0 Comments · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Under the Ohio Constitution, voters are
asked every 20 years, “Shall there be a convention to revise, alter, or
amend the constitution?” That’s what Issue 1 is all about. If voters
approve Issue 1, the General Assembly, which is currently controlled by
Republicans, will set rules for how constitutional delegates are
elected. The delegates will then go to the convention and decide what,
if any, constitutional amendments should be suggested to voters. The
process essentially bypasses the petition system for constitutional
amendments, which requires constitutional proposals obtain a certain
amount of signatures from registered voters before being put on a
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Remove Democrat and Republican for a
second. Assume there are two candidates outside of partisan labels.
Candidate A is the current sitting senator. He has a clear record and
policies to run on. Candidate B is the challenger. He has little record
and policies, and he’s been caught being dishonest time and time again —
to the extent that one major newspaper gave him an award for lying so
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
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
On Nov. 6, America will be watching Ohio
voters to see which presidential candidate we put over the top. But in
Ohio, no issue will hold the long-term weight of Issue 2. The
little-known issue seeks to reform a redistricting process that has long
been dominated by politicized redistricting — also known as
5 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
We at CityBeat take election endorsements seriously, and
you should too! Our writers spent considerable time researching 2012’s
candidates and issues and what each means to the future of Cincinnati
and America. (We also figured out what the Hamilton County coroner does
besides chopping up bodies...) This is the first half of our
endorsements — the entire collection will be available in our Election
Issue Oct. 31. Read ’em and weep, voter suppressionists!
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.Issue 2 is getting outraised quite badly. Protect Your Vote
Ohio, the group opposing Issue 2, has raised $6.9 million, while Voters
First Ohio, the group supporting Issue 2, has raised $3.6 million since July. If
Issue 2 is approved by voters, it will put an independent citizens
commission in charge of the redistricting process. Currently, the
process is handled by elected officials, who have used the process in
politically advantageous ways. Republicans redrew the First
Congressional District, Cincinnati's district, to include Warren
County. The move put more emphasis on rural and suburban voters, which
tend to side with Republicans, and less on urbanites, which tend to side
Not only will Ohio play a pivotal role in the presidential
election, but RealClearPolitics, a website that aggregates polling,
says Hamilton County is among two Ohio counties that will play the
biggest role. In light of that, President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney will be in town
this week. Obama will visit Oct. 31, and Romney will be here Nov. 2.
Currently, Obama leads in Ohio by 2.1 points, while Romney leads nationally by 0.9 points.
A partnership between the University of Cincinnati and
U.S. State Department is going to Iraq. For the third year, UC will be
working with Salahaddin University in Iraq to help
redesign the Iraqi school’s curriculum and establish a career center.
The Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio Department of Education (ODE) may merge soon, says Board of Regent Chancellor Jim Petro. The Board of Regents is already moving to ODE's building later this year. Petro said
the building move will allow the Board of Regents, which focuses on higher
education, to cooperate more with ODE, which
focuses on elementary, middle and high school.
The Ohio legislature could be getting a big ethics
overhaul in the coming weeks. Specifics weren’t offered, but Senate
President Tom Niehaus said disclosure and transparency will be
Cincinnati’s United Way beat its fundraising goal of $61 million in 2012. The goal was originally seen as “a stretch.”
The nationwide meningitis outbreak is forcing some Ohio
officials to take a look at the state’s compounding pharmacies.
Compounding is when pharmacists make custom preparations for patients
under special circumstances. The Ohio State Board of Pharmacy has
already taken action against the New England Compounding Center, whose
compound was connected with starting the meningitis outbreak.
The FBI will join an investigation into fraudulent
attendance data reporting in Ohio schools. Previously, state Auditor
Dave Yost found five school districts were scrubbing data in his first
interim report, but a second interim report cleared every other district
checked so far, including Cincinnati Public Schools.
Romney is getting a bit of attention for offensive
remarks about the LGBT community he made when he was governor. On gay parents, Romney said: "Some
gays are actually having children born to them. ... It's not right on paper.
It's not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
A Cincinnati outdoor advertising company
announced Oct. 23 that it will take down controversial billboards that
opponents claim are aimed at intimidating voters.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
Ohio’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.0 percent in
September despite employers cutting 12,800 jobs. The rate is much
lower than September's national unemployment rate of 7.8 percent.
Ohio actually lost jobs in manufacturing, construction, education,
health services, government and other sectors, with some gains in
professional and business services, information services and trade,
transportation and utilities. The new rate is a big improvement from the
8.6 percent unemployment rate in September 2011. This is the last state
unemployment rate Ohioans will see before the Nov. 6 election.
The second debate for Ohio's U.S. Senate seat took place last night. As
usual, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh
Mandel held back no punches. Each candidate mostly focused on attacking
his opponent’s integrity and record, but the men also discussed a
multitude of issues — the economy, China, Obamacare, foreign policy, gay
rights and more. Check out CityBeat’s in-depth coverage of the debate and the policy proposals espoused by the candidates here.
The final presidential debate between President Barack
Obama and Mitt Romney will take place next Monday. The debate will cover foreign
policy. Presumably, the debate will focus a lot on Iran, but Foreign Policy
has an article focusing on five bigger threats to U.S. national
security. Although the debate could be important for substance,
political scientists say debates typically have little-to-no electoral
impact. In aggregate polling, Obama is up 2.4 points in Ohio
and Romney is up one point nationally. Ohio is considered a must-win for Romney, and it could play the role of 2000's Florida.
To make the debate more fun, CityBeat will host a party at MOTR Pub in Over-the-Rhine Monday. Come join the CityBeat
team to watch the debate and live tweet. Councilman Chris Seelbach will
also show up and talk for a bit. If you can’t show up, feel free to
tweet about the debate at home with the hashtag #cbdebate. For more
information, check out the event’s Facebook page.
Ohio Senate Democrats are demanding an investigation into a
voter fraud group. The Democrats say True the Vote (TTV), a
conservative group, is unnecessarily intimidating voters. TTV claims
it’s just fighting voter impersonation fraud, but the reality is that
kind of voter fraud doesn’t seem to exist. A study from the Government
Accountability Office found zero cases of voter impersonation fraud in
the past 10 years. Another study from News21 found 10 cases since 2000,
or less than one case a year.
Meanwhile, a local group is trying to encourage Muslim voters to get educated and vote.
The Cincinnati Police Department is trying to improve
relations with the LGBT community. As part of that effort, the city
hosted a LGBT public safety forum and named the first LGBT liaison
A federal appeals court struck down the federal Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids the recognition of same-sex marriage
at a federal level. The ruling was praised by Ian James, spokesperson
for FreedomOhio, in a statement: “The federal DOMA forbids allowing
governmental recognition of civil marriage. The demise of the federal
DOMA will not resolve Ohio’s ban on marriage equality. For this reason,
we will soldier on, collect our petition signatures and win the right
for committed and loving couples to be married so they can better care
for and protect their families. That is ultimately why marriage matters
and we look to have this issue on the ballot as soon as November 2013.”
With a week left, the United Way of Greater Cincinnati
fundraising campaign has only met 70 percent of its goal. The campaign
acknowledges it’s been a tough year, but campaign chairman David Joyce
says he has been “heartened” by support.
The University of Cincinnati is committing to giving
Cintrifuse $5 million initially and $5 million at a later point.
Cintrifuse is a “startup accelerator,” meaning a company devoted to
helping startup businesses get started.
Ohio health officials urge caution as they monitor a meningitis outbreak.
Ohio’s heating assistance program for low-income
households is starting on Nov. 1. Qualifying for the program is
dependent on income and the size of the household. For example,
one-person households making $5,585 or less in the past three months or
$22,340 or less in the past 12 months are eligible, while four-person
households must be making $11,525 or less in the past three months or
$46,100 or less in the past 12 months. For more information, check out
the press release.
Kentucky is pitching into development at the Purple People
Bridge. The state is boosting a $100 million hotel and entertainment
project on the bridge with a $650,000 grant.
The Boy Scouts’ “perversion files” were released, and some of the sexual molestation cases involve Cincinnati.Science finally has a breakthrough to care about. Scientists invented a strip that ensures pizza and coffee won't burn a person's mouth.
by German Lopez
U.S. Senate candidates engage in second round of attacks
For a full hour Thursday night, Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown and
Republican challenger Josh Mandel continued their feisty fight for Ohio’s U.S.
Senate seat. For the most part, the debate centered on the candidates’
records and personal attacks, with policy specifics spewing out in between.
Apparently, the barrage of attacks is not what the
candidates had in mind before the debate started. Throughout the debate, both
candidates asked for substance, not attacks. At one point, Brown said, “I
appreciate this clash of ideas. That’s what this debate should be about.” At another
point, Mandel said, “We need less attacking, and we need more policy ideas to
put people back to work.”
These comments came well into the debate. By that time, Mandel
had criticized Brown for “Washington speak” so many times that an
exasperated Brown quipped, “I don’t get this. Every answer is about Washington
Brown also launched his own attacks, which focused on
Mandel’s dishonesty on the campaign trail, which previously earned Mandel a “Pants
on Fire” crown from Cleveland’s The Plain
Dealer, and Mandel, who is also Ohio’s treasurer, missing state treasurer
meetings to run for political office.
But Ohioans have seen enough of the attacks in the hundreds
of campaign ads that have bombarded the state in the past year. Voters probably
want to hear more about how each candidate will affect them, and the candidates
gave enough details to get some idea of where each of them will go.
On economic issues, Brown established the key difference
between the two candidates’ economic policies: Mandel, like most of his
Republican colleagues, believes in the trickle-down theory. The economic theory
says when the rich grow, they can create jobs by hiring more employees and
expanding businesses. In other words, proponents of the theory believe the
success of the rich “trickles down” to the middle class and poor through more
job opportunities. Belief in this theory is also why most Republicans call the
wealthy “job creators.” Under the trickle-down theory, the wealthy are
deregulated and get tax cuts so it’s easier for them to create jobs.
On the other hand, Brown says he supports a middle-out
approach, which focuses on policies that target the middle class. That is how
sustainable employment and growth are attained, according to Brown. Under the
middle-out approach, tax cuts and spending policies target the middle class,
and the wealthy own a higher tax burden to support government programs.
Some economists, like left-leaning Nobel laureate Paul
Krugman, say the trickle-down theory should have been put to rest with the
financial crisis of 2008. After all, deregulation is now credited with being
the primary cause of 2008’s economic crisis. In that context, more deregulation
seems like a bad idea.
Still, Brown’s contrast to Mandel holds true. Brown has
repeatedly called for higher taxes on the rich. In the debate, he touted his
support for the auto bailout and once again mocked Mandel’s promise to not
raise any taxes. These are policies that do end up benefiting the middle class
more than the wealthy. The auto bailout in particular has been credited with
saving thousands of middle-class jobs.
On the other side, Mandel told debate watchers to go to
his website and then offered some quick talking points: simplify the tax code,
end Wall Street bailouts and use Ohio’s natural gas and oil resources “in a
responsible way.” How Mandel wants to simplify the tax code is the issue. On
his website, Mandel says he supports “a flatter, fairer income tax with only
one or two brackets, eliminating almost all of the credits, exemptions and
loopholes.” A study by five leading economists suggests a flat tax model would
greatly benefit the wealthy and actually hurt the well-being of the middle class
and poor. That matches with the trickle-down economic theory.
Another suggestion on Mandel’s website says, “Help job creators. Reduce
capital gains and corporate taxes, and allow for a small business income
deduction.” The small business portion would help some in the middle class, but
an analysis from The Washington Post
found 80 percent of capital gains incomes benefit 5 percent of Americans and
half of all capital gains have gone to the top 0.1 percent of Americans. So a
capital gains tax cut would, again, match the trickle-down economic theory.
What all this means is on economic issues the choice of
candidates depends mostly on what economic theory a voter believes. Brown
believes in focusing economic policies that target the middle class, while
Mandel mostly supports policies that generally support what he calls “job
creators” — or the wealthy.
On partisanship, both sides once again threw out
different ideas. Although he was asked for three ideas, Brown only gave one:
fix the filibuster. The filibuster is a U.S. Senate procedure that allows 41
out of 100 senators to indefinitely halt any laws. The only way to break the
filibuster is by having a supermajority of 60 senators — a rarity in American
politics. Brown said if this rule was removed, a lot more could get done in
Mandel had different ideas for stopping partisan gridlock
in Washington, D.C. He touted his support for No Budget, No Pay, which would require
members of Congress to pass a budget in order to get paid. He also expressed
his support for term limits, saying lifelong politicians only add to the partisanship
in Congress. Then, in a strange twist, Mandel’s last suggestion was to stop
bailouts, which has nothing to do with partisanship or gridlock in Congress.
Then came Obamacare. Brown said he was “proud” of his
vote and continued supporting the law, citing the millions of Americans it will
insure. Meanwhile, Mandel responded to the Obamacare question by saying, “The
federal government takeover of health care is not the answer.”
The fact of the matter is Obamacare is not a “government
takeover of health care.” Far from it. The plan doesn’t even have a public
option that would allow Americans to buy into a public, nonprofit insurance
pool — an idea that actually has majority support in the U.S. Instead,
Obamacare is a series of complicated reforms to the health insurance industry.
There are way too many reforms to list, but the most basic
effect of Obamacare is that more people will be insured. That’s right, in the
supposed “government takeover of health care,” insurance companies actually gain
more customers. That’s the whole point of the individual mandate and the many
subsidies in Obamacare that try to make insurance affordable for all Americans.
Mandel made another misleading claim when he said Obamacare
“stole” from Medicare, with the implication that the cuts hurt seniors
utilizing the program. It is true Obamacare cuts Medicare spending, but the
cuts target waste and payments to hospitals and insurers. It does not directly
The one area with little disagreement also happened to be
the one area with the most misleading: China. It’s not a new trend
for politicians to attack China. The Asian country has become the scapegoat for
all economic problems in the U.S. But in this election cycle, politicians have
brandished a new line to attack China: currency manipulation. This, as Ohioans
have likely heard dozens of times, is why jobs are leaving Ohio and why the amount of
manufacturing jobs has dropped in the U.S. In fact, if politicians are taken
at their word, it’s probably the entire reason the U.S. economy is in a bad
In the Brown-Mandel debate, Brown repeatedly pointed to
his currency manipulation bill, which he claims would put an end to Chinese
currency manipulation. Mandel also made references to getting tough on China’s
One problem: China is no longer manipulating its currency.
There is no doubt China greatly massaged its currency in the past to gain an
unfair advantage, but those days are over, says Joseph Gagnon, an economist
focused on trade and currency manipulation. Gagnon argues the problem with
currency manipulation is no longer a problem with China; it’s a problem with
Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia.
If the U.S. wants to crack down on currency manipulation, those countries
should be the targets, not China, he argues.
In other words, if currency manipulation is a problem,
Mandel was right when he said that countries other than China need to be targeted. To Brown’s credit, his currency manipulation bill targets any country engaging in currency manipulation, not just China. The problem
seems to be the misleading campaign rhetoric, not proposed policy.
The debate went on to cover many more issues. Just like
the first debate, Brown typically took the liberal position and Mandel
typically took the conservative position on social issues like gay rights and
abortion. Both touted vague support for small businesses. Each candidate
claimed to support military bases in Ohio, although Mandel specified he wants
bases in Europe closed down to save money. As far as debates go, the contrast
could not be any clearer, and the candidates disagreed on nearly every issue.
The final debate between the two U.S. Senate candidates
will take place in Cincinnati on Oct. 25.
1 Comment · Wednesday, October 17, 2012
As Mitt Romney rose in the polls against
President Barack Obama following the first presidential debate, the
media quickly grabbed onto a new narrative: the Romney comeback.