by German Lopez
101 days ago
Judge halts election law, unemployment benefits advance, city loses budget director
A federal judge halted a controversial election law that
limited minor political parties’ access to the ballot and ruled that the
state must allow minor parties to participate in the primary and
general elections in 2014. But by merely agreeing that only the
retroactive restrictions for 2014 are too burdensome for minor parties,
the judge left room to keep the law intact for elections in 2015 and
beyond. Still, the ruling comes as a major victory for the Libertarian
Party of Ohio and other minor parties who took to calling the
Republican-backed law the “John Kasich Re-election Protection Act”
because it conveniently limited minor parties that are upset with Republican Gov.
John Kasich’s support for the Obamacare-funded Medicaid expansion.Ohio Sen. Rob Portman broke with most of his fellow
Republicans yesterday to help advance federal legislation that would extend
emergency benefits for the long-term unemployed. Still, he hinted that
he would not support the three-month extension if the $6.4 billion cost
isn’t covered by federal spending cuts elsewhere. Without the extension,
128,600 Ohioans could lose unemployment benefits through 2014 even as
the state economy shows signs of weakening.
Cincinnati Budget Director Lea Eriksen yesterday confirmed
she is leaving her high-level city job to take the same job in Long
Beach, Calif. Peggy Sandman will fill in for Eriksen while a
search for a permanent replacement is held. Eriksen’s announcement comes as a blow to the city but little surprise to political watchers. Shortly
before taking office, Mayor John Cranley called Eriksen and other
administration officials “incompetent” because of how they handled the
$132.8 million streetcar project, even though their estimates for
cancellation costs turned out to be mostly on point.Newsflash: Global warming didn’t stop just because we’re cold now.The worst of the deep freeze should be over for Ohio.Cincinnati’s 2013 homicide rate of 25 per 100,000
residents compares to Cleveland at 22, Indianapolis at 14.85, Columbus
at 11.24 and Louisville at 8.43.An Ohio appeals court ruled Cincinnati can change medical benefits for retirees after all.Construction for the uptown interchange could begin in July and finish in late 2016.The city announced yesterday that it’s extending its
Winter Holiday Trash Amnesty through Jan. 17, which means residents have
until then to set out extra trash next to their city-provided trash
Gov. Kasich is asking parents to tell their children about
the dangers of drug abuse, as the state works to combat problems with
prescription painkillers and heroin.A Fairfield, Ohio, teacher who was fired for allegedly
telling a black student, “We don’t need another black president,” will
fight for his job.Dozens of inmates at the Lebanon Correctional Honor Camp
endured frigid conditions Monday evening after one of three furnaces
broke, according to the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and
Correction.A Cincinnati-area medical device firm is in a race with
some of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world to get a
painless drug injector on the market.People are stealing English ferrets used to hunt rabbits.A survey of brown dwarfs found they’re racked by planet-sized storms of molten iron.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy • News: @CityBeat_News • Music: @CityBeatMusic • German Lopez: @germanrlopez
0 Comments · Thursday, October 3, 2013
Republican Sen. Rob Portman; salary: 174,000; public position on shutdown: opposes repealing or weakening Obamacare through budget bills.
Gabrielle Giffords visits Cincinnati to support responsible state gun legislation after NRA defeats federal attempts
4 Comments · Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Gun control advocates lobby for legislation, even as it falters at the federal level.
by German Lopez
Ohioans support same-sex marriage, Portman's son explains coming out, charter schools fail
A new Saperstein Poll suggests Ohioans have dramatically shifted on same-sex marriage,
with 54 percent now supporting a new amendment to legalize gay marriage
and only 40 percent against it. FreedomOhio’s amendment would repeal
Ohio’s 2004 same-sex marriage ban and instead grant marriage rights to the
state’s many LGBT individuals. CityBeat covered the same-sex marriage amendment in further detail here and the inevitability of gay rights here. Last week, Gov. John Kasich reaffirmed his opposition to same-sex marriage and civil unions, which likely holds bad political consequences because of changing demographics.
Will Portman, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s son, wrote about coming out to his father and the experiences that followed
in today’s Yale Daily News.
In the column, Portman explained why his father took two years to shift on
same-sex marriage: “Some people have criticized my dad for waiting for
two years after I came out to him before he endorsed marriage for gay
couples. Part of the reason for that is that it took time for him to
think through the issue more deeply after the impetus of my coming out.
But another factor was my reluctance to make my personal life public.”
If the Ohio Department of Education adopts the more
rigorous school report cards demanded by lawmakers, many of the state’s
charter schools will get F’s.
Most schools would fall under the new standards, but 72 percent of
charter schools would fail — an unwelcome sign for
alternative schools often touted by Republicans for offering more school
choice. The schools’ advocates claim the discrepancy between charter
schools and other traditional public schools is driven by demographics
and greater diversity.
But Ohio’s charter schools are also safer for LGBT individuals than traditional schools, according to StateImpact Ohio.
City Councilman Chris Seelbach announced Friday that City Council is poised to support a motion
that will prevent companies and other groups from discriminating if
they take public funds. The initiative is coming together after the Gay, Lesbian,
Straight Education Network (GLSEN) was prevented from marching in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Western & Southern has launched the next phase of its
ongoing legal attack to run the Anna Louise Inn out of the Lytle Park
neighborhood: The financial giant is now accusing ALI and the city of lying and discrimination.
In a letter to City Solicitor John Curp, Western & Southern’s
attorneys claimed ALI can’t take federal funds and continue refusing
services to men. The city and ALI are so far unsure whether Western & Southern has a case.
Cincinnati’s Catholic schools have grown into the sixth largest Catholic schools network in the nation, serving 44,732 students in preschool through 12th grade.
New condos are opening in Over-the-Rhine.
Thousands of jobs are opening at Ohio’s insurance companies.
Ohio gas prices are up this week.
A comet, not an asteroid, may have killed the dinosaurs.
The study may provide fuel to those worried about an impending
apocalypse: There are about two million asteroids more than one
kilometer wide in the solar system, but scientists estimate that there
are up to one trillion comets.
by German Lopez
Kasich's spokesperson walks back earlier comments that supported civil unions
Earlier today, Gov. John Kasich seemed to come out in support of same-sex civil unions, but Kasich’s spokesperson says the governor was using the term “civil union” loosely and the governor is still against changing the Ohio Constitution to legalize same-sex civil unions and gay marriage.“The governor’s position is unchanged,” wrote Rob Nichols, Kasich’s spokesperson, in an email. “He opposes gay marriage and opposes changing Ohio’s Constitution to allow for civil unions. He’s opposed to discrimination against any Ohioan and, while he may have used the term ‘civil union’ loosely in this instance, he recognizes the existing rights of Ohioans to enter into private contracts to manage their personal property and health care issues.”The clarification walked back earlier comments from Kasich, who told Scripps Media, “I’ve got friends that are gay and I’ve told them ‘Look,
(same-sex marriage) is just not something I agree with,’ and I’m not
doing it out of a sense of anger or judgment; it’s just my opinion on
this issue.” He added, “I just think marriage is between a man and a woman, but if you want to have a civil union, that's fine with me.”
The comments to Scripps Media prompted a response from Ian James,
co-founder of FreedomOhio, which is pushing an amendment that would
legalize same-sex marriage in Ohio.
“I hope Gov. Kasich understands civil unions are banned by
the Ohio Constitution as well and they are a cruel substitute for legal
marriage,” he said in a statement. “We need equal rights and family
security in Ohio for same-gender couples. That's why more and more
Republicans are making the right choice and stepping up to support
The comments from Kasich, who will run for his second term as governor in 2014 and is seen as a potential
presidential candidate in 2016, come during a period of renewed soul-searching
within the Republican Party. Most recently, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced his support of same-sex marriage two years after his son came out as gay. The change means both Ohio senators now support same-sex marriage. A recent report from the Republican
National Committee acknowledged a generational divide on the same-sex
marriage issue: “Already, there is a generational difference within the
conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the
rights of gays — and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway
into whether the Party is a place they want to be.”
Not all Republicans agreed with the report, which sought to establish a new blueprint for Republicans in response to 2012’s
electoral losses. In a recent blog post,
Republican Rep. Steve Chabot wrote, “To me that (the report) sounds a whole lot like
accepting things like gay marriage, and being more liberal on abortion.
As far as I’m concerned, that’s a great way to alienate a lot of our
base who are still with us. Big mistake.”
Still, the report’s findings are supported by recent polling. A poll from The Washington Post
in September 2012 found about 52 percent of Ohioans support same-sex marriage, and
only 37 percent are against it, with a margin of error of 4.5 points.
Another poll from Pew Research Center found support for same-sex marriage is growing,
particularly because of the younger generations. Among U.S. adults, about 49
percent responded in support of same-sex marriage, and 44 percent were
in opposition. The Pew survey found a stark generational divide: Millenials — adults born after 1980 — had particularly
pronounced support for same-sex marriage at 70 percent, and about 49
percent of Generation X individuals, meaning those born between 1965 and
1980, were also in support. But only 38 percent of baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 —
supported same-sex marriage, and only 31 percent of those born between 1928
and 1945 claimed support.
Supporting same-sex civil unions would have made Kasich a moderate by Republican standards. In the 2012
Republican presidential primaries, only former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman
supported civil unions, and the rest of the candidates stood
against same-sex marriage and civil unions.
In contrast, Democrats are now widely in favor of same-sex marriage. Marriage equality was embraced in the official Democratic platform in September 2012, and
President Barack Obama became the first sitting president to support gay
marriage in May 2012.
FreedomOhio’s amendment could be on the ballot as early as this year. CityBeat
previously covered the amendment’s potential benefits and challenges,
including some opposition from Equality Ohio, another LGBT group (“Evolution of Equality,” issue of Nov. 28).
Beyond giving equal rights to same-sex couples, gay
marriage could also bring economic benefits to Ohio. A study from Bill
LaFayette, founder of Regionomics LLC, found that legalizing gay
marriage would grow Ohio’s gross domestic product, which measures
economic worth, by $100 million to $126 million within three years.
Statewide, that would sustain 740 to 930 jobs within the first year of
legalization, 250 to 310 jobs within the second year and 170 to 210
within the third year. In Hamilton County alone, legalization would
produce $8.2 million in growth, according to the study.
The U.S. Supreme Court will take up same-sex marriage in two high-profile cases next week. The cases will deal with California’s Proposition 8 law, which made same-sex marriage illegal in the Golden State, and the Defense of Marriage Act, a law signed by former President Bill Clinton that made same-sex marriage illegal on a federal level.Update (4:45 p.m.): This story was updated to reflect comments from Rob Nichols, Gov. John Kasich's spokesperson.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 20, 2013
WEDNESDAY MARCH 13:
WWE! readers might be surprised to learn
that those of us whose jobs necessitate following real news are, in
general, quite terrified of the future. For every pop culture or sports
story we actually care about, there are dozens of stories about things
like nuclear weapons, environmental catastrophes and murderers who act
nice before they kill people.
by German Lopez
Parade blocks LGBT group, parking plan awaits ruling, Boehner still against gay marriage
Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade drew a lot of criticism
Friday for excluding the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network, a
group within K-12 schools that works to prevent bullying by striving for
equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and
expression. Councilman Chris Seelbach led the criticisms and a boycott
on the parade — an effort that gained national attention.
Chris Schulte, who was on the board that organized the parade,
apparently told Seelbach that the board did not want to be affiliated
with gays and lesbians due to the parade’s Catholic roots, but Schulte
said in a follow-up press release that the parade does not allow any
political or social movement, no matter the cause.
Cincinnati’s plan to lease its parking assets to the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority remains in legal limbo,
even after a court hearing on Friday. Judge Robert Winkler, who
presided over the hearings, did not hand down a ruling after hearing
extensive legal arguments from the city and opponents of the parking
plan. Opponents argued the city charter’s definition of emergency
clauses is ambiguous, and legal precedent supports siding with voters’
right to referendum when there is ambiguity. The city said legal
precedent requires the city to defer to state law as long as state law
is not contradicted in the city charter. Cincinnati’s city charter does
not specify whether emergency legislation is subject to referendum, but
state law explicitly says emergency laws are not subject to referendum.
Despite the reversal of his friend and Republican colleague Sen. Rob Portman, House Speaker John Boehner says he doesn’t see himself ever supporting same-sex marriage. Portman gained national recognition Friday for reversing his position two years after finding out his son is gay.
Mayor Mark Mallory will announce details about the City’s
Summer Youth Jobs Program tomorrow, and he’s also seeking as many
employers as possible to participate in his eighth Annual Youth Job Fair.
Employers can sign up for free booths at www.mayormallory.com.
Due to a policy that encourages doctors to work overtime, psychiatrists are among the state’s top paid employees.
State officials say the policy saves money because overtime rates are
lower than psychiatrists’ normal hourly wages. On average, the doctors
end up working 80 hours a week, but state officials say there are
precautions in place to ensure the highest levels of care.
The Steubenville rape case came to a close over the weekend, with two teenagers being found guilty of raping a 16-year-old girl.
While most people were appalled by the teenagers’ audacity on Twitter
and other social media regarding the rape, CNN decided to report the
story with sympathy for the convicted rapists:
A University of Cincinnati study found a cholesterol drug could prevent colorectal cancer recurrence.
Sometimes science can do gross things, like resurrecting a frog that gives birth from its mouth.
Popular Science has been covering 3-D printer plans for houses, and the latest one actually looks like a house.
by Danny Cross
Senator announces support for gay marriage two years after son comes out
Terrace Park isn’t the likeliest of neighborhoods for
Cincinnatians to mingle with diverse groups of people, so it wouldn’t be that
surprising if Sen. Rob Portman maybe didn’t have much experience interacting
with gay people before his son came out two years ago.
But boy what a difference a gay son and two years of
Portman had to prepare his own coming out speech yesterday,
this one to his GOP senatorial brothers and sisters, none of which support
same-sex marriage. Imagine how nervous he must have been, sleeves rolled up,
flag pin hanging slightly askew as he spoke to reporters in response to the
op-ed he published supporting gay marriage. If he stuttered at all it’s not
because he wasn’t earnest — he just really loves his son.
Two years ago Portman’s son, Will, was a freshman at Yale when he came home and explained that being gay “was not a choice,” which seems
to have resonated with Dad. Portman consulted with religious leaders and other men
who have been anti-gay even though they have close family members who are
homosexual, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who probably said something
like, “Dude, it doesn’t matter anymore now that Obama is talking about queers
in the State of the Union and shit. Roll Tide.”
Portman explained his new found interest in respecting
millions of fellow humans this way: "[I
want] him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have
— to have a relationship like Jane and I have had for over 26 years.”
Portman says he would like to see congress overturn the Defense of Marriage Act, a
redundant and discriminatory piece of legislation banning federal recognition
of gay marriage, which he helped pass in 1996. But he still doesn’t think the
federal government should tread on the states and make them recognize it if
they don’t want to.
in Washington Harbor, Md., Republicans at the Conservative Political
Action Conference yesterday discussed their bigotry during a panel called
"A Rainbow on the Right: Growing the Coalition." The featured speaker
was Jimmy LaSalvia, whose Republican gay-rights organization GOProud wasn’t
allowed to sponsor the conference.
While gay-rights leaders celebrate the support and the
possibility of other powerful Republicans realizing that they know and care about
someone who is different, the announcement brings attention to other
conservatives trying to remove yuckiness from the party’s official stance on
homosexuality and gay marriage.
NBC News today recapped a few other Republicans who have recently
come out in support of gay-marriage:
Jon Huntsman, a GOP presidential candidate in 2012 who had endorsed civil
unions, said this year that he supports marriage rights. Furthermore, he framed
it in conservative terms.
"There is nothing conservative about denying other Americans the
ability to forge that same relationship with the person they love," he
And Theodore Olson, a former solicitor general for President George W. Bush,
has been one of the lead attorneys challenging California's Proposition 8, a
ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage in that state. (Portman fretted in
his op-ed that a court decision might hamper the political movement toward
legalizing gay and lesbian weddings.)
And Fred Malek, a Republican power-broker, told NBC News this week that
conservatives shouldn't feel threatened by gays and lesbian couples who wish to
"I've always felt that marriage is between a man and a woman, but other
people don't agree with that," he said. "People should be able to
live their lives the way they choose. And it's not going to threaten our
overall value system or our country to allow gays to marry, if that's what they
want to do."
Nearly a quarter of Republicans reportedly support same-sex
rights, leaving the door open for plenty more GOP leaders to search for gay family
members on Facebook who might offer insight inspirational enough to frame their
own stories of new found compassion and respect for other people.
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown finds bipartisan support for bringing America’s biggest banks in line
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 13, 2013
In 1911, Standard Oil underwent what many
of today’s conservatives would decry as government and judicial
overreach; the petroleum giant — 41 years old and originally from
Cleveland — was taken apart by the U.S. Supreme Court.
2 Comments · Wednesday, February 27, 2013
Washington, D.C., is once again on the
verge of another manufactured crisis. On March 1, the sequester, a
series of mandated spending cuts, is set to kick in, threatening the
country with another round of austerity measures that will cut jobs and
bring down an already-fragile economy.