by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 09:47 AM | Permalink
Super-action-packed Budget Committee thrill ride; Jeff Ruby restaurant sails, err, sinks into the sunset; this porcupine is eating a pumpkin. Nuff said.
Morning y’all. Before we begin, I have to share something only tangentially related to the news. Last night I went and checked out a concert at Union Terminal, which has a 100-year-old organ in house and more than 4,000 pipes for that organ built into the walls. I don’t know a whole lot about baroque and classical music, but I do know a lot about loud music, and it was insanely loud. And awesome. Very recommended. To tie this into newsy stuff, I’ll just say go weigh in one way or the other on Issue 8 (the icon tax) at your local polling place. City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee yesterday more or less tied up what the city will do with its $18 million budget surplus. The committee, which is composed of all nine council members basically adopted City Manager Harry Black’s recommendations outright. The decision came with controversy, however, as some on Council again questioned the process by which the recommendations were proposed. Council members Chris Seelbach, Yvette Simpson and P.G. Sittenfeld pushed back on the process, accusing Budget Committee Chair Charlie Winburn of trying to push the proposals through quickly and asking why public input wasn’t sought on the proposals before they were brought before Council for a vote. The three abstained from voting for Black’s recommendations.• Council also wrangled again over funding for Mayor John Cranley’s Hand Up Initiative at the committee meeting. Several council members had questions about why some established programs are being cut to fund the $2.3 million jobs initiative, especially when the city is running a large budget surplus. Councilman Chris Seelbach pushed for an amendment to the ordinance funding the program to try and restore some cuts to housing advocacy group Housing Opportunities Made Equal and People Working Cooperatively, which helps the elderly and low-income with home weatherization, maintenance and energy efficiency. Those programs lost federal dollars from Community Development Block Grants that have been diverted to the mayor’s new jobs program. The amendment was voted down, 5-4. “These programs employ people,” said Councilman Wendell Young, who, along with council members Seelbach, Sittenfeld and Simpson voted for the amendment. “When these programs take a hit, that impacts their employees. There’s a real paradox there. These programs leverage dollars. Let’s do the right thing. Let’s help everybody.” Others turned out to either support the mayor’s program or oppose the cuts. Many spoke on behalf of Cincinnati Cooks, which is a Hand Up partner. But some questioned the mayor’s program. Greater Cincinnati Coalition for the Homeless Director Josh Spring praised the organization's partnering with Hand Up, but said cutting other programs was counterproductive and unnecessary.“Are we really going to lower poverty by five percent in five years by serving just 4,000 people? What the mayor has accomplished is that he has forced groups that get along to come down here and fight each other,” Spring said. “We do have a surplus. There are other ways to do this. Things like lead abatement, things like home repair, things like upward mobility so that folks experiencing low incomes can move up economically — those aren’t handouts.”• One other skirmish broke out at the marathon meeting, which was still going when I stopped watching it on Citicable at about 6 p.m. (yes, I lead an exciting and enviable life). The tussle broke out over money that was once set aside for permanent supportive housing in the city. That money had been earmarked for a prospective 99-unit affordable housing development in Avondale for those recovering from addiction and other issues called Commons at Alaska. However, pushback from some community members there hamstrung that development. Now it will be used for other things.“Last June, we had money set aside in the budget for permanent supportive housing,” Seelbach said. “I know some people say Alaska Commons doesn’t have enough community buy-in. But permanent supportive housing is an essential part of the equation. We were told we were not going to be eliminating it. And now guess what? We’re eliminating permanent supportive housing. Well, I’m not going to do that.” Seelbach voted against moving the money, along with Simpson, Young and Sittenfeld. • That’s enough City Council action, at least until Wednesday. Let’s move on. Normally, the words “best” and “suburbs” in the same sentence cause heavy cognitive dissonance in my brain. But this is cool, I guess. Three Cincinnati suburbs have been ranked among the best in America by a new study. Madeira (3), Montgomery (21) and Wyoming (24) were tops in the region and among the best in the country, according to Business Insider. The rankings looked at nearly 300 ‘burbs across the country and took into account housing affordability, commute times, poverty, public school ratings and the number of stifling gated communities, GAP outlets and SUVs with stick figure family stickers on the back window per capita. Just kidding on those last ones, guys. Suburbs can be cool, too.• The end of a long, watery saga: Jeff Ruby’s Waterfront restaurant, a boat that has been basically sinking since August, is being demolished.• The Ohio Department of Transportation commissioned a study to determine future transit needs, and it found that the state will need to double its funding of transit over the next decade to more than $1 billion due to increasing demand. In 2000, the state spent $44 million for public transit. In 2013, it spent just $7.3 million. ODOT also gets money for transit from the federal government, however. Gov. John Kasich's administration has been especially cold to public transit, calling passenger rail supporters a "train cult" and turning down $400 million in federal funds for a commuter line between Cincinnati, Columbus, and Cleveland. He also, you know, withheld state funds for the streetcar. This is why we can't have nice things.• In Ohio and beyond, it’s looking more and more likely that Democrats are going to take a beating this midterm election. That’s especially true in Congress, where once-safely Democratic House seats suddenly seem to be up for grabs. If Dems lose enough of those seats, they may not have any chance of taking back a majority in the House until redistricting rolls around again. Many analysts and some in the party have blamed the potential slide in House seats on the unpopularity of the president.• Finally, if all this news is just too overwhelming for you (I know how you feel) check out this porcupine. He’s eating a pumpkin. It's adorable. You’re welcome.
Reviewing the outdated, overly conservative and just plain funny laws still on the books
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 10, 2013
We decided to look into Ohio and Northern Kentucky laws to see if there
was anything else totally absurd (possibly sexist) left in writing in
the Ohio Revised Code/Cincinnati Municipal Code/other codes. And there was nothing too bizarre, but
some of the laws’ requirements and wording are hilarious, incredibly
obvious and/or idiotic.
by Danny Cross
It was “Rich People Voice Their Concerns Night” at city
councils across town last night, as proponents of the $1 sale of Music
Hall packed Cincinnati City Council chambers even though the proposed
lease deal wasn’t on the agenda. Mayor Mark Mallory insisted that any
middle ground that will allow the nonprofit Music Hall Revitalization
Co. to renovate the building will require that the city retain
Across town (and about 10 miles northeast toward the area with mass trees), Madeira City Council shot down a plan to
develop a luxury apartment complex on Camargo Road. Council voted 6-1 to
scrap the plan for a 184-unit complex after residents who voiced
concern said the complex would be “too dense” and take away from the
city’s single-family character. Word on the street is that the Council
majority didn’t want scumbag renters like this guy to be able to move
into the neighborhood and start playing music really loud out of their car stereos.
Cincinnati City Council yesterday pretty much canceled its
plans to build an atrium at City Hall. Six council members approved a
motion asking administrators to shut it down, and City Manager
Milton Dohoney says he’ll abide by it even though he technically doesn’t
have to because the funding was approved in a spending ordinance.
Council also voted yesterday to keep the property tax rate pretty much the same next year despite a projected deficit.
Now that the Supreme Court has temporarily upheld part of Arizona’s racist
controversial immigration law, no-name state legislators in Ohio and
Kentucky plan to break out the laws they couldn’t previously get passed.
According to The Enquirer’s Mark Curnutte (who apparently won a
national book award for his work covering poverty in Haiti — big ups,
Curnutte!), some dudes named Courtney Combs (R-Ross Township, Ohio) and
John Schickel (R-Union, Ky.) have some great ways to rid of their states'
illegal immigrants, at least until the court strikes down the rest of
New York Times: "Arizona Ruling Only a Narrow Opening for Other States"
Housing prices are going up in most cities due to low interest rates and cheap prices.
A new Obama campaign ad refers to Mitt Romney as “outsourcer in chief.” Ouch!
The War on Drugs is making the AIDS epidemic worse by driving people away from treatment, according to a report released today by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
California condors are being threatened by lead poisoning
from bullets left behind in dead carcasses shot by hunters, which the
Facebook changed users' listed email accounts, and people on the Internet are mad. Gizmodo explains how to fix it.
The Spice Girls are reuniting to create a musical called Viva Forever! at London's Piccadilly Theatre.
by Danny Cross
Bike to Work Week today kicked off its
series of morning commuter stations offering free coffee and treats
all week long in an effort to encourage residents to try cycling to
work, meet fellow cyclists and learn about bike advocacy. The city
was scheduled to announce an award for its Bike Program this morning
at the Coffee Emporium bike commuter station on Central Parkway in
Find a schedule of Bike to Work Week
morning and afternoon commuter stations here.
The Enquirer over the weekend
checked in with another of its “in-depth” pieces, this one
detailing the huge amounts of money energy companies will make once they're allowed to treat northeastern Ohio's land like
they do Texas. The story accurately described the fracking process as
“controversial,” though it took the liberty of describing Carroll
County as an “early winner” because 75 to 95 percent of its land
is under lease to an oil or gas company. Here's a link to the weird
slideshow-style presentation. And here's a sidebar on the issues
surrounding fracking, which includes the following regarding the
Fracking was exempted from the federal
Safe Drinking Water Act under the Bush Administration, so it now
falls under state jurisdiction. In Ohio, the Department of Natural
Resources issues permits for all oil and gas wells, including
fracking wells. The department also inspects the drilling of all
wells in the state.
The New York Times came to Ohio
to see how the good, working class folks feel about the president who
has spent three-and-a-half years trying to help people like them
during a recession he didn't start. Turns out many still won't vote
for him because he's still black.
Madiera is a really nice suburb, and
some residents plan to keep it that way by blocking developers from
building luxury condos so “renters” can't move in and “alter
the landscape of their charming suburb.”
Ohio State University has released a
plan to combat hate crimes in response to several incidents on its
campus this spring. The "No Place to Hate" plan includes 24
recommendations including a public safety division “hate crime
alert” line staffed by operators. The OSU campus reportedly had a
mural of President Obama defaced and found spray-painted messages
supporting the death of Trayvon Martin.
Good news from the AP's strangulation
beat: “States cracking down on strangulation attempts.”
Newsweek's May 21 cover shows
Barack Obama with a rainbow-colored halo over his head and the
headline, “The First Gay President.”
National media are talking about HBO's
Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary detailing America's
obesity epidemic. CityBeat's Jac Kern told y'all about it last
John Edwards' defense attorneys are
reportedly basing a lot of their case on the definition of the word
“The.” That should go well.
Joey Votto hit a two-out,
bottom-of-the-ninth grand slam to win yesterday's game for the Reds,
9-6 over the Washington Nationals. It was his third home run of the
satellite has taken an awesome 121-megapixel photo of Earth.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Have you ever been forced to use one of your poor friend's cell phones to make a call only to rub your index finger across the screen and have nothing happen because the phone has actual buttons? Flip-phone owners around the world today were repaid for such bothersome details in their lives, as news spread of the new iPhone's problem getting a signal if it's held a certain way. Ha ha!
Local filmmaker explores the challenges facing America’s first suburbs
1 Comment · Wednesday, November 4, 2009
It it perceived that talented and creative people leave our cities and others for bigger and supposedly better environs. But Cincinnati resident and award-winning documentary filmmaker Andrea Torrice claims our city as inspiration.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 2, 2009
Dear Maija, I am seriously afraid of monsters. I hate scary movies, Halloween and freaky looking people. Well, the other day I went to my friend's house to watch reruns of 'Sex and the City,' and she turned on this crazy new show about vampires and, like, five minutes into it there was full-on sex!