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by Kevin Osborne 10.03.2011
 
 
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Candidates On: The Future of the Environmental Justice Ordinance

As part of CityBeat's continuing election coverage, we’ve once again sent a questionnaire to the non-incumbent Cincinnati City Council candidates to get their reactions on a broad range of issues.

Nine of the 14 non-incumbents chose to answer our questions. Others either didn’t respond or couldn’t meet the deadline.

During the next few weeks, we will print the responses from the non-incumbents to a different topic each time.

Today’s question is, “What is your stance on the city's Environmental Justice Ordinance? Should it be retained or repealed?”

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by 07.16.2010
 
 

Boehner Fails Fact Check Test

Nearly two years after the economic meltdown in fall 2008, the U.S. Senate voted Thursday to approve a sweeping financial reform bill aimed at the reckless Wall Street investors who caused the crisis.

The Senate voted 60-39 to pass the reforms sought by President Obama. Three Republicans — Scott Brown of Massachusetts, along with Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine — joined Democrats in supporting the bill.

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by 07.19.2011
Posted In: Business, Media, Media Criticism at 09:00 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Murdochs Grilled in UK, Enquirer Ensnared Again

The phone hacking scandal surrounding Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers continues to explode, as the media baron and his son are appearing before a Parliament committee at this very moment. (Follow the proceedings on BBC’s web site here.)

Several U.S. media outlets have reminded the public that an American newspaper once faced its own phone hacking scandal, when The Cincinnati Enquirer was forced to apologize and pay $14 million to Chiquita Brands International in 1998 and renounce its investigative series on Chiquita and then-CEO Carl Lindner. So Cincinnati was on the cutting edge on yet another international trend.

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by 12.31.2008
Posted In: Business at 10:37 AM | Permalink | Comments (3)
 
 

After-Christmas Shopping

With all the money you got from Grandma this year, it's time to do some after-Christmas shopping ... the fun kind ... for numero uno.

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by 06.25.2009
Posted In: City Council, Environment, Business at 02:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)
 
 

EJ Law Passes Over Chamber's Objection

After more than three years of work and undergoing several alterations, Cincinnati City Council approved an “environmental justice” ordinance Wednesday in a close vote despite opposition from the business community.

Vice Mayor David Crowley, a Democrat in his last term, began working on the ordinance with an advisory committee in October 2005. Supporters held a rally at City Hall last week in anticipation of a decision, but Mayor Mark Mallory delayed a vote then because he believed council’s support was wavering. During the past few days, Crowley lobbied his colleagues hard and was able to muster the five votes needed for passage.

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by Kevin Osborne 03.14.2012
 
 
streetcar

Duke's Streetcar Claim Might be Crumbling

Ohio law has exception for wire-powered vehicles

A review of the fine print in Ohio law could spell trouble for Duke Energy in its dispute with Cincinnati about who must pay to move utility lines to accommodate the city’s streetcar project.

Readers of CityBeat’s March 6 cover story know that one of the legal arguments made by Duke Energy is that it said the system qualifies as a utility itself under Ohio law. And one utility has no legal obligation to reimburse another utility, Duke added.

City officials disagree with Duke’s interpretation, and the two sides currently are trying to negotiate a compromise to the impasse.

The city is willing to pay $6 million to relocate Duke’s natural gas, chilled water, fiber and electrical infrastructure along the streetcar route, but the firm insists it will cost at least $18.7 million and possibly more.

A close reading of the Ohio Revised Code (ORC), however, reveals it is unlikely that a streetcar system qualifies as a “public utility.”

Under Ohio law, the following items are defined as public utilities:

“A motor transportation company, when engaged in the business of carrying and transporting persons or property or the business of providing or furnishing such transportation service, for hire, in or by motor-propelled vehicles of any kind, including trailers, for the public in general, over any public street, road, or highway in this state.” ORC §4905.03

But motor-propelled vehicles aren’t defined under Ohio law. The ORC does, however, define “motor vehicle” as:

“(B) “Motor vehicle” means any vehicle, including mobile homes and recreational vehicles, that is propelled or drawn by power other than muscular power or power collected from overhead electric trolley wires. “Motor vehicle” does not include utility vehicles as defined in division (VV) of this section, motorized bicycles, road rollers, traction engines, power shovels, power cranes, and other equipment used in construction work and not designed for or employed in general highway transportation, well-drilling machinery, ditch-digging machinery, farm machinery, and trailers that are designed and used exclusively to transport a boat between a place of storage and a marina, or in and around a marina, when drawn or towed on a public road or highway for a distance of no more than ten miles and at a speed of twenty-five miles per hour or less.” ORC §4501.01(B)

Streetcars operate using overhead trolley wires, thus they aren’t considered motor vehicles under Ohio law. But do they even qualify as vehicles? The ORC defines vehicles as:

“(A) “Vehicles” means everything on wheels or runners, including motorized bicycles, but does not mean electric personal assistive mobility devices, vehicles that are operated exclusively on rails or tracks or from overhead electric trolley wires, and vehicles that belong to any police department, municipal fire department, or volunteer fire department, or that are used by such a department in the discharge of its functions.” ORC §4501.01(A)

Of course, streetcars run on rails and use power from electric trolley wires. So, they aren’t vehicles either.

The conclusion: Either “motor-propelled vehicles” mean the same as “motor vehicles” (in which case it doesn’t apply to streetcars) or “motor-propelled” is an adjective to “vehicle” (which also doesn’t apply, as streetcars aren’t vehicles).

In each instance, a streetcar system doesn’t fall into the legal realm of a “motor transportation company” and therefore isn’t a “public utility.”

 
 
by 02.18.2011
 
 

CBC Interviews Berding's Replacement

(****UPDATE AT BOTTOM)

One of the most common complaints among many residents over the decades is that Big Business controls City Hall and municipal government, not citizens. Although some officials have denied it, that seems to be the case when it comes to who will be the next city councilperson.

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by 11.13.2009
Posted In: Human Rights, Protests, Business at 04:03 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Terrorism and Bananas

Protestors will be ready to greet investors next week as Chiquita holds its annual stockholders meeting in downtown Cincinnati.

Two human rights groups — 8th Day Center for Justice and Witness for Peace — will demonstrate in an effort to hold Chiquita executives accountable for company payments made to terrorist groups in Colombia, payments the groups allege led to the murders of thousands of peasants and workers in the region.

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by 12.29.2010
 
 

Ohio Gets New Election Rules

In an effort to promote greater transparency about who makes campaign contributions, outgoing Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner today unveiled a new set of election rules.

The rules, which were approved by the Ohio Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review, is aimed at offsetting some of the impact of the Citizens United ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in January. In the landmark 5-4 decision, the court overturned a lower court’s ruling and removed existing restraints on corporations, allowing them to spend unlimited amounts of money in political campaigns.

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by 12.05.2008
Posted In: Business, Public Policy, News at 05:34 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 

Customers Revolt Against Banking Fees

This week’s issue of CityBeat features an article about a lawsuit that a disgruntled customer filed against Fifth Third Bank about how the institution processes debit card transactions.

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