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by Nick Swartsell 01.22.2016 20 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 21 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 22 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 23 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 23 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.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.18.2016 24 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
demdeb

Five Takeaways from the Fourth Democratic Debate

Hillary Clinton, facing the unexpected challenge from her left flank in the form of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders Sunday, fought furiously to hold her ground as the Democratic frontrunner. With the two candidates virtually tied in Iowa and Sanders leading Clinton in New Hampshire, the former Secretary of State might be having flashbacks to 2008 when a young Sen. Barack Obama from Illinois came out of nowhere and knocked down the inevitable Clinton.

Clinton has been virtually grooming herself to be president since the ’90s, and 2016 appeared to be her year. Who would really give the candidate that seemingly has the backing of the entire Democratic machine a run for her money?

No one expected a 74-year-old Jewish socialist from Vermont to lead a formidable fight against Wall Street and the Democratic empire. Sanders has encapsulated the populist and liberal fires in this country and, with the backing of America’s youth, has lead a surgical campaign against the Washington machine.

This was the most electrifying debate of the election so far. Former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley was there, but this was a battle between Clinton and Sanders, two black belts of American politics.

These two powerhouse candidates entered the ring, throwing their best punches. Sanders needed an outstanding victory Sunday night. However, Clinton expertly attacked Sanders’ weak points.

This was the Bernie Sanders debate. He brought the most policies to the table, he outlined tax plans and most questions were seemingly directed toward him. Sanders started this campaign with the image of a candidate who wouldn’t be in for the long haul.

With the election starting in two weeks, the debate was focused on America getting to know the Democratic socialist from Vermont. However, Clinton did not allow Sanders to hog the attention, and she expertly defended herself.

The former First Lady did not spend much time appealing to America’s liberals — Sanders won that war. She dug in on centrist policies, appealing to voters who want realism, not idealism. This was a fight over the identity of the Democratic Party.

Gloves Off: Sanders Goes After Clinton’s Relationships with Big Banks

Clinton’s nomination is not inevitable, and any doubters of the power of Sanders’ insurgency simply had to tune in and see the former secretary of state backed into a corner and having to play defense for the bulk of the debate.

Sanders prides himself on not attacking his opposition, and he has mostly stayed away from attacking Clinton directly — let's not forget about the famous “sick and tired of your damn emails” moment.

However, this was the end of Mr. Nice Socialist Guy on Sunday. Sanders launched a full-frontal assault on Clinton’s “cozy” relationship with big banks, specifically Goldman Sachs.

"The first difference is I don't take money from big banks. I don't get personal speaking fees from Goldman Sachs," Sanders unloaded.

Clinton’s relationship with the banking industry has been one of her biggest criticisms from liberals. Sanders’ burn was met with slight applause and a faint boo or two from the audience. The tone of the room was tense.

You could hear a pin drop; the nation’s attention was focused on this exchange. My Twitter feed erupted in disbelief that Sanders made such a targeted attack. Even the moderators stepped back and let the two candidates go at it.

The battle escalated when Sanders suggested Clinton has a corrupt relationship with Goldman Sachs.

“You've received over $600,000 in speaking fees from Goldman Sachs in one year. I find it very strange that a major financial institution that pays $5 billion in fines for breaking the laws, not one of their executives is prosecuted while kids who smoke marijuana get a jail sentence."

Clinton fired back, owning her relationship with Wall Street and invoking President Obama. “Where we disagree is the comments that Senator Sanders has made that don't just affect me, I can take that, but he's criticized President Obama for taking donations from Wall Street, and President Obama has led our country out of the great recession,” Clinton said.

Clinton Amps Up Gun Debate

No intellectually honest person would argue that any of the three Democratic candidates want an unlimited freedom on firearms as most Republicans seemingly do. However, this was a fight on who was the most against unlimited gun freedoms.

Sanders has a solid liberal agenda and has the backing of America’s Democratic base. However, with some of his voting, such as allowing firearms in checked bags on Amtrak, Clinton zeroed in on the one thing she can attack from his left flank.

Clinton doubled-down on her attack on Sanders’ voting record with gun regulations from the last debate. She attacked the Vermont senator for voting against making gun manufacturers legally liable for crimes committed with their weapons.

“He voted for what we call the Charleston Loophole,” Clinton said. “He voted for immunity for gunmakers and sellers, which the NRA said was the most important piece of gun legislation in 20 years ... He voted to let guns go onto Amtrak, go into national parks. He voted against doing research to figure out how we can save lives.”

Sanders defended himself, saying he has a D- rating from the National Rifle Association. “I have supported from day one and instant background check to make certain that people who should have guns do not have guns,” he said. “And that includes people of criminal backgrounds, people who are mentally unstable. I support what President Obama is doing in terms of trying to close the gun show loopholes.”

Sanders Releases “Medicare for All” Plan Two Hours Before Debate

From day one of his candidacy, Sanders has been clear on his rhetoric with healthcare being a right, not a privilege. Sanders failed in bringing a universal Medicare system to his home state but is determined to make it work for the nation.

Right before the debate, Sanders released what he described as a not-very-detailed plan on how he intends to pay for what his campaign estimates as a $1.38 trillion effort.

You can read the full plan here.

The plan introduces some new taxes such as a 2.2-percent income-based premium paid by households and a 6.2-percent income-based premium paid by employers.

There is also progressive taxation:

37 percent on income between $250,000 and $500,000.

43 percent on income between $500,000 and $2 million.

48 percent on income between $2 million and $10 million.

52 percent on income above $10 million

Clinton lashed out on Sanders’ plan, saying the battle for Obamacare was too rough to start over again. We have accomplished so much already,” she said. “I do not to want see the Republicans repeal it, and I don't to want see us start over again with a contentious debate. I want us to defend and build on the Affordable Care Act and improve it.”

I certainly respect Senator Sanders' intentions, but when you're talking about health care, the details really matter. And therefore, we have been raising questions about the nine bills that he introduced over 20 years, as to how they would work and what would be the impact on people's health care,” Clinton added.
“He didn't like that; his campaign didn't like it either. And tonight, he's come out with a new health care plan. And again, we need to get into the details. But here's what I believe, the Democratic Party and the United States worked since Harry Truman to get the Affordable Care Act passed.”

Sanders defended himself, saying he doesn’t intend to tear up Obamacare, adding that he helped write it. However, he added that 29 million Americans are still without healthcare and that Obamacare has left a lot of people with huge copayments and high deductibles.

“Tell me why we are spending almost three times more than the British, who guarantee health care to all of their people? Fifty percent more than the French, more than the Canadians. The vision from FDR and Harry Truman was health care for all people as a right in a cost-effective way,” Sanders said.

Clinton also threw a jab at the tax increases: “I'm the only candidate standing here tonight who has said I will not raise taxes on the middle class.”

O’Malley Is Cool, But Overshadowed by the Boxing Match

It’s virtually impossible to stand out when you’ve got Clinton, who represents establishment politics and the backing of virtually the entire Democratic Party, on one side and Sanders, who has captured the imagination of a populist movement, on the other.

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley put up as much of a fight as he could and served as a good middle point between Clinton’s centrist approach and Sanders’ liberalism.

Other Democratic contenders already got out of the way of the fight for the identity for the party. Remember Lincoln Chafee? Most people seem to want O’Malley to stick around in politics. Perhaps even running for president again come next election. But 2016 simply isn’t his time.

Foreign Policy Will Not Divide the Party

All three candidates agreed on one thing: They do not want a ground war in Iraq or Syria. The presidential hopefuls generally appear to want to continue Obama’s aggressive air campaign and utilize special operations in training missions and raids.

It is safe to assume none of these candidates have plans to deploy conventional troops to fight the Islamic State on the ground.

Outside of healthcare, the candidates agreed on a lot of things. For example O’Malley and Sanders agreeing that minimum wage needs to be $15 per hour.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 01.18.2016 24 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
david mann

Morning News and Stuff

UC reaches multi-million dollar settlement with DuBose family; Cincinnati's magnet schools are attracting less African American students; Vice Mayor Mann to introduce ordinance to prevent wage theft

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your Monday morning headlines. 

• The family of Samuel DuBose and the University of Cincinnati have reached a settlement for the July 19 death of DuBose by UC police officer Ray Tensing. The university will pay the family $4,850,000 as well as pay the tuition and fees for DuBose's 12 children at UC, which will cost an estimated $500,000. That brings the total value of the settlement to $5.3 million. The university also said they are working to establish a memorial to DuBose on campus. UC President Santa Ono issued an apology to the family on behalf of the UC community. 

• Part of the reason Cincinnati's magnet schools were opened was to give the city's high African American students more opportunities for a good education. But an analysis of school records from 2007 to 2015 by WCPO has found that following a U.S. Supreme Court decision banning racial quotas, these magnet schools have just gotten whiter and whiter. CPS has long seen the test scores and graduation rates of African-American and Hispanic student lag behind their white peers, and most recently did away with the first-come, first-serve policy for the Fairview-Clifton German Language School that turned the school's front lawn into a campground for mostly white, wealthier families who had time available off work. The school now uses an expanded lottery. 

• Vice Mayor David Mann is planning to introduce an ordinance in the next few days that would help prevent wage theft for those who work for developers getting financial incentives from the city. The ordinance would allow the city to recover wages and forbid companies from doing business with the city for a certain amount of time if the city or another agency finds them guilty of wage theft. The proposed legislation would apply to developers getting more than $25,000 in loans, tax abatements or grants from the city.  

• St. Rita's School for the Deaf has announced it is ending its annual festival. School officials cited issues with costs and staffing as reasons for discontinuing the popular event, which would have had its 100-year anniversary this year. St. Rita Fest started in 1916, a year after the school opened, as a visiting fair for family members to visit their students at the school. School officials also said the school's grand raffle, a fundraiser that pulled in nearly $200,000 for the school last year, also contributed to the decision to close the fair. 

• Gov. John Kasich, still running hard for the GOP presidential nomination, has received the backing of three New Hampshire papers. The Nashua Telegraph, Foster's Daily Democrat and the Portsmouth Herald have all endorsed the GOP presidential hopeful for president. Kasich has also received endorsements from Ohio's Republican party, Ohio U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, and Ohio House speaker Cliff Rosenberger. 

Hilary Clinton attacked Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders on his policy shifts on gun policy and universal healthcare last night during the fourth Democratic debate in Charleston, S.C. Sunday evening. Clinton aligned herself with President Obama and accused Sanders of flip flopping on his positions regarding some of the nation's hottest issues right now. Clinton's more aggressive tactics this debate probably comes as Sanders is nearly neck-and-neck with her polls as the New Hampshire and Iowa primaries draw very, very close. 

Email me at nkrebs@citybeat.com with story tips! It's going to be a chilly week. Stay warm Cincinnati!

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.18.2016 24 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
audreydubose

UC, DuBose Family Reach Settlement

Family will receive nearly $5 million for police shooting

The University of Cincinnati and the family of Samuel DuBose today reached a settlement in DuBose’s shooting death July 19 by UC police officer Ray Tensing.

That settlement calls for the university to pay $4,850,000 to the family, as well as tuition-free undergraduate education for DuBose’s 12 children. That part of the settlement is worth an estimated $500,000. In addition, UC President Santa Ono will issue an official apology to the family, a memorial to DuBose will be constructed somewhere on UC’s campus and the family will be invited to participate in conversations around reform of UC’s police force undertaken by the school’s Community Advisory Council.

Tensing shot DuBose a mile from campus in Mount Auburn after stopping him for not having a front license plate on his car. The officer claimed DuBose tried to drive away and dragged him, but footage from Tensing's body camera showed that he was not in immediate danger when he shot DuBose. DuBose was unarmed.Tensing has been indicted on murder and manslaughter charges. He is out on bond awaiting his next pretrial hearing in February.

DuBose's death made national news as the country continues to grapple with weighty issues around police shootings, especially those of people of color, as well as the deeper socioeconomic issues that underlie many of those shootings. Other police shootings of unarmed black citizens have occurred recently in Ohio, including those of John Crawford III in Beavercreek and 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland. Grand juries in both of those cases declined to indict officers involved.

“I want to again express on behalf of the University of Cincinnati community our deepest sadness and regrets at the heartbreaking loss of the life of Samuel DuBose,” UC President Santa Ono said in a statement. “This agreement is also part of the healing process not only for the family but also for our university and Cincinnati communities.”
 
The settlement was mediated by attorney Billy Martin over the course of two days of private meetings between the family and the university. Well-known civil rights attorneys Al Gerhardstein, Mark O’Mara and Michael Wright represented the family. Hamilton County Probate Courts must approve the settlement.
 
“I commend UC and the DuBose family for working together in a positive manner to help the community and the University work positively on their shared goal of reducing crime while preserving rights going forward,” Martin said in a statement about the settlement. “The example here demonstrates to communities hurting all over the country that positive results can be achieved through this type of cooperation.”
 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.15.2016 27 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election, Republicans at 03:19 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
debate

Four Takeaways From the Sixth Republican Debate

The battle for Iowa and New Hampshire kicked into high gear at Thursday’s Republican debate, featuring a smaller cast of candidates. Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, John Kasich, Chris Christie and Jeb Bush took the stage and engaged in one of the debate’s bloodiest battles as the Feb. 1 Iowa caucus looms.

Yes, this election starts in two weeks.

Bromance Between Trump and Cruz Is Over

Some of the debate’s most electrifying moments are when these two went head-to-head exchanging blows to win over the Iowa’s Republican base. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas came out on top in this battle, towering over a seemingly desperate Donald Trump. However, polls indicate Trump might still win the war for the early primary states.

The Texas senator’s citizenship has been in question lately, however this is more of an attempt to resurrect the birther movement than any real questioning of the Constitution. Let's not forget Trump was a major player in the birther movement against President Obama.

Section 1 of Article Two of the U.S. Constitution states:

No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Cruz was a Canadian citizen born to an American mother and most interpretations would consider him “natural born.” However, there are some arguments against Cruz’s eligibility. The Constitution does not clearly define what natural born is.

Trump started using this against the Texas senator once he started gaining in early states, positioning himself as a heavyweight. However, to clear the air, the Fox Business moderators started the citizenship topic. This virtually cleared the stage; the only thing that mattered was Trump and Cruz.

“You know, back in September, my friend Donald said that he had had his lawyers look at this from every which way, and there was no issue there,” Cruz said referring to his Canadian birth. "There was nothing to this birther issue … Now, since September, the Constitution hasn't changed.”

When Trump was asked by a moderator why he was bringing up the citizenship issue now, Trump fired back with the kind of honesty we seldom get: “Because now he's going a little bit better [in polls]. No, I didn't care. Hey look, he never had a chance. Now, he's doing better. He's got probably a four- or five-percent chance.”

The Texas senator continued his fire against the real-estate giant, saying he “embodies New York values,” suggesting Iowa and New Hampshire voters should think twice about the billionaire’s roots.

“Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” Sen. Cruz said. He has also suggested Donald Trump is a New York liberal pretending to have conservative values.

Trump defended his hometown, reaching for a very cringe-worthy use of 9/11.

"We took a big hit with the World Trade Center — worst thing ever, worst attack ever in the United States, worse than Pearl Harbor because they attacked civilians," Trump said. "They attacked people having breakfast. And, frankly, if you would've been there, and if you would've lived through that like I did with New York people — the way they handled that attack was one of the most incredible things that anybody has ever seen."

While the bromance might be over going into Iowa, both candidates suggested they might pick the other one to be their vice president if they take the White House. Perhaps a Cruz/Trump is on the table for the future.

Sen. Rand Paul Goes Down Honorably

The Kentucky senator didn’t qualify for the main stage debate. However, he was invited to the undercard debate along with Carly Fiorina, Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Rand Paul refused to be seen as a second-tier candidate and didn’t show up to the lesser debate only to share a stage with reject candidates.

Sen. Paul hasn’t dropped out, but you might have had a better chance of winning the Powerball than getting a President Rand Paul.

This didn’t stop Paul’s fangirls from showing up in the debate’s audience, chanting “WE WANT RAND!” in the middle of the main debate.

Instead, The Daily Show was kind enough to offer the senator his very own “Singles Night” debate. Host Trevor Noah and Sen. Paul drank bourbon for 20 minutes and talked policy.

You can read CityBeat’s profile of Sen. Rand Paul here.

Dr. Ben Carson Is Over

When asked his first question on Thursday night, Carson responded, "I was going to ask you to wake me up," which might have been funny if he wasn’t the candidate known for looking like he is sleeping all the time.

The famous neurosurgeon has been an oddity this entire race. I covered Carson’s visit to Cincinnati last year and even had the privilege of meeting him. However, something felt off about him.

I’m less referring to the man’s politics and more about his mode of thinking. His arguments are typically muddled, and myself and most others covering this election are commonly left scratching our heads wondering what exactly Carson is talking about.

His supporters at the rally weren’t attracted to any specific policies of Carson’s, but literally everyone I interviewed said the same thing: They liked that he wasn’t a politician.

Wanting someone who isn’t a politician is attractive, but sometimes you need a politician to do politician things: like make a good case for why they should be president. Donald Trump isn’t a politician, but he is an excellent communicator and doesn’t fall asleep during debate.

Carson’s campaign has been a disaster. He was a GOP star for part of the summer, but his own staff says he’s difficult to work with and the brain surgeon has had issues with senior-level staff leaving.

During the debate, Carson described an ominous string of threats and fantasized a doomsday scenario of terrorists detonating a nuclear bomb, eliminating our power grid, setting off dirty bombs and unleashing ground attacks in the streets.

While that sounds like a plot to a Michael Bay movie, that scenario is technically possible but sounds a little off-the-rails. Perhaps doomsday scenarios should be debated in the Pentagon, not a mainstream debate.

“The fact of the matter is, [Obama] doesn't realize that we now live in the 21st century, and that war is very different than it used to be before,” Carson said. “Not armies, massively marching on each other and air forces, but now we have dirty bombs and we have cyber attacks and we have people who will be attacking our electrical grid.”

Carson might have had his 15 minutes of fame, and his polling has been in free-fall since the Paris attacks. This candidate isn’t just weak on foreign affairs — he is quickly losing relevance and will fade into political obscurity.

Where is Sen. Marco Rubio?

Marco Rubio has virtually forgotten he is a senator of Florida and debate viewers may have forgotten he was a contender.

Rubio wasn’t talking policy and was largely overshadowed by the boxing match between Cruz and Trump. However, the junior senator tried to bring attention his way with attacking Obama.

I hate to interrupt this episode of Court TV. But I think we have to get back to what this election has to be about. OK? Listen, this is the greatest country in the history of mankind. But in 2008, we elected a president that didn’t want to fix America. He wants to change America. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the Constitution. He undermines it. We elected a president that is weakening America on the global stage. We elected a president that doesn’t believe in the free enterprise system.”

As the debate came to its conclusion, Rubio engaged his competition on tax plans. As both Cruz and Rubio got lost in the weeds, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie reminded the senators the topic was about entitlements.

Sen. Rubio said he would be happy to talk about entitlements.

“You already had your chance Marco,” Christie responded. “You blew it.”

The Florida senator had a quick rise in the fall, but has lost all of the polling support he gained. He is almost back where he was at the end of the summer coming in at a distant third with 12 percent average among national polling.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.15.2016 27 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:33 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
news1_kasichtaxcuts

Fact Checking Kasich's Debate

The true, the false and the befuddling from Kasich's performance at the sixth GOP primary debate

Last night’s sixth GOP presidential primary debate was crunch time for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is looking to bolster his chances in early primary states Iowa and New Hampshire in a last-ditch effort to keep his campaign viable. Reviews of his performance from pundits were mixed, though he did have a few good moments in which he was able to balance the quieter, more reserved performance we saw in the first few debates with the louder, more boisterous interruptions that marked his most-recent appearance on the debate stage. We’ll know more in the coming days how primary voters reacted to Kasich ahead of the Feb. 1 Iowa primary and the Feb. 9 New Hampshire primary.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few claims Kasich made during the debate. You can follow along with the full debate transcript here.

1. “… I was in Washington when we had a balanced budget; had four years of balanced budgets; paid down a half-trillion of debt. And our economy was growing like crazy.”

He was there, but some experts say he can't take much of the credit for it.

Kasich was, in fact, in Congress from 1997 to 2001, the years when the budget was balanced under President Bill Clinton. Though Kasich was head of the House Budget Committee and thus can claim much credit for the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, many economists argue that act actually did little to balance the budget. Budget deficits had been falling for years by that point, a consequence of massive economic growth that had already begun, coupled with tax increases in 1993 that Kasich opposed. Further, the act mostly set limits on the federal government’s discretionary spending that weren’t put into place anyway.

Even fiscally conservative economists concede this.

“We have a balanced budget today that is mostly a result of 1) an exceptionally strong economy that is creating gobs of new tax revenues, and 2) a shrinking military budget," libertarian economist Stephen Moore of the Cato Institute wrote then.

Kasich also argued during the debate that deficit reduction and economic growth "require tax cuts, because that sends a message to the job creators that things are headed the right way,” he said during last night’s debate. “...If you cut taxes for corporations, and you cut taxes for individuals, you’re going to make things move…”

Ironically, the surplus that came in the late 1990s would not have existed if House members like Kasich had gotten their way. Most, including Kasich, supported moves cutting taxes on corporations and high earners, legislation that Clinton vetoed. Those looking for such tax cuts would have to wait until the George W. Bush presidency, an era of big budget deficits, high unemployment and economic uncertainty. Despite this, Kasich still believes those kinds of tax cuts are the way to go and credits them with more economic benefits than history seems to show they deliver.

2. “Our wages are growing faster than the national average. We’re running surpluses. And we can take that message and that formula to Washington to lift every single American to a better life.”

And

“And now in Ohio, with the same formula, wages higher than the — than the national average. A growth of 385,000 jobs.”

Mostly false.

Kasich likes to tout Ohio’s economic record. But throughout much of his tenure, the state’s economic growth has lagged behind other states. In 2015, for instance, wages in all but three of Ohio’s 88 counties were below the national average of $1,048, and 63 of those counties had wages below $800 a week. While Columbus, the state capital, recently made news because wages there were growing faster than anywhere else in the country, that's a unique situation and many other places in Ohio are seeing stagnating wages.

Kasich also likes to tout his record of job growth. But Ohio lags behind other states in job creation, currently ranking 31st out of the 50 states and Washington, D.C., and has been near the middle or below it for most of Kasich’s tenure. If Ohio has job growth, it's because the economy is trending better across the country. Some studies show that the state has yet to replace all the jobs it lost in the Great Recession and that wages still haven't recovered.

Finally, while the state is running surpluses, Kasich has been aided by that same national economic wind at his back and hundreds of millions of dollars in federal money given to the state for its Medicaid expansion, education, transportation and other expenditures the state would have otherwise had to make. Kasich’s plan for the country? Cut deeply into those federal funds.

3. “I served on the Defense Committee for 18 years, and, by the way, one of the members of that committee was Senator Strom Thurmond from South Carolina.”

True, but there’s something you should know.

This calls less for a fact check than a needed historical note. Kasich did indeed serve on the House Defense Committee and worked with Sen. Strom Thurmond. He mentions this to play to the hometown crowd in North Charleston, South Carolina, but in doing so, he associates himself with a very troubling character. Thurmond, who also served as governor in South Carolina, was one of the loudest opponents of integration in the South in the 1950s and 1960s. Thurmond delivered a record-breaking filibuster against Civil Rights legislation in 1957, though he maintained throughout his long career that he wasn’t racist and simply opposed federal control of state affairs. Despite those assertions, he was known to make racially charged statements, including these remarks during a 1948 run for president:

“On the question of social intermingling of the races, our people draw the line,” he said during a campaign speech. “The laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, into our schools, our churches and our places of recreation and amusement.''

4. “In terms of Saudi Arabia, look, my biggest problem with them is they’re funding radical clerics through their madrasses.”

This one is complicated. Kasich is fairly nuanced in his wording here, using the term “radical clerics” instead of simply saying Saudi Arabia is training terrorists or something more alarmist.

As a sovereign state, Saudi Arabia is officially opposed to ISIS and has jailed radical Islamists. But many have pointed out the Islamic theocracy’s ideological similarities to the Islamic State, citing the fact that the country is a place of origin for the Wahhabi belief system. Wahhabism is a sect of Islam that calls for very strict adherence to restrictive, fundamental interpretations of the Koran similar to ISIS. Wahhabism is taught in some Saudi schools, or Maddrasas. Some ISIS members are Wahhabi but not all Wahhabi are ISIS supporters.

Experts have mixed views on the role Saudis play in funding and encouraging ISIS, and there’s little consensus on how to approach America’s uneasy ally about its links to radical Islam.

5. “I’ve been for pausing on admitting the Syrian refugees. And the reasons why I’ve done is I don’t believe we have a good process of being able to vet them.”

The process is more exhaustive and effective than it is often portrayed to be.

Though Kasich's main point in this part of the debate was that we should seek moderation and bridge-building with allies in the Arab world, his assertion that there isn’t a good vetting process already in place for Syrian refugees isn’t accurate. The U.S. Department of State undertakes a process that lasts 18 months or longer to vet refugees. That process includes extensive background checks and admits mostly women and children anyway — not the young male conservatives like Kasich say are most likely to be radicalized terrorists streaming into the country.

6. “I believe in the PTT…”

A minor note, maybe a slip of the tongue, but it’s actually the TPP, or the Trans Pacific Partnership. It governs trade agreements between countries around the Pacific with a stated objective of working toward increasing American exports.

7. “Well, I created a task force well over a year ago and the purpose was to bring law enforcement, community people, clergy and the person that I named as one of the co-chair was a lady by the name of Nina Turner, a former State Senator, a liberal Democrat. She actually ran against one of my friends and our head of public safety.”

Mostly true, but there’s more.


It’s true that Kasich created a statewide task force made up of bipartisan lawmakers and community leaders and that the task force has made recommendations about ways to make incremental reform the justice system in Ohio. Those reforms include statewide use of force protocols for officers and increases in officer training.

The question is whether that’s a credit to Kasich that makes him a more appealing presidential choice or whether it was simply the very least he could do.

Many of those reforms recommended by the task force have yet to be implemented, and it’s unclear when they will be. Some of them also build on steps taken years before Kasich was governor, including Cincinnati’s collaborative agreement in the wake of its 2001 unrest. More, some activists would say the panel is weak for someone as powerful as Kasich, whose administration hasn’t stepped into controversial county grand jury cases like the one around the death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

Rice was shot in Cleveland while playing with a toy gun on a playground. Appeals were made to take that case out of the hands of Cuyahoga County Prosecutors, who work closely with the Cleveland Police Department. CPD has been heavily criticized by the Department of Justice for excessive use of force in the past, though it has not been held accountable by the prosecutor's office for those actions. Despite that, no action was taken by state officials in the Rice case. A grand jury decided not to indict officers in the boy’s death. Finally, the Kasich administration has done little to address the economic and social root causes of justice system inequalities, including pervasive poverty in black communities. Indeed, those communities lag far behind the Kasich's boasts bout job and wage gains.

 
 

 

 

by Natalie Krebs 02.11.2016 16 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 35 hours ago
Posted In: News at 03:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
voices_wwe_johnkasich

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 35 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 39 hours ago
Posted In: News at 11:16 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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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 58 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 61 hours ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 01:15 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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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 65 hours 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)
 
 
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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 3 days ago
Posted In: News at 11:09 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
3cdc copy 2

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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