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Four More Years

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.   

Wasson Way Bike Plan Moves Forward

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Advocates of converting into a bike trail the space on the long-vacated Wasson Way railroad tracks that snake through several healthy residential and business districts gleamed new hope Tuesday when Cincinnati City Council’s Livable Communities Committee passed a resolution to approve the space to be preserved for a public hike-bike path.   
by Danny Cross 06.27.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

City Council is expected to vote this morning to divert the $4 million for the City Hall atrium project to jumpstart the Music Hall renovation, which has brought the city and arts supporters interested in owning and operating the historic venue closer to a compromise. Council could vote on the renegotiated deal later Wednesday, though details of the lease agreement have yet to be released.  Council is also expected to approve a property tax increase of $10 per $100,000 in valuation to fund capital projects such as a new West Side police station and additional road paving.  Today’s Hamilton County Transportation Improvement District meeting will include a presentation about the Brent Spence Bridge that will probably include polls. Gov. John Kasich today will sign a human trafficking bill that makes the crime a first-degree felony rather than second-degree and includes funding to help victims.    The ACLU will represent the Ku Klux Klan in a legal fight involving Georgia’s highway cleanup program and a pending First Amendment lawsuit.   The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday will rule on President Obama’s health care law.  Obama and Biden are still jamming Romney up on his outsourcing history.  A Walgreens store and other pharmacies in Washington, D.C. are offering free HIV tests to make diagnosing the disease more convenient and to increase awareness.  College football has approved a four-team playoff to determine its national championship rather than the computer-human two-team plan that has faced scrutiny over the years. The new format will start in the 2014-15 season. 
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.21.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

A local developer has offered to build a new jail adjacent to the Justice Center, a cost of $65 million, in return for the county leasing it for 30 years at $10 million a year, according to The Enquirer. The developer, Rob Smyjunas, said the offer isn’t about making a profit, just making the county better for his and other families.  Mayor Mallory didn’t answer The Enquirer’s questions about the potential for a Council majority to block the property tax increase in City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed budget. A Mallory spokesman says he’ll work behind the scenes on a budget that will win a Council majority and that he’s off to New Orleans for a conference on reclaiming vacant properties.  An environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro kicked off on Wednesday, with environmental groups and activists disappointed with the Rio+20’s lack of progress on creating clear goals for sustainable development.  The Sanford, Fla., police chief who drew criticism for not investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been fired. Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Bill Lee of his duties because the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the community.  A video of middle school kids in upstate New York bullying a 68-year-old bus monitor has drawn international media attention. The woman says the kids are all pretty much normal and are OK to deal with one-on-one.  The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage. A population of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica has declined by 36 percent due to melting sea ice.  "Actually, in the '90s it was thought that the climate change would favor the chinstrap penguin, because this species prefers sea waters without ice, unlike the Adelie penguin, which prefers the ice pack," study researcher Andres Barbosa told LiveScience. He added that at the time, chinstraps, named for the thin black facial line from cheek to cheek, seemed to increase in numbers, with some new colonies being established. The sea-ice decline in the winter, however, has become so big that it is now impacting krill populations, said Barbosa, of the National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid. Researchers found evidence of ice on the moon.  A new study has found that eating disorders are common among older women. Researchers say weight and eating concerns do not discriminate based on age.College football BCS commissioners have endorsed a four-team playoff format to determine college football’s national champion instead of the current computer-human two-team system. The plan will go to the BCS presidential oversight committee on June 26 for approval. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA championship after going up 3 games to 1 with a 104-98 win in Game 4 Tuesday. 
 
 
by Danny Cross 05.29.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

The Ohio Supreme Court late last week dismissed a legal challenge by the Campaign to Protect Marriage, which had filed a motion challenging the attorney general’s authority to verify a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow same-sex marriage. The Freedom to Marry coalition is collecting the necessary signatures to put a repeal of the state’s 2004 amendment that only recognizes marriage as between a man and a woman on the ballot in 2013. City Councilman Wendell Young says there’s nothing secret about a plan to combine the region’s water and sewer agencies even though most people assumed to be needed for approval know little about it. The Enquirer today detailed a plan to integrate the Metropolitan Sewer District, Stormwater Management Utility and Greater Cincinnati Water Works, potentially by September, in an attempt to save money. The plan will reportedly be shared with Council June 20. Mitt Romney’s campaign plans to go after the stimulus, while Dems want to know why he won’t renounce questions about Obama’s citizenship (maybe because they came from Donald Trump?). Seems like the John Edwards trial is never going to end. Day seven of deliberations begins today. The U.S. could be one of the countries to benefit from the growth of natural gas use during the next 20 years, potentially reducing the importance of Middle East energy production. Common painkillers might help protect against skin cancer. Bring on the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers such as aspirin and ibuprofen! There was a face-chewing attack in Miami over the weekend. And the chewer was naked. Seriously. Google Chrome was the world’s top browser in May. Thought you knew. If commercial space flights are going to be basting up onto the moon, NASA says they’ll have to stay off the spots where historical things happened.
 
 
by Danny Cross 05.15.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

The private group hoping to purchase Music Hall for $1 is now asking for $10 million in city contributions to its effort to update the historic building, double the initial $5 million it asked for. The Music Hall Revitalization Co. says failing to strike a deal before June 1 will jeopardize the proposed $165 million renovation. Among the updates the city is being asked to fund are $75,000 buffers to block noise from the streetcar and a $150,000 escrow account to pay for any future disruptions due to the streetcar. City Council yesterday spent some time considering ways to fix the city's retirement fund deficit. Cincinnati's retirement board wants the city to contribute $67 million to the pension system this year, though Council has reportedly contributed only about half of that. CVG today will unveil its updated Concourse A, which has undergone a $36.5 million renovation. It is part of the airports attempt to lure a low-cost airline to the hub that formerly housed Delta. Cleveland is the first Ohio city to open one of the state's four new casinos, drawing about 5,000 to a grand opening last night. Cincinnati's casino is expected to be the last of the four to open, with Hollywood casinos scheduled to open in Toledo May 29 and in Columbus this fall. Cincinnati's' Horseshoe is scheduled to open next year. Barack Obama's Super PAC is airing TV ads questioning Mitt Romney's business record, specifically his commitment to workers. Prosecutors today decided to bring charges against former News of the World editor Rebekah Brooks, who along with her husband and four others will be charged with conspiring to pervert the course of justice. The alleged incidents occurred in response the phone hacking allegations, and the charges are apparently quite embarrassing to Rupert Murdoch and British Prime Minister David Cameron. JP Morgan today said, “Surprise! We lost a bunch of money!” Two years after congress tightened regulations on Wall Street, the industry now fears that regulators will now listen to their fears even less as they enact stricter reforms. Humans are consuming more resources than the earth can replenish, according to the World Wildlife Fund's Living Planet Report for 2012. Lady Gaga yesterday cancelled a cold-out Indonesia performance in response to conservative protests over her clothing and dance moves. National police spokesman Boy Rafli Amar, responding to the pressure, said Tuesday that the permit for her June 3 "Born This Way Ball" concert had been denied. Indonesia, a nation of 240 million people, has more Muslims than any other. Although it is secular and has a long history of religious tolerance, a small extremist fringe has become more vocal in recent years. Hard-liners have loudly criticized Lady Gaga, saying the suggestive nature of her show threatened to undermine the country's moral fiber. Some threatened to use physical force to prevent her from stepping off the plane. Lawmakers and religious leaders, too, have spoken out against her.
 
 
by Danny Cross 05.03.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

City Council on Wednesday overwhelmingly passed a measure that will offer benefits to domestic partners of city employees. The measure was introduced by Councilman Chris Seelbach and passed 8-1, the lone “no” vote coming from Charlie Winburn. Seelbach told The Enquirer that domestic partner benefits not only affect same-sex couples, but are also applicable to non-married partners, which is an added attraction to lure talented employees to the city. Covington officials passed a similar measure Tuesday. If you owe the city of Cincinnati any parking fines, now would be a good time to pay them. Cincinnati police are going to start hearing descriptions of vehicles with multiple outstanding tickets during roll call and then head out to find them during patrols. Eric Deters wants to be a real lawyer again. The attorney/radio personality/cage fighter says his current predicament — Kentucky law license suspension — is mostly because someone making the rulings “hates him” and is not due to the “ethical lapses” that caused his original 61-day suspension. If Deters can't get the Kentucky Supreme Court to help him out he'll have to go in front of a Character and Fitness Committee and explain all the crazy stuff he's done. Gov. John Kasich is making changes to the state's Medicaid program, which he and its officials say will save money, though it will cause disruptions in the form of some recipients needing to find new providers, many of which have less access to medical advice and financial help. A similar program implemented in Kentucky last year resulted in complaints that patients couldn't get services authorized and providers didn't get paid on time, according to The Enquirer. New Osama bin Laden documents published online by the U.S. Government show concern over Muslim distrust of his organization before he was killed last May, and much of which was due to the high numbers of civilians it was responsible for killing. It's not very fun to be John Edwards these days. Already charged with using $1 million in campaign money to hide a pregnant mistress, testimony in his case for violating campaign finance laws has revealed that his mistress had a better idea in response to the National Enquirer's report on the affair: She wanted to say she was abducted by aliens. Jobless-benefits claims were down last week, and the reduction was the greatest in three months. And U.S. stock futures rose in accordance. Target is done selling Kindles, and although it didn't give a reason analysts suspect it is in response to Amazon's attempts to get retailers who see the products in a store to then purchase them online. Amazone last holiday season indroduced a Price Check app that offered in-store price comparisons and up to a $15 discount online. Retired NFL linebacker Junior Seau was found dead at his home yesterday in an apparent suicide. Seau, who played in the NFL for parts of 20 seasons, was found shot to death. He was 43.
 
 

City Council Set to OK Same-Sex Benefits

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Cincinnati City Council was posed to approve extending insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees as this issue went to press. Council was set to vote May 2 on the plan, which was pushed by Councilman Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay person to serve on the group.   

Winburn, Smitherman Grandstand on Serious Issue

3 Comments · Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Many people think the mention of religion, politics or sex are the topics that are most likely to cause frowns, anxious looks or angry stares if they’re brought up during conversation in mixed company. I humbly submit, however, that they’re wrong.   
by Danny Cross 04.20.2012
Posted In: 2012 Election, City Council at 03:43 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
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Council Seeks Input On Four-Year Terms

Public hearings scheduled to discuss ‘same year’ vs. ‘staggered years’ options

Have you ever felt like Cincinnati City Council members seem like they’re in perpetual campaign mode, spending six months out of each two-year term trying to explain to voters why the stuff they did during the previous year and a half has earned them a second year-plus before they have to start campaigning again? Us, too. Good thing Council members in February went into a Government Operations Committee meeting and came out with two different options for four-year terms. They have scheduled three upcoming hearings seeking community input on the proposals. One option involves all nine members running in the same election every four years, along with a “staggered terms” option that would involve four or five members running every two years. Both options retain Council’s eight-year term limit. A majority of Council supports four-year terms, according to Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan. The chosen proposal will go on the November ballot, and, if passed, will go into effect with the 2013 election. “Council will be more productive and collaborative with four-year terms,” Quinlivan said in a news release. “Leaders in every major city in Ohio and most every city we compete with have four-year terms to enable strategic planning and long-term vision.” An online survey is available here for those who cannot attend a hearing. The following is the schedule of remaining public hearings: Tuesday, April 24: 6 p.m. at Southern Baptist Church, 3556 Reading Road, Avondale Monday, May 7: 6 p.m. at Oakley Recreation Center, 3882 Paxton Ave., Hyde Park Tuesday, May 22: 6 p.m. at Price Hill Recreation Center, 959 Hawthorne Ave., Price Hill
 
 

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