WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 03.07.2013
Posted In: Economy, Budget, Media, News, Privatization, Parking at 10:21 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

Judge halts council's parking plan, city's deficit options, gun records could be sealed

City Council approved a plan to lease the city’s parking assets to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, but the plan is now being held up by a judge’s temporary restraining order (TRO). The plan was passed with an emergency clause, which is meant to expedite the plan’s implementation, but it also makes the law immune to referendum. The judge’s TRO, which will delay implementation for at least one week, will provide enough time to process a lawsuit filed by Curt Hartman, an attorney who represents the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), on behalf of local activists who oppose the plan and argue it should be subject to referendum. The parking plan will lease the city’s parking assets to fund development projects, including a 30-story tower and a downtown grocery store, and help balance the deficit for the next two fiscal years. Opponents say they’re concerned about the plan leading to parking rate hikes, and they say the plan will not fix the city’s structural deficits. Before the final vote on the parking plan, City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. gave a presentation to City Council that showed options for reducing Cincinnati’s structural deficit, including a reduction or elimination of lower-ranked programs in the city’s Priority-Driven Budgeting Process, a reduction in subsidies to health clinics that are getting more money from Obamacare, the semi-automation of solid waste collection or the introduction of new or increased fees for certain programs, among other changes. Ohio senators are pushing a law that would make records of people licensed to carry concealed firearms in Ohio off-limits to journalists. The senators say they were inspired to push the law after a New York newspaper published the names and addresses of permit holders in three counties. Dennis Hetzel, executive director of the Ohio Newspaper Association, says the law will decrease government transparency and limit rights: “I wish the pro-gun forces would be as respectful of the First Amendment as they are of the second, and they should be fearful of excessive government secrecy.” The superintendent and treasurer of the Cincinnati College Preparatory Academy, a charter school, were indicted after allegedly using school funds to go to “Girls weekends” in Chicago, sightseeing tours through California and Europe and a trip to Boston to see Oprah — allegedly costing taxpayers more than $148,000. Dave Yost, state auditor, said in a statement, “The audacity of these school officials is appalling. The good work by our auditors and investigators has built the strongest possible case to ensure they can never use the public treasury as their personal travel account again.” The Ohio Department of Transportation and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet are working together to make the case that any delays in the Brent Spence Bridge project will hurt Greater Cincinnati’s economy. Most people involved in the issue agree the bridge needs rebuilding, but not everyone agrees on how the project should be funded. Northern Kentucky politicians in particular have strongly opposed instituting tolls — one of the leading ideas for funding the project. In public hearings yesterday, service industry officials said Gov. John Kasich’s budget plan, which will expand the state’s sales tax to apply to more service, would drive some service providers out of Ohio and make the state less competitive. Among other complaints, Carter Strang, president of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, said the plan could make it harder for Ohioans to access legal counsel by increasing costs and reducing employment in the legal sector. CityBeat covered Kasich’s budget proposal in detail here. State Auditor Yost filed a subpoena to get JobsOhio’s financial records after the agency failed to turn them over. The subpoena puts Yost at odds with Kasich, a fellow Republican who established JobsOhio, a nonprofit company, in an attempt to bring more jobs to the state and replace the Ohio Department of Development. Hamilton County is launching the Hamilton County Community Re-entry Action Plan, which will help integrate ex-convicts back into society. Commissioner Todd Portune told WVXU the plan will help with overpopulation in jails and prisons: “When you build (jail and prison) facilities, the population in them always seems to rise to meet whatever the (capacity) level is in the facility. You never seem to have enough space. The real answer beyond facilities is that we've got to turn around the lives of the individuals who are in our corrections system that have made bad choices.”The University of Cincinnati says it won’t block an outdoor display of vagina pictures on campus. Yesterday, Kentucky’s U.S. Sen. Rand Paul held a nearly 13-hour filibuster to protest any possible use of drone strikes on American soil. Paul was joined by senators from both sides of the aisle in his opposition to using the strikes, which were used in Yemen in 2011 to kill Anwar al-Aulaqi, an American citizen accused of being a high-ranking al-Qaeda official. The same Cleveland judge who made a woman hold an “idiot” sign for driving around a school bus is making a 58-year-old man hold another sign for threatening officers in a 911 call. The sign will apologize to officers and read, “I was being an idiot and it will never happen again.” The man will also go to jail for 90 days. There used to be camels in Arctic Canada, but that shouldn’t be too surprising — camels currently reside in the Gobi Desert, which can reach -40 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter.
 
 

Public Records Are Such For a Reason

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 23, 2013
When a reporter uses the law to pry public records from resisting officials, readers are supposed to benefit. And when readers value that invocation of open records laws, it adds luster to the reporter’s work.   
by Andy Brownfield 08.14.2012
 
 
kasich_2

Ohio Democrats Sue Kasich Over Public Records

Suit claims governor is intentionally ignoring public records requests

The Ohio Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit against Gov. John Kasich — who they claim is improperly using his office to campaign for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney — to get the governor to release his schedule of public events. The ODP’s lawsuit, filed Tuesday in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas, contends that Kasich’s office either ignored or only partially fulfilled the request. “It’s unfortunate that this Governor is so opposed to transparency and public disclosure that we have to ask the Court to force him to follow the law,” ODP Chairman Chris Redfern said in a statement. “Serious questions remain regarding whether the Governor has improperly used his office for the benefit of Mitt Romney, and it’s deeply disappointing Kasich is so secretive he won’t even tell the public what he’s done or where he’s gone.” Kasich press secretary Rob Nichols said the administration doesn’t comment on litigation, but dismissed the Ohio Democratic Party’s allegations. “We release public records in accordance with the law, and in fact have already publicly released the governor’s schedule six times, including a schedule request to the ODP,” Nichols said. “This is predictable election year politics from the same people who were just rebuked for using public records demands to interfere with the Auditor of State’s investigation into possible data manipulation in some school districts.” Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Jerid Kurtz said Kasich’s office did respond to one of the seven requests for the schedule, but some of the information in the records was redacted — including an entire week that was blacked out with no explanation. “Ohio law is very clear, and it states you have to give a specific excuse when you redact something,” Kurtz said.  According to the lawsuit and court documents, the ODP requested on July 2 Kasich’s public schedule from that date through Aug. 27.  According to a letter to the Ohio Democratic Party from Mehek M. Cook — assistant chief counsel to Kasich — the information about the governor's future plans was blacked out because that information could put him at risk. “The governor and his office receive threats on any given day and the release of his whereabouts increases security issues surrounding the governor’s safety,” Cook wrote. Cook wrote that any information in the records used by the Executive Protection Unit assigned to guard Kasich constitutes a security record and was redacted. He also wrote that some information that would reveal confidential business meetings and trade secrets that would harm Ohio efforts to court businesses was blacked out. Additionally, information not relevant to the request was redacted. Kurtz said it’s important that the public have access those schedules because voters have a right to know what their governor is doing on the public dime. The schedules include where the governor is and with whom he meets, but they also show scheduled phone calls and media interviews. The Ohio Democratic Party worries that Kasich is improperly campaigning for Romney while receiving a taxpayer-funded paycheck, or using public money to have his staff do so. The concerns stem from statements made by Kasich both in public and on his Twitter account either praising the presumed Republican presidential nominee or slamming President Obama.  For instance, The Plain Dealer in Cleveland reported that when Obama visited Ohio on Aug. 1 the governor tweeted “On the occasion of the President's latest visit to Ohio, we have a question for him,” with a link to a graphic asking “If the President's policies are behind Ohio's success, why is the rest of the country trailing us?” Democrats claim that Ohio’s success relative to the rest of the country are due to efforts by President Obama, while Republicans say Governor Kasich is behind Ohio’s faster-than-average recovery. While the Ohio Democratic Party is suing to have Kasich release his public schedule (Kurtz says Attorney General Mike DeWine and Auditor Dave Yost complied with similar requests in a timely manner) the state Republican Party has also submitted similar requests to Democrats throughout Ohio. Kurtz characterized the GOP requests as being sent by Kasich’s “hand-picked lieutenants in the Ohio Republican Party,” though Nichols told The Plain Dealer that the governor had no involvement. Ohio GOP executive director Matt Borges told the newspaper that the requests were routine. Still, Kurtz called Kasich’s refusal to release his own schedule “hypocritical.” “He’s a bully and the only way you can deal with a bully is fighting back.”
 
 

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