by Nick Swartsell
86 days ago
Posted In: News
at 10:29 AM | Permalink
Election looking dark for Dems; Davis building gets reprieve; Cincinnati vies for international museum convention
Today is the day we Americans go to the polls, check some boxes and get a cool sticker. Some say we also get to choose who governs us, but the jury is still out on that one. Nah, just kidding. These are big decisions! Make sure you’re fully awake and well-nourished by drinking several cups of coffee and bringing three or four donuts, breakfast burritos or slices of last night’s pizza with you into the voting booth. And if you want some friendly advice and fresh perspective on the candidates before you go in and make those fateful decisions, check out our endorsements and election coverage. You’ll find everything you need on the major races and issues on the ballot in the Greater Cincinnati area. Polls are open until 7:30 p.m. in Ohio and until 6 p.m. in Kentucky. Go forth, and please don’t screw this up for everyone.• Before I bombard you with election news, let’s hit the local stuff. The Davis Furniture building will be spared for now. Last night the Cincinnati Historic Conservation Board met for seven hours debating the merits of saving the building versus granting an application for demolition from owners the Stough Group. Stough owns the Hanke Exchange right across the street, and bought the Davis building last year at county auction for $150,000. But the cost of rehabbing it seemed monumental, so they decided to apply to tear it down. But other groups, including 3CDC and nonprofit Tender Mercies would like to pay more than that to acquire and rehab the iconic, if foreboding, former furniture store on Main Street in OTR. Things got plenty heated last night, but in the end, preservation advocates prevailed. Stough will have thirty days to appeal the decision, however, so that 20-foot-tall bowling ball mattress guy adorning the building’s south side isn’t out of the woods yet.• So this is pretty cool. Cincinnati is competing to bring an international museum convention to the city in 2019. Representatives from the International Council of Museums visited the city last week to check out the city’s cultural amenities and hotels to determine if Cincinnati has what it takes to host a large, discerning group of museum directors from around the globe. The ICM represents 32,000 members from 137 countries, and if it chooses Cincinnati, they will meet in the United States for just the second time ever. The first time was in New York City in 1965. The convention happens every three years; 2013’s convention was in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, and the 2016 meeting will be in Milan. The group toured all the sweet spots in Cincinnati, including Music Hall, The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, the Contemporary Art Center and just about anywhere else in town that has a museum.The convention could bring more than $4 million to the city, which I don’t know, says something about the value of our cultural assets. Maybe go weigh in on Issue 8 or something? Yeah.• As I mentioned yesterday, early voting turnout has been very low this midterm election — even lower than most midterms, which are not usually very busy to begin with. A lot of that has to do with the lack of competitiveness in the races, which started with the complete drubbing of Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald by Gov. John Kasich after the wheels came off Fitz’s campaign months ago. FitzGerald is down 28 points to Kasich. If this was a one on one basketball game, that would be a hard deficit to overcome with the time remaining on the clock, requiring multiple three-pointers, a number of personal fouls from Kasich, and Fitz subbing in LeBron James at some point. Unfortunately, this is an election, and that deficit is nearly impossible to surmount. I would still like to see LeBron dunk on Kasich at some point, but it’s a lost cause otherwise. That race kept things frosty for Dems down-ticket as well, with many worthy challengers such as AG candidate David Pepper and secretary of state hopeful Nina Turner running double-digit deficits against their Republican opponents. All that is to say it’s looking like a rout, folks, unless a huge ton of people come down out of the stands and vote. Wow, this extended metaphor got really painful. Yeesh. Just go vote already. • At least one statewide race is pretty exciting, though —State Rep. Connie Pillich is neck and neck with Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel in the race for his seat. Pillich, a moderate Democrat, has focused on her experience as a U.S. Air Force captain and her time at the state house. Mandel, on the other hand, has been playing defense a bit, beating back criticism about some campaign finance questions around a businessman named Ben Suarez and the suggestion that he’s just using the treasurer’s office as a stepping stone to bigger, better things. This one could go either way.• Things aren’t going well for Democrats across the river, as Sen. Mitch McConnell pulls away from challenger Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. McConnell is predicting victory not just for himself, but for Republicans looking to take control of the Senate from Democrats. Meanwhile, Grimes is forecasting an upset, but polling over the past few days has shown a growing lead for the incumbent.
by Nick Swartsell
105 days ago
Posted In: News
at 09:03 AM | Permalink
Greenpeace P&G protester dies; King James comes to Cincy; is Grimes done for?
Good morning Cincy! I’m a little groggy today after last night’s Iron Fork event, which was awesome. If you were at the Moerlein Taproom for the chef showdown and restaurant sampling festivities, you probably saw me with the group that pretty much monopolized the giant Jenga set all night. Sorry ‘bout that. Anyway, on with the news.One of the Greenpeace activists on trial for hanging an anti-palm oil banner from P&G headquarters has died, the Associated Press reports. Tyler David Wilkerson, 27, died Oct. 6, according to an obituary in the Fresno Bee newspaper. No cause of death or other details have been released. Wilkerson was one of eight activists facing felony burglary and vandalism charges in connection with the March protest. A ninth activist took a plea bargain. • Yesterday’s City Council meeting was action packed. Well, maybe not action packed, but interesting and eventful. OK, OK, just eventful, and with more bickering than usual for some reason. Members of council got their feathers all ruffled by the fact that the media knew about Cincinnati’s $18 million budget surplus before they did, perhaps marking the end of new City Manager Harry Black’s honeymoon with the city’s most illustrious deliberative body. Council members found it a bit off-putting that plans were already being made for that money before they even knew it existed. Black promised to make sure every council member is tipped off the next time the city finds unexpected change in the couch cushions.But look at me over here gossiping. Substantive stuff happened as well. • The city will pay $300,000 to help clean up a failed compost facility in Winton Hills affectionately nick-named “Big Stanky.” OK, no one but me calls it that. But it does smell very bad, and that’s caused a great deal of controversy. The company, Cincy Compost, went bust earlier this year, but left something like 80,000 tons of rotting meat and other food scraps behind. The city is chipping in on the cleanup because it has to be done, but Mayor Cranley and a few council members weren’t happy about it. Cranley used the issue as an opportunity to jab at the city’s Office of Environmental Quality and Sustainability, which he blamed for the mess. Other council members, including Chris Seelbach, jumped to defend the office, to which Cranley replied that the office’s “Meatfree Monday” initiative was dumb. Seemed like a bit of a low blow, since Seelbach is a vegetarian, but that’s neither here nor there.• Council also voted to apply for nine HUD grants worth more than $6 million for the city’s Continuum of Care program. The money would be used to provide rental assistance for homeless, low-income people with disabilities. Council also approved a $500,000 loan to Walnut Court Limited Partnership, a Walnut Hills developer. The developer will be rehabbing 30 units in the neighborhood to provide housing for very low income individuals. This deal was a bit more controversial, as Councilman Kevin Flynn questioned how the property, which was overseen by HUD, came to need such extensive renovations and why the city should have to pay for them.• Moving on to market rate developments, there are some new
plans for the former site of the historic house that held
Christy’s/Lenhardt’s restaurant and bar in Clifton Heights. The house
was demolished last year to make way for an apartment building in the
university neighborhood. Gilbane Development Co., which was part of
initial plans to put a larger development at the site, has come back
with some revised, scaled-down ideas. The building was originally going
to be eight stories tall with 245 units of housing. It will now be only
six stories with 190 units, as well as some commercial space. The
project will be part of a larger development effort for the block that
should happen sometime in 2015.• A little old, but worth noting: The Hamilton County Public Defenders Office has written a letter to Mayor John Cranley
about Cincinnati Prosecutor Charlie Rubenstein, saying he took
inappropriate actions last month by getting a judge to sign a warrant
that would have allowed him to search the entire public defender’s
office over a single robbery case. That just doesn’t happen to private
law firms, the defender’s office says, and shouldn’t be allowed. The
mayor and the city manager have said they want to work with the public
defender’s office to make sure evidence is gathered in the least
invasive way possible in the future.• LeBron James was in Cincinnati yesterday for a Cavs preseason game at
Xavier University against the Indiana Pacers, and he said he liked the
city, calling it “a great sports town.” Despite being arguably the
state’s biggest name in sports, James had never played in Cincinnati
before. He scored 26 points in the game.• Let’s take a quick jog south and revisit the Kentucky Senate race, shall we? Recent articles have prognosticated that time is almost up for Democrat Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is challenging Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for his seat. The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the party’s national arm in the race, stopped spending money on ads in the state this week, leading reporters to say the party is pulling out of the race and that Grimes is ready for the fork, cause she’s done. That appears to have been a premature judgment, however. Potential Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton campaigned for Grimes yesterday in Louisville, urging voters in the Bluegrass State to “put another crack in the glass ceiling” by putting Grimes into office. It also turns out that the DSCC is still running polls in Kentucky and may jump back into the race with more ads before all is said and done. Grimes' campaign also has about $4 million in that cash money in the bank, so don't count her out just yet. Much has been made of Grimes’ refusal to say who she voted for in the last two presidential elections, and some pundits, including conservative commentator Rich Lowry, have said it has sunk Grimes’ chances in the race. Lowry wrote a deeply dumb rant ostensibly about that subject (though it quickly jumps the rails and becomes yet another boring anti-Obama diatribe about four paragraphs in). Clearly Democrats are still hoping Grimes has a chance, though.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 4, 2013
THURSDAY AUG. 29: In a move likely to garner mass likes and
shares from your more sheltered or stupid Facebook friends, a Buckeye
State politician is pushing legislation that will require drug testing
for welfare applicants.
by Danny Cross
The Kentucky Speedway and state of Kentucky will find out
soon whether the $10 million they spent on highway infrastructure
improvements in response to last year’s traffic mess at a NASCAR race
was worth it. The Speedway and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet will hold
a news conference today to outline plans to actually get all of the
race attendees into the venue to watch the race rather than sit in
traffic all day and get super mad.
A Cincinnati police officer with a long record of wrecking
police vehicles was arrested on Monday and charged with assaulting a
woman who he’s already been charged with assaulting once before. The
Enquirer detailed the disciplinary history of officer Kevin Jones, who was also charged with two counts of assault from an incident that occurred May 19.
Politico says President Obama’s recent announcement of a
new immigration policy that allows many young immigrants who have never
been in trouble with the law to stay in the country, and even travel
across its borders, was a really smart move. The policy is not permanent, which leaves Mitt
Romney to answer the question of whether or not he would repeal it if
elected. The idea is reportedly similar to legislation that Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a potential Romney running mate, has been considering introducing. “This is a stroke of political genius,” Bruce Morrison
told me. A former Democratic congressman from Connecticut, Morrison was
chairman of the House Immigration Subcommittee, a member of the U.S.
Commission on Immigration Reform and House author of the Immigration Act
of 1990. He’s now an immigration attorney and lobbies on a wide variety
of immigration issues.
“Obama has taken Rubio’s idea and put it into action,”
Morrison said. “He has given these people a work permit, the ability to
remain in this country, but no permanent status.” Their legal status can
be terminated at any time. “But it won’t be terminated by Obama,”
Morrison said.A breast cancer survivor who has undergone a double
mastectomy has been allowed to swim topless by the Seattle Department of
Parks and Recreation after stating that wearing a bathing suit over her
chest causes pain. (Jodi) Jaecks opted against reconstructive surgery. "I don't see a need to fake having breasts," she said.
"My ultimate goal is to change policy at beaches and
pools, to increase people's awareness of cancer and the realities of the
human condition," Jaecks told Reuters.LeBron James and the Miami Heat won the NBA title last
night, completing a 4 games to 1 series victory over the Oklahoma
Thunder. It is the first title for James, who has been widely mocked for
stating that he’d like to win more titles than Michael Jordan’s six.
James, who is 27, won his first a year younger than Jordan did, thought Jordan then won the title in six of eight years.
Two alien plants planets around the same star apparently rise in
the night sky of each other, looking like a giant full moon. The
planets, Kepler-36b and Kepler-36c, are 1,200 light-years from Earth and 1.2 million miles apart, the closes two planets known.
by Danny Cross
A local developer has offered to build a new jail adjacent
to the Justice Center, a cost of $65 million, in return for the county
leasing it for 30 years at $10 million a year, according to The
Enquirer. The developer, Rob Smyjunas, said the offer isn’t about making a profit, just making the county better for his and other families.
Mayor Mallory didn’t answer The Enquirer’s questions about
the potential for a Council majority to block the property tax increase in
City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed budget. A Mallory spokesman says he’ll work
behind the scenes on a budget that will win a Council majority and
that he’s off to New Orleans for a conference on reclaiming vacant
An environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro kicked off on
Wednesday, with environmental groups and activists disappointed with the
Rio+20’s lack of progress on creating clear goals for sustainable
The Sanford, Fla., police chief who drew criticism for not investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been fired. Sanford
City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Bill Lee of his duties
because the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the
A video of middle school kids in upstate New York bullying
a 68-year-old bus monitor has drawn international media attention. The
woman says the kids are all pretty much normal and are OK to deal with
The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in
the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm
with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the
brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.
A population of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica has declined by 36 percent due to melting sea ice.
"Actually, in the '90s it was thought that the climate
change would favor the chinstrap penguin, because this species prefers
sea waters without ice, unlike the Adelie penguin, which prefers the ice
pack," study researcher Andres Barbosa told LiveScience. He added that
at the time, chinstraps, named for the thin black facial line from cheek
to cheek, seemed to increase in numbers, with some new colonies being
established. The sea-ice decline in the winter, however, has become so
big that it is now impacting krill populations, said Barbosa, of the
National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.
Researchers found evidence of ice on the moon.
A new study has found that eating disorders are common
among older women. Researchers say weight and eating concerns do not
discriminate based on age.College football BCS commissioners have endorsed a
four-team playoff format to determine college football’s national
champion instead of the current computer-human two-team system. The plan will go to the BCS presidential oversight committee
on June 26 for approval. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA championship after going up 3 games to 1 with a 104-98 win in Game 4 Tuesday.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: News
, 2012 Election
, President Obama
, Tea Party
, County Commission
at 08:50 AM | Permalink
County Commissioner Todd Portune's idea to borrow more
money and extend a half-cent sales tax in order to keep up with
stadium costs has been shot down by a Bengals lawyer who used 15
bullet points to demonstrate that Portune's plan “proposes to
breach one or both leases.”
Duke Energy is asking state regulators if it can bump customers' rates up again. Duke says the
increases are to pay for infrastructure investments. The change would
increase customer costs of electric service by $86 million and for
natural gas by $44 million. A federal appeals court on Monday reinstated an antitrust lawsuit against Duke Energy that accuses the
company of paying kick-backs to corporations opposing a 2004 rate
A rally for “religious freedom”
will take place on Fountain Square today in response to federal health care
legislation requiring women to have abortions employers to
provide insurance that covers birth control. The law includes a
religious exemption, which bishops have said isn't enough.
A group pushing to ban dog auctions in
Ohio has halted its effort to put the issue on the November ballot
due to lack of funding and time. CityBeat in February reported the
group's efforts to ban the sale of dogs through auctions or raffles,
as well as all trafficking in dogs from out-of-state auctions.New York City officials, including
Brooklyn Democratic Rep. Yvette Clarke, are arguing that the city's
“Stop and Frisk” policy is racist. The policy allows police to
stop an individual and pat him or her down for contraband if they
suspect illegal activity. From USA Today:Clarke says the program, known as "Stop, Question and Frisk"
or "Stop and Frisk," amounts to racial profiling. It is
based on a 1968 Supreme Court ruling that police could stop people on
the basis of "reasonable suspicion."
Last month, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin approved
class-action status for a lawsuit that alleges the practice subjects
people to race-based illegal searches.
President Obama's health care law helped
6.6 million young adults stay on their parents' plans during the
first year and a half.
Rick Santorum has formed a new conservative organization aiming to
recruit 1 million supporters to help get Barack Obama out of the
While House. No word on how Santorum's “Patriot Voices” group
will differ from the tea party patriots.
NASA says it has spotted the universe's first objects.
Black members of the Netherlands soccer team were subjected to
racist chants at their Euro 2012 practice facility in Krakow, Poland.
The team says fans were making monkey chants at the players.
LeBron James scored 45 points to lead the
Miami Heat over the Boston Celtics last night, forcing a deciding Game 7 for the
Eastern Conference championship. The Oklahoma Thunder await in the
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Steve Chabot banned cameras from a town hall meeting in Green Township for “security purposes.” Chabot then advised residents to fight a new plan to add public housing units to the neighborhood, though his speech was reportedly cut short when he saw a guy playing “Angry Birds” on a cell phone and thought he was recording a video and laughing.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Seth Putnam, frontman and founder of easy-listening faves Anal Cunt, died of a heart attack June 11. Oh, wait — Anal Cunt was actually a controversial Grindcore band named after a GG Allin tune, responsible for seconds-long songs like “Your Kid Committed Suicide Because You Suck” and “Van Full of Retards.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 11, 2011
John Boehner today said the government needs to consider trillions of dollars worth of cuts before he will agree to raise the debt limit but no one could tell if he was serious because he was crying and smiling at the same time.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 7, 2010
If you were to ask Americans how it makes them feel to be compared to the Roman Empire, most would say something along the lines of, "That's what's up." (People from Colerain would likely add an expletive to the end as well.) Such feelings of pride aren't what Republican U.S. Senate nominee Rand Paul meant to conjure when he recently compared America to the Romans, because he thinks we're an empire on the verge of collapse.