WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 12.20.2012
 
 
mikedewine

Morning News and Stuff

DeWine calls for school staff training, Music Hall to be leased, bus money not for streetcar

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is proposing training school staff and teachers to be first responders in the case of an attack. The news comes in the wake of the massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which caused the deaths of 20 children and six adults. CityBeat proposed its own solution in this week’s commentary: Make this time different by focusing on mental health services and gun control. Cincinnati will lease Music Hall for 75 years to the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC). The lease is part of a plan to renovate the iconic building to include more comfortable seating, extra restroom capacity, heating, air conditioning, improved plumbing and new escalator models. During the renovations, Music Hall will be closed for 17 months. City Council passed a resolution promising not to use Metro bus money for the streetcar. The supposed conflict between the city of Cincinnati and the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is being drummed up by the media, but it’s really much ado about nothing.  Metropolitan Sewer District rates will go up by 5 percent in early 2013. The Cincinnati Health Department is pushing recommendations from a lead hazard study. The recommendations would prohibit lead-based paint hazards and require all properties to be free of lead-based paint, dust and soil. City Council is asking the health department to carry out the regulations, and it expects from a plan and timetable from regulators within 60 days. One study found getting rid of lead would do wonders for school performance A Brookings Institute ranking placed Greater Cincinnati among the worst areas in the country due to falling home prices. Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank agreed to a $16 million settlement in a securities fraud case. The four-year-old lawsuit was brought in the onset of 2008’s financial crisis, when the bank’s stock plummeted as it took several large writedowns. Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino still needs to fill 450 positions in food and beverage, marketing, finance, security and more. A Washington Post analysis found casinos tend to bring jobs, but they also bring crime, bankruptcy and even suicide. As expected, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is helping Ohio’s economy. The state has 39,000 jobs attached to oil and gas this year, and the number is expected to triple by the end of the decade. To take advantage of the boom, Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he will push his oil-and-gas severance tax in 2013. But the plan faces opposition from liberals and conservatives. If Ohio Republicans tried to push “right-to-work” legislation, it would lead to a very nasty public fight, The Plain Dealer reports. Kasich and Republican lawmakers didn’t rule out using ballot initiatives to push conservative ideas like right-to-work in a press conference yesterday, but he did say he’s like a horse with blinders on, focusing on job creation. The animal and robot takeover have been merged in the BigDog robot. It can now obey voice commands, follow and roll over.
 
 
by German Lopez 12.19.2012
Posted In: News, Development, Government, Privatization at 11:24 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
music hall

Music Hall Renovations Coming

City will lease Music Hall to private company for 75 years

Cincinnati’s Music Hall will be getting renovations, but the project will be much smaller than anticipated. Instead of the previously estimated $165 million, the project, which involves the city leasing the iconic building to the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) for 75 years, will only cover approximately $95 million. At a joint press conference Wednesday, Mayor Mark Mallory and Otto Budig, president of MHRC, officially announced the plan, which City Council will take up early next year. Not many details or a timeline were announced at the press conference, but some information did come to light. The renovations will include more comfortable seating, extra restroom capacity, heating, air conditioning, improved plumbing and new escalator models. During the renovations, Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet, will be closed for an estimated 17 months. “We will do this in a manner that carries with it the surety that the project will be complete,” Budig said. “The worst thing we could do is start this project without the natural resources and pledges available.” On top of the leasing agreement, the city will also help fund the project through tax credits.  The lease continues the trend of public-private partnerships city government has used to revitalize Over-the-Rhine and downtown Cincinnati in recent years. From the Banks to Washington Park, the city of Cincinnati has pushed to be seen as a more attractive, business-friendly environment. However, that has come with some push back. The Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and city have previously faced criticisms from homeless advocates for allegedly discriminatory rules at Washington Park, which were later voted down by the Cincinnati Park Board. Some public officials have also raised concerns about the city giving away too many of its public assets. The 2013 budget currently relies on a proposal that will privatize Cincinnati’s parking assets, a plan that has faced heavy criticism from Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld and mayoral candidate John Cranley. City Manager Milton Dohoney argues the privatization plan is necessary to avoid 344 layoffs.
 
 
by German Lopez 12.19.2012
Posted In: Budget, News, Streetcar, Mayor, Development at 12:40 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Supposed City-SORTA Conflict Much Ado About Nothing

SORTA wants to limit transit fund, Mallory refuses

In the past few days, local media outlets have reported heavily on a supposed conflict between Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) and the city of Cincinnati. Essentially, SORTA wants the transit fund limited, while the city government says it doesn’t want to “undermine the city charter” with limitations. At its heart, the argument is a political back-and-forth with little consequence. It’s two government agencies at a small divide over legalese in an intergovernmental agreement about how the streetcar will operate and how it will be funded. The specific issue is SORTA, which runs the Metro bus system and will operate the streetcar, wants to include phrasing in its agreement with the city that makes it so the transit fund can’t be used for the streetcar. In a 7-6 vote Tuesday, SORTA's board pushed its preferred wording along with an application for an $11 million federal grant that will help fund the streetcar.But the city government claims the limitation would go against the spirit of the city charter, which says the transit fund can be used for “public transit purposes generally and without limitation.”UPDATE: City Council on Wednesday passed a resolution promising not to use Metro bus money on the streetcar, although it has no legal standing preventing council from later coming back and using transit funds for the streetcar. Still, Mayor Mark Mallory’s office has insisted time and time again that funding for the streetcar’s construction and operation is already allocated, so taking any money from the transit fund will be unnecessary. Specifically, the city will tap into casino revenue to operate the streetcar, on top of the $11 million federal grant. In an op-ed for The Cincinnati Enquirer Monday, Mallory said the real issue goes back to an ongoing lawsuit between SORTA and the city. In 2010, the city diverted money from the transit fund to pay for street lights. That prompted a lawsuit from SORTA, asking the courts to define the limits of the transit fund. The mayor’s office sees the wording from SORTA as an attempt from the transit agency to score a minor victory in the legal battle. If the city government accepted the wording, it would be agreeing to a limited transit fund, which is essentially what SORTA wants. SORTA’s wording also makes it so all transit fund money will continue going to the Metro bus system, which is the agency’s sole service today. But even SORTA says the disagreement is getting blown out of proportion by media outlets and public officials. Sallie Hilvers, spokesperson for SORTA, says the wording in the approved agreement was the board’s attempt to ensure the transit fund isn’t used for the streetcar, but, for the most part, it’s “really just procedures.”  Hilvers insisted the disagreement over wording has plenty of time to be worked out, and it will not hinder collaboration between the city of Cincinnati and SORTA. The agreement will need to be worked out before summer 2013 for the streetcar to stay on track.
 
 

Christmas Comes Early for Reds

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Walt Jocketty’s Christmas list wasn’t long, but it was still a tall order. Well, two weeks before Dec. 25, he checked off the final big-ticket item: a leadoff hitter.  

Solar Cincinnati

Push for solar energy could help revitalize Cincinnati’s economy

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Could Cincinnati become the solar capital of the region? A new report by a citizen-based environmental advocacy group says yes.   

Make This Time Different

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
On Dec. 14, the United States was hit by another mass shooting. This time, a gunman forced himself into an elementary school and killed 20 children and six adults.   

Cincinnati vs. The World 12.19.2012

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed a measure into law that will crack down on puppy mills — inhumane, large-scale dog breeding operations run for profit, often resulting in severe neglect and abuse. CINCINNATI +1    

Council Passes Budget Reliant on Parking Lease

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
Cincinnati City Council approved a budget Dec. 14 that relies on parking privatization as a means to plug a $34 million budget deficit while also raising property taxes in 2014.   

Judge Who Sealed Miami Rape Flier Case Defends Decision

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The Butler County judge who granted the anonymity of a former Miami University student convicted of posting a rape tips list on campus is standing by his decision.    

Cincinnati Financial Giants Get Zeroes in LGBT Scores

0 Comments · Wednesday, December 19, 2012
LGBT rights are becoming “the new normal” in corporate America, but American Financial Group and Western & Southern Financial Group are apparently exceptions.   

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