by Nick Swartsell
18 hours ago
Posted In: News
at 08:05 AM | Permalink
Ohio takes first step to shutter Cincinnati's last facility providing abortions; OTR parking plan might not be be legal; Sen. Brown calls out Husted over polling place signs
Morning y’all. Here’s what’s happening in Cincinnati and the wider world this morning. On a side note, I can’t wait until Nov. 5 so I can stop writing about politics quite so much. Anyway, onward.The city’s last facility providing abortions could be closing soon. Planned Parenthood’s Elizabeth Campbell Surgical Center in Mount Auburn received notification that the state is citing it under a law passed last year requiring all clinics providing abortions to have agreements with area hospitals to take patients in case of emergencies. The Mount Auburn facility doesn’t have that agreement with any hospital but applied for an exception, called a variance, last year. The state has yet to reply to the clinic’s application. If the center closes down, Cincinnati could become the largest metropolitan area in the country without access to such facilities.• The city’s much-discussed proposal to charge $300 a year for residents to park in Over-the-Rhine to pay for streetcar operating costs might not be legal, a former city solicitor says. In 2012, Ohio Supreme Court justices ruled that fees levied against a specific group of people but used for projects that benefit the general public are a no-go. City officials say the parking permits are a different issue than that case, which involved zoning permits, because parking permits are voluntary. The city has also stressed that no legislation has been voted on or put forward yet, and that they’re working to make sure any proposal falls within the letter of the law.• The race for the Ohio House seat representing the 28th District in northern Hamilton County has been a knock-down, drag-out fight. The latest skirmish between Republican Jonathan Dever and his Democrat Michael Kamrass is over campaign finance. Dever says Kamrass’ campaign colluded with Coalition for Ohio’s Future, a PAC, on mailed ads the PAC run against Dever. That’s illegal under campaign finance rules. Dever points to the fact that the ads use photos identical to those paid for and used by Kamrass’ campaign and that the ads both have the same client number from a direct mail company called JVA Campaigns. Kamrass’ campaign says the photos are available for download on Flickr. JVA says the number on the ads in question simply denotes the month in which the ads were ordered. • Democrat Sen. Sherrod Brown yesterday released a statement criticizing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted for displaying his name prominently on informational posters his office is requiring be hung in polling places. “A Secretary of State’s obligation is to fair and accessible elections, rather than furthering his own reelection,” Brown said. “I’ve never seen a Secretary of State who is on the ballot insist that his name be prominently displayed near the voting booths, where a voter would be barred from even wearing a small button or sticker. Jon Husted is abusing his office by forcing boards of election to give his campaign a boost.”Hamilton County Democratic Party Chair Tim Burke first called out the posters last month. Husted says they’re simply part of his job administering elections for the state. He's is running for reelection against Democrat Nina Turner.• Speaking of statewide races: It must be hard being Ed FitzGerald right now. The Democrat candidate for governor has taken a shellacking in the press for campaign missteps and he’s trailing his opponent, Gov. John Kasich, by oh, about $4 million in fundraising. And last night, during the only debate between the two and Green Party candidate Anita Rios, Kasich literally gave FitzGerald the cold shoulder. Kasich, leaning back in his chair with no tie on like Don Draper just after closing a big ad sale to GM, cast not an eye toward FitzGerald. He didn’t bother answering any of his challenger’s questions, either, or really directly address FitzGerald at all. Cold. He DID accidentally call a reporter at the debate Ed, which was not the reporter’s name. So, you know, at least he’s thinking about FitzGerald on some level.• I feel it’s worth noting in the national scheme of things, so here it is: Someone in New York has been diagnosed with Ebola. The 33-year-old doctor is the fourth case confirmed in the United States. But don’t freak out. About Ebola at least. There are plenty of other things to freak out about.
by Nick Swartsell
65 hours ago
Posted In: News
at 09:35 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati-Chicago high speed rail gets more boosters; VLT auction under investigation; Kasich says part of the ACA helped people... but we should repeal the ACA
Good morning y’all! Here’s a quicker than usual rundown of the day’s news before I jet for an interview. There is yet another version of the Union Terminal restoration deal being passed around. The deal, which Hamilton County Commissioners are expected to vote on soon, doesn’t make many changes to the sales tax hike on the November ballot, but would hold the Cincinnati Museum Center responsible for any cost overruns the project might incur while allowing its leaders to seek financing for the project. Voters will still have to approve the .25 percent sales tax increase before that deal would go into effect.• VLT Academy might be gone, but there’s at least one more bit of turbulence related to the troubled former charter school. VLT closed in August after losing its sponsoring organization, required by Ohio law, and falling behind on its rent. It seems computers sold at an auction to pay off the school’s debts may not have been scrubbed of private personal information. The Ohio Department of Education says it has launched an investigation to make sure that information was erased properly and didn’t fall into the wrong hands.• The push for a high-speed rail route between Chicago and Cincinnati has gained more supporters. The mayor and city manager of Hamilton recently sent a letter to OKI, the region’s planning office asking for the office to fund a feasibility study for the potential project. They join Hamilton County Commissioners, who voted in September to request that study. The rail line could have big economic benefits, but would also be a huge, long-term undertaking. • Speaking of transit, you can tell the Ohio Department of Transportation what you’d like to see in the future at a public discussion from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Oct. 31. Yes, that’s in the middle of a workday. It’s also in Lebanon for some reason, which you can’t really get to by public transit. That has some people kind of miffed. The meeting is for the entire Southwestern Ohio region, ODOT says, and that’s why it has to be held in a central location. Come on, guys, you couldn’t have two meetings in Dayton and Cincinnati on a couple Saturdays? I’ll bring the donuts and coffee. Anyway, the event is part of a statewide outreach effort by ODOT to get input about transit options in the state. Meetings have also been conducted in Columbus, Cleveland, Athens and Findlay.• An Ohio man arrested in North Korea in May finally returned home today. Officials in the isolated country detained Jeffery Fowle after leaving a bible in a nightclub there. He was held until recently on charges of Christian evangelism, a crime in North Korea. His release might have been hastened by repeated appeals by President Obama to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. • We’ve reported a bit about Common Core in the past. Controversy continues over the new federal academic standards, and the fight is coming to the state board of education elections. Seven candidates are running for election to the 19 member board, and several of them have made repealing the standards a key point in their campaigns. Mary Prichard, who is running to represent Butler, Preble, Montgomery and Miami Counties on the board, has made the issue the centerpiece of her candidacy. She calls the standards “a government takeover.” Zac Haines, running to represent Hamilton and Warren Counties, has promised to work to repeal them in the state. His opponent, Pat Bruns of Price Hill, supports the standards. Ohio is one of 40 states to implement Common Core.• Wait. Did Gov. John Kasich really say that? He did, and he didn’t. The Associated Press reports that in a speech Monday, Kasich said a repeal of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act is “not gonna happen.” Then Kasich, either backtracking or clarifying, ran them down and asked the AP to make a correction. He was only referring to the Medicaid expansion of the ACA, he said. That’s been a controversial issue all its own, with many conservative governors refusing to take the federal dollars to increase eligibility for residents of their states. Kasich did take the money, though, which has helped hundreds of thousands of Ohioans get medical coverage. Kasich’s correction is a bit of a small distinction, since most conservatives roll the ACA up in one big, evil ball. Rejecting the Medicaid expansion has been something of a litmus test for conservative governors. But Kasich has not only taken it, he’s praised the program. Opposition to expanding Medicaid, which governors like Texas’ Rick Perry have worn like a badge of honor, “was really either political or ideological," Kasich said in the same speech. "I don't think that holds water against real flesh and blood and real improvements in people's lives.” That alone is a noteworthy thing for a conservative governor to say. But have no fear, Kasich still hates the program, saying in his clarification that it “can and should be repealed.” Wait, even the part you said helps people?
by Nick Swartsell
60 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:21 AM | Permalink
3CDC calls for development proposals, Ark park draws controversy and Kasich declines food stamp work waivers for most Ohio counties
Heya. It's news time.Got a few hundred thousand dollars sitting around? Want to be part of the gentrification renaissance in Over-the-Rhine? Step up and make your pitch to 3CDC! The development corporation has announced it will open up the 33 city-owned properties for which it is the preferred developer to other developers who want to get in on the action in OTR. 3CDC will then make recommendations to the city on which plans for the properties around Findlay Market get the green light, based on financial feasibility, timeliness of renovation, parking considerations and whether hotdogs, tacos and pizza served at your proposed upscale but casual eatery are artisanal enough. Proponents of the process say it’s far more open than 3CDC’s development strategies thus far, while opponents of the development group’s preferred developer status say 3CDC still has too much power calling the shots in the neighborhood. • As the streetcar gets closer to a reality in downtown and OTR, Northern Kentucky is now looking at how it can get on board. City leaders in Newport and Covington are talking about ways those cities can link up with Cincinnati’s streetcar. Covington Mayor Sherry Carran and Newport City Commissioner Beth Fennell have expressed support for the idea, saying the transit system could alleviate traffic problems and boost economic development there.• While we’re talking Northern Kentucky, let’s talk about the Noah’s Ark theme park, called The Ark Encounter, being built in Grant County. The project has come under fire from Americans for the Separation of Church and State, a national advocacy group, because it has applied for tax credits despite possibly discriminatory hiring practices. Americans for Separation of Church and State points out that the park’s parent organization, Answers in Genesis, requires job applicants to sign a “statement of faith” that pledges allegiance to the group’s Christian values, including opposition to homosexuality and a belief in the literal truth of the bible. Americans for Separation of Church and state says that amounts to discriminatory hiring and should make the Ark project ineligible for the $73 million in tax incentives the state has approved for the project. Officials with The Ark Encounter say the park’s employment policies have yet to be written and that they will comply with all state and federal laws. • Butler County Children Services employees have been on strike for the past week, fighting for a 3.5 percent pay increase each year for the next three years. The county is standing firm, however, and things have started getting acrimonious. The county claims union representatives for the Child Services workers have misrepresented work done by the county since the strike has happened by claiming that some 80 home visits have been missed in that time. Union officials deny any misrepresentation. They say they’ve been forced to strike by the county’s refusal to meet their demands and that work isn’t getting done. The county has hired a number of new personnel since the strike and say they’re handling the workload without the striking union members.• Gov. John Kasich signaled last week that he will again turn down job-requirement waivers for food aid in all but 17 counties in the state. Last year, the governor’s office allowed just 16 counties to get the waivers, which the federal government issues in high-unemployment areas to exempt those seeking food stamps from work requirements. Without the waiver, food aid recipients are limited to three months of benefits before they must find a job or enter a state-funded work program. But both jobs and spots in these work programs have been difficult to find, leading to criticism of Kasich’s decision to turn down the waiver in most of Ohio’s counties from groups like the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and liberal think tanks like Ohio Policy Matters. Advocacy groups have filed a federal civil rights claim seeking to overturn the state’s decision and extend the waiver to all 88 Ohio counties.• In national news, the funeral for Mike Brown, the 18-year-old shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was held today. Brown’s family has asked protesters who have taken to the streets in the wake of his Aug. 9 shooting for a peaceful event. Ferguson has been on edge since the shooting, with everything from peaceful demonstrations to all-out rioting taking place. Civil rights attorney Al Sharpton, Rev. Jesse Jackson and the parents of Florida shooting victim Trayvon Martin all attended the memorial.
by Nick Swartsell
86 days ago
Posted In: News
at 09:48 AM | Permalink
Senate OKs McDonald as VA head, Cranley touts city manager pick and FitzGerald trails Gov. Kasich in recent poll
The Senate (America’s most powerful deliberative body, not the hotdog place on Vine Street) voted yesterday
to approve former P&G CEO Bob McDonald as head of the Department of
Veterans Affairs. The vote was 97-0, and while such approvals are
usually kind of a mundane procedural affair, they’ve been pretty
difficult with many Obama nominees due to a pretty rowdy, partisan
Senate. Some expected McDonald to have some trouble during the
process, but the near-unanimous vote signals a vote of confidence in
the former Army Ranger and Cincinnati native. McDonald has pledged to
make reforms to the troubled VA within 90 days of starting his new gig.• Mayor John Cranley has indicated his pick for the city’s next City Manager —
Harry Black, finance director for the city of Baltimore. Cincinnati
City Council will choose between Black and current interim City Manager
Scott Stiles, who has served since Milton Dohoney stepped down last year
after Cranley’s election. Black, 51, grew up in a rough neighborhood in
Baltimore and describes himself as “an inner city kid who has been
fortunate enough to have some breaks.” Black says he’ll put an
emphasis on data-driven decisions and accountability. He sees a
“tremendous” potential in Cincinnati and would like to shore up long-term financial planning here as well as create new ways for innovation
to happen in the city.Though Cincinnati would be his first time
as a city manager, Black has served more than a quarter century in city
government roles, mostly in finance, and has also worked in the private
sector. While many praise his work, he’s also acquired a reputation for
toughness. Before his job in Baltimore, Black served as chief financial officer in Richmond, Virginia, where he was involved in a long fight
between the mayor and city council that earned him the nickname “Mr.
Pitbull.” He says that’s a misleading name and that he’s grown from the
turbulent times in Richmond. • The city has unveiled the design for the streetcar’s power station.
It appears the station, which will run power to the streetcar lines,
will be a big rectangle on Court Street made out of bricks. It will also
be adorned with artwork and some steel pieces, making it only slightly
more visually interesting than the proposed GE building at The Banks. What’s
more interesting, to me, at least, is the logic behind the building’s
location. It can’t go on Central Parkway, officials say, because of
structural issues with the subway tunnels. And it can’t go in the subway
tunnels because, according to the Business Courier, the long-term
transit plan for Greater Cincinnati calls for the tunnels to be used for
rail transit some day. I’m not holding my breath for the subway to
start operating (that’s how many of my ancestors passed away), but it
would be awesome to see rail travel going through those tunnels someday.The city also revealed it will replace the 14 parking spaces the building would eliminate, answering concerns about parking loss due to the new structure.• If you have plans this weekend that involve traversing
I-71, beware. The southbound side of the highway will be closed at the
Dana Avenue exit from Friday, Aug. 1 at 10 p.m. until Monday, Aug. 4 at 5
a.m. If you try to go that way, you’ll be routed along the Norwood
Lateral to I-75. Just a heads up.• A recent piece on urban planning and development blog UrbanCincy.com
asks some good questions about a large proposed 3CDC development at
15th and Race streets in Over-the-Rhine. The development, which is
currently on hold, would look a lot like Mercer Commons just to the
south, span most of a block, contain 300 parking spaces, 22,000 square
feet of retail, and just 57 residential units. The piece questions
whether the development as planned is really in the spirit of what
residents want and what’s best for one of the city’s most promising
pedestrian neighborhoods. It’s worth a read. • Finally, a new Quinnipiac poll shows
incumbent Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, up 12 points over his
challenger, Democrat Ed FitzGerald. That’s a huge gap, with FitzGerald
trailing badly in terms of the number of Ohio voters who recognize his
name. Sixty-five percent of respondents said they had no opinion of FitzGerald.
That’s bad news, but it’s better than the 15-point deficit FitzGerald
had in May, the last time the poll was done. Still, he has serious
ground to cover in the three months before the November election. The
challenger has been campaigning for more than a year and a half on
promises to make higher education more affordable and reform the state’s
charter school system, among a number of other talking points.
FitzGerald’s campaign is heavily outgunned financially, with just under
$2 million to Kasich’s $9 million. The challenger’s campaign recently
launched its first TV ad, though Kasich has been running them for
0 Comments · Tuesday, December 31, 2013
Gov. John Kasich last week provided a glimpse into a future where
education funds are cut while tax shelters for the rich are made more
by Hannah McCartney
Death row inmate found hanged, first in-vitro hamburger served, it's Shark Week!
Ohio death row inmate Billy Slagle, who was scheduled to be executed on Aug. 7 was found hanged in his cell on Sunday. Slagle, who fatally stabbed his neighbor 17 times in 1987, was recently denied clemency by Gov. John Kasich, despite a rare request from prosecutors to have his death sentence commuted to life in prison. CityBeat last week covered the situation here. The restraining order granted last month to Jim Obergefell and John Arthur, the gay Ohio couple who in July flew to Maryland to officially tie the knot after 20 years of marriage, is set to expire today, meaning the judge overseeing the case must either renew the restraining order or issue a preliminary injunction. Arthur, who suffers from debilitating ALS, a neurological disease, is not expected to live much longer, which is why the two are fighting for their marriage to be recognized in their home state; in the case of Arthur’s death, Obergefell wants to be rightfully listed as his “surviving spouse.” The first in-vitro hamburger, made of edible beef cells without actually killing a cow, was served today in London. According to food experts, the mouthfeel is similar to a conventional hamburger, but the traditional fatty flavor is still lacking. A pool of mosquitoes in Dayton's Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark has tested positive for the West Nile virus, the first in the region this season. Two Pennsylvania children have been prevented from discussing fracking for the rest of their lives under the terms of a gag order issued to their family in a settlement from drilling company Range Resources, who offered the children's family $750,000 to relocate from their fracking-polluted home, where they suffered from "burning eyes, sore throats, headaches and earaches" and other ailments as a result of their proximity to Range's drilling. It's Shark Week, y'all.
Gov. John Kasich says his new budget offers a fairer tax system and more money for schools, but it’s really just more of the same
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
In the big public push for his 2014-2015
budget proposal, Republican Gov. John Kasich has often sounded
progressive. But deeper analyses of Kasich’s budget found that the
governor was likely off with some of his claims.
by Danny Cross
City Council on Wednesday
overwhelmingly passed a measure that will offer benefits to domestic
partners of city employees. The measure was introduced by Councilman Chris
Seelbach and passed 8-1, the lone “no” vote coming from Charlie
Winburn. Seelbach told The Enquirer that domestic partner benefits
not only affect same-sex couples, but are also applicable to
non-married partners, which is an added attraction to lure talented
employees to the city. Covington officials passed a similar
If you owe the city of Cincinnati any
parking fines, now would be a good time to pay them. Cincinnati
police are going to start hearing descriptions of vehicles with
multiple outstanding tickets during roll call and then head out to
find them during patrols.
Eric Deters wants to be a real lawyer
again. The attorney/radio personality/cage fighter says his current
predicament — Kentucky law license suspension — is mostly because
someone making the rulings “hates him” and is not due to the “ethical
lapses” that caused his original 61-day suspension. If Deters can't
get the Kentucky Supreme Court to help him out he'll have to go in
front of a Character and Fitness Committee and explain all the crazy
stuff he's done.
Gov. John Kasich is making changes to
the state's Medicaid program, which he and its officials say will save
money, though it will cause disruptions in the form of some
recipients needing to find new providers, many of which have less
access to medical advice and financial help. A similar program
implemented in Kentucky last year resulted in complaints that
patients couldn't get services authorized and providers didn't get
paid on time, according to The Enquirer.
New Osama bin Laden documents published
online by the U.S. Government show concern over Muslim distrust of
his organization before he was killed last May, and much of which was due to the high numbers of civilians it was responsible for killing.
It's not very fun to be John Edwards
these days. Already charged with using $1 million in campaign money
to hide a pregnant mistress, testimony in his case for violating
campaign finance laws has revealed that his mistress had a better
idea in response to the National Enquirer's report on the affair: She
wanted to say she was abducted by aliens.
Jobless-benefits claims were down last
week, and the reduction was the greatest in three months. And U.S.
stock futures rose in accordance.
Target is done selling Kindles, and
although it didn't give a reason analysts suspect it is in response
to Amazon's attempts to get retailers who see the products in a store
to then purchase them online. Amazone last holiday season indroduced
a Price Check app that offered in-store price comparisons and up to a
$15 discount online.
Retired NFL linebacker Junior Seau was
found dead at his home yesterday in an apparent suicide. Seau, who
played in the NFL for parts of 20 seasons, was found shot to death.
He was 43.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 4, 2012
“Can you tell me how a 13-year-old kid can be snatched, blackmailed, drugged, raped, in our state? In our country?” That’s the question Ohio Gov. John Kasich
asked audiences March 29 before signing an executive order to create
the Human Trafficking Task Force, which is intended to combat human
trafficking across the state and help victims recover.