by Andy Brownfield
Outcry, national attention spurred removal of voter fraud displays
A Cincinnati outdoor advertising company announced Tuesday
that it will take down controversial billboards that opponents claim
are aimed at intimidating voters.
Norton Outdoor Advertising had been contracted to put up
about 30 billboards that read “Voter Fraud is a Felony!” The billboards
also listed the maximum penalty for voter fraud — up to 3 and a half years and a
Opponents of the billboards claim they were strategically
placed in predominantly low-income and black neighborhoods in Cincinnati
as a means to discourage those largely Democratic voters from going to
The billboards were funded by an anonymous “private family foundation.”
In a statement posted online, Norton Executive Vice
President Mike Norton said the displays would be taken down as soon as
possible. He wrote that the
foundation and Norton agreed after hearing criticism that the sentiment
surrounding the displays was contrary to their intended purpose.
The family foundation didn’t intend to make a political
statement, but rather make the public aware of voting regulations, he
“We look forward to helping to heal the divisiveness that has been an unfortunate result of this election year,” Norton wrote.
Norton had previously told CityBeat that the billboards were not targeted but distributed randomly throughout the city.
Several Cincinnati officials wrote to the company requesting the billboards be taken down.
ClearChannel Outdoor Advertising announced on Monday that it was removing similar billboards in Cleveland and Columbus.
The billboards throughout Ohio had garnered national criticism and media attention.
A rival outdoor advertising company is putting up 10 new billboards to rebut the voter fraud ones.
The new red, white and blue billboards will read “Hey Cincinnati, voting is a right not a crime!”
Cincinnati City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld said in an
emailed news release that he reached out to Lamar Advertising
Company to ask if they would donate the billboards throughout
“We should be encouraging folks to participate in our
democratic process, not trying to scare them,” Sittenfeld wrote. “I
salute Lamar’s generosity and their support in encouraging citizens to
raise their voice and not be scared away.”
by Andy Brownfield
"Nuns on the Bus" tour to encourage voters to pick candidates that will provide for poor
A group of Catholic nuns kicked off a 1,000-mile, six-day
tour across Ohio on Wednesday, during which they plan on telling voters to
elect candidates who will do the most for the state’s poor.
“In democracy, the role of government is to represent all
of us and show us how we work together,” said Sister Simone Campbell, a
Catholic nun and executive director of Catholic lobbying group NETWORK.
“So that when some politicians want to tell us that there
is no role for government, that government is only there to let
individuals take care of their individualistic selves, I want to say,
‘that’s not democracy. That’s not our Constitution, and that’s not our
The “Nuns on the Bus” tour started Wednesday in Cincinnati
and will travel through Dayton, Lima, Columbus, Toledo, Fremont,
Cleveland, Youngstown, Akron, Athens and Marietta before ending back in
Cincinnati on Oct. 15.
The trip features Catholic nuns from across Ohio who will
be urging Ohio voters to examine what the Bible says about caring for
the poor. Dominican Sister of Hope Monica McGloin said voters should
choose the candidate who would best embody those teachings.
McGloin said the tour would not support any political party or candidate.
“We certainly don’t want to be partisan, because that’s
not what we’re about,” she said. “The fact is, neither candidate is
talking about the poor.”
While the bus tour kickoff was nonpartisan – speakers
avoided mentioning either candidate by name – a number of attendees had
their jackets or cars adorned with buttons or bumper stickers supporting
president Barack Obama.
McGloin said she had a list of things she’d like to see
from the next president: access to health care for all Americans, more
jobs, a focus on education and programs that help people meet their
basic needs, like housing.
This isn’t the first bus tour for Campbell, who planned on heading to work in Washington, D.C. after the first Cincinnati stop. She organized the original nine-state
“Nuns on the Bus” tour over the summer. The earlier tour was in protest
over the budget proposed by Republican vice presidential candidate Paul
Ryan, himself a Catholic. Ryan’s budget would gut many social programs
relied on by the poor.
Do certain taste combinations really elevate the dining experience?
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Is there actual science behind why certain foods taste
better with certain beverages? It turns out there is, and some of our
local food professionals know exactly why.
by Andy Brownfield
Appears on same day Husted petitions Supreme Court to strike down in-person voting
Speaking to about 60 people at the Rockdale Baptist Church
in Avondale, the Rev. Jesse Jackson talked about the many “schemes” used to
disenfranchise voters while encouraging Cincinnatians to register to vote and
take advantage of Ohio’s early voting days. “Dealing in this state, for example, you think so much about
the painful days in the deep South — the overt schemes to deny the right to
vote,” Jackson said on Tuesday, the last day to register to vote in Ohio.
“We saw Ohio as a kind of beacon of light, the beacon of
hope once we ran across the river coming north. This year we’ve seen
Ohio and Pennsylvania take the lead in trying to purge voters and
suppress the vote to determine the outcome.”
Jackson’s comments came on the same day Ohio Secretary of
State Jon Husted appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court the Six Circuit
Court of Appeals’ decision to allow early in-person voting on the three
days before Election Day.
The three days had previously only applied to military personnel and their families.
Republicans like Husted have cited cost as the reason to
not allow in-person voting on the three days before the election. But in
an Aug. 19 email to The Columbus Dispatch, Franklin County
Republican Party chairman Doug Preisse said “I guess I really actually
feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban —
read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”
Pennsylvania, meanwhile, tried to require voters take a
photo ID with them into the polls. A state judge blocked the law from
going into effect for the 2012 election.
Jackson said restrictions as to who can vote when and where undermine the purpose of democracy.
“Open access, free, transparent voting makes democracy real,” he said.
Flanked by a tapestry portraying President Barack Obama,
Jackson touted the president’s accomplishments in his first term and
urged those assembled to give him a second.
Jackson was in Toledo Oct. 5 pushing early voting. He said
he was in Cincinnati because “Ohio matters” and he saw it as a way to
penetrate Appalachia because “poverty is not just a black problem.”
0 Comments · Thursday, October 4, 2012
I’ve heard things happen for a reason. I’m not sure I buy
that. All I know for sure, in the case of Joy and Randy, is I wish
things could have worked out very, very differently.
by Andy Brownfield
First lady urges Ohioans to vote early; Romney campaign launches Ohio early voting bus tour
While the presidential candidates prepared for Wednesday’s
debate, Michelle Obama urged Cincinnatians on Tuesday to take advantage
of the first day of early voting, before leading a group to the board
of elections to cast their ballots.
“I’ve got news for you: Here in Ohio it’s already
Election Day. Early voting starts today,” Obama told a crowd of 6,800 inside
the Duke Energy Convention Center. She urged everyone to reach out and
encourage their friends to vote after they had cast their own ballots.
“Twitter them. Tweet them. What do you do? It’s tweeting, right? Tweet them,” she joked to the crowd.
Earlier in the morning, the campaign of Republican
presidential candidate Mitt Romney kicked off its “Commit to Mitt Early
Vote Express” statewide bus tour in downtown Cincinnati.
The tour started in Hamilton County before moving through Butler County and is scheduled to end the day in Preble County.
The bus is scheduled to make its way through every region
of Ohio during the early voting period and will serve as a mobile
campaign headquarters, dispensing voter contact materials and featuring
Romney campaign surrogates, according to a news release.
At the convention center, Michelle Obama avoided some of
the direct attacks employed by her husband or the Romney campaign, but
used her 30-minute speech to counter some of the criticisms from the GOP
nominee, recapping some of her convention speech.
“Our families weren’t asking for much,” Michelle said of
her own and Barack’s families. “They didn’t begrudge anyone else’s
success, you know, they didn’t mind if others had much more than they
did, in fact they admired it. That’s why they pushed us to succeed.”
Her comment seemed to come in response to an attack that
the Romney campaign levied against Barack Obama after his infamous “you
didn’t build that” comment, where the GOP candidate argues that Obama
and Democrats are fostering enmity among the middle class by stoking
jealousy of rich, successful Americans like Mitt Romney.
believed also that when you work hard and have done well and finally
walk through that doorway of opportunity, you don’t slam it shut behind
you,” Michelle Obama continued.
“No, you reach back and you give other folks the same
chances that helped you succeed. You see, that’s how Barack and I and so
many of you were raised. … We learned that the truth matters – you
don’t take shortcuts, you don’t game the system, you don’t play by your
own set of rules.”
She went on to say that Americans are part of something
bigger than themselves and obligated to give back to others, counter to
the Republicans’ narrative of the individual pulled up by his or her own
Danielle Henderson, 40, a teacher’s assistant from
Cincinnati, said she was a fan of the first lady’s and joked that she
wanted to know if Michelle was running for president in 2016.
“Behind every good man is a good woman,” Henderson said. “Honestly, a woman is a backbone of the family.”
She said she thought the first family was a good model for the rest of the country.
Henderson’s mother-in-law Barbara joked that she was excited to see what the first lady was going to wear.
“I see trends she sets trickle down to other politicians’ wives,” she joked.
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: Life
at 12:17 PM | Permalink
Cincinnati ranked 21st in list of 50 best cities
That’s right, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, Cincinnati is the 21st best city in the United States.
The news wire cites Cincinnati’s picturesque downtown,
Great American Ball Park, the Cincinnati Pops orchestra and the
presence of corporate giant Procter & Gamble as reasons why the city
was included in its list of “America’s 50 Best Cities.”
It also doesn’t hurt that have 105 bars, 600 restaurants, 18 museums, 35 libraries and two professional sports teams.
The rankings were based on leisure attributes (such as
bars, restaurants and parks), educational attributes, economic factors,
crime and air quality. Bloomberg Businessweek said the greatest
weighting was placed on leisure amenities, (because having tons of bars
to go to is way more important than a good public school system).
San Francisco topped the list of best cities, followed by hipster haven Seattle, Washington D.C. and Boston.
Cleveland barely made it onto the rankings at 46 and Columbus beat us out by one, ranking No. 20.
The Queen City (we at CityBeat are refusing to
adopt the moniker “The City That Sings”) beat out such major
metropolises as Los Angeles, St. Louis, Reno, Dallas, Indianapolis, San
Antonio, Chicago and Houston.
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, Barack Obama
, Mitt Romney
, President Obama
at 02:32 PM | Permalink
Compares Obama administration to replacement refs who botched end of Monday game
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan weighed
in on the controversy over replacement National Football League referees in a Tuesday town
hall-style meeting in Cincinnati, comparing the Obama administration to
the substitute officials who cost his home-state Green Bay Packers a
victory with their botched call Monday night.
“Give me a break. It is time to get the real refs,” Ryan said.
“And you know what, it reminds me of President Obama and
the economy — if you can’t get it right, it’s time to get out. I half
think that these refs work part time for the Obama administration in the
Ryan was referencing a play that should have been called an interception for the Packers but instead allowed the Seattle Seahawks to score a game-winning touchdown on Monday Night Foodball. Replacement referees — some of
whom may have been fired by the Lingerie Football League for
incompetence — are filling in for unionized officials who are locked
The vice presidential candidate spoke inside a Byer
Steel warehouse surrounded by piles of I-beams and rebar. A
self-proclaimed Southern gospel rock band played before the event,
occasionally pausing to talk up GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s
Much of Ryan’s prepared speech, as well as questions from
participants in the town hall, focused on the economy, the deficit and
the need for changes to entitlement programs.
Asked by an audience member how he would limit government
and eliminate programs, Ryan said he and Romney would spur economic
growth by lessening the tax burdens on small businesses, cut
discretionary spending on government agencies and overhaul entitlement
programs such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
Outside before the rally, protesters called for Ryan —
whose House-passed budget made deeps cuts to many welfare and safety-net
programs — to have more compassion for the poor.
Meanwhile an airplane sponsored by MoveOn.org carried a
banner reading, “Romney: Believe in 55% of America?” referencing
comments revealed in a recent video where Romney claimed 47 percent of
Americans didn’t pay any income tax and viewed themselves as victims
reliant on government so it wasn’t his job to worry about their votes.
“We’re here with several messages, including the
immorality of the Ryan budget and how it will impact the vast majority
of Americans negatively," said David Little with the liberal advocacy
group ProgressOhio. “When a budget protects those with the most and
negatively impacts those with the least, I would suggest that is
Bentley Davis with the Alliance for Retired Americans said
she was concerned about what Romney and Ryan’s plans for Medicare and
Social Security would do to retirement security.
Ryan had proposed to keep Medicare the same for anybody
already 55 and over, but give younger Americans the choice to get money
to spend toward private insurance or stay in a Medicare-like program.
Inside the warehouse was a digital sign that ticked up the national debt, which was at $16 trillion and rising.
“Here is what our government, our Congressional Budget
Office, is telling us our debt is in the future if we stay on the path
that President Obama has kept us on, has put us on … the debt goes as
high as two and a half times the size of our economy by the time my
three kids are my age,” Ryan said.
The Obama campaign fired back in an email response, saying
Ryan used misleading rhetoric to hide his own record and Republican
plans to raise taxes on the middle class to fund tax cuts for wealthier
“The Romney-Ryan ticket has plenty
of questions to answer about a failed record on manufacturing and job
creation and their support for policies that will devastate middle class
families by raising their taxes and shipping jobs overseas,” Obama for
America – Ohio Press Secretary Jessica Kershaw wrote.
“These policies would take the growing manufacturing industry backward, not forward.”For some in the audience, the economy was also on the forefront.Steve Teal, 56, of West Chester, said he doesn't like the direction the country is going in."Just get the country back to work," Teal said. "I don't trust him (Obama). He doesn't stand up for America. He doesn't stand up for Americans."CityBeat writer Stefane Kremer contributed to this report.
Ryan went from Cincinnati to an event with Romney in Dayton later on Tuesday.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
I looked around the bus. There weren’t many people sitting next to
others, but there was no one else sitting next to someone of a different
by Andy Brownfield
Project would still open in 2015
Cincinnati City Council plans to move $29 million in funds to avoid further delays for the streetcar
project, but the city is still looking at a 2015 opening date. City officials announced Wednesday that a council
committee will vote Monday on three pieces of legislation to keep the
$110 million project in line with the recently announced delayed opening.One measure would front $15 million to help Duke Energy
move underground utility lines from the path of the proposed streetcar
route. That money comes from the recent $37 million sale of land near
the former Blue Ash Airport.
The city thinks it will get this money back once a dispute with Duke is resolved. The city contends that Duke is responsible for moving the
lines, which the utility estimates will cost $18.7 million. Duke
counters that the lines only have to be moved because of the streetcar
construction, so the city should foot the bill.
“We’re fronting money for the Duke work until we can work
out who pays for it with Duke,” city spokeswoman Meg Oldberding said.
“It’s to keep the project on time and on budget. Delays would escalate
Another ordinance would change the municipal code to
“confirm the city’s existing rights” and clarify that utilities pay for
the cost of relocating facilities unless otherwise negotiated, according
to a news release.
Oldberding said Cincinnati has always maintained that it is the
utility’s responsibility to relocate their facilities, so it is not a
change in the city’s position.
The final ordinance would change the funding source that
is repaying $25 million in bonds sold as part of the original plan to
fund the streetcar.
Those bonds were originally being repaid with money coming into city coffers from southern downtown and the riverfront area.
That area wasn’t bringing in as much cash as expected, so
the ordinance would have $14 million of the bonds repaid from a 1995
fund set up to collect service payments from the Westin/Star, Hyatt and
Oldberding said once the downtown district rebounds — it includes the Banks and the casino — it would repay the other fund.
The ordinances would not add to the project’s cost. Construction is scheduled to begin early next year.