by Nick Swartsell
Posted In: News
at 10:51 AM | Permalink
Local GOPers take heat for supporting Boehner; Supreme Court will hear Ohio gay marriage ban case; smuggling bad stuff in the good book
Hello all! Happy Monday. It’s Martin Luther King, Jr. day, and there are a number of things going on around the city in commemoration of the civil rights leader, including a march from The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center to Fountain Square at 10 a.m. and a ceremony at Music Hall at noon. This is the 40th year Cincinnati has celebrated MLK Day, so if you’re not stuck at work like I am, maybe head out and take part. More news: Cincinnati’s City Prosecutor Charlie Rubenstein retired Friday. Recently, Rubenstein has been the center of controversy around alleged prosecutorial overreach stemming from a case over the summer where a suspect was accused of stealing $200 worth of candy from a convenience store and putting it in his pants. A security camera was running at the time of the incident and the suspect’s public defender was able to get a copy of the tape. The prosecutor’s office, however, waited too long to request a copy and the store’s owner erased it. After the Hamilton County Public Defender’s Office refused to release its copy, Rubenstein had a judge issue a warrant allowing him to search the entire public defender’s office, which of course was not well received. Head public defender Ray Faller fired off a letter to city officials in October accusing Rubenstein of violating the rights of accused suspects. Councilman Charlie Winburn in October called for a Department of Justice investigation into Rubenstein’s actions. It’s unclear if Rubenstein’s sudden retirement has anything to do with the controversy. He had held the job, which prosecutes misdemeanors in the city, since 2011. He’d worked for the city since 1979. The city has named Assistant City Solicitor Heidi Rosales as interim prosecutor until a permanent replacement can be hired.• Two of Cincinnati’s conservative congressmen are taking heat for supporting fellow local guy House Speaker John Boehner. Reps. Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, both among the most conservative members of the House, have been getting an earful from tea party-affiliated constituents about their support of Boehner during his re-election for House Speaker, the top perch in the chamber. If you’re not familiar with this plot point in the ongoing soap opera that is Republican politics of late, a brief synopsis: The tea party hates Boehner because he hasn’t done enough to roll back federal spending, Obamacare and the liberal agenda in general. Whatever that is. Anyway, a few conservatives in the House signaled they were backing tea party affiliated challengers who lined up to oppose Boehner in the election for speaker, but mostly at the last minute. The gestures had little affect, and Boehner still won easily. Chabot and Wenstrup both point out it would have done little good to vote against their fellow Ohioan, and besides, they say, his challengers came too late and didn’t signal they were serious. • The U.S. Supreme Court announced Friday that it will hear arguments about gay marriage bans in Ohio and other states this spring, lining up what could be a precedent-setting legal battle over Ohio’s ban. In November, the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals here in Cincinnati upheld those bans, though other circuit courts across the country have struck them down. That court’s logic was that any ban should be removed by democratic process, not by courts. Ohio voters approved a 2004 amendment to the state’s constitution banning gay marriage, though some public opinion experts say mainstream values have changed since that time. Opponents of this logic liken marriage equality to past advances on civil rights issues which took federal intervention and court decisions to bring about. • Will Ohio tap more private prison companies in response to a possible prison overcrowding crisis? It’s a possibility, state officials say. The number of prisoners in the state’s prison system has begun growing again. The state had been seeing declines due to changes in the way those convicted of some crimes are sentenced. Beginning in 2009, Ohio eliminated more than 2,000 spots for inmates across the state. But a recent increase in the prison-bound, especially non-violent drug offenders, will once again stretch the state’s capacity to hold prisoners. Prison officials say the state either needs to find new ways to house those prisoners or commit to community-based programs that can mitigate the need to house people in state penitentiaries. But those programs can take time to work. In the meantime, the state is looking at ways it can house more inmates, potentially through contracts with private companies like Corrections Corporation of America, which runs a private prison in Youngstown and elsewhere in the state. Audits have found the company does not always comply with state standards. The company also has a rocky history. CCA’s Youngstown prison shut down for a few years after a number of inmate deaths and injuries focused scrutiny on the facility. Efforts to meet state standards at the prison proved too costly, and it was shuttered. It reopened a few years later as a temporary prison for those awaiting federal trials. • Speaking of Ohio and Republicans, here's just what we need: more national Republicans in our fair state. The GOP announced this weekend that it will hold its first debate between candidates for the party’s presidential nomination in the heart of it all. The debate will take place in August. No specific location has been set yet, but the announcement is yet another sign that Ohio will be a huge focus for the 2016 presidential election. The GOP is holding the 2016 Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Democrats are mulling putting theirs in Columbus and the NAACP will hold its 2016 convention in Cincinnati. • Finally, I saw the headline for this story from the Associated Press and thought “I wonder if that’s in Ohio.” My suspicions were confirmed. Turns out that back in December, a couple folks tried to smuggle heroin into the Hamilton County Justice Center via a bible. What kind of joke can I make about this that won’t be horribly offensive? Just going to leave it right there and walk away.
by German Lopez
Streetcar gets path forward, redistricting reform under works, federal budget deal approved
In what could be another chance of survival for the $132.8 million streetcar project, Mayor John Cranley on Thursday announced he's willing to continue the project if private contributors cover annual operating expenses that would hit an already-strained operating budget. Although Cranley gave private-sector leaders and streetcar supporters only one week to get a legally binding plan together, Eric Avner of the Haile Foundation said he is quite confident that private contributors could pull together some assurances for the 30 years in operating expenses in the short time span. The potential operating costs have long been a concern for opponents of the streetcar project, even though supporters insist that they would be more than made up by the economic development spurred by the streetcar.Commentary: "Cincinnati's Impoverished Continue to be Underserved and Undercovered."A constitutional review panel seems to agree on a few key points regarding redistricting reform, which could fix a system that's long been abused by politicians on all sides of the aisle to give their political parties an advantage during elections. The panel agreed to create a seven-member board that would redraw Ohio's congressional and legislative districts after the next census is taken in 2020, but it's undecided how much power the minority party should hold on the board. In the last round of redistricting, Republican leaders redrew Ohio's political maps to deemphasize demographics that typically support Democrats and provide stronger spreads for demographics that typically support Republicans. CityBeat covered the issue and its potential impacts in greater detail here.House Speaker John Boehner, a Republican, was the only federal legislator from the Cincinnati area to approve a budget deal that will avoid the threat of future government shutdowns. The deal replaces some of the controversial, blunt budget cuts known as "sequestration" with revenue from hiked fees and savings from cuts elsewhere. Reps. Steve Chabot and Brad Wenstrup, both Republicans from Cincinnati, voted against the deal because it makes cuts over a long period of time. But many economists agree long-term cuts are necessary to avoid the negative effects of budget cuts on today's already-weak economy. The Washington Post ran through the budget deal in further detail here.Weigh in on the Eastern Corridor project here.An Ohio House bill would eliminate the license requirement for carrying a concealed handgun in the state.Health Care Access Now, which helps low-income people in Ohio and Kentucky get health care, obtained a $600,000 grant that could reach 4,500 more patients in the Cincinnati area.Drug abusers might be intentionally injuring their pets to obtain painkillers.Expect more snow tonight, according to The Weather Channel.The University of Cincinnati filed a lawsuit against Crayola
that claims the toy company uses technology invented and patented by UC
without the university's permission.A former Miami University president is now warning of the potential issues caused by recruiting too many wealthy, out-of-state students.A public memorial will be held for William Mallory Sr., a prominent
local politician and ex-Mayor Mark Mallory's father, at the Cincinnati
Museum Center on Sunday. RSVP here.The Cincinnati Parks Foundation received a $1.5 million gift from the Anderson Foundation to underwrite the pavilion in Smale Riverfront Park.A climatologist argues nuclear power is the only way to curb global warming.Scientists created a pen that allows doctors to 3-D print bones right onto patients.Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy • News: @CityBeat_News • Music: @CityBeatMusic • German Lopez: @germanrlopez
10 Comments · Friday, October 4, 2013
John Boehner is 63. In 20 years he’s going to be an 83-year-old disgrace to this country.
0 Comments · Thursday, October 3, 2013
Republican Rep. Steve Chabot; salary: $174,000; public position on shutdown: supports repealing or weakening Obamacare through budget bills.
1 Comment · Wednesday, January 30, 2013
U.S. Rep Steve Chabot is refusing to help the battered Northeast United States with federal disaster relief.
by Bill Sloat
Congressman urged victims of Southwest Ohio tornadoes last march to seek federal aid
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot called the deadly storms that hit
the Cincinnati area last March “catastrophic,” and he offered shattered
communities a financial lifeline through the U.S. Small Business
Administration’s low-interest rate disaster loan program.
In 1997, when Washington wrangling over budget issues held
up relief after the Ohio River flooded Cincinnati, Chabot raged against
“politics at its worst” and said his hometown truly needed federal
assistance to rebuild. His words at the time: “Let us get the disaster
relief to the people who truly need it.”
Fast-forward to January 2013, and Chabot is a refusenik
when it comes to helping the battered Northeast United States with
federal disaster relief.
Former New York Sen. Al D’Amato is calling the Republican
House members like Chabot who wouldn’t support $60 billion in aid for
Hurricane Sandy-ravaged states a "bunch of jackasses.” The jackasses are members of his D’Amato’s own political
party. Chabot apparently balked at the Sandy relief package because it
offered federal cash to the National Park Service and other agencies
that needed funding after the storm. Chabot saw pork where most in the
House — the two Sandy bills
passed by huge margins — saw responsible and necessary federal actions;
to borrow his words, getting “disaster relief to people who really need
it.” Chabot and his fellow travelers are getting pounded as short-sighted skinflints. And he probably can be criticized as a hypocrite.
After the massive March tornado outbreak, Chabot posted
links on his Twitter account and his official House website that guided
Ohioans in the ravaged areas on how to apply for federal help. He
pointed to the U.S. Small Business Administration as a source of
disaster loans. On April 16, 2012, Chabot said, “The tornadoes on March
12 affected many in our region in various ways, and the Small Business
Administration (SBA) may be able to help those who have experienced
‘uninsured’ losses caused by these catastrophic storms. If you are
located in Brown, Clermont, Clinton, Hamilton or Warren counties and
experienced damages caused by the tornadoes, high winds or flooding, you
may be eligible for assistance from the SBA’s Disaster Loan program.
The Disaster Loan Outreach Center has reopened in Moscow, Ohio, with
You can find the link from Chabot’s official House website by clicking here.
But there is more to the story. In 1997, after a
disastrous Ohio River flood wrecked much of Cincinnati’s riverfront,
Chabot ripped into then President Bill Clinton for vetoing a disaster
relief package. Clinton was furious that the GOP had tied flood aid to
his showdown with former Speaker Newt Gingrich over a government
shutdown. Chabot said stopping the 1997 disaster relief package was a
refusal to help Cincinnatian rebuild and get on with their lives.
Chabot took the House floor and gave a speech about
Cincinnati needing federal disaster relief. Here is his speech from June
“Mr. Speaker, yesterday President Clinton sent a callous
message to the flood-ravaged American families in the Midwest. Only
minutes after receiving the disaster relief bill from Capitol Hill, the
President who likes to say he feels our pain told thousands of flood
victims that he was going to veto the bill that would help them rebuild
their homes and get on with their lives.
“Why did President Clinton veto the legislation? Because
the bill contained a provision that would stop him from forcing another
Government shutdown. Let me repeat that. The President is withholding
aid to thousands of flood victims so he can reserve the right to once
again put thousands and thousands of government employees out of work
and bring the work of the federal government to a halt.
“Despite the fact that the President in a master of spin,
Mr. Speaker, I do not think he is going to be able to spin this one
much. The American people are going to see through this. It is politics
at this worst. Let us get disaster relief to the people who truly need
You can read his House speech here.
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Rigged? Wait, what?
Truth be told, CityBeat would love
to endorse a Democrat for the First Congressional District. Generally
speaking, we do not support Rep. Steve Chabot. We don’t like his
opposition to Obama’s jobs bills. We don’t like how he went along with
the debt-ceiling crisis of 2011 that nearly brought down the entire
economy and led S&P to downgrade the U.S. credit rating from a AAA
rating to a AA+ rating. We don’t like how he amended a transportation
law to make it so Cincinnati can’t get streetcar funding from the
federal government. So we would love to endorse a Democratic opponent to
by German Lopez
City says a number of issues contributed to more than yearlong postponement
The $110 million streetcar project's opening is being delayed by more than a full year — from spring 2014 to summer 2015.
Meg Olberding, city spokesperson, attributes the delay to “a number of scheduling issues.”
“There’s so many moving pieces,” she says. “There are
issues with utility and we have to order the cars. We
have to get a contractor on-board for the work. So we still have a
couple of things that are taking longer than we thought.”The delay, which was announced Sept. 10, is
the latest in a history of plan and schedule changes for the Cincinnati
streetcar, which saw $52 million pulled by Gov. John Kasich last year and forced
the city to abandon its Uptown connector lines. Kasich, who has been against other rail projects in the state, claimed the move was necessary to balance the 2012-2013 budget.Today, a feud between
the city and Duke Energy is causing more trouble. The city and utility company disagree over
who should pay for moving utility lines to accommodate the
streetcar. On Aug. 29, the city said it was considering a lawsuit to
resolve the issue. Olberding says the conflict played a role in the delay.“We need to resolve that quickly because, obviously, the
longer we can’t get utility work done, it’ll cause delays and cost
overruns,” she says. “So we want to get that done as soon as possible.”
Before the current spat, the city and Duke could not agree
on whether manhole covers and utility lines should be eight feet from
streetcar tracks or three to four feet. The city claimed the smaller
number was fine, but Duke disagreed, citing fears for its workers. In a
previous look at the issue, CityBeat found the city’s standard
was supported by experiences in other cities (“The Great Eight Debate,”
issue of March 6). The city eventually won out, and manholes will only be required to be three to four feet from streetcar tracks.The streetcar has faced consistent opposition from other Republicans besides Kasich. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati successfully amended the 2013 transportation bill to ban federal funding from going to the streetcar and other light rail projects. Councilman Charlie Winburn, the lone Republican on Cincinnati City Council, said the city should stop its threat of lawsuit against Duke Energy.
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, Foreign Relations
, President Obama
at 03:16 PM | Permalink
Local Republicans criticize president's record on deficit in counter-rally
President Barack Obama announced a new trade action
against China during a Cincinnati campaign stop on Monday, where he also
took the opportunity to attack Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
The U.S. filed the case at the World Trade Organization on
Monday and claims that China offers “extensive subsidies” to native
automakers and auto-parts producers.
The Chinese government filed its own complaint before the
WTO on Monday, challenging tariffs the U.S. imposes on Chinese products
ranging from steel to tires. The tariffs are meant to protect American
manufacturers against what the U.S. government claims are unfair trade
practices by China.
“(The U.S. action is) against illegal subsidies that
encourage companies to ship auto part manufacturing jobs overseas,”
Obama said before an estimated crowd of 4,500 at the Seasongood Pavilion
in Eden Park. “These are subsidies that directly harm working men and
women on the assembly lines in Ohio and Michigan and across the
“It’s not right, it’s against the rules, and we will not let it stand. American
workers build better products than anyone. ‘Made in America’ means
something. And when the playing field is level, America will always
Obama went on to criticize his Republican challenger,
saying Romney made his fortune in part by uprooting American jobs and
shipping them to China. Obama accused Romney — who has criticized
Obama’s foreign policy, saying the president apologizes for American
interests — of talking the talk without being able to walk the walk.
The Romney campaign countered with an email after the
rally, saying that Obama’s economic policies were hurting the private
sector and harmed manufacturing.
“The President’s misguided, ineffective policies have
hampered the private sector and allowed China to flaunt the rules while
middle-class families suffer,” Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda
“As president, Mitt Romney will deliver a fresh start for
manufacturers by promoting trade that works for America and fiscal
policies that encourage investment, hiring and growth.”
The email pointed to reports from Bloomberg finding that manufacturing and production have shrunk recently.
Before the Obama rally several Ohio Republicans held a
news conference behind a Romney campaign bus near Eden Park, where they
focused more on the deficit than foreign trade.
U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot said it was “laughable” that
Obama considers himself a budget hawk. He pointed to the decline in
budget negotiations between the president and the Republican-controlled
House of Representatives, saying Obama “walked away” from talks with
Speaker John Boehner.
“Basically as president from that time last August until now, it’s been all politics,” Chabot said.
Chabot also attacked Obama on foreign policy, claiming the
president has left Israel hanging in the Middle East and is not serious
with Iran, who he says is on the brink of getting nuclear weapons.
The president in his speech said he did have a plan to
reduce the federal deficit, and would reduce it by $4 trillion over the
next 10 years without raising taxes on the middle class.
Monday’s visit to Cincinnati was Obama’s second of this
campaign and his 12th trip to Ohio this year. Romney has visited the
state 18 times during his campaign.
Obama was scheduled to fly to Columbus Monday afternoon for a campaign appearance there.
by German Lopez
Boehner staffer got request filled in 13 minutes, no questions asked
The Ohio Voters First campaign for Issue 2 has shined some
light into how Ohio’s district boundaries are redrawn. In a new graph, the campaign revealed that getting a business added to a district
is sometimes as simple as asking for a favor.
Just a day before the approval of Ohio’s new district
maps, Tom Whatman, a Boehner staffer, sent an email to Adam Kincaid, a
staffer for the National Republican Congressional Committee, and others in charge of redistricting. In the
back-and-forth, Whatman asks for a “small carve out” to include a
manufacturing business in the congressional district for Rep. Jim
Renacci, a Republican who has received support from the business in the
past. Before 13 minutes had passed, Kincaid replied to Whatman, securing
the change with no questions asked.
“Thanks guys,” Whatman replied. “Very important to someone important to us all.”
The Voters First graph, which mocks the 13-minute exchange
with the title “Jim Renacci: The 13 Minute Man,” can be found here. The
full emails, which were released by the Ohio Campaign for Accountable
Redistricting in a Dec. 2011 report, can be seen online here.Jim Slagle, who served as manager for the Ohio Campaign
for Accountable Redistricting, says the emails are indicative of a
redistricting process that is controlled entirely by “political
insiders.” Slagle says the interests of the people come second to politics under the current system.
If Issue 2 is approved by voters this November, the
redistricting process will be placed in the hands of an independent
citizens commission. Under the current system, the state government is
tasked with redrawing district boundaries every 10 years. Republicans have controlled
the process four out of six times since 1967, which is when the process
was first enacted into law. The political party in charge typically redraws
districts in a politically favorable manner in a process known as
“gerrymandering.”On Saturday, Rep. Steve Chabot, who represents Cincinnati
in the U.S. House of Representatives, told supporters to vote against
Issue 2. Chabot is enormously benefiting off the current redistricting
process. Cincinnati’s district was redrawn to include Warren County,
which has more rural voters that typically vote Republican, and less of
Cincinnati, which has more urban voters that typically vote Democrat. The
shift to less urban voters is emphasized in this graph by MapGrapher: