WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 
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    
by German Lopez 11.28.2012
 
 
ohio statehouse

Morning News and Stuff

Anti-abortion agenda on hold, court upholds redistricting, blacks falling behind in school

The Ohio Senate will not take up the heartbeat bill and a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in the lame-duck session. The heartbeat bill was called the most radical anti-abortion legislation in the country when it was first proposed. It sought to ban abortion after a heartbeat is detected, which can happen as early as six weeks into pregnancy. However, there have been some rumblings of bringing a new version of the heartbeat bill to the Ohio legislature, and recent moves by Ohio Republicans show a clear anti-abortion agenda. In a statement, Kellie Copeland of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio cautioned the bills will come up again next year: “Make no mistake about it, the threat to women’s health may be delayed, but it remains. We fully expect anti-choice forces to reintroduce these dangerous attacks on women’s health when the legislature reconvenes in January.” In a 4-3 ruling, the Ohio Supreme court upheld the state’s redistricting map. Democrats claimed the Ohio House and Senate districts were unconstitutional, while Republicans insisted the map was fine. The Republican-controlled government redrew the districts in a way that favors Republican candidates for public office. The Ohio Supreme Court is skewed heavily in favor of Republicans; six justices are Republicans, while only one is a Democrat.Ohio high schools have a bit of work to do, according to federal data. Apparently, the state has worse graduation rates for blacks than all but five other states and the District of Columbia. Ohio did manage to improve its graduation rates by more than 2 percent over four years, as required by the federal program Race to the Top. To avoid an estimated $18 billion in fuel and congestion costs, a coalition wants to speed up the Brent Spence Bridge project. If the Build Our New Bridge Now Coalition is successful, the project will begin in 2014 — four years ahead of schedule. But the organization is pushing a public-private relationship that would likely involve tolls, and Kentucky lawmakers oppose that idea. Cincinnati and Hamilton County were picked to participate in a program that puts the long-term unemployed back to work. The program was originally started in southwest Connecticut in 2011 by WorkPlace with some success. It placed 70 percent of participants in jobs, with 90 percent moving to full-time employment. Tourism is boosting Greater Cincinnati’s economy. An impact study from the Cincinnati USA Regional Tourism Network found tourism is responsible for one in 10 local jobs. Visitors to Cincinnati spent $4.1 billion in the area last year. Another good sign for the economy: Personal income went up in Greater Cincinnati and nationwide. In Cincinnati, personal income went up by 4.6 percent in 2011, lower than the nationwide rise of 5.2 percent. Unfortunately, Greater Cincinnati still has a lot of vacant homes. On Numbers ranked the area No. 31 out of 109 in terms of vacant homes. The Cincinnati Police Department is encouraging fitness through intra-department competition. The University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Art, Architecture and Planning is one of the five best design schools in the world. Councilman Chris Smitherman was re-elected to the presidency of the local chapter of the NAACP. Seven AIDS activists protested nude in U.S. House Speaker John Boehner’s office yesterday. The protesters were part of ACT-UP, and they were protesting federal budget cuts to HIV programs that are set to kick in next year. The bill regulating puppy mills passed the Ohio Senate. Animal advocates claim lax regulations and oversight have made Ohio a breeding ground for poor practices. CityBeat previously covered puppy mills and how they lead to Ohio’s dog auctions. The Ohio inspector general released a report criticizing the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) for mismanaging stimulus funds going to southwest Ohio. The findings echoed a lot of what was found in previous reports for other regions of the state. The Earth’s core may have clues about our planet’s birth.
 
 

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