by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 11:04 AM | Permalink
Distillery coming to OTR; FitzGerald to Hamilton County Dem. chair: "I'm a procrastinator"; conservatives once again craft plans to repeal Obamacare
Morning all. There is a busy weekend’s worth of news to recap, but before we get to that, I just gotta say this: I went to something called Mustard Club Saturday, and it changed my life. While I haven’t been quite as up on the German heritage tip as a lot of folks in the city are, this monthly event in Corryville may change that. Here’s a little hint: all you can eat pretzels, mashed potatoes, German desserts and, of course, various meat products. Oh, and lots of German beer if you’re into that. Anyway, down to business. • Tonight at Xavier, a woman whose father saved 669 Jewish children during the Holocaust will meet one of those survivors. Barbara Winton is the daughter of British stockbroker Nicholas Winton, who in 1938 took steps to find foster parents for Czechoslovakian Jewish children caught up in the horrors of Nazi genocidal programs. She’s written a book about his life, called If It’s Not Impossible, and tonight at the Cintas Center she’ll meet with Renata Laxova, who at 8 years old left Prague for the safety of Britain thanks to Winton’s efforts. Laxova, who became a geneticist, is 83 today and lives in Madison. Wis. She was among the last children Winton was able to rescue. Amazingly, Nicholas Winton is still alive today, but at 105, he’s not able to make the ceremony, which is part of Xavier’s “Touching History” series.• Over-the-Rhine is already a brewing hub, but soon the neighborhood will be host to a distillery for gin, whiskey and bourbon for the first time in a long time. Owners of local pet store PetWants recently purchased a 17,000-square-foot warehouse on Central Parkway and hope to be distilling there by next year. They’re also looking to turn the spot into an event space, as well as running some operations for the pet store from the warehouse.• Mayor John Cranley today announced that he and Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune are requesting the city and county create a shared services task force that will find ways the two governments can work together for the region. Cranley and Portune will discuss their ideas further at a news conference later this morning.• The city is considering turning two major one-way arteries in East Walnut Hills into two way streets. East McMillan Street and William Howard Taft Road will probably be converted to boost traffic and business in the neighborhood. Other parts of the streets were converted into two-way corridors in 2012. A neighborhood hearing on the proposals is scheduled for Nov. 18.• A riverbank park in Lower Price Hill and Riverside is a lot closer to reality. River West, the group planning the park, will receive a $16,000 grant from the Greater Cincinnati Foundation and a $30,000 grant from nonprofit Interact for Health for the project. The group has been pushing for the park for the last seven years, when it successfully fought plans to turn the area into a landing spot for barges. The group worked with the city, which rezoned the land. The 16-acre park, which will be called Price Landing, is still in the early stages, with community input and design phases expected to begin next year. One feature on the table is an extension of the Ohio River Trail. • If you’re curious about what Hamilton County’s GOP and Democratic party chairmen thought of local and state elections this year, you’re in luck. They shared some candid thoughts Friday at a post-election luncheon for the city’s political bigwigs. Dem chairman Tim Burke bemoaned the county’s 45 percent voter turnout rate, which he said was the lowest since 1978. He also said he saw Democrat gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald as a good candidate but a long shot to topple Kasich, at least until it was revealed that FitzGerald hadn’t had a driver’s license for 10 years. Burke says FitzGerald told him “I’m a procrastinator” as an explanation for the gaffe that tainted his campaign. GOP Chairman Alex Triantafilou had his own insights and revelations about the election. He acknowledged that the trend for the GOP in the county, like in many urban places, is anything but promising long term, but promised that the party would continue to field good candidates. Triantafilou also had some nuanced thoughts about Gov. Kasich’s reelection, saying the incumbent took a more centrist tack this time around after big backlash over the effort to repeal collective bargaining rights for state employees he undertook after voters elected him the first time. That hasn’t endeared him to the state’s tea party faction, Triantafilou said, but won him enough support to take the election by a large margin. • In state news, Ohio earned a C grade on a new report for its legislative efforts to stop human trafficking. Fourteen other states also received the middling grade from nonprofit Shared Hope, which gave Ohio a score of 78 out of 100, a five point bump from last year. The report said Ohio has made some positive steps in terms of creating specific crimes for those who engage in the sex trafficking of children but has more work to do in terms of trying to limit demand for such services.• Conservative groups are already pushing for likely Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to pass legislation defunding or repealing Obamacare. The rifts in the GOP that were very evident in the last budget fight have reappeared, with tea party-aligned groups like Senate Conservatives Fund and Heritage Action signaling that they’ll push senators and representatives to pursue strategies for repealing the health care law. But it will be tough for McConnell to lead a repeal of the law. Republicans still don’t have 60 votes in the Senate to override a filibuster from Democrats and wouldn’t be able to get past a presidential veto even if they could get legislation out of the Senate.
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Cincinnati Health Commissioner Noble Maseru said the city intends to
work toward greater equity in life expectancy among races, though he refused to admit
that reducing the life expectancy of whites would make this happen
by German Lopez
Posted In: Voting
at 10:27 AM | Permalink
Critics warn of potential chilling effect
As county and state officials move to investigate and
potentially prosecute voter fraud cases, local groups are pushing back,
warning that the investigations could cause a chilling effect among
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls became the latest to speak out
in a letter to Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and Ohio Secretary
of State Jon Husted.
“The current legal investigations perpetuate the idea that
voter fraud is widespread, when it’s not true,” she wrote. “We need to
work together to give citizens the confidence that the election process
is fair and accessible to those who have followed the law and
pre-determined process. When citizens are confused about the process of
voting they are intimidated from exercising their full rights to vote,
which erodes confidence in and the integrity of our democracy.”
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio (ACLU) and
League of Women Voters of Ohio sent similar letters to Husted in the
past few weeks, echoing fears that the investigations will intimidate
voters into staying out of future elections.
The controversy surrounds 39 “double voter” cases recently sent to the county prosecutor by the Hamilton County Board of
Elections. In most of the cases, the voters in question sent in an
absentee ballot prior to Election Day then voted on Election Day through a provisional
ballot, which are given to voters when there’s questions about
eligibility. Even though the voters technically voted
twice, their votes were only counted once.
The letters from Qualls and the League of Women Voters claim
the cases were sent to the county prosecutor based on a narrow
interpretation of state law and other sections of election law back the voters’ actions.
The letters reference Ohio Revised Code Section 3509.09(B)(2),
which says, “If a registered elector appears to vote in that precinct
and that elector has requested an absent voter's ballot for that
election and the director has received a sealed identification envelope
purporting to contain that elector's voted absent voter's ballots for
that election, the elector shall be permitted to cast a provisional
ballot under section 3505.181 of the Revised Code in that precinct on the day of that election.” The law goes on to clarify only one of the votes should be counted.
Husted broke a tie vote in the Hamilton County Board of
Elections on May 31, siding with the Republicans on the board who wanted
to send the case to the county prosecutor.
Alex Triantafilou, an elections board member and chairman
of the Hamilton County Republican Party, says Republicans just want an investigation.
“I think anytime a person casts two ballots we ought to
ask why,” Triantafilou says. “This is not to prejudge any of these cases
as criminal charges. That’s not been our intention. What we want is a
qualified investigator to ask the question and then answer it.”
Tim Burke, chairman of the local elections board and the
Hamilton County Democratic Party, disagrees: “This is a damn shame.
What’s happening to those voters is absolutely wrong.”
Burke claims the law was followed and no further investigation is necessary. He alleges
Republicans are trying to suppress voters.
“I fear that what’s going on is that elements of the
Republican Party want to create the impression that there is massive
voter fraud going on, and they want to scare the hell out of people to
intimidate them and discourage them from voting in the future,” Burke
says. “I think part of what’s going on here is an effort to identify
voter fraud in order to justify more restrictions on voting rights.”
Triantafilou argues Democrats, including Burke, are
playing politics: “It’s a continuation of the kind of fear that
Democrats try to instill in the electorate, and it’s a political weapon.
We’re not trying to do that. They alleged voter suppression in the last
election cycle. That was nonsensical. The problem really is fraud.”
by Kevin Osborne
Burke: Poll workers aren't 'election police'
The local Republican Party
this week sent a mass email to its members with a message from Ohio Secretary
of State Jon Husted, urging them to sign up as poll workers for this fall’s
presidential election.Alex Triantafilou, chairman
of the Hamilton County Republican Party, sent the email Tuesday.Husted noted that 40,000 poll
workers are needed across Ohio. “We can debate the efficacy of the law and
voting procedures until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that those
40,000 individuals can have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our
elections than the Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined,” he
wrote.When informed about the
email, the head of Hamilton County’s Democratic Party said more poll workers always
are needed. But he is worried those spurred to apply because of Husted’s email
will do so due to the wrong motivation and potentially could cause problems at
the polls.“Many of our poll workers
serve year after year in multiple elections,” said Tim Burke, Hamilton County Democratic
Party chairman. “Just because this November is a presidential election
doesn’t mean that our trained and experienced workers should be pushed aside by
those folks, on either side, who want to be poll workers in the presidential,
but not in other elections as well. That is a conversation I have had on a
number of occasions with the election protection leaders on the Democratic
side.”Burke added, “The role of
poll workers should be to assist voters in voting correctly, and better than 99
percent of the time, that is what the poll workers — be they Democrats or
Republicans — properly do. I am hesitant to bring in poll workers who think
their role is to be election police who want to spend Election Day ferreting
out fraud and subjecting qualified voters to cross examinations.”In Husted’s email, the
Secretary of State also acknowledged the partisan battle over the GOP-backed
push for voters to show a photo I.D. at polls.“Unfortunately, the fact that
there is ‘room for improvement’ seems to be the only common ground we have been
able to find when it comes to elections reform,” Husted wrote. “The closer we
get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides will become.
One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal voters are being suppressed.
The other side says the system is vulnerable to fraud because there aren't
enough checks to ensure only eligible voters are casting ballots.”It should be noted that no
study has ever found evidence of widespread voter fraud.In 2007, a five-year review
conducted by the U.S. Justice Department and ordered by President George W.
Bush found that just 120 people had been charged and 86 convicted as of 2006 —
a miniscule amount when compared to the number of eligible voters in the United
States.Back then, The New York Times
wrote, “A federal panel, the Election Assistance Commission, reported last year
that the pervasiveness of fraud was debatable. That conclusion played down
findings of the consultants who said there was little evidence of it across the
country, according to a review of the original report by The New York Times
that was reported on Wednesday.”The Times added, “Mistakes
and lapses in enforcing voting and registration rules routinely occur in
elections, allowing thousands of ineligible voters to go to the polls. But the
federal cases provide little evidence of widespread, organized fraud, prosecutors
and election law experts said.”
The Republican Party also
tried to raise allegations of voter registration fraud during the 2008 presidential
election, when it began looking like John McCain would lose. When pressed in
November 2008, a top official with the McCain- Palin “Honest and Open Election
Committee” couldn’t cite a single instance in which problems with fake voter
registrations resulted in phony votes being cast.
At Husted’s urging, Republican
state lawmakers recently acted to repeal portions of House Bill No. 194. Facing
a referendum on the law in November that could’ve increased Democratic voter
turnout, the repeal restores some opportunities for early voting and allows
poll workers to guide voters to the correct precinct.In Hamilton County, Democrats
who want to be poll workers should call 513-632-7041; Republicans should call
513-632-7042.Here is Husted’s text in its
April 24, 2012
Dear Chairman Triantafilou,
As Secretary of State, my primary responsibility is to administer a fair
election where eligible voters can freely exercise their right to vote and
have complete confidence in the accuracy of the results. This is no easy
job because the reality is that the system by which we elect our political
leaders will never be perfect.
Unfortunately, the fact
that there is "room for improvement" seems to be the only common
ground we have been able to find when it comes to elections reform. The
closer we get to Election Day, the more heated the rhetoric on both sides
will become. One side believes the law is too restrictive and that legal
voters are being suppressed. The other side says the system is vulnerable
to fraud because there aren't enough checks to ensure only eligible voters
are casting ballots. I continue to believe that we can modernize our
elections system and strike the right balance between maintaining
convenience for voters and guarding against fraud. That balance is critical
and increasingly hard to achieve when the two sides are so far apart.
I firmly believe that the
place for critics is not on the sidelines, but on the field and there is
one way we can put all this energy to a better, more productive use. I am
encouraging all who are earnest in wanting a fair, well-run 2012
Presidential Election to join me on the front lines this November by
signing up to be poll workers. Encourage like-minded friends to do
the same.It takes a team of approximately 40,000 to staff polling places around the
state, and each year all 88 county boards of elections struggle to find
enough people who are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to
serve. We can debate the efficacy of the law and voting procedures until we
are blue in the face, but the truth is that those 40,000 individuals can
have more of an impact on the ultimate success of our elections than the
Secretary of State, lawmakers and judges combined. It is Ohio's poll
workers who interact with each voter and, based on that interaction, have a
direct bearing on that voter's confidence in our system.
I am committed to working with all sides on election reforms in the future,
but for now let's put philosophical differences aside and do our part to
give each Ohio voter the best experience they can have at the polls this
November 6, 2012.
To learn more about
joining Ohio's poll-worker ranks, please visit www.PEOinOhio.com.
Sincerely, Jon Husted
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 3, 2010
American universities year after year are forced to admit that their athletic coaches break many rules in order to win games. The University of Iowa basketball team stuck with this process, only instead of throwing awesome stripper parties last month two high school recruits got to meet celebrities Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Vine is the symbolic heart of the city, stretching like its namesake across the middle of downtown and separating East Side from West Side. So it's fitting that city planners chose Vine Street over West Clifton Avenue for the route of the streetcar system that will connect downtown to uptown.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 1, 2010
We Americans are proud of the idealized version of youth that most of us at least partially experienced as children: little Billy tossing ball with dad; Sally spending time with mom learning to repair dad and Billy's jeans. The Columbus Dispatch today reported that the contemporary version is just as good, as long as Billy enjoys traveling the country reliving dad's glory days and Sally doesn't mind either being left behind or winning at all costs.
7 Comments · Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Most people are familiar with the old proverb "If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and walks like a duck, then it must be a duck." By that standard, if a job hiring in Green Township looks like a textbook example of political patronage, is it? Depends on who you ask.
3 Comments · Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Molly Ivins, the late syndicated columnist from Texas, got it right when she wrote, “Being slightly paranoid is like being slightly pregnant — it tends to get worse.” For the truth of that statement, look no further than the agenda for an April 17 "Bringin' Back Conservatism: Doin' It Again in 2010" event planned by the Springboro Tea Party just north of Cincinnati.
3 Comments · Wednesday, July 1, 2009
People who follow local politics were probably surprised recently to read Mayor Mark Mallory's response to the news of a pending budget deficit next year. When Cincinnati City Council received its monthly financial report in late May, members were informed that the city potentially faced a $40 million deficit in 2010 due to a drop in earnings tax collections. The news prompted some council members to contemplate possible layoffs at City Hall or cuts in services to citizens. But when The Cincinnati Enquirer contacted Mallory, who was in Las Vegas attending a convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers, the mayor did his best impersonation of Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman: What, me worry?