by Nick Swartsell
125 days ago
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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Proposed EPA regulations aim to cut carbon dioxide
emissions from existing coal plants and new plants by as much as 30
percent by 2030, compared to 2005 levels.
Local restaurants and bakeries blend the world's two best ingredients — sugar and booze — into delectable desserts
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 9, 2013
According to these featured chefs, there
are several reasons to add alcohol to desserts, including everything
from cutting the richness and cleansing the palate to lighting it on
fire for show.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 6, 2013
TUESDAY FEB. 5: The Boy Scouts of America has decided to
realize that a gay guy can play the role of gruff scout leader who
probably drinks too much and yells at his kid too often just as well a
0 Comments · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Since ObamaCare didn’t get
faded by the Supreme Court, Jean Schmidt plans to spend the rest of the
summer riding shotgun in an ice-cream truck, waiting for a young boy or
girl to drop their frozen treat onto the asphalt by accident so she can
hop out, point and laugh at them.
Jeff Ruby’s latest restaurant goes for comfort food with flair
1 Comment · Wednesday, March 30, 2011
People who hate surprises, rejoice! I have good news. You may now come downtown, park your car and enjoy dinner and a show at the Aronoff and a very nearby eatery. Jeff Ruby has opened a new place that is custom tailored for you — the Walnut Street Grill. There are no bad surprises here. Nothing unfamiliar. These are upscaled (ever so slightly) versions of dishes you’ll find in most familiar casual restaurants.
13 Comments · Wednesday, September 30, 2009
When he was on trial in Nuremberg after World War II, Nazi leader Hermann Goering told a panel of judges how clever officials could manipulate the public to do their bidding. He was referring to persuading a reluctant population to go to war, but the same scare tactics apply to most matters of public safety. Above all, people want security and, if it seems threatened, they will panic and do almost anything.
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Showing his guts and integrity, Sherrod Brown — Ohio's Democratic U.S. senator — last week took issue with White House Chief of Staff (and all-around shifty a-hole) Rahm Emanuel after Emanuel said he didn't think the public option would survive in the Senate's health care reform bill.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Quick: During what month can you learn how to raise urban chickens in your own backyard and get $2 million in free food and wine from Jeff Ruby? Yep, it could only be August in Cincinnati.
1 Comment · Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Jeff Ruby's newest production, Bootsy's, recently began serving lunch Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. While Bootsy's typically has more of an after-work party vibe, a midday meal there could be just the mini vacation that keeps you from going batty during a long day at the office. Lunch here is a bit of a production. We were brought to the dining room for the main attraction. It was gleaming with psychedelic lighting, and the staff, like ushers, scurried about, taking care of business.