WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
by German Lopez 11.30.2012
Posted In: Budget, News, Women's Health, Education at 09:41 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
Mitt Romney

Morning News and Stuff

Romney loss stops heartbeat bill, tougher report cards pass House, S&P criticizes Cincinnati

Mitt Romney’s big loss is finally getting to Ohio Republicans. Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus made procedural moves to block the heartbeat bill from a vote before the end of the lame-duck session. Niehaus, a Republican, said his decision was largely influenced by Romney’s loss on Nov. 6. When the heartbeat bill was originally proposed, it was labeled the most radical anti-abortion bill in the country. It banned abortion as soon as a heartbeat was detected, which can happen six weeks into pregnancy. It made no exceptions for rape, incest or the health of the mother. CityBeat recently wrote about the GOP's renewed anti-abortion agenda, but if Republicans begin taking lessons from the most recent election, the renewed agenda will never come to light. The Ohio House of Representatives approved Cincinnati’s tougher school report card standards. An early simulation of the proposed system in May showed Cincinnati Public Schools would drop from the second-best rating of “Effective” under the current system to a D-, with 23 schools flunking and Walnut Hills High School retaining its top mark with an A. The bill will also impose more regulations and oversight on charter schools. As part of the overall reform, the state is replacing its standardized tests, but some Democrats are worried the new tests and system will be too tough on schools. Standard & Poor's is not optimistic about Cincinnati. The firm gave the city’s debt rating a negative outlook due to structural budget problems. City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. says ratings firms are looking for spending cuts or revenue growth from Cincinnati to achieve structurally balanced budgets in the next two years, but Dohoney’s most recent budget proposal largely balances the deficit with a one-time source from privatizing parking services. On the other hand, pursuing austerity during a weak economic recovery is a bad idea. The Cincinnati Fire Department says it doesn’t have enough personnel to man fire trucks. The problem is only getting worse as retirements increase, according to Fire Chief Richard Braun. The University of Cincinnati’s campus was ranked among the most dangerous in the country. Ohio has some of the lowest graduation rates in the Midwest. Low-income, black and Hispanic students are all much less likely to graduate than their wealthier and white peers. Gov. John Kasich met with college and university leaders today to discuss higher education. After the meeting, Kasich and the leaders suggested attaching state funding to graduation rates, among other reforms. It looks like Ohio’s financial institutions tax bill will make it through the Ohio Senate without major changes. The bill was already passed by the Ohio House. A memo from nonprofit research organization Policy Matters Ohio recommended making changes so the bill cuts tax loopholes without cutting rates on big banks. Zach Schiller, research director from Policy Matters, said in the memo, “Big banks aren’t better banks, as their role in the recent financial crisis made clear. It is questionable policy for the state to favor them with lower rates.” It’s official: Cincinnati is “cougar capital of Ohio.” Heart-lifting story of the day: A New York City cop helped a homeless person by buying him a pair of boots. Has the modern art world lost touch with its audience?NASA confirmed the presence of ice water on Mercury.
 
 
by German Lopez 11.29.2012
Posted In: News, Budget, Privatization, LGBT Issues at 09:30 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Morning News and Stuff

Port Authority could buy parking assets, county may raise sales tax, Cincinnati's LGBT score

The Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority is making a move to buy up the city’s parking services. Cincinnati is pursuing parking privatization as a way of balancing the budget. If it accepts the Port Authority’s deal, the city will get $40 million upfront, and $21 million of that will be used to help plug the $34 million deficit in the 2013 budget. Port Authority also promised 50 percent of future profits. The Port Authority proposal is only one of nine Cincinnati’s government has received since it announced its plan. CityBeat criticized the city’s budget plan in this week’s commentary. The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners might raise the sales tax instead of doing away with the property tax rebate to stabilize the stadium fund. Democratic Commissioner Todd Portune suggested the idea, and Board President Greg Hartmann says it might be the only solution. Republican Chris Monzel is against it. Sales taxes are notoriously regressive, while the property tax rebate disproportionately favors the wealthy. Portune claims the 0.25-percent sales tax hike would be more spread out than a property tax rollback, essentially impacting low-income families less than the alternative. CityBeat previously covered the stadium fund and its problems here. While Cincinnati has made great strides in LGBT rights in the past year, it still has ways to go. The Municipal Equality Index from the Human Rights Campaign scored Cincinnati a 77 out of 100 on city services, laws and policies and how they affect LGBT individuals. Cleveland tied with Cincinnati, and Columbus beat out both with an 83. It's clear Ohio is making progress on same-sex issues, but will Ohioans approve same-sex marriage in 2013? Some conservatives just don’t know when to quit. Even though Ohio Senate President Tom Niehaus pronounced the heartbeat bill dead, Janet Porter, president of the anti-abortion Faith2Action, wants to force a vote in the Ohio legislature. CityBeat previously wrote about Republicans’ renewed anti-abortion agenda. Some people are not liking the idea of new fracking waste wells. About 100 protesters in Athens were escorted out of an information session from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources for loudly disputing a proposal to build more waste wells. Fracking, which is also called hydraulic fracturing, is a drilling technique that pumps water underground to draw out oil and gas. Waste wells are used to dispose of the excess water. One reason Ohio's online schools are so costly is advertising. CityBeat previously looked into online schools, their costs and their problems. Divorce in Ohio might soon get easier to finalize, as long as it’s mutual and civil. A new bill would give Ohio schools more flexibility in making up snow days and other sudden disruptions in the school year. The bill changes school year requirements from day measurements to hour measurements. A new study found 60 percent of youth with HIV don’t know they have the deadly disease. CityBeat covered a new University of Cincinnati push meant to clamp down on rising HIV rates among youth in this week’s news story. Tech jobs are seeing a boom due to Obamacare, according to Bloomberg. Scientists have discovered a quasar that glows brighter than our entire galaxy. They’ve also invented a chocolate that doesn’t melt at 104 degrees.
 
 
by German Lopez 11.28.2012
Posted In: News, LGBT Issues at 12:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
city hall

Cincinnati Gets Mixed Results in LGBT Index

City tied with Cleveland, behind Columbus in ranking of 137 cities

When it comes to LGBT rights, Cincinnati received a score of 77 out of 100 from the Human Rights Campaign's first Municipal Equality Index (MEI). Cincinnati tied with Cleveland, but lost to Columbus, which scored an 83. The index looks at cities’ laws, policies and services to gauge how friendly they are to LGBT individuals. With 47 criteria in hand, 137 cities were scored. Cincinnati gained positive marks for its non-discrimination laws, which protect employment, housing and public accommodations for LGBT people. The city was also praised for its openly gay leadership, notably Councilman Chris Seelbach. Even the Cincinnati Police Department (CPD) got some LGBT love; it was marked positively for having an LGBT liaison and reporting 2010 hate crime statistics to the FBI. But Cincinnati had mixed results elsewhere. The city was praised for enacting some anti-bullying policies and an equal employment opportunity commission, but docked for not having a mayoral LGBT liaison or office of LGBT affairs. While the city did well in having domestic partner health benefits and legal dependant benefits, it was knocked for not having equivalent family leave for LGBT individuals. The city did particularly poorly in relationship recognition. The HRC analysis notes that gay marriage and civil unions are state policies, which Cincinnati’s government has no control over. But the city did lose points for not having a domestic partner registry, which both Cleveland and Columbus have.A few of Cincinnati's LGBT improvements came just within the last year: Seelbach was elected in 2011, domestic health benefits were passed in May and the LGBT liaison for the CPD was named in October. Overall, Cincinnati wasn’t among the top in LGBT rights. About 25 percent of cities scored an 80 or higher, including Columbus. Eleven cities scored 100: Long Beach, Calif.; Los Angeles; San Diego, Calif.; San Francisco; Boston; Cambridge, Mass.; St. Louis, Mo.; New York City; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia; and Seattle. In this week’s cover story, CityBeat covered Ohio’s evolution on same-sex marriage.
 
 

Local Budgets Show Bad Requirements

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
It’s been a big week for government budgets. The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners approved the county’s 2013 budget, and City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. unveiled his budget proposal, which now the mayor and City Council must approve.   

Healthy Interest

University of Cincinnati program uses grant to unite local organizations against HIV

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
It’s an unfortunate fact that has disturbed doctors and health activists: Younger people are making up a greater share of HIV infections. Now, a University of Cincinnati program is bringing together community organizations in Hamilton County to stop this troubling trend in young adults.   

Why Such Hard Feelings for Palmer?

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Most people remember at some point in life dating someone we now refer to as “crazy.” The use of the word can sometimes feel as misleading as the choice of “dating” in the same sentence. Batshitfuckingcrazy is often the preferred description.    

State to Replace Standardized Test

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
The Ohio Graduation Tests will soon be no more. The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) and Board of Regents have agreed to establish tougher tests with a focus on preparing students for college and beyond.   

New County Budget Includes $14.4 Million in Cuts

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
On Nov. 24, the Hamilton County Board of Commissioners approved $14.4 million in across-the-board cuts for 2013, the sixth straight year the county’s budget will get cuts. Democrat Todd Portune voted against the budget, while Republicans Greg Hartmann and Chris Monzel voted yes.   

City to Pursue Privatizing Parking to Balance Budget

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
City Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. on Nov. 24 unveiled his 2013 budget plan. The proposal, which must be approved by City Council and the mayor, seeks to close a $34 million deficit while avoiding major cuts and layoffs. The proposed budget will only set the city’s course until mid-June, when the city will transition into establishing budgets based on fiscal years.    

Cincinnati vs. The World 11.28.2012

0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Celebrity gourmand Anthony Bourdain was asked by a reader during a live chat on Gawker.com to validate the quality of Cincinnati chili; he responded that it was not good but could be “enjoyable when stoned.” CINCINNATI -2    

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