WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
Home - Blogs - Staff Blogs - Latest Blogs
Latest Blogs
 
by Steven Rosen 01.08.2016 34 days ago
Posted In: Visual Art at 01:56 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
emy

Remember This Artist's Name: Ato Ribeiro

One of the most remarkable artworks I saw in Cincinnati in 2015 — in terms of its beauty and the painstaking effort that went into its creation — will soon leave town.

It was in a rear area of the Brick 939 pop-up market in Walnut Hills. It’s already no longer on view and just waiting to be sent back to its artist. But I have a feeling we’ll be hearing much more from that artist — Ato Ribeiro — responsible for the monumental-sized portrait, “Edith Motte Young, Forever,” made through a charcoal-erasing process on brown paper.

It is a 13-by-9-foot drawing of the Detroit artist’s great-grandmother. At that size, you immediately wonder if the image deserves the space devoted to it.

It does, indeed — the woman’s eyes look upward, hopefully and compellingly. She seems, in her vaguely Modernist apparel, to be both of our relatively recent past and timeless. And the work seems both authoritative and fragile, given the use of (crumpled) paper.

Communicating by email from Detroit, where he is working on his M.F.A. at Cranbrook Academy of Art in suburban Bloomfield Hills, Ribeiro explains his process.

 “(It) consists of applying a few flat layers of charcoal across each sheet of brown paper before crumpling each sheet into a little ball in order to work the creases into the paper,” Ribeiro says.

“These creases create the sense of a discarded object. After unraveling the paper, I would use a kneaded eraser to erase out my image's details, one little section at a time. There were no drawing tools involved in my process.

“Over the last 5 years, my work has gravitated towards the use of discarded natural and found objects as my preferred choice in materials. The reason the brown paper feels the way it does is because this was paper that I collected (close to the beach) while in Ghana a few months ago, where the tropical weather tends to get pretty humid. This easily accessible paper (in Ghana) is commonly used by students to cover their academic textbooks, protecting them from damage.

“Through the reductive process of charcoal erasing to create my subjects, I attempt to highlight several members of my African-American history (whom I use as role models in my life) while addressing the struggles that African-Americans face relating to the preservation of much of our culture. Also the work is intentionally not fixed so that viewers who do decide to touch the piece would become aware of the how easy it is to erase/remove part of our 'history.' ’’

Exactly how this piece came to be shown here — where it was on display Nov. 27-Jan. 3 — is an interesting story. A fellow Cranbrook artist from Cincinnati, Ingrid Alexandra Schmidt, heard of the opportunity and arranged for Ribeiro to present his work.

“Though I have never spent an extended amount of time in Ohio, Edith Motte Young ended up moving her family to Oberlin, Ohio in 1929 (where my grandfather went to Oberlin High School and Oberlin College before becoming a pilot),” Ribeiro says. “So I thought it would be a little poetic to send the piece of her back in that direction. Thus I applied and was later accepted.”

Ribeiro is at work on a Forever Young series of family portraits — Young is his mother's maiden name. When it is finished, one hopes to be able to see it in Cincinnati. From the work shown here, his series is a remarkable and inspirational display of love and respect (and artistic ability) from a young man to his family.

Meanwhile, the Brick pop-up shop and the organization behind it — MORTAR, which is out to empower residents of Over-the-Rhine and Walnut Hills through entrepreneurship — should be proud of giving Cincinnati a chance to see this fine artist.  For more information about him, visit atoribeiroart.com.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.08.2016 34 days ago
Posted In: News at 01:16 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
cranley

Cranley Vetoes Council Tax Budget

Mayor calls budget "tax hike," Council majority disagrees

Mayor John Cranley today vetoed a tax budget passed by Cincinnati City Council Jan. 6.

That budget set the rate for property taxes in the city at 5.6 mills. Though the rate is the same as last year's, it could bring in more property tax revenue this year due to new development and other economic activity, violating a policy passed more than 15 years ago that requires the city to hold the amount of property taxes it collects at a preset level. However, there is some uncertainty about how much the rate would actually collect due to the number of tax abatements and special tax districts the city has given to developers in the past year.

In a statement released today, Cranley called the tax budget Council passed a "tax hike."

"In November, Cincinnati voters sent an unambiguous message that they oppose having their property taxes raised," Cranley said in the statement, referring to the decisive defeat of a ballot initiative he spearheaded aimed at funding major parks projects in the city through a property tax increase. "It is a message that I heard loudly and clearly, and it is a message that I have a duty to heed."

In some ways, the issue around the tax rate springs from the unusual way in which the city collects property taxes, which this Cincinnati Business Courier story explores. A boost in the amount of tax revenues the city collects would violate the aim of Cincinnati's property tax rollback, passed amid pressure from conservative groups in 1999. The measure stipulates that the city must collect the same dollar amount of property taxes each year — $28.9 million — regardless of inflation or other changes.  As inflation inches up, that means the city is actually collecting less property tax each year. No other major Ohio city has a similar measure.

Critics say that has unnecessarily constrained the city's budget and made it more difficult to provide basic services for a now-growing (if only slightly) population. But proponents say it has saved taxpayers money. Some on City Council, including Vice Mayor David Mann, have suggested reevaluating the policy.

Mann blasted Cranley's veto today.

Since its passage, the rollback has meant nearly $95 million less going into the city's coffers. While that saves average homeowners some cash, the biggest benefit goes to larger, commercial property owners with higher land values, many of whom have also received large tax abatements from the city in recent years.

Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes projected a .71 percent increase in property tax receipts to by the city this year and proposed a 5.52 mill rate. None of that boost comes from higher appraisal values. The last property tax appraisal happened in 2011, with an update in 2014. The next reappraisal of property values won't start until 2017.

But some on Cincinnati City Council say that doesn't take into account those tax abatements and tax increment financing districts many new developments and property improvements in the city received. Thus, setting the millage at 5.52 could cause the city to undershoot its $28.9 million goal.

Last year, the 5.6 mill rate brought in about $29.4 million.

A mill is 1/1000th of a dollar. Property taxes are calculated by taking the assessed value of a home (which is 35 percent of the home's market value), multiplying it by the millage rate, and factoring in any exemptions or abatements. The owner of a $100,000 home would pay $196 in property taxes next year under the 5.6 mill rate and $193.20 under the 5.52 rate.

Overall, the higher rate will bring in a few hundred thousand dollars more next year. What is as yet unknown is what that exact number will be.

Council passed the budget 6-3, enough votes to override the mayor's veto. Council independent Christopher Smitherman and Republicans Amy Murray and Wendell Young voted against it. Charterite Kevin Flynn voted for the measure, citing the question of abatements, but is generally against tax increases and could swing back.

Councilwoman Yvette Simpson said that in trying fiscal times, the city would be better off setting the rate slightly higher so it doesn't end up with a hole in its budget, citing a Cincinnati City Administration-forecast $14 million gap between expenditures and tax revenues next year.

Other Democrats on Council echoed that sentiment and challenged the notion that the tax budget they passed represented a "stealth tax increase." Councilman Chris Seelbach took to social media to dispute that characterization, which was echoed by a headline in The Cincinnati Enquirer.



The paper has since adjusted that headline, which read "Cranley Vetos Tax Hike." The headline now reads "Cranley Vetoes Property Tax Budget."

Council must pass a tax budget by Jan. 15 in order to be on track to pass its annual budget. One possible compromise: A budget that asks the Hamilton County Auditor to set the millage rate for the city at whatever level will generate the $28.9 million. The Auditor would then set that rate after gathering more data.
 
 
by Julia Olmsted 01.08.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: Bar at 11:17 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
kittyssportsgrill6-960x540

Raising the Bars: Game Day

The Steelers are coming to town. Let's go to the bar and watch the game!

No matter which game you’re watching or which colors you don (better be orange and black), the Cincinnati bar scene has a little something for every kind of fan. From packed sports bars to quiet neighborhood grills, there’s always a place to enjoy a couple of the things the Queen City is known for — good teams and great beer. This Saturday will be no exception when the stupid Pittsburgh Steelers come to town for an AFC first-round playoff game.


Brass Tap
The Brass Tap in Clifton has 20 HDTVs, which play any and all Bengals games — with the sound on! The bar also serves up more than 300 beers — 80 on draft and 250 in bottles with 30-plus locals. Saturdays and Sundays, any pizza (served on pretzel dough crust) and pint combo is $10, and on game days, enjoy $3 off any large format beer selections. You can check out the expansive wine, food and both draft and bottle beer menus online. Fun place to get loud and shout at the TV with college kids. 251 Calhoun St., Clifton Heights, 513-242-2337, brasstapbeer.com.


Brothers Bar & Grille
For those looking to find a unique and eclectic sports bar on a budget, Brothers Bar & Grill is right up your alley. The bar itself is located right on Newport on the Levee's square, meaning a stunning view of the river is just outside on their back patio. The menu features made-from-scratch appetizers like Wisconsin World Famous Cheese Curds, bleu cheese and bacon tavern chips, and jumbo pretzel sticks, and also has plenty of full sized meals. Their daily drink specials ($2 double wells, anyone?) will keep your pockets lined and your belly warm while you cheer on your favorite team
1 Levee Way #2126, Newport, Ky., 859-291-2767, brothersbar.com.


Gas Light Café

Pleasant Ridge’s friendly neighborhood tavern expects a big crowd for the playoff game. Its legit bar-food menu includes one of the best burgers in town, plus other creative sandwiches and sides. 6104 Montgomery Road, Pleasant Ridge, 513-631-6977.


Holy Grail Tavern & Grill

One of the city’s biggest and most authentic sports bars, the Holy Grail at The Banks hosts weekly Bengals radio shows and will undoubtedly be packed for the big game against the Steelers. Huge menu, tons of draft beers and enough TVs to see exactly which player tries to poke another in the eyes. Holy Grail West offers more of the same in Delhi. The Banks, 161 Joe Nuxhall Way, Downtown, 513-621-2222; Holy Grail West, 1278 Ebenezer Road, Delhi, 513-941-5555. holygrailcincy.com.


Kitty’s Sports Grill
Positioned directly across the street from Paul Brown Stadium and buzzing with a big bar-vibe, Kitty’s is the place to be for Bengals fans. This gem is relatively new to the Cincinnati scene, but it’s already making waves with super friendly staff members, fantastic drink specials like $12 bottomless bloody marys and mimosas on the weekends, and so many TVs you won’t even know where to look. There’s even a 120-inch projection screen above the bar — talk about a front row seat. 
218 W. Third St., Downtown, 513-421-8900, kittyssportsgrill.net.


Knockback Nat’s
This all-American, nationally recognized (check out their
Travel Channel shout-out), locally beloved dive bar mixes together all the necessary ingredients for the perfect game day. Their dartboard-and-jukebox vibe pairs wonderfully with the inexpensive and delicious array of grub — from their famous smoked wings (just 75 cents when you buy a beer!), to loaded vegetarian nachos. You’ll feel like a regular on your first visit, so it’s easy to get comfy and enjoy the game, no matter the score. They also have free popcorn. 
10 W. Seventh St., Downtown, 513-621-1000.


Lachey's
Anything more hometown than a hometown sports bar run by a couple of hometown dudes? Lachey's does game day up right with drink specials for every Bengals home and away match — $5 mimosas, $5 Bengals bombs when the Bengals score and $3 Bud and Bud Light drafts if the Bengals win. They have a plethora of giant TVs above the bar, a running sports ticker and a tasty tailgate-friendly bar menu featuring three different flavors of tater tots, buffalo wings and stuffed meatballs. 56 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, 513-275-0740, lacheys.com.

Martino's on Vine
Some people like the Pittsburgh Steelers and if those people don't want to be boo-ed out of a bar, they can head to Martino's on Vine. You can watch the Steelers lose on any one of their 31 TVs while you enjoy a two-foot hoagie, a variety of interpretations on a Philly cheesesteak or Pittsburgh-style wings. 2618 Vine St., Corryville, 513-221-8487, martinosonvine.com.

O’Malley’s in the Alley

The quintessential Cincinnati sports bar, O’Malley’s offers weekly lunch specials, happy hour deals and other specials for Reds and Bengals games. The Irish pub is one of the city’s oldest bars, O’Malley’s is a crucial stop to and from riverfront sports contests and should be poppin’ on playoff night. 25 Ogden Place (off Vine Street), Downtown, 513-381-3114. omalleysinthealley.com.


Rhinehaus
OTR's original sports bar Rhinehaus is not only a Bengals bar, they're also an official Packers bar (and they also show all Premier League Match games; sportz!). With 14 total TVs, including a giant projector and a screen in the mens bathroom, it's a cool and cozy place to imbibe a brew from one of 16 rotating taps or down a few "rhino" shots. These haus shots include concoctions like the Orange Rhino (Malibu orange float, vanilla vodka, orange juice and cranberry) and Kentucky Rhino (whiskey and creme de menthe). You can also get food to go or delivered from nearby OTR eateries aka buy yourself a Turtle Shell from Gomez. 119 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine, rhinehausbar.com.

Tina's
Bengal Nation's who-dey hangout. This third-generation family-owned and -operated watering hole is only a block from Paul Brown Stadium, so naturally they bleed orange. They have 13 wall-mounted flatscreen TVs, 8 rotating beers on tap, shuffle board, darts and plenty of room to relax and watch the game. Their full menu features everything from sandwiches and salads to chicken wings, chili and a cheese plate. They even do tailgating pick-up orders for home games; call ahead. 350 W. Fourth St., Downtown, 513-621-3567, tinasbar.com.
 
 
by Rick Pender 01.08.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: Theater at 10:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
stage door 1-8 kinky boots tour - adam kaplan & j. harrison ghee - photo matthew murray

Stage Door

Get 'Kinky' — or look out for 'True Food'

If you turn up at the Aronoff Center for the touring production of Kinky Boots (it’s onstage through Jan. 17), you might think you’ve landed in Over-the-Rhine. That’s how much the show’s opening vista of a factory in Northampton, England, resembles our own historic neighborhood. It’s the Victorian brick façade of a shoe factory that’s struggling in the 21st century because it’s still manufacturing old-fashioned men’s shoes. Even if they’re “the most beautiful thing in the world” (the theme of the show’s opening song), not so many people want to buy them today. As a last-ditch effort to keep the company from closing, the fourth-generation heir to the business, Charlie Price, decides to make “kinky boots,” high-fashion footwear for drag queens whose male frames are too much for standard female shoe heels. His customer No. 1 is Lola, an extrovert of a diva who — not unlike Charlie — has struggled with living up to his dad’s expectations. There’s a lot of fun and frippery along the way: Lola has a half-dozen “Angels” — drag queens who back up her act — and they’re spectacularly clad and built. A perky factory worker, Lauren, keeps giving Charlie advice (while falling for him despite his imminent fiancée in London). Another employee, Don, a hardcore male chauvinist, wants nothing to do with Lola. Watching events unfold is the fun of this show, even if you know where it’s all headed. Kinky Boots offers a meaningful message about tolerance and finding your own path, and there’s a lot of fancy dancing and fine singing along the way. Tickets: 513-621-2787

Whether or not your New Year’s resolution had to do with losing weight, you still have to eat. So the topic this quarter’s True Theatre, True Food, should be of interest. These are true personal narratives, sometimes confessional, often humorous, told by everyday people. Monday night’s stories are about what a homeless woman did when she had access to a kitchen, a man who ate the wrong thing at the wrong time, another man reconsidering his family’s “roots” and two guys who eat like there’s no tomorrow, day in and day out. What happens when a foodie and a picky eater cross paths? You can find out on Monday when folks crowd into Know Theatre’s Underground Bar (1120 Jackson St., Over-the-Rhine) to get the dish on these stories. Call for tickets ($18); these events are often sold out.

Rick Pender’s STAGE DOOR blog appears here every Friday. Find more theater reviews and feature stories here.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.08.2016 35 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:12 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
yvette simpson

Morning News and Stuff

Could Simpson oppose Cranley in 2017?; Griffey will wear Mariners cap in HOF plaque; economy grows, wages do not

Good morning all. Here’s your news for this morning.

First, let's go to something we’ve been talking about here at CityBeat HQ for a little bit now: Who might oppose Mayor John Cranley in 2017? One of the top names on a lot of people's lips (and someone we’ve speculated might launch a campaign) over the past few months has been Democrat Cincinnati City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson. This is kind of a non-news story, but Simpson has said she hasn’t ruled out that possibility. She gave the standard “I’m still focused on my current job” answer when asked by The Cincinnati Enquirer about the possibility but also said she would consider running against her fellow Democrat. Simpson and Cranley have vastly different styles and, at times, very different policy ideas. The two have butted heads often in Council, including over provisions for human services funding in the city’s budget process and former Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell’s firing last year.

• It’s official: The Hamilton County GOP has tapped Dennis Deters to fill the Hamilton County Commission seat vacated by outgoing commission head Greg Hartmann. The move has been widely expected since Deters, brother to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, filed to run for that slot in the 2016 election. The county GOP named Deters as a temporary fill-in after Hartmann abruptly announced he would not seek reelection and then that he would step down early. The temporary gig gives Deters a better chance at landing the full-time job: He’ll have almost a year of incumbency when he faces off against Democrat State Rep. Denise Driehaus, who looks to be a formidable opponent.

• Well, how do you like that? This is the third day in a row I’ve written a blurb about Ken Griffey, Jr., who will be wearing a Seattle Mariners hat in his Hall of Fame plaque. Yes, yes, he spent more of his professional years there, I guess. And scored way more home runs and by every other statistic had his best years there. But come on. Dude went to high school in Cincinnati and played for years with the Reds — as did his dad Ken Griffey, Sr. The Griffey name is a Cincinnati name. Wait, his dad played for the Mariners, too? Ugh. Fine. Take him, Seattle. We have a bunch of Hall of Famers of our own, and we invented professional baseball anyway.

• So, extending the theme of surprisingly famous Cincinnatians I’ve drawn out over the past few days, let’s get one more in there before the weekend. Did you know that a Cincy attorney made the cover of the New York Times Magazine recently? And that Rob Bilot, who works for a law firm usually tasked with defending big corporations, is on that cover for aggressively pursuing one of the world’s largest, DuPont, over environmental damage its caused in West Virginia? The story is a very good read and worth a look.

• Here’s something kind of unusual: the Ohio Republican Party has voted to endorse Gov. John Kasich’s bid in the GOP presidential primary. That may seem like a no-brainer — Kasich is governor of the state, after all, and one of the state party’s most powerful members — but state-level parties usually stay neutral in primaries so they can support party voters’ choice of candidate better in the general election. Party officials say they’ve made the move because Kasich is popular in the state and has a strong conservative record. The nod could be a big boost for Kasich: Republicans desperately need Ohio to win the presidential election.

• Finally, this is the same story nearly every month, but here it is again: the U.S. economy added nearly 300,000 jobs in December. Things are going pretty well, employment level-wise, unless you’re a miner, in which case things are probably not going so well on a number of levels. Mining jobs were one of the few categories that saw losses. But it’s not all good news. Like past positive job gains, this one comes with the caveat that wages remain flat for U.S. workers. There were zero wage gains in the month of December, and pay for employees across the country rose just 2.5 percent in 2015 overall.

Annnnd I’m out. E-mail or tweet me story tips or the best gear/tricks for cold-weather bicycling. Also, give me a shout if you have thoughts about the Netflix docu-drama Making a Murderer. I have so many half-baked thoughts about that show.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.07.2016 36 days ago
Posted In: News at 09:19 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
beerissue_madtree-cans

Morning News and Stuff

Cincinnati voter questions Cruz eligibility; MadTree expanding; Ohio education rank plummets

Good morning all. Here’s a very brief rundown of some big stories in the news today.

As we told you about yesterday, a law enforcement roundtable convened by Mayor John Cranley met in Bond Hill to discuss ways to reduce violence, especially gun violence, in Cincinnati neighborhoods. There were a few key takeaways from community leaders like Rev. Damon Lynch, Ozie Davis III, State Sen. Cecil Thomas and others. Some stressed the need to build off the city’s historic 2001 collaborative agreement, which sets community policing expectations and police accountability measures. Others pushed for juvenile justice reform, citing huge racial disparities in juvenile warrants issued by Hamilton County. Poverty was also highlighted as a key issue. There will be five community discussions around the issue of neighborhood violence throughout January and February.

• Yesterday, Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame with a record-setting percentage of voter in the process giving him the nod. Griffey received 99.3 percent of the votes from those responsible for choosing inductees, the highest of any player ever.

• Local beer purveyor MadTree brewery is expanding, moving into an $18 million brewery and taproom it is constructing in Oakley. That brewery will be at the old RockTenn Co. paper mill on Madison Road. On top of the 4,500-square-foot bar, they’ll also have a pizza restaurant on site. Omg. I wonder if they’ll let me live there.

• By now, you’ve probably heard of the militiamen who have taken over a wildlife refuge in Oregon in protest of the federal government and two ranchers who have been imprisoned for arson. But did you know there’s a Cincinnatian among the two dozen or so armed men involved in the standoff? Pete Santilli hosts a conservative online radio show here. Well, usually he does. These days he’s hunkered down with the group in Oregon and acting as a sort of spokesman for them. He recently posted a nearly hour-and-a-half-long video of the scene at the wildlife refuge. Cincinnati always finds its way into national news somehow, I guess.

• More Cincinnatians in national news:
Bill Sloat, a Hamilton County resident, former newspaper reporter (including freelance for CityBeat), has asked the Hamilton County Board of Elections to verify that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas is eligible to run for president. The constitution stipulates that presidents must be naturalized U.S. citizens. Cruz was born in Canada, though his parents were citizens of the U.S. at the time, giving Cruz dual citizenship. Cruz renounced his Canadian citizenship before announcing he was running for president. But Sloat, who says he thinks Cruz probably is qualified to run for the top job, has asked Hamilton County to wade into the question before it puts him on the March 15 GOP primary ballot.

• Finally, well, there’s no good way to say this, so let’s just come out with it. Schools in Ohio plummeted in national rankings last year, going from fifth in the country to 23rd. Driving a lot of that drop? The state’s skyrocketing achievement gap between rich and poor students. Ohio ranks 43rd in the nation by that measure. Massachusetts ranked highest in the country in the rankings. Nevada was last.

 
 
by Nick Swartsell 01.06.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:23 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
p.g. sittenfeld.nar

Morning News and Stuff

Community policing round table convenes; Griffey poised to enter MLB HOF; Kasich in danger of being cut from GOP debate

Good morning y’all. There are tons of things going on in the news today, so let’s get right to it.

Mayor John Cranley is convening a community policing roundtable this morning in Bond Hill that will feature Cincinnati Police Department Chief Eliot Isaac, City Manager Harry Black and more than 20 community leaders. The effort comes as gun violence in communities continues to be a subject of great concern among city leaders. While violent crime in the city as a whole has remained flat, shootings in 2015 rose 28 percent over 2014 levels. While those numbers are still well below peak levels recorded in past decades, city officials say they’re unacceptable. The roundtable discussion starts at 10 a.m. at 1740 Langdon Farm Road. Five other community listening sessions will also be held over the next two months, including sessions Jan. 11 at the Over-the-Rhine Recreation Center, Jan. 25 at the Evanston Recreation Center, Feb. 1 at the Westwood Town Hall, Feb. 8 at the Bond Hill Community Center and Feb. 22 at the College Hill Community Center.

• As we mentioned yesterday, future riders of Cincinnati’s coming streetcar are one step closer to knowing what times they’ll be able to cruise the 3.6-mile loop. Cincinnati City Council’s Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation Committee yesterday approved hours suggested by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Agency, priming full Council to give final approval today. The cars will start at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays for you OTR/downtown commuters. They’ll end at 1 a.m. on weekends for you OTR/downtown drinkers. For more, check out the full story linked above.

• Speaking of the streetcar: The wise sage P-Diddy once said he couldn’t stop until he saw his name on a blimp. (Did that ever happen, btw? Can P-Diddy stop now?) Similarly, city leaders can’t stop until they see someone else’s name on the side of the streetcar. With the months ticking down until the first passengers step on board, the race is on to find sponsors willing to plunk down some big bucks to plant their logo on the side of the strange-looking space trains. A deal with a major corporation or other large organization could net the transit project’s operating fund between $100,000 and $300,000 a year. Hm. I wonder what Bad Boy Records marketing budget is running these days? Paging Puff…

• Maybe the political action committee supporting Cincinnati City Councilman and U.S. Senate hopeful P.G. Sittenfeld could buy some streetcar-mounted campaign ads. (This seems incredibly problematic, actually, but it’s a great segue so let’s go with it.) New Leadership for Ohio, a super-PAC boosting Sittenfeld’s Senate Democratic primary bid against former Ohio governor Ted Strickland, has raised a pretty impressive $733,501 over its 100-some-odd days of existence. The super-PAC says the number is a very real sign of the support Sittenfeld has across the state as he seeks the nod to go head-to-head with incumbent Republican Senator Rob Portman. Sittenfeld’s campaign and other groups like New Leadership will need to keep making phone calls, though. Portman has a cool $11 million stacked for his re-election campaign. That’s P-Diddy money right there.

• Expect social media blitzes and other ads to come from the super-PAC’s big haul, including ads hitting both Strickland and Portman on their gun control records. Sittenfeld has come out a strong supporter of gun control efforts, including those introduced by President Barack Obama yesterday

• This is a quick but good one. Hometown hero and baseball legend Ken Griffey, Jr. is poised to gain induction into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame. What’s more, he could be the first-ever player to receive a unanimous vote for entry into the hallowed halls of Cooperstown. (Fellow former Red Tom Seaver has come closest. He got 98 percent yesses on his induction vote.) All that in Griffey’s first year of eligibility — Griffey retired in 2010.

• Dang. Cincinnati people are super-famous and making prestigious lists all over the place: Two Cincinnati-based entrepreneurs just made Forbes magazine’s annual “30 under 30” list. Over-the-Rhine-based startup incubator Mortar founders Derrick Braziel and William Thomas received the honor for their work with the business booster, which focuses on helping those with good business ideas who have traditionally been left out of the startup game up. Mortar’s latest success: a holiday pop-up shop featuring participants’ products in Walnut Hills.

• Remember when your stoner friends were telling you that if you didn’t vote for ResponsibleOhio’s plan to legalize marijuana in the state, there would be no chance for a companion bill that wipes away low-level weed convictions? Well, that was some bad information, which is surprising because my stoner friends are generally very accurate and informed about the ins and outs of cannabis jurisprudence. 

Secretary of State Jon Husted has pushed the so-called “Fresh Start Act” offered along with ResponsibleOhio’s proposed constitutional amendment on to Ohio’s General Assembly, where lawmakers will decide whether or not to institute it. The law could allow citizens in Ohio to apply to have convictions for certain low-level marijuana possession expunged. It’s unclear whether lawmakers will pass the bill, or how effective it would be without its complementary weed-legalization constitutional amendment, though multiple groups are working to get another legalization effort on the ballot this year.

• Finally, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is in danger of suffering a major blow to his already-lagging GOP presidential primary campaign. There are indications the big queso may not make it onto the grown-up stage at the next GOP debate next Thursday, which means he’ll be relegated to a second-tier debate with other low-polling candidates. That would be a huge setback: Kasich’s campaign at this point hinges on his breaking through to a national audience, which is most likely to happen with a few big moments in a solid debate performance. Right now, he’s trailing far behind highly charismatic and well-funded frontrunners like U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and real estate hairpiece model Donald Trump.

 
 
by Steve Beynon 01.05.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: 2016 election at 05:00 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
randpaulgraphic copy

Primary Cheat Sheet: Rand Paul

Sen. Rand Paul (Republican)

Fun fact:

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul is a practicing ophthalmologist that specializes in corneal transplants, cataract and glaucoma surgeries and LASIK procedures.

The 52-year-old constitutional conservative has spent time during every senate recess performing pro-bono eye surgeries for low income Kentuckians and citizens of poor countries like Haiti. Even if he wins the presidency, Paul claims he will continue his practice and joked about turning the Lincoln room into a surgical suite.

It’s probably safe crown Paul as having one of the greatest political ads in a long time, courtesy of America’s Liberty PAC. 

What’s up with the campaign?

Paul is probably the most libertarian candidate of the bunch. He’s all about citing the 10th Amendment, dreams of abolishing the IRS and wants to severely cut the defense budget and end the surveillance state. He’s also one of the only Republicans that seemingly has the backing of millennials.

He has all the ingredients of a solid Republican candidate, a true conservative that literally takes a chainsaw to the tax code and genuinely wants to dismantle the “Washington Machine.” Even liberals can appreciate his non-interventionist foreign policy agenda and acknowledging the threat of climate change.

However, the crowded GOP race hasn’t treated Paul nicely. He has struggled to make it to five percent in national polls, fighting for scraps with Carly Fiorina and Gov. Chris Christie.

Some point to Paul’s troubles being that libertarianism is an extreme minority in America’s political landscape, which would also explain his father’s performance when he ran for president. In a 2014 study, Pew Research found that only 11 percent of Americans identify as Libertarians and know what it is.

Conservatives say they want a smaller government, but that’s not what we see in the astonishing support for Donald Trump and Dr. Ben Carson who call for expanding surveillance programs and a further expansion of the government’s military footprint.

Paul’s attack on Sen. Marco Rubio for being “liberal on military spending” gets roaring applause from a Republican audience; aggressive military spending, however, creates an even bigger applause line.

It’s worth pointing out that if the White House doesn’t work out, he’s also running for reelection in Kentucky’s 2016 senate race.

Voters might like:

      Rand Paul is probably your best friend if you want marijuana legalization. He invokes the 10th Amendment and classic libertarian values regarding pot, saying the only victim is the individual and that the federal government shouldn’t have a role in controlling consumption. Paul wants less people in jail and shines a light on the victims of marijuana prohibition mostly being poor black males.

      One of last year’s biggest political stories was Paul’s 10-and-a-half-hour filibuster lambasting government surveillance programs. He had the backing of 10 other senators, seven of which were Democrats. This filibuster looked like a man defending the Fourth Amendment and fighting an overreaching government, perfectly encapsulating what this politician is all about.

      The U.S. spends more than the next 13 countries combined on its military. Paul wants to reduce the empire, bringing the troops home from not only the Middle East but Europe and the Pacific. This may be unpopular with hawks on both sides of the aisle, but this is an issue that can bring liberals and fiscal conservatives together.

...but watch out for:

      Paul’s defense spending agenda is also kind of weird. Last spring he called for swelling the Pentagon’s budget $76.5 billion, about a 16-percent increase in fiscal year 2016. It doesn’t help that the alleged isolationist announced his presidential bid in front of an aircraft carrier. This flip-flopping hurt the Kentucky senator with libertarians and those on the left that might have not minded a President Rand Paul. He was gearing up for a presidential run and we all know politicians often go against some of their ideas to liven their base, but going against the one thing that could have jettisoned the right and the left is odd.

      Like a lot of Republicans, Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education. A move that’s likely impossible, and is consistent with his virtual absolutism that the federal government should play no role in your life. Considering millennial conservatives are one of Paul’s top supporters, they should be aware this is the bureaucracy that allots federal student loans and allocates federal resources to universities. The already little government support for schools is a large reason tuition is so high.

      Last summer, Paul proposed a 14.5-percent flat tax in a column for The Wall Street Journal. Most Americans agree the tax code needs simplified. However, there is a lot of skepticism from economists that say his plan would cost the country more than $1 trillion, some estimate as high as $15 trillion over the next decade.

Biggest policy proposal:

Last year, Paul reintroduced the Regulations From the Executive in Need of Scrutiny Act, or the REINS Act. In a nutshell, this would give Congress final say on any federal action that would cost more than $100 million annually.

This potentially takes a lot of power out of the executive branch and puts more accountability on state representatives.

War:

Things change when someone gets into office, but Paul might be the least likely candidate to take the U.S. into another ground war, especially in the Republican field. He is strongly against using boots on the ground, but hasn’t made any clear stances on continuing President Obama’s air campaign. During the CNN debate Paul said, “There will always be another Clinton or Bush if you want to go back into Iraq.”


The primaries are elections in which the parties pick their strongest candidate to run for president. In Ohio, Election Day is Tuesday, March 15. 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 01.05.2016 37 days ago
Posted In: News, Streetcar at 02:33 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Council Poised to Set Streetcar Hours

Transit project would run early during weekdays, stop before bars close

Though you’ll be waiting a while if you try to catch one any time soon, riders now have an idea of exactly what times they’ll be able to catch the coming streetcar when it starts picking up passengers in September.

Cincinnati City Council’s Major Transportation and Regional Cooperation Committee approved operating hours presented by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority at its Jan. 5 meeting. That sets up full Council to approve those hours as soon as Jan. 6.

The streetcar will run Monday through Thursday from 6:30 a.m. until midnight and from 6:30 a.m. to 1 a.m. on Friday. On Saturday, the cars will run the 3.6-mile loop through Over-the-Rhine and downtown from 8 a.m. until 1 a.m. On Sundays and holidays, the transit vehicles will run from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.

The cars will run every 12 minutes during peak operating hours, which SORTA suggests will be Monday through Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. All other times, the cars will run every 15 minutes.

“We tried to build a schedule that would address a lot of concerns” raised at past City Council meetings and in public forums, says SORTA’s director of rail services Paul Grether. Those concerns mostly revolved around consistent start times for the vehicles, hours early enough for commuters to get to work and late operating hours to serve patrons of bars and restaurants in OTR and downtown.

Earlier suggestions for operating hours started later and ended earlier, except on weekends, when it would have run until 2 a.m.

Council members on the committee seemed satisfied with the schedule.

“We’ve had people downtown from the bars and nightlife places who have said how they’d like it to stay open late,” Transportation Committee Chair Amy Murray said at the Jan. 5 meeting. “And we’ve also talked to early-morning businesses to see what time the peak morning time is. I think this really sets it up. It seems like this really captures what people have been asking for.”

SORTA officials say seasonal schedules are possible, if necessary, and that data will be collected to track ridership trends. Three or four times a year, the transit agency will decide whether hours need to be adjusted. Major changes in the schedule would require public hearings, but unless those changes shift the amount of money being spent, no federal approval is needed.  

“Our schedule really does depend on how the people of Cincinnati utilize the streetcar,” said Councilman Kevin Flynn, the surprise swing vote who allowed the streetcar to go forward during a dramatic showdown between council and Mayor John Cranley in 2013. “The beauty of the contracts are that there is that flexibility. Once we see what the ridership numbers are, these times can be adjusted within reason.”

One thing riders shouldn’t count on — catching a ride on the streetcar after closing down the bar. Bars’ 2 a.m. closing time was a concern brought up by some in public hearings, but late-night partiers will have to take a cab or use a ride sharing service.

“This is not, for lack of a better word, a drunk bus,” Councilwoman Yvette Simspon said.

 
 
by Natalie Krebs 01.05.2016 38 days ago
Posted In: News at 10:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
beer_brewingheritagetrailrendering_grantparkmural

Morning News and Stuff

Greater Cincinnati could see major development in 2016; SORTA to make recommendations for streetcar operating hours; Ohio's Democratic caucuses to meet tonight

Good morning, Cincinnati! Here are your morning headlines. 

• Change is coming this way, or so some say. Leaders of Madisonville say they hope 2016 could be the neighborhood's year for development. Some of the upcoming changes in the town include the opening of a restaurant and two apartments in the vacant FifthThird Building on Madison Road and Whetsel Avenue by the end of this month, and six new retailers are expected to open this spring. The Madisonville Urban Redevelopment Corp. has also hinted that more deals are possible to come this winter in terms of new apartments and retailers. 

• This is could also be a big year for the development of Cincinnati's brew trail in Over-The-Rhine. Construction of the first 2.3-mile leg of the trail is set to begin some time this year. Construction of the $5.2 million trail will take three years overall, and it will ultimately stretch from the Horseshoe Casino on Reading Road, down Liberty Street to McMicken Avenue. City officials are hoping upon completion that residents and tourists will be so inspired to grab lunch or a beer at one of the local businesses along the way as they stumble, er, walk down it. 

• An Over-The-Rhine-based real estate company has purchased the former Strietmann Biscuit Company Building and plans to renovate it into nearly 90,000 square feet of office space. Grandin Properties has purchased the more than 100-year-old building located on 12th Street and Central Parkway for $1.6 million and plans to spend between $12 and $15 million on renovations. The ultimate plan will include loft-style offices and very possibly room for another OTR restaurant. 

• SORTA plans to make its recommendation to city council's transportation committee today for the streetcar's hours of operation. The recommendations would have the streetcar commence operating at 6:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. on Sunday. It would stop operating at 11 p.m. on Sundays, at midnight Monday through Thursday and 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday — one whole hour shy of bar closings. It would run every 15 minutes except during peak hours where that interval would be 12 minutes, with peak hours defined as 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

• The Cincinnati Streetcar looks ready to run some time this year after a very long political struggle. But the excitement over the arrival of the shiny, new cars might have made Northern Kentucky forget the headache its controversy causes many Cincinnatians. Covington Mayor Sherry Carran says her city is now looking at the possibility of a streetcar. The Covington Business Council is planning a panel discussion on the possibility of a streetcar on Jan. 21, which will feature councilman Chris Seelbach and former mayor Roxanne Qualls.  

• The settlement of a Duke Energy Class Action lawsuit could mean a little more money for some Cincinnatians this winter. Ohioans who were a Duke customer and Ohio homeowner or renter between 2005 and 2008 and received a card in the mail from "Williams vs. Duke Energy" could be eligible for at least $200 from the company. Duke recently lost the lawsuit that claimed the company overcharged customers, but it has still not admitted it did anything wrong. It did, however, agree to refund $80 million to some of its customers. 

• Tonight Ohio Democrats will hold caucuses in all 16 of Ohio's congressional districts to choose candidates, meaning Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, for delegate and alternate at this year's Democratic National Convention, which will begin on July 25 in Philadelphia. To find out more information on Southwest Ohio's Democratic caucus meetings for districts 1, 2 and 8, taking place tonight, click here. 

• The Obama administration is expected today to announced an executive action that includes a package with 10 provisions attempting to increase gun control in the U.S. Possibly the biggest change would require gun sellers on the Internet and at gun shows to obtain a license and conduct background checks, closing the long-debate gun show "loop hole." Obama also wants to dedicate $500 million in federal funds to the country's neglected mental health system. Republican members of Congress have already spoken out against Obama's plan, saying he's overstepped his reach. The executive actions comes in the wake of the shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. on Dec. 2, which killed 14 people. The New York Times reports that gun sales have spiked in the wake of the California shooting and Obama's announcement.

• Where are the most cycle-friendly cities in the world? Well, according to London's Guardian, they're in places like Denmark and the Netherlands, not surprisingly. But keep scrolling down, and eventually Cincinnati gets mentioned. Since 2000, the city has seen a 350-percent increase in cyclists on the road, but it still falls way short when it comes to bike commuters, who represent only 1 percent of all commuters. Once we get past this cold weather, I can't wait to start being one of those few bike commuters again.

Email any story tips to nkrebs@citybeat.com.

 
 

 

 

 
Close
Close
Close