by German Lopez
Food stamp rules to hit locals, city defends allowances, charterites oppose pension initiative
Gov. John Kasich’s refusal to seek another waiver for
federal regulations on food stamps will force 18,000 current recipients
in Hamilton County to meet work requirements
if they want the benefits to continue. That means "able-bodied"
childless adults will have to work or attend work training sessions for 20 hours a week starting in October to continue getting food assistance. The renewed rules are coming just one month before federal stimulus funds for the food stamp program are set to expire, which will push down the $200-a-month food benefits
to $189 a month, or slightly more than $2 a meal, in November. In light of the new requirements, the Hamilton County
Department of Job and
Family Services will help link people with jobs through local partnerships and
Hamilton County's SuperJobs Center,
but that might be difficult for food stamp recipients who have past
convictions, mental health problems and other barriers to employment.The city administration defended its proposal to restore $26,640 in car allowances
for the mayor, city manager and other director-level positions in the
city government, just a few months after the city narrowly avoided
laying off cops, firefighters and other city employees by making cuts in
various areas, including city parks. City spokesperson Meg Olberding
says car allowances are part of traditional compensation packages in
other cities Cincinnati competes with for recruitment, and she says that
the compensation was promised to city directors when they were first
hired for the jobs. But Councilman Chris Seelbach says the proposal is
out of touch and that he's more concerned about lower-paid city employees,
such as garbage collectors, who haven't gotten a raise in years, much
less a $5,000 car allowance. The Charter Committee, Cincinnati's unofficial third political party, came out against the tea party-backed pension ballot initiative. The committee recognizes Cincinnati needs pension reform soon, but it says the tea party proposal isn't the right solution. The tea party-backed amendment would privatize Cincinnati's pension system so future city employees — excluding cops and firefighters, who are under a different system — would have to contribute to and manage 401k-style retirement accounts. Under the current system, the city pools and manages pension funds through an independent board. Supporters argue the amendment is necessary to deal with the city's growing pension liability, but opponents, including all council members, argue it would actually cost the city more and decrease employees' benefits. CityBeat covered the amendment and the groups behind it in further detail here.State Rep. John Becker of Clermont County wants U.S. Judge Timothy Black impeached because the judge ruled Ohio must recognize a Cincinnati same-sex couple's marriage in a death certificate. The judge gave the special order for locals James Obergefell and John Arthur, who is close to death because of a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).Hamilton County Administrator Christian Sigman says if the city were to synchronize its mayoral primary elections with other state and county elections, it could save money by spreading the share of the costs. The Sept. 10 primary cost Cincinnati $437,000. The change would require altering the city charter, which needs voter approval.The Ohio Department of Education will soon release revised report card grades for Cincinnati Public Schools and other school districts following an investigation that found the school districts were scrubbing data in a way that could have benefited their state evaluations.An Ohio bill would ban drivers younger than 21 from driving with non-family members in the car and bump the driving curfew from midnight to 10 p.m., with some exceptions for work and school.A University of Cincinnati football player is dead and three others are injured following a single-car crash.Ohio gas prices rose as the national average dipped.Here is a map of air pollution deaths around the world.
by German Lopez
Group cites low voter turnout, calls current system “absurd”
Following the Sept. 10 mayoral primary’s historically low
voter turnout, the Charter Committee, Cincinnati’s unofficial third
political party, is supporting efforts to reform how
the city elects its mayors.“It is absurd that taxpayers paid $400,000 for a primary
yesterday that few people voted in, and that decided very little,”
said Mike Goldman, convener of the Charter Committee, in a statement.Voter turnout for the Sept. 10 mayoral primary was a
dismal 5.68 percent. In comparison, turnout was at 15 percent for the
primary held on Sept. 11, 2001 — the day of the terrorist attacks on the
World Trade Center and Pentagon — and 21 percent for the 2005 primary.
The primary’s results also went exactly as most election watchers expected: Ex-Councilman John Cranley and Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls overwhelmingly won, allowing them to move on to a direct face-off in the general election.
Prior to the Charter Committee’s announcement, WVXU reported
on a proposal from City Council candidate David Mann, who
was endorsed by the Charter Committee and Democratic Party, that would
place all eligible mayoral candidates on the ballot in the general
election and give the job to whoever gets more than 50 percent of the
vote. If no one received majority support, a runoff would ensue between the top two finishers two weeks later.
But the Charter Committee is unsure if Mann’s proposal
would work. Charter Committee spokesperson Sean Comer says it would have
to study the issue and make a final proposal after hearing opinions
from a much larger group of experts. Until then, the Charter Committee
isn’t giving specifics.
Under the current system, voters select from all eligible
mayoral candidates during a September primary. The two winners then move
on to the November ballot for a one-on-one election.
Comer says the Charter Committee is working on broad
reforms for Cincinnati’s charter, and the mayoral primary system will be
part of the final suggestions.
Cincinnati's de-facto third party fights to preserve a historical mission
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 1, 2012
It’s something purely Cincinnati with a
long-standing place in local political history, and many Cincinnatians
aren’t even aware of it.
by Kevin Osborne
Group endorsed him in '09, '11 elections
He might not have won in November’s Cincinnati City Council elections, but Kevin Flynn has scored a victory elsewhere.Flynn, who ran unsuccessfully as a Charterite in the 2009 and 2011 council elections, has been selected as the president of the group that endorsed him. The Charter Committee of Greater Cincinnati announced today that Flynn has been elected president of the organization, taking over for Dawn Denno, who didn’t seek reelection.Flynn is a real-estate attorney from Mount Airy who also teaches at the University of Cincinnati's law school. He has been confined to a wheelchair since a serious automobile accident in 2002.During his first campaign in 2009 Flynn placed 13th among 19 candidates in council elections. The top nine vote-getters are elected to the group.Last year Flynn finished in 11th place — ahead of three incumbents who lost reelection — among 22 candidates.Flynn is excited about the new position.“When we see the high level of partisan politics in our national and state governments, I appreciate the independent, creative leadership Charter fosters in our city,” he said in a prepared statement. “The Charter Committee will continue to focus on bringing the best governance to Cincinnati, including thoughtful changes to the city’s Charter, and to support a budget and budget process which serves the best interests of the citizens of Cincinnati.”Formed in 1924, the Charter Committee helped end the corrupt political machine operated by “Boss” George Cox, a Republican who dominated City Hall and local politics, arranging tasks like fixing tax rates for friends and contributors.Charter successfully pushed to create the city manager form of government, which was designed to depoliticize the daily administrative tasks of municipal government.
3 Comments · Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Even as Cincinnati officials grapple with what cuts to make to avoid a $54 million deficit — cuts that might include laying off more than 100 cops — the city's arrogant, clueless police chief Tom Streicher spent money from the CPD budget for an extravagant, unnecessary junket to Las Vegas.