0 Comments · Wednesday, June 18, 2014
A federal court handed down a big victory
for voting rights advocates June 11 when it ruled that Ohio must
maintain three days of early voting previously eliminated by Ohio
Secretary of State John Husted. U.S. District Court Judge Peter Economus
ruled that the state must provide voting the Saturday, Sunday and
Monday before election day.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Some of these folks have been around too
long or they keep reappearing as council candidates/members because
perhaps there is nothing else for them to do in the private sector. But what’s their platform?
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 25, 2013
I have seen Boehner’s political rise —
from courtside seats in the early days — and I am amazed but not
surprised by it because it’s easy to be “impressive” and to be passed up
the ranks and into many branches of American politics; it’s a trait
politicians share with student/athletes in higher education.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Like many politicians, Gov. John Kasich
touted transparency and openness on the campaign trail, but this year’s
JobsOhio controversies have proven that the governor was all talk and no
action when he made such claims.
by German Lopez
City refuses parking lease challenge, Qualls calls for transparency, Kasich losing in new poll
City Solicitor John Curp rebuked a conservative group
that asked him to sue the city of Cincinnati over changes made to the
city’s parking lease without City Council's explicit approval. Curp
wrote in a letter that the two changes disputed by the Coalition Opposed
to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) were within the lease’s terms
and only made because COAST’s previous lawsuit forced the city to delay
leasing its parking meters, lots and garages to the Greater Cincinnati
Port Authority. If COAST hadn’t pursued the lawsuit, the city would have
been able to continue with the original timetable for the parking
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls yesterday unveiled a motion
calling for the first expansion of local disclosure and reporting
requirements since 1997 that would impose new rules on city officials,
lobbyists and contractors and require the city administration to post
the disclosed information on the city’s website. Qualls said in a
statement that the update is particularly timely because the
Metropolitan Sewer District is taking on a federally mandated $3.2
billion, 15-year reworking of the city’s sewers, which will presumably
involve many lobbyists trying to get lucrative contracts for businesses
New poll results from Public Policy Polling (PPP) show Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald beating Gov. John Kasich 38-35 percent in the 2014 election. Kasich’s approval rating now
stands at 42-47 percent, down 10 points from November. Most respondents
still seem unaware of FitzGerald, with 62 percent saying they aren’t
sure if they have a favorable or unfavorable view of him. PPP is
affiliated with Democrats, but the polling firm performed well in the
2012 presidential race and, if anything, favored Republicans with its results.
Hop On Cincinnati is asking the Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District to support a trackless trolley
that the group says could live alongside the Cincinnati streetcar. The
trolley, estimated to cost $10 million to $15 million, would be similar
to the system in Northern Kentucky, and each route would run past major
garages to allow people to park before getting on board. If the Hamilton
County Transportation Improvement District gives the project approval,
it could get federal funding.
Investors are upset with SoMoLend,
the crowdfunding incubator that has been targeted by a state
investigation with accusations of fraud. Critics of the company say that
the allegations could hurt future crowdfunding pursuits and harm the
state. Shortly after the charges came to light, the city of Cincinnati
announced it would cut ties with SoMoLend, which partnered with the city to connect small businesses and startups with up to $400,000 in loans.
Ohio is the seventh worst state for debt, according to a recent study from NerdWallet.com.
The number of low-income Ohio children in Head Start, the early education program, will drop by more than 1,800 following automatic spending cuts at the federal level. CityBeat previously covered the cuts here.
Ohio’s top waterways watchdog is stepping down from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency after his boss and Kasich asked him to step down. Kasich was apparently angered by an email in which George Elmaraghy, chief of the Ohio EPA’s division of surface water, told his staff that the coal industry wants
permits that would damage the state’s streams and wetlands and break
state and federal laws.
Various state officials are criticizing a “stand your ground” bill
currently sitting in the Ohio legislature. The self-defense law has
been scrutinized because of George Zimmerman, a Florida resident who was
acquitted of murder in the shooting of unarmed black 17-year-old
Trayvon Martin. Many people blame Florida’s “stand your ground” law,
which expands self-defense rights, for Martin’s death. Zimmerman’s legal
defense team didn’t invoke the law, but the judge involved in the case mentioned it in her jury
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine says some school safety plans would be “useless” during a real shooting because they’re too long and complicated.
Ohio is releasing school report cards this week, but the standards may be biased against income and racial diversity.
Cincinnati-based Macy’s stocks plunged last week, alongside other Cincinnati stocks and the rest of the market.
Renowned “Star Trek” actor George Takei will lead Cincinnati in the Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest this year.
Ancient Egyptian jewelry was made from meteorites.
by German Lopez
Disclosure and reporting requirements haven’t been updated since 1997
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls today unveiled a motion that
calls for the first expansion of local disclosure and reporting requirements since 1997 that would impose new rules on
city officials, lobbyists and contractors and task the city
administration with posting the disclosed information on the city’s website.
Qualls said the proposal is particularly timely as the
Metropolitan Sewer District begins working on a federally mandated $3.2
billion, 15-year revamp of the city’s sewer system. That project will
presumably involve a bevy of lobbyists as businesses rush to grab
lucrative contracts granted by city officials.
“For citizens to have confidence that their government is
working on their behalf, it must be transparent,” Qualls said in a
statement. “Sadly, it often takes a scandal to make these kinds of
reforms happen. The good news is that we can take these responsible
steps now to instill safeguards and promote integrity and accountability
through a healthy dose of sunshine.”
Qualls claims the updates would be particularly prudent given the rise of the Internet in the past 16 years.
“Technology has brought us into the age of the Internet,” she said in a statement. “The public has heightened expectations
for ready, convenient access to information about the decisions of their
The motion asks for various new rules, including
clarifications for current requirements, greater protections for
whistleblowers, a two-year restriction on becoming a local lobbyist
after leaving public office and a requirement that city officials make
known through writing their potential conflicts of interest when they
recuse themselves from votes.
If the motion is approved by City Council, the city
administration would be required to present the formal ordinance that
would take up the proposed measures.
The proposal comes in light of scandals in Chicago, San
Antonio, Broward and Palm Beach counties in Florida and Cuyahoga County,
Ohio, that led to changes in those local governments.
In July, Cincinnati’s government was mired in its own controversy after the city administration withheld a memo that criticized the city’s plan to lease its parking meters, lots and garages to the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority.
Qualls, a Democrat who’s running for mayor, sent out the
motion just a few days after John Cranley, another Democrat running for
mayor, announced his innovation plan, which calls for greater government efficiency and transparency.
by German Lopez
City manager proposes budget plan, budget hearings set, redistricting reform in 2014
The city manager unveiled his budget plan
to solve the city’s $35 million operating budget deficit yesterday. The plan includes less layoffs than expected — particularly to cops and
firefighters — but it proposes an increase to
property taxes. The plan also includes a series of other cuts, including
to all arts funding and subsidies that go to parades, and new fees. The
release for the budget plan says many of the cuts could have been
avoided if the city obtained revenue from the proposed parking plan, which is currently being held up by a referendum effort and court challenges.
The operating budget is separate from the streetcar budget, which uses
capital funds that can’t be used to balance the operating budget because
of limits established in state law.
The budget plan still has to be approved by Mayor Mark
Mallory and City Council to become law, and City Council will hear the
public’s opinion before a vote at three public hearings: May 16 at the
Duke Convention Center, May 20 at College Hill Recreation Center and May
22 at Madisonville Recreation Center. All the hearings will begin at
Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder says he hopes the Constitutional Modernization Commission will produce a ballot initiative for redistricting reform in 2014. Politicized redistricting — also known as “gerrymandering” —
has been traditionally used by politicians in power to redraw
congressional district borders in a way that favors the political party
in charge, but reform could change that. Gerrymandering was used
by national and state Republicans to blunt losses in the 2012 election,
as CityBeat detailed here.
As Ohio struggles to expand Medicaid, our more conservative neighbor to the south is moving forward. CityBeat
covered the Medicaid expansion in Ohio, which the Health Policy
Institute of Ohio says would insure nearly half a million people and
save millions of dollars by 2022, here.
While some Democrats want to attach party labels to Ohio Supreme Court elections, Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor wants to do away with party primaries for judicial elections.
Former University of Cincinnati President Joseph Steger, the second longest-serving president at UC, died at 76 yesterday.
New York City could soon become the first major city to let non-citizens vote in local elections.
The legislation would allow non-citizens to vote if they are lawfully
present in the United States, have lived in New York City for six months
or more on the date of a given election and meet other requirements
necessary to vote in New York state.
When one simple question makes a huge difference: “When Did You Choose to Be Straight?”
Blood may be the key to seeing how long brain tumor patients have to live and whether their treatment is working.
A new study found oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill sickened fish for at least a year.
Here is a compilation of adorable animals trying to stay awake.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Democratic Councilman Cecil Thomas will
resign his council seat after the April 17 council meeting. Thomas
recommended that his wife of 32 years, Pam Thomas, take his seat.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 14, 2012
A state appeals court Nov. 7 rejected a lawsuit filed by city of Cincinnati retirees
who claimed promised healthcare benefits were illegally reduced in
2010. Before the cuts, retirees did not have to pay-out-of-pocket
expenses and deductions for prescriptions and medical care. The city
shifted some costs of the pension health package to the ex-workers under
an ordinance enacted to shore up its pension plan,
which is still under financial stress. The appeals court said it saw no
records guaranteeing ex-city employees set benefits at the time they
by German Lopez
Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan
Heffner, who was forced to resign amid controversy, has cashed out with
$160,428.17. The money comes from saved-up vacation time, sick days and
personal time. Heffner will get all this money, even though he had to
resign in shame after an investigation from the Ohio inspector general
found Heffner had been misusing state resources and used his
political position to benefit his other employer.
The Horseshoe Casino is kicking off its hiring process for
a new batch of employees. In total, the casino is seeking to fill 750
new positions. New employees must be 21 and have a high school diploma
or GED, among other requirements. The casino says it’s committed to
keeping at least 90 percent of its workforce from the Greater Cincinnati
area. It’s currently estimated to open in spring 2013.The early voting controversy has reached Hamilton County.
The Democrats in City Council are pushing for extended in-person early
voting hours as Democrats around the state accuse Republicans of voter
suppression. The Hamilton County Board of Elections will decide on the
voting hours issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.Four Greater Cincinnati companies ranked in the 2012 Inc.
500 list of the fastest-growing businesses nationwide, up from one last
year. This year, NorAm International Partners, Tiger Fitness, Graybach
and Integrity Express Logistics made the list.The Brent Spence Bridge passed a major regulatory hurdle
Tuesday. The Federal Highway Administration declared that the bridge has
no significant environmental impact, which will allow bridge operators
to skip filing an environmental impact statement.Ohio Democrats are suing Gov. John Kasich over his public
schedule. Democrats say Kasich is breaking the law by not being more
transparent about his public schedule. They also suspect Kasich is campaigning on the behalf of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.The Ohio endangered species list has been updated. The bobcat
is no longer listed as endangered, although it is still considered
threatened. The list’s updates can be seen here.The Cincinnati Archdiocese debuted a plan to improve
Catholic schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The plan will also make the
schools more affordable.Paul Ryan will be at Miami University today. The visit was organized by the university's campus Republicans. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and the event will start at 5:30 p.m. Instructions for tickets can be found on the Miami Republicans' Facebook page.Much to the dismay one of Romney’s surrogates, CNN’s
Soledad O’Brien called out the Romney campaign for propagating an
impossible budget and spreading lies about Obamacare. John Sununu, who
was on O’Brien’s show on behalf of Romney, did not appreciate the
lecture in reality, and he said O’Brien should wear an Obama bumper
sticker on her forehead. Unfortunately for Sununu and the rest of the
Romney team, it is true that Obamacare does not cut Medicare benefits to
seniors, and it’s also true Romney’s plan is impossible without similar cuts
to entitlement programs.It seems like Mother Teresa may have died an atheist. At
the very least, her faith in Catholicism was greatly diminished before
death.A new study has found that antibacterial soap could cause muscle function impairment.Behold, the Pizzabon.