a year.

Those changes are now moving north of Liberty Street as well, the study suggests, though those areas still have a majority of housing affordable to people who make under 60 percent of the area median income. More change is headed for the area north of Liberty Street as development springs up around Findlay Market, Rothenberg Elementary and other locations.

New shifts in housing aren’t just about numbers, some who live in the neighborhood say, but also about the way the neighborhood feels and how newcomers and long-time residents interact.

“It’s all about how humble you are,” says Merritt, who lives north of Liberty Street, of newer residents. “It’s been somewhat of an adjustment because the lower-income people feel like new people are trying to take over. But we all need to learn how to deal with each other, no matter what class you are.”


 
 
by Natalie Krebs 01.26.2016 14 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover_otr

Morning News and Stuff

City and county officials debate ways to finance Western Hills viaduct replacement; study finds OTR losing low-income housing units; Texas grand jury indicts two anti-abortion activists responsible for Planned Parenthood videos

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here's your daily round-up of headlines: 

At a Monday evening meeting of the Hamilton County Improvement District, city and county officials agreed that fixing the troubled Western Hills Viaduct is beyond their budgets. The bridge connecting the city to the West Side is in bad need of replacement and will cost a hefty $280 million, according to plans developed by the Ohio Department of Transportation. What's also unclear is whether the city of Cincinnati or Hamilton County actually owns the structure, and so far the two are tacking the issue together. At the meeting, Mayor John Cranley suggested using federal freight money that the commuter bridge could qualify for if it has a freight component to it and said he believes urban cities and counties are not getting their share of state and federal transportation funds. Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune agreed with the mayor and said he hopes to have a potential funding source for the project next week. 

• A report released late Monday night found more than 2,300 units of low-income housing have been lost in Over-The-Rhine since 2002. The report was commissioned by the OTR Community Council to figure out how much the neighborhood has changed since the most recent push for revitalization. It was conducted by Xavier University’s Community Building Institute. The report also found that more than 70 percent of the housing was still for households earning less than $71,200, the region's median income and that about 39 percent of the occupied units were subsidized by the government or had income-restricted rents. 

• Is Flint's water problem heading to Ohio? In the town of Sebring, Ohio, located 60 miles south of Cleveland, tests have shown levels of lead and copper in the water so high that officials closed schools on Monday for further testing. Officials also issued a warning to some of the town's 4,000 residents last Thursday night advising children and pregnant women to avoid drinking the water. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency told a local news station that smaller, older distribution lines with lead pipes were the culprit and that they are working with the city to clear up the issue. 

• In a turn of events for Planned Parenthood, a grand jury in Houston cleared the health clinic and abortion provider accused of mishandling and profiting off of fetal tissue in its clinics of any wrongdoing. Instead, it indicted the two pro-life activist who made the video footage that landed Planned Parenthood in trouble with Republican lawmakers across the U.S. in the first place. The grand jury indicted Center for Medical Progress founder David Daleidan on charges of tampering with a governmental record and attempting to purchase human organs and also charged activist Sandra Merritt with tampering with a governmental record after the two posed as employees of a medical research company trying to buy fetal tissue and secretly filmed a meeting with Planned Parenthood representatives.   

• A poll conducted by Morning Consult and Vox found that Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump have the most recognizable faces of this presidential election. Ninety-six percent correctly identified Trump and 97 percent pointed out Clinton. At the lower end of the results sat Republican candidates Texas Sen. Ted Cruz at 61 percent, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio at 54 percent and the other Democratic candidate and Clinton rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was only correctly identified by 69 percent of the 2,000 respondents.
 
 
by Natalie Krebs 01.25.2016 15 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:50 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover_burnetwoods

Morning News and Stuff

Hamilton County Judge declares eight buildings public nuisances; city park deferred maintenance still facing funding issues; tax error will cost the city $600,000

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines. 

The city of Cincinnati could soon seize seven buildings in Over-the-Rhine and one in Avondale if the owner doesn't make costly repairs by March 15. Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge Jerome Metz declared the eight buildings "public nuisances" after previously requesting that the buildings' owner, Washington, D.C.-based 2414 Morgan Development, LLC, repair 11 of its buildings by Dec. 17 of last year. The developer has since repaired three of the buildings to meet the approval of city inspectors, but city officials argue the rest of the structures still contribute to neighborhood blight and pose safety hazards for the public and firefighters. The seven buildings located in OTR north of Liberty Street.

• Also in need of repairs: Cincinnati's parks. What do they need exactly? Well, they have years of deferred maintenance, but the Cincinnati Parks Board has been very slow to produce a detailed account of the state of the city's parks and the price of all the repairs required. City Council appears ready to approve an additional $4 million for repairs, but it's unclear what repairs the money would be going toward. Park leaders say it's too small of an amount to repair some of the parks in the worst shape, but they're also not just going to hang onto the money to do fund a series of projects. Meanwhile, Mayor John Cranley and advocates for the failed parks levy in November are still sore from their election loss. Cranley has claimed the $55 million that would have come from the levy could have covered all the deferred maintenance in the city's parks. 

• Errors the city has made in calculating estate tax payments will cost it more than a half-million dollars. The office of Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes has discovered the city owes $614,514 in tax payments to the county. David Nurre, the auditor's assistant financial director, said in a letter to the city that the money will be subtracted from property tax money the county owes the city. The loss will add to the estimated $13 million deficit the city is facing for fiscal year 2017. 

• A analysis of the report card data released by the Ohio Education Policy Institute last week by consultant Howard Fleeter found big differences between college- and career-readiness for low-income and high-income districts. It discovered more than a 23-point percentage gap for four-year graduation rates between districts whose economically disadvantaged students made up less than 10 percent of the population and those whose disadvantaged populations were 90 percent or higher. The analysis was requested by the Ohio School Boards Association, the Buckeye Association of School Administrators and the Ohio Association of School Business Officials.

• I haven't seen the Oscar-nominated Carol yet, but I know Cincy's super excited about it because it was filmed here. Apparently, the city could see more celebrities like Cate Blanchett show up as the city works hard to attract filmmakers. A University of Cincinnati Economics Center study estimates that the Greater Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky Film Commission has generated more than $54 million for the metro area's economy and created 8,800 jobs. The study also found that productions in 2014 and 2015 received $11.8 million in tax credits, footed by taxpayers. 

• The International Olympic Committee has adopted new guidelines that would allow transgendered athletes to compete without sex reassignment surgery. The previous guidelines from 2003 required that athletes transitioning from one sex to the other had to wait two years post-operations and undergo two years of hormone therapy before they were allowed to compete. The new guidelines, which the IOC says are more like recommendations, say that females transitioning to males will now no longer have to wait, and males transitioning to females will have to demonstrate their testosterone level has been below a certain mark for a year before competing.
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.22.2016 18 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 04:32 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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10 Days to Iowa: The Fight for the Democratic Nomination Gets Close

After a series of attacks against against Bernie Sanders have seemingly backfired, Hillary Clinton’s campaign has begun to backpedal and soften their defensive rhetoric against the 74-year-old Vermont senator.

Like attacking GOP front-runner Donald Trump, attacks against Sanders seemingly makes him stronger. Clinton allies likely were not happy this week after Chelsea Clinton told a crowd in New Hampshire that Sanders would “dismantle Obamacare.”

She also told the crowd of potential primary voters Sanders would “strip millions and millions and millions of people of their health insurance.”

Sanders’ campaign spokesman released a statement crediting Chelsea’s political combat on Bernie’s healthcare agenda as raising $1.4 million for the campaign.

Thanks, Team Clinton…We’ve gotten 47,000 contributions. We’re projecting 60,000 donations. Even for our people-powered campaign, this is pretty darn impressive.”

At a meeting with potential caucus goers in Iowa yesterday, Clinton softened her fight against the democratic socialist, “Sen. Sanders and I share many of the same goals. I know Sen. Sanders cares about covering more people, as I do.”

Clinton added that Sanders' plans aren’t within the realms of reality as she urges Democrats to choose her practicality over his idealism. Since the last debate, Clinton has seemingly let go of the liberal crowd and has focused on appealing to voters with centrist politics and practicality.

“Sen. Sanders has been in Congress for 25 years — he’s introduced his healthcare plan nine times,” Clinton said. “But he never got even a single vote in the House, or a single Senate co-sponsored. Now he has a new plan. You hear a promise to build a whole new system, but that’s not what you’ll get. You’ll get gridlock. And endless wait for advancements that will never come. The people I’ve met can’t wait.”

Politico reported Bill Clinton is getting more concerned over his wife’s campaign in Ohio and Super Tuesday states. Hillary Clinton reportedly has no campaign staff on the ground in Ohio and virtually no presence in other states beyond Iowa and New Hampshire. 

Sanders on the other hand has been speaking across the country, gathering thousands of supporters at rally in places most people wouldn’t associate as supportive of a self-described socialist like Alabama and Arkansas. However, the Vermont senator has only made one appearance in Ohio so far.

His grassroots insurgency have been aggressive in Ohio ever since the Vermont senator announced his candidacy. Last summer, a local Sanders organization event drew in so many people the media assumed the senator would be in attendance himself.

More than 600 organizers and supporters gathered at the Woodward Theater; the high attendance confused The Cincinnati Enquirer and The Rachel Maddow Show, which misreported that the senator would be at the event in person.

The Ohio primary is March 15.

The latest polling averages done by Real Clear Politics continue to show the trend of Sanders gaining on the former Secretary of State with her lead falling in early primary states. A CNN poll released Thursday shows Sanders eight points ahead of Clinton in Iowa. A Quinnipiac poll shows Sanders five points ahead in the Hawkeye state.

Real Clear Politics’ national averaging shows Clinton still leading at 51.2 points and Sanders holding second at 38. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley brings up the rear at 2.2. However, O’Malley did not qualify for the Ohio ballot.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.22.2016 18 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:46 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
hunter

Morning News and Stuff

Ohio Supreme Court says Tracie Hunter can stay out of jail; will streetcar go south?; black babies twice as likely to die in Butler County

Good morning all. Here’s a quick rundown of the news today before we’re all buried in snow, or at least tweets about snow.

The Ohio Supreme Court yesterday ruled that suspended Hamilton County Juvenile Court judge Tracie Hunter can avoid jail for now as she continues to appeal her 2014 felony conviction. Meanwhile, a state lawmaker has called for an investigation into evidence that has disappeared related to other charges Hunter faced. Hunter was charged with nine felonies in her original case, including counts relating to accusations of forgery, misuse of a county credit card and improperly intervening on behalf of her brother, a county juvenile court employee charged with hitting an inmate. A jury convicted her on that last charged and she was sentenced to six months in jail in December 2014. A special prosecutor with the county recently dropped the other eight charges, but revelations that some computer evidence integral to those charges has been destroyed has prompted State Sen. Cecil Thomas, an outspoken Hunter supporter, to call for an investigation into the fate of that evidence. Hunter was due in jail at the beginning of this year, but will now stay free as she continues to fight to overturn her conviction.

• After a study commissioned by Cincinnati officials last year found huge disparities in the number of city contracts awarded to minority and women-owned businesses, the city is ramping up efforts to bring more equity to its procurement process. The study found about 2 percent of construction contracts from the city were awarded to women-owned businesses and only 1 percent to black-owned businesses, for example, even though women own 13 percent of construction companies and blacks own 21 percent. Now, the city is taking a number of steps to make it easier for those businesses to compete for and win city contracts. Officials held an information day Jan. 20 where business owners could find out more about how to get certified with the city and state so they can bid for so-called Minority Business Enterprise and Women Business Enterprise contracts. The city will hold another set of sessions Jan. 26 where businesses who sign up by calling 513-352-144 can fill out their certification paperwork in about an hour. The city’s new Department of Economic Inclusion says it has already certified about 100 MBEs and WBEs.

• A Hamilton County Court judge will soon decide whether the confession of a man charged with killing a transgender woman in Walnut Hills is admissible in court. Defense attorneys for Quamar Edwards say he has a long history of learning issues and substance abuse problems and that he was under the influence of marijuana when he confessed to killing Tiffany Edwards (to whom he is not related) a year and a half ago. Edwards’ attorneys have had him examined by two psychologists who have found him fit to stand trial, but they would like his confession, in which he details shooting the transgender woman on a remote street in Walnut Hills because “he felt threatened” thrown out as evidence.

Quamar Edwards said he picked up Tiffany Edwards, who he says he knew to be a sex worker, because she needed a ride. He decided to pay her for sex, but then changed his mind. At that point, he said, she became agitated and a fight ensued, during which he shot her. He later turned himself in for the shooting after he was identified on video footage. Sex workers, especially those who are transgender, are often vulnerable to violence and even murder at the hands of johns, and activists have cited Tiffany Edwards’ murder, along with other murdered transgender people in Cincinnati, as evidence of that vulnerability.

• There has been a lot of controversy around the idea of expanding Cincinnati’s coming streetcar north into Uptown. But the transit project’s first big expansion could actually go south if a group in Northern Kentucky gets its way. The Northern Kentucky Streetcar Committee is hoping to raise money to get a feasibility study on expanding the streetcar, which is currently set to run a 3.6-mile loop through Over-the-Rhine and downtown, across the Taylor Southgate Bridge into Newport and Covington. The group has been looking at the idea for the past year and a half, according to member and NKY businessman Ian Budd. The committee, which also includes Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell, will soon ask the federal government for $300,000 for the feasibility study. If no grants are available from federal sources, Budd says the group will turn to private funding sources to get the ball rolling.

• Here's a short and disturbing story from our neighbors just to the north. We’ve talked a lot about the racial dimensions of childhood poverty and infant mortality in Cincinnati and Hamilton County, but we’re not alone in the struggle against those issues. A new report shows that black infants are twice as likely to die as white infants in Butler County, which contains the cities of Hamilton and Middletown as well as suburbs like West Chester. This article explores reasons why that is.

• Finally, let’s zoom way out. What are the greatest threats to the world in the coming decade, according to experts from around the globe? Pew Research Center polled a group of 700 academics, policy wonks and others, who said involuntary mass migration such as the Syrian refugee crisis and climate change were the biggest issues facing the planet in the coming years. Check out this piece for the fascinating, if totally depressing, trends driving those predictions.

I’m out! Hit me on Twitter, email, etc. to give me news tips or challenge me to a snowball fight.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 01.21.2016 19 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:52 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cranley

Morning News and Stuff

Council members green light purchase of Wasson Way land; Mayor Cranley butts heads with Democratic Council members; Gov. Kasich calls himself "the prince of light"

Good morning, Cincy! Here are your morning headlines. 

Eight of the nine City Council members have signed a motion to go forward with the purchase of four miles of railway needed for the Wasson Way trail project. The city has a $12 million purchase agreement with Norfolk Southern Railroad that is set to expire in July and will face additional fees if the deal is not closed by then. The only setback now for the trail project? Well, the city has to come up with the money for the purchase as well an additional $19 to $23 million to build all for sections of the trail from Montgomery Road to Wooster Pike. The project faced financial setbacks before, when the city was turned town for federal TIGER grant money. But it recently received $500,000 from a state grant and has applied for an additional $4.5 million in state capital funding for the project. 

• There's more bickering at City Hall between Mayor John Cranley and some of the Democratic council members. According to emails obtained by The Enquirer through a public information request, tensions between council members Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson and Wendell Young and the mayor have gotten so bad, the three declined Cranley's invitation for weekly meetings. Seelbach wrote in an email that, "It has to do with you treating people like shit," which was used in the the Enquirer's original headline for its article on the squabble. Apparently, they changed it shortly after to something more PG-rated, but not before the Business Courier manage to screen cap it

• Cincinnati's grocery giant Kroger ranks third largest in the world, according to the National Retail Federation. It fell just behind Walmart and Costco and has moved up from its spot at on the list at No. 6 last year. Another Cincinnati giant, Macy's, was ranked at No. 35. National Retail Federation used 2014 fiscal year sales to compile its list of the top 50 retailers. 

• Tenants at a South Cumminsville apartment complex say they are living in an unsafe environment that their landlord refuses to do anything about. Residents of Garfield Commons on Elmore Street say there's constant fighting and shootings around the building as well as issues with mold, fallen bricks and heroin users in the parking lot. One resident says she doesn't feel like she's living in a secure building that's guaranteed as part of her Section 8 housing benefits and that the building manager never answers his phone. 

• Republican candidates are getting more desperate — and a little weird — as the New Hampshire primary draws closer and closer on Feb. 9. Gov. John Kasich has apparently been running around calling himself the "prince of light and hope," to various media outlets, according to The Columbus Dispatch. When fellow GOP nominee New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie got wind of Kasich's new self-dubbed nickname, he reportedly responded that Kasich “sounds a heck of a lot more like Satan." Kasich, who is running a campaign as a moderate Republican, is still hanging on in the presidential race. A poll released by radio station KBUR today shows that his chances appear to go up in New Hampshire if more independent voters head to the polls.     

News tips go to nkrebs@citybeat.com.                          
 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.20.2016 20 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cover_otr

Morning News and Stuff

County drops eight felony counts against Tracie Hunter; big startup convention coming to Cincy; battle in Ohio state house over unemployment benefits

Good morning all. It’s snowing. Did you notice? OK. I’ve done my apparent journalistic duty to point out to you that it is precipitating, but that the atmosphere above Cincinnati is cold enough that said precipitation is coming down as a solid, not a liquid. Thought experiment: Are there more snowflakes coming down or pictures of that snow on Twitter from news organizations?

Real news time. Suspended Hamilton County Court Judge Tracie Hunter found out yesterday that she won’t face retrial on eight felony counts. A previous jury couldn’t come to an agreement on those charges, but one in 2014 did convict Hunter of a ninth felony charge related to information she gave her brother, a Hamilton County Juvenile Court employee, as he faced his own charges for punching an inmate. Special prosecutor Scott Croswell III told Hamilton County Court Judge Patrick Dinkelacker that retrying Hunter on the other charges would cost too much and cause further unnecessary acrimony here. Croswell said the state is satisfied with the count Hunter was convicted on. Since her conviction, Hunter has lost her law license and been suspended from the bench. She was sentenced in Dec. 2014 to six months in jail and a year of probation for the charges.

• Cincinnati will host a big-name startup convention this October, organizers announced yesterday. Colorado-based TechStars and locals Cintrifuse will host FounderCon from Oct. 18-20. In the past, the conference has visited major cities like Austin and Chicago and is expected to draw more than 1,000 corporate leaders and tech startup founders. The event looks to be another boost for the city’s startup economy. Startups in the city have raised more than $170 million in funding in the past few years, according to the Cincinnati Business Courier.

• Another round of condos is coming to Over-the-Rhine. 3CDC has listed 36 new condos for sale ranging in price from $145,000 to $650,000 in the area around Race, Elm and Main streets and other locations. The new developments, three of which are already under contract to be purchased when they are completed, join another 54 3CDC has brought to the neighborhood in the past year and 347 it has developed in OTR since its founding in 2003. In addition to the condos, the developer plans 27 affordable units of apartment housing accompanying 23 condos and 11 townhomes at a new development on 15th and Race streets, though it’s unclear what level of affordability those units will have.

• A little further north, Findlay Market is nearing completion of its incubator kitchen. The kitchen features 8,000 square feet of shared-use space and is designed to help aspiring entrepreneurs launch food-based ventures. The kitchen will be city-licensed, allowing businesses to produce food for sale there. Members will pay $75 a year for access to the kitchen. The space’s 10 kitchens will be accessible 24 hours a day and can be rented by the hour or by the month.

• Normally, going from city to city asking people about pot is the purview of touring musicians. But two Ohio lawmakers will go on a three-city tour soon to listen to residents’ opinions on medical marijuana ahead of possible legislative action on that subject. State Sens. David Burke, a Republican, and Kenny Yuko, a Democrat, will travel to Cleveland, Toledo and Cincinnati starting Jan. 30 to conduct the listening tour. Yuko has been a medicinal marijuana supporter for more than a decade, while Burke is “skeptical, but wants to listen.” This sounds like an amazing reality show. Yuko says the effort has been sparked by a new willingness among his colleagues in the state house to consider medicinal marijuana. Neither Yuko nor Burke say they support recreational use, however, so touring bands will need to be careful about their own traveling pot inquiries into the foreseeable future.

• Right now there’s a big fight going on in the Ohio legislature around a bill to reform the state’s unemployment benefits program. Lawmakers are working on changes that could reduce the number of weeks unemployed workers are eligible for the benefits from the current 26 weeks to somewhere between 12 and 20 weeks depending on the state’s unemployment rate. That, among many other measures in the bill, has advocates for workers and the poor up in arms.

They point out that unemployment rates vary drastically in different regions of the state, and that someone who lives in a high unemployment area could see their benefits unfairly reduced if the overall state unemployment rate is low. Labor leaders and Democrats in the state house have blasted the changes. The state House Democratic Caucus called the bill the biggest attack on workers since the infamous SB5 legislation enacted at the start of Gov. John Kasich’s first term. That bill sought to limit state employee collective bargaining rights.

Republican lawmakers and many business groups, however, stand by the proposed changes. Currently, Ohio’s unemployment trust fund is insolvent, and conservative lawmakers say their proposed changes are necessary to keep it going. Liberals, however, say the changes proposed by Republicans shield businesses from unemployment taxes at the expense of workers.

• Finally, your daily Kasich update. Ohio’s big queso has moved up a spot in at least one national poll. He’s now sixth in a USA Today poll. Is that sad or good news for Kasich? It’s hard to tell. He was seventh in the same poll last week. He’s ahead of former frontrunner Ben Carson, who has tanked of late. He’s also two spots ahead of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul. Sadly, he’s still trailing former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, whose campaign is widely seen as a disaster. Will Kasich keep climbing? Will he place high in the vital upcoming Iowa and New Hampshire primaries? I’m on the edge of my seat.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.19.2016 21 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 12:26 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
trumpgraphi

Primary Cheat Sheet: Donald Trump

Donald Trump (Republican)

Fun Fact:

This isn’t Trump’s first time running for president. The real-estate tycoon has been gunning for the presidency for 16 years. In 2000, he was seeking the nomination for the Reform Party and qualified for the Michigan and California ballot. Trump won both states. He also used to identify as a Democrat, even going as far as contributing more than $100,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign

What’s up with the campaign?

You don’t need to be a political junkie to have heard about Donald Trump. Trump has been at the top of the Republican polls for virtually the entire election. He has been unstoppable.

If this election has shown anything, it’s that Americans are tired of the establishment, politically correct culture and the pre-packaged and focus-grouped candidate that says all the right things. The 69-year-old GOP behemoth hasn’t been a darling of the party. Republicans have been very open about their desperation to get rid of Trump and a brokered convention might even be possible.

This frontrunner has done an incredible job encapsulating and appealing to the anger of Americans and their frustration of the political machine.

Voters might like:

      America has grown tired of political correctness on campuses and in the political arena. Constituents want their politicians to acknowledge that terrorism and human rights abuses are prevalent in Islam and there is a cultural issue within that world. Many folks also want their politicians to use specific language and not beat around the bush with talking points. Donald Trump is brash, and that is a dose of fresh air for a lot of people. We shouldn’t underestimate how attractive unguarded rhetoric is to conservatives who feel increasingly shut out of important conversations.

      Trump is taking a page out of the Bernie Sanders book by not taking big donations, or at least from people expecting something in return. Perhaps that’s not as impressive as the Sanders campaign, considering the huge checking account, but it is still valuable to have a candidate that isn’t a slave to special interests. He also wants to go after hedge fund managers and tax the wealthy. “The hedge fund guys are getting away with murder. They’re making a tremendous amount of money — they have to pay tax,” Trump said in an interview with CNN. If campaign finance is your issue, Trump might be one of the better Republican options.

Harvard Law School professor and (sorta) ex-Democratic presidential candidate Lawrence Lessig says a President Trump could be the best thing to happen in the fight against campaign finance. Lessig even said he would consider running on Trump’s ticket as a third party.

      Trump is a winner. It has been easy to paint him as a joke candidate, but we wouldn’t be questioning the inevitability of Jeb Bush if he had a huge lead in the national polls in the lead-up to Iowa and New Hampshire.

...But watch out for:

      The New York billionaire has a long history of courting Democrats — even financially supporting Hillary Clinton, who still might be the Democratic nominee. Trump also donated $20,000 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in the 2006 cycle as opposed to only $1,000 going to the Republican Campaign Committee in the same cycle.

      Not only has he contributed a lot of money to the left over the years, he is arguably the most liberal of the Republican candidates. He supports progressive taxation. He thinks it’s OK for Planned Parenthood to receive federal funding so long as it doesn’t go toward abortions (how it’s currently set up). And he also opposed the invasion of Iraq. Donald Trump was also originally for an assault weapons ban, but flipped-flopped on that for the campaign. It also isn’t clear on whether or not he wants universal background checks for firearms purchases.

      Trump too often values rhetoric over reality. The whole “I’m going to build a wall and make Mexico pay for it” policy point is insanity. Some of the talking points are surgical applause lines and the crazy stuff is what got him to the top of the polls. He seems too addicted to crowd support and appearing strong. Voters would be wise to be weary of how Trump might handle a catastrophe such as a major attack against the United States, a plague or economic collapse. However, it is impossible to know who the real Trump is and who the entertainer is.

Biggest policy proposal:

The GOP frontrunner called for a ban on all Muslim immigration into the U.S. There’s been a lot of debate on whether or not this is constitutional or if the president even has the power to close American borders to a specific group.

Many legal scholars have cited the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, which gives the president authority to suspend the entry of any and all aliens deemed “detrimental” to U.S. interests.

Others argue that the ban would violate the First Amendment with freedom of religion and the Fifth Amendment with the right to due process. However, the rebuttal is that if immigrants never get here in the first place, they aren’t entitled to those rights.

The thousands of refugees coming into in Europe and the United States is a complex issue. It’s a humanitarian issue and whether the reason they’re refugees in the first place is American foreign policy is debatable.

However, there’s a reality that these people are coming from a very volatile area and the background checks are virtually useless. There have been refugees arrested in the U.S. and Europe already on charges of terror.


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 Nick Swartsell 01.19.2016 21 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:34 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
ac_bp_pete rose_

Morning News and Stuff

Interfaith civil rights group re-forming; Pete Rose to be inducted into Reds Hall of Fame; $10 million Walnut Hills redevelopment project nears completion

Hey hey, all. I hope yesterday’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday was both uplifting and motivating for you and that you got out to some of the commemorative and educational events that were going on all over town. Now, let’s talk news real quick.

An influential multi-faith organization that has been inactive for years is reforming following recent outbreaks of Islamaphobia around Greater Cincinnati and beyond. The Interreligious Trialogue was first brought together by Chip Harrod, then head of civil rights organization Bridges for a Just Community, following heated anti-Muslim rhetoric that surfaced after Sept. 11. Now, following a number of complaints of harassment from Muslims in Greater Cincinnati as well as national tension caused by anti-Muslim comments from figures like GOP presidential primary contender Donald Trump, the Trialogue is coming back .The group will hold community service events, roundtable discussions and other activities designed to further conversation among people with various religious beliefs and to combat Islamaphobia.

• Members of Samuel DuBose’s family spoke yesterday after a settlement with the University of Cincinnati was announced in the Avondale resident’s police shooting death. The DuBose family says the nearly $5 million settlement isn’t about the money, but about making sure others are safe from such incidents in the future. DuBose’s daughter Reagan Brooks is managing his estate. She and other family members say that among the most important parts of the settlement is the opportunity to sit on UC’s Community Advisory Council, which will hammer out reforms to the university’s police system to ensure that future shootings like the one that took DuBose’s life don’t happen again. The civil settlement should not affect UC officer Ray Tensing’s trial, attorneys on both sides of the criminal case say. Tensing, the officer who shot DuBose during a traffic stop in Mount Auburn, was indicted on murder and manslaughter charges last summer. Tensing’s attorney had little comment on the civil settlement, saying only “wow” when asked about it.

• Well, Charlie Hustle might not be getting into Cooperstown any time soon, but the hit king will soon have another Hall of Fame membership to boast about. Former Cincinnati Reds player and manager Pete Rose will be inducted into the Reds’ Hall of Fame in late June, the ball club announced today. Rose has been banned from baseball for 27 years for gambling on the game. There was some hubbub that Rose might be reinstated late last year, but new MLB commissioner Rob Manfred has indicated he will not lift his ban. That doesn’t mean Rose won’t enter the MLB Hall of Fame — Manfred begged off that question — but it also doesn’t look likely anytime soon. Rose, now in his 70s, has the most hits of anyone in the history of professional baseball. He’ll be the sole inductee this spring in the Reds’ Hall of Fame.

• A long-time effort to redevelop a set of historic buildings in Walnut Hills is nearing completion. The Trevarren Flats is a $10 million, 30 unit apartment project with 7,000 square feet of commercial space in three century-old buildings on McMillan Street in the neighborhood. Those apartments will be market rate, with studios starting at $500 a month and two bedroom units running up to $1,850 a month. Leaders with the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, which worked with developers Model Group to complete the project, say it will be a catalyst for other development in the historically low-income community.

• I grew up in Hamilton just blocks from the hulking Champion Paper factory, and it’s kind of astounding to me that the enormous building is slated to become a sports and entertainment complex. The planned facility will have spaces that can be used for myriad sports, including soccer, football, baseball, ice hockey, softball, lacrosse and more. Much of the facility will be indoors, but outdoor baseball fields will also be offered. Other developments, including housing, could come later at the huge, 42-acre site. Right now, developers are halfway through lining up funding for the project and say it could be open by spring 2018.

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich got more good news out of New Hampshire over the past few days. Kasich has identified the state’s Feb. 9 primary as a make-or-break one for his campaign and has ramped up efforts with more staff and resources there. The efforts seem to be paying off: Kasich jumped from bottom-feeding in the state’s primary polls to tying U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz for second behind Donald Trump. Now, Kasich has also netted endorsements from the Nashua Telegraph, Foster’s Daily Democrat and the Portsmouth Herald, which all threw support behind Kasich in the GOP primary contest in their most recent Sunday editions. The papers cited Kasich’s experience in Congress and his pragmatism in their endorsements.

• Finally, a couple cool and completely random science facts floating around the internet for you. First, and most topically, we’re all minding the wind chill measurements in weather reports lately, right? At least I am, because I assumed those readings kept me from getting frost bite on my face when I walk to work. But alas, that number you see in weather reports means almost nothing, according to real weather scientist people. Who knew?

Second, you’ll be able to see five planets from Earth (where I assume you’re reading this from) for the first time in a decade starting Jan. 20. That’s pretty rad. Be sure to get out one of these cold, cold nights to check out Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Saturn and Mercury. Or, you know, maybe just follow someone on Instagram who has a telescope.

 
 

 

 

 
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