by Andy Brownfield
Cincinnati asks state to overturn law preventing cities from regulating oil and gas drilling
Cincinnati City Council continued its effort to prevent a
controversial method of drilling for oil and gas by passing a resolution
on Wednesday asking the state to allow the city to make its own
The resolution expresses council’s dissatisfaction with
the Ohio Legislature for granting “special privileges to the oil and
natural gas industry” and asks it to repeal any laws that pre-empt local
control over drilling.
The resolution targets the controversial practice of
hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which uses chemically-laced water to
free up natural gas trapped in shale formations underneath Ohio.
Fracking opponents worry that the chemicals used in the
fluid — which companies aren’t required to disclose — can be toxic to
people and animals.
Prior to the council vote, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and
Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan held a news conference on the steps of City
“I believe local officials should have a say on all
matters related to potentially hazardous activities such as fracking,”
Quinlivan said in an emailed statement. “I urge my colleagues to send a strong message to the Ohio
Governor, the Ohio Legislature, and Cincinnati residents by passing
A 2004 state law puts regulation of oil and gas drilling
under the state’s purview, preventing municipalities from regulating
drilling on their land.
Copies of the resolution will be sent to Gov. John Kasich
and members of the Ohio General Assembly elected from the Cincinnati
area. The resolution comes after Ohio recently lifted a
moratorium on new injection wells, which shoot wastewater deep
underground for storage.
There had been a temporary ban on new wells almost a year
ago after seismologists said an injection was to blame for 11
earthquakes around the Youngstown area.
City council in August passed an ordinance to band
injection wells within city limits. Because the injection well ban
doesn’t mention drilling, council hoped it wouldn’t clash with the state
law preventing local regulation of oil and gas drilling.
by German Lopez
Qualls to run for mayor, city budget proposal raises taxes, local fracking control demanded
It will soon be official. Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls will announce her mayoral campaign on Thursday at 10 a.m. Qualls has already announced her candidacy and platform on her website.
Qualls will be joined by term-limited Mayor Mark Mallory, which could
indicate support from the popular mayor. Right now, Qualls’ only known
opponent is former Democratic city councilman John Cranley, who has
spoken out against the streetcar project Qualls supports.
As part of City Manager Milton Dohoney’s budget proposal, anyone who lives in Cincinnati but works elsewhere could lose a tax credit. The budget proposal also eliminates the property tax rollback and moves to privatize the city’s parking services, which Dohoney says is necessary if the city wants to avoid 344 layoffs.
The mayor and City Council must approve Dohoney’s budget before it
becomes law. City Council is set to vote on the budget on Dec. 14.
Public hearings for the budget proposal will be held in City Hall
Thursday at 6 p.m. and in the Corryville Recreation Center Dec. 10 at 6
Vice Mayor Qualls and Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan are
pushing a resolution that demands local control over hydraulic
fracturing, or “fracking,” activity. But the resolution will have no
legal weight, so the state will retain full control over fracking
operations even if the resolution is passed. Qualls and Quinlivan will
also hold a press conference today at 1:15 p.m. at City Hall to discuss
problems with fracking, which has come under fire by environmentalist
groups due to concerns about air pollution and water contamination
caused during the drilling-and-disposal process.
Greater Cincinnati hospitals had mixed results in a new round of scores from Washington, D.C.-based Leapfrog Group.
In an effort to comply with cost cutting, the Hamilton County recorder is eliminating Friday office hours.
The Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments is looking for feedback for the Tristate’s transportation and economic plans.
This year’s drought is coming to an end in a lot of places, but not southwest Ohio.
The Ohio Senate passed a concussion bill that forces student athletes to be taken off the field as soon as symptoms of a concussion are detected.
As the state government pushes regulations or even an outright ban on Internet cafes, one state legislator is suggesting putting the issue on the ballot.
State officials argue unregulated Internet cafes are “ripe for
organized crime” and money laundering. An Ohio House committee is set to vote on the issue today. If passed, the bill will likely put Internet cafes that use sweepstakes machines out of business.
Ohio Gov. John Kasich could be preparing for a 2016 campaign. Kasich was caught privately courting Sheldon Adelson,
the casino mogul who spent millions on Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney’s
failed campaigns for the presidency. The early meetup shows how valued
super PAC funders are to modern political campaigns. State Democrats
criticized the meeting, saying it was Kasich “actively positioning to be
the next Ohio darling of the special interests.”
Ohio Sen. Rob Portman had a bit of trouble
giving a speech on the federal debt yesterday. Hecklers repeatedly
interrupted Portman, a Republican, as he tried to speak. The final
protesters were escorted out of the room as they chanted, “We’re going
to grow, not slow, the economy.” Portman says his plan is to promote
growth. But both Democrats and Republicans will raise taxes on the lower
and middle classes, according to a calculator from The Washington Post. Tax hikes and spending cuts are typically bad ideas during a slow economy.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner is facing the wrath of his tea party comrades.
The far right wing of the Republican Party is apparently furious
Boehner purged rebellious conservative legislators out of House
committees and proposed $800 billion in new revenue in his “fiscal
cliff” plan to President Barack Obama.To help combat fatigue at space stations, NASA is changing a few light bulbs.
Does this dog really love or really hate baths? You decide:
by Andy Brownfield
Mayor Mallory to join Qualls in official campaign kickoff
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls will be formally announcing her run for the top spot in Cincinnati on Thursday.
Qualls’ campaign site has been up for some time already,
and the vice mayor’s team had a meeting with political writers and
bloggers on Nov. 26.
The vice mayor will be joined by current term-limited Mayor Mark Mallory, implying his support for her mayoral run. The event is taking place at 10 a.m. at Core Clay, Inc., a small women-owned business in Walnut Hills.
Qualls, who is endorsed by both the Democratic Party and
Charter Committee, previously served as mayor from 1993-1999 after
serving in Cincinnati City Council from 1991-1993. She returned to
council in 2007.
Former city councilman John Cranley, also a Democrat, is
also running for mayor. Cranley served on council between 2001 and 2007.
His campaign will officially launch in January and former mayor Charlie
Luken will serve as the honorary chair.
Republican Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners
President Greg Hartmann is also considering a run for mayor, but hasn’t
made a formal announcement.
Cincinnati has an open mayoral primary, which means that
the top two vote-getters will run against each other in the general
election, regardless of party affiliation.
by Andy Brownfield
DNC causes first week's cancellations, Council to resume Sept. 19
After taking a two-month summer break — with a week for
some committee hearings and a council meeting — Cincinnati City Council
has canceled its meetings for the first half of September.
The council meetings for Sept. 6 and 12 have been
canceled, along with all committee meetings for the first week of
September and the Job Growth Committee meeting for Sept. 10.
Jason Barron, spokesman for Mayor Mark Mallory, said the
council meetings were canceled due to the Democratic National
Convention, which is occurring in the first week of September. Barron
said many of the Democratic officials in the city are delegates to the
Asked why the City Council meeting was canceled for the second week of September, Barron said he didn’t know.Council did meet once in August, where they approved a ballot measure to lengthen council terms from two to four years, as well as a plan to undo the sale of the Blue Ash airport.
All of the committee meetings for the week of the DNC were
canceled as well. Strategic Growth Committee chairwoman Laure Quinlivan
is not a delegate to the convention, but is attending, an aide said.
Council members Roxanne Qualls and Cecil Thomas, who chair
the Budget and Finance and Public Safety Committees respectively, did
not respond to CityBeat’s requests for comment as of Friday afternoon.
A special meeting of the Rules and Government Operations
Committee is meeting on Sept. 10 — the first committee meeting after the
summer break. An aide to committee chairman Wendell Young says the
committee is meeting to receive a report from a task force charged with
recommending ways to put grocery stores in so-called “food deserts” — neighborhoods where fresh food isn’t readily available.
The Livable Communities Committee and Major Transportation
& Infrastructure Sub-committee are meeting during the second week
of September, but the first full council meeting isn’t until the 19th.
Council still has a few big-ticket items it is expected
to deal with this year, including proposed budget cuts from City Manager
Milton Dohoney (expected to be laid out in November) and the approval
of a new city plan, which shifts development emphasis from downtown and
Over-the-Rhine to the city’s other 50 neighborhoods. More on that plan here.
Cincinnati's de-facto third party fights to preserve a historical mission
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 1, 2012
It’s something purely Cincinnati with a
long-standing place in local political history, and many Cincinnatians
aren’t even aware of it.
City Council to determine which proposal for four-year terms voters will see in November
1 Comment · Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Cincinnati voters will decide in November
whether their City Council members will serve four-year terms instead of
the current two-year ones — councilors just haven’t decided which
proposal to send to voters.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 25, 2012
The message at a July 18 County Commission public hearing: Don’t reduce funding for mental health and senior services.
by Andy Brownfield
at 03:48 PM | Permalink
Lack of levy increase would reduce funding
The message at a Wednesday County Commission public hearing: Don’t reduce funding for mental health and senior services.
The Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners must
determine the levy amounts by Aug. 8. Last week the county’s Tax Levy
Review Committee determined that the levies that fund services such as
Meals on Wheels, home care and counseling for 30,000 county residents
should remain at their current rate — an effective cut to their funding.
Property owners currently pay $77.70 in taxes from the
levy on a $100,000 home. Maintaining the current levy would represent a
reduction in funding because of declining property values.
Cincinnati Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls urged commissioners to make sure senior services were fully funded.
“When families have to make the choice between caregiving
and work, that some families, without this levy fully funded, would have
to choose not to work in order to provide care,” Qualls said. “That is a
terrible choice to put families in the midst of.”
Doris VanLouit, who has been a member of the Sycamore
Senior Center for more than 10 years and volunteered at the front desk,
told commissioners that many seniors depend on the services funded by
“Sometimes the Meals on Wheels drivers are the only folks that these shut-ins see all week long,” VanLouit said.
“And transportation to the center is so vital because I
see them come in … on walkers and canes, and this is the only social
atmosphere that they get all week.”
The Tax Levy Review Committee recommended that the
agencies receiving funding from the levies find areas to cut and operate
In a letter to the Board of County Commissioners, the
committee said it tried to balance the needs of the service recipients
with the ability of taxpayers to take on additional burden.
The Enquirer reported that committee member Dan
Unger during a Monday board meeting said the committee was trying to
protect “people who invest in housing and choose to live here.”
Mental Health and Recovery Services Board Chairman Thomas Gableman said creating efficiencies might not be possible.
Gableman said over the last 5 years there has been a 10
percent decrease in levy revenue, while there’s been a 16 percent
increase in clients served over that same period. He said the board has
implemented nearly $4 million in cuts over the last year.
“We operate at 2.3 percent administrative cost. When the
Tax Levy Review Committee talks about increase in efficiencies, we’ve
gone through that exercise over and over again — there are no further
cuts in administrative costs,” Gableman said.
“When we start talking about cuts, it will be in services.”
Pat Tribbe, Mental Health Board president and CEO, said it
would only require an additional $6 per year in property taxes to keep
the board’s funding level.
The Board of County Commissioners plans to have two more
public hearings on the levies before they vote — at 11:30 a.m. and 5:30
p.m. on Aug. 1.
Ultimately it is up to Hamilton County voters in November to approve or strike down the levies.
by Danny Cross
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls responded to Rep. Steve Chabot’s
Wednesday attempt to block federal funding for Cincinnati’s
streetcar construction by calling it “an outrageous interference in
local government decision-making.” The Enquirer today recapped the
situation, which involves Chabot adding the following amendment to a
massive federal transportation bill: “None of the funds
made available by this Act may be used to design, construct, or operate a
fixed guideway project located in Cincinnati, Ohio.” The amendment has
little chance at being included in the final passage of the bill, as the
Senate and President Obama would both have to approve and sign it.
A parody video of a Western &
Southern PR representative explaining why the insurance company should
build condos at the site of the century-old women’s shelter has earned a
response from W&S. The company’s VP of public relations told The Enquirer: “Whoever
created the video, we think it’s unfortunate that they’ve taken this
approach,” he said. “We think it’s a distraction from finding a win-win
for all involved.” The video is no longer available on YouTube, however,
due to “a copyright claim by Canipre inc.”
Speaking of funny videos, MSNBC posted this video of Rep.
Jean Shmidt apparently reacting to someone incorrectly telling her that
President Obama’s health care law had been struck down. Schmidt can be
seen twisting around and making strange screaming sounds.
Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy