WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: May 22-27

0 Comments · Wednesday, May 29, 2013
THURSDAY MAY 23: Most people wouldn’t feel that great about taking a job when one of the tasks at hand is to find your own replacement, but that just goes to show you how disconnected average people are from the world of corporate executives (they get $1.6 million signing bonuses, you dumbass!)  
by Andy Brownfield 09.26.2012
Posted In: City Council, Economy, Government, Mayor, News, Streetcar at 02:21 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

Council Approves Measures Shifting $29 Million for Streetcar

Measures front Duke $15 million, add utility responsibility to move lines to city code

Cincinnati City Council on Wednesday approved a set of measures to alter funding of the $110 million streetcar project in order avoid further delaying its 2015 opening. The three measures set up $15 million to front to Duke Energy to move utility lines out of the proposed path; changes the source of funding to repay some $25 million in bonds used to pay for the streetcar; sells $14 million in bonds for streetcar improvements; and changes the municipal code to clarify that it is the responsibility of a utility to relocate its structures. The $15 million comes from the $37 million sale of city-owned land near the former Blue Ash Airport. Council voted 6-3 to approve the front money, improvement bonds and bond repayment, a vote that largely mirrored a Monday Budget and Finance Committee vote. Councilman Chris Smitherman was the sole “no” vote on the ordinance to change the municipal code. Councilmembers Cecil Thomas, Wendell Young, Roxanne Qualls, Laure Quinlivan, Chris Seelbach and Yvette Simpson voted to pass funding, while Councilmembers Smitherman, P.G. Sittenfeld and Charles Winburn voted against. “My concern with all of these votes … in particular the Blue Ash Airport dollars, these were promises that you made to the neighborhoods and I don’t have the confidence that the legal battle against Duke Energy is going to yield a 100 percent win for the city of Cincinnati, so there’s no assurance that these dollars are going to come back,” said Councilman Chris Smitherman, one of the most vocal opponents of the streetcar.  “I want to be clear that it’s something that I don’t support.” The $15 million would be fronted to Duke to move its lines while the city and utility work out who is responsible for funding the move.  Duke estimates the full cost at $18 million and argues that the lines would not have to be moved if the streetcar wasn’t being built. The city maintains that it has always been the responsibility of utilities to move or upgrade their structures — which the third measure clarified in the municipal code. If the city loses a legal battle against Duke, it will not recoup the $15 million. The second proposal switches the source of funding for streetcar bonds from money coming into city coffers from southern downtown and the riverfront area to a 1995 fund set up to collect service payments from the Westin/Star, Hyatt and Saks. The measure wouldn't use any additional new money for the streetcar. That downtown area wasn’t bringing in as much cash as expected but the city hopes to repay the other fund once the downtown district — which includes the Banks and the casino —  rebounds.
 
 

City Council Moves Streetcar Refinancing Forward

0 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
City Council’s budget committee voted 6-3 Sept. 24 to use $29 million from other projects in part to move utility lines and pipes to accommodate for streetcar tracks.   
by Andy Brownfield 08.10.2012
Posted In: COAST, City Council, Spending, Streetcar at 03:51 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
streetcar

COAST Threatens to Block $11M for Streetcar

Group threatens referendum of Blue Ash Airport resale

The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) has threatened to block a move that would allow Cincinnati to use $37.5 million from the 2007 sale of the Blue Ash Airport for projects other than aviation, $11 million of which would go to the Cincinnati streetcar. The Blue Ash City Council voted Thursday to re-do the sale of 130 acres at the Blue Ash Airport to the City of Cincinnati.  COAST says it wants to put the matter before voters in a 2013 referendum, which would halt the sale and re-instate the original agreement made in 2007 when Cincinnati made the sale. The two cities decided to re-work the $37.5 million sale because a federal rule requires proceeds from the sale of an operating airport to be used for other aviation projects. The money would be returned, airport shut down and then the property re-sold to Blue Ash for the original amount. “When they originally sold it they were stupid, which is typical of the City of Cincinnati, and did not realize that the proceeds on the sale of the airport have to go to other aviation-type things,” says COAST Chairman Tom Brinkman. “Now that they want to get the streetcar, they want to crack that money.” Brinkman openly admits he doesn’t want the money to go to the streetcar (“We’re doing everything we can to make sure that boondoggle doesn’t occur”) but says COAST is working with a group of local pilots who want money from the sale to go to Cincinnati’s Lunken Airport. Blue Ash is confident that the ordinance they passed approving the re-sale isn’t subject to referendum. “Blue Ash believes everything enacted was lawful and would survive any challenge,” says City Solicitor Brian Pachenco. He declined to discuss specifics The city wants the airport land to build a park. Pachenco said the ordinance wasn’t written specifically to exempt it from referendum attempts, but nevertheless it falls under a section of the city’s charter that makes voters unable to recall it. COAST isn’t so sure. Chris Finney, legal counsel for COAST, said the buying and selling of land under the Blue Ash charter is subject to referendum. He said the ordinance was written to avoid using that language, but what was happening was in reality a sale. For its part, Cincinnati doesn’t seem too concerned with the threatened referendum. “We’re not going to talk 'what ifs' at this point,” city spokeswoman Meg Olberding said. “The streetcar has had two previous referendums that have been shot down.” She pointed out that only $11 million of the sale was going toward the streetcar, and the remaining money would be available for other projects. Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Seelbach was also unconcerned. “COAST and groups like COAST have tried to put up every obstacle possible to prevent the streetcar from happening and we have overcome all of them,” Seelbach said. “I am 100 percent positive if this comes to a vote we will overcome it again and the streetcar will be built.”
 
 
by Danny Cross 07.02.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

While anti-urban Cincinnatians gripe over the twice-approved $95 million streetcar project — some going so far as to attach anti-funding amendments to federal bills that will never be included in the final legislation — authorities on the other side of the river are demonstrating just how little $20 million on transportation funding can provide. The state will widen KY 237 in Boone County using elevated ramps to allow for left-hand turns, adding a freeway-style element to the residential/corridor area. The two-year project will be paid for using Federal Surface Transportation Program funds. Starting this fall all students in Newport Independent Schools will get free breakfast and lunch because the district is participating in the Community Eligibility Option in President Obama’s Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. CBS News says Chief Justice John Roberts initially sided with the other four conservative justices but wasn’t prepared to strike down the entire health care law. Roberts wrote the court’s majority opinion, which upheld most of the legislation.  Here’s three ways the ruling hurt Mitt Romney, according to the Boston Globe.  The Mark Wahlberg/teddy bear film, Ted, brought in $54.1 million over the weekend. CityBeat's film dude said it was good, too.  Scientists say they are on the verge of finding a “God particle” that could explain the creation of the universe. For particle physicists, finding the Higgs boson is a key to confirming the standard model of physics that explains what gives mass to matter and, by extension, how the universe was formed. … Rosen compared the results scientists are preparing to announce Wednesday to finding the fossilized imprint of a dinosaur: “You see the footprints and the shadow of the object, but you don’t actually see it.” Spain won the 2012 European Championship soccer tournament on Sunday with a 4-0 victory over Italy. The Spanish team is being considered one of the greatest ever, as it has won three straight major tournaments, including the 2010 World Cup and 2008 Euro. 
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.29.2012
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls responded to Rep. Steve Chabot’s Wednesday attempt to block federal funding for Cincinnati’s streetcar construction by calling it “an outrageous interference in local government decision-making.” The Enquirer today recapped the situation, which involves Chabot adding the following amendment to a massive federal transportation bill: “None of the funds made available by this Act may be used to design, construct, or operate a fixed guideway project located in Cincinnati, Ohio.” The amendment has little chance at being included in the final passage of the bill, as the Senate and President Obama would both have to approve and sign it.  A parody video of a Western & Southern PR representative explaining why the insurance company should build condos at the site of the century-old women’s shelter has earned a response from W&S. The company’s VP of public relations told The Enquirer: “Whoever created the video, we think it’s unfortunate that they’ve taken this approach,” he said. “We think it’s a distraction from finding a win-win for all involved.” The video is no longer available on YouTube, however, due to “a copyright claim by Canipre inc.” Speaking of funny videos, MSNBC posted this video of Rep. Jean Shmidt apparently reacting to someone incorrectly telling her that President Obama’s health care law had been struck down. Schmidt can be seen twisting around and making strange screaming sounds. Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.19.2012
 
 
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Morning News and Stuff

The ever-debated, never implemented property tax increase will continue to be nonexistent, as will a new police station, playgrounds, some public pools, Music Hall renovations and certain street repavings and building demolitions, according to The Enquirer. Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan will make the deciding vote against City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed tax increase, which would add $46 to the owner of a $100,000. Also against disproportionately taxing rich people are Councilmen Chris Seelbach, P.G. Sittenfeld, Christopher Smitherman and Charlie Winburn. Quilivan says the government isn’t the right size and that the government should make the tougher changes before asking for more revenue. Here are two ways to report the latest news regarding potential Duke Energy rate hike connected to streetcar construction: • From The Enquirer:  “Duke customers could face streetcar tab” • From The Business Courier: “Cincinnati, Duke making progress on moving utility lines” A 15-year-old girl was killed in Over-the-Rhine around 11 p.m. last night. She was reportedly standing with a group of people, though Police haven’t released any details about the shooter. A new poll shows support for President Obama’s shift on immigration policy. More Asians are immigrating to the U.S. than Hispanics these days. Adult humans are 16.5 million tons overweight, which researchers say will threaten the world’s food security and environmental resources. Approximately half of all new AIDS cases are occurring in the South, and the region is severely short on HIV specialists. Attorneys for the Penn State football coach who showered with a bunch of boys are starting their defense by painting him in a positive light. Spotify will stop charging $10 per month for use on mobile devices. Free now. Facebook acquires Face.com. Ha. Former baseball player Roger Clemens was acquitted of perjury charges, the latest in a bunch of wasted time by the federal government investigating athletes who can afford really good lawyers.
 
 

Worst Week Ever!: June 6-12

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Justin Bieber today compared himself to Michael Jackson, telling Billboard that his new song “Maria” is his “Billie Jean.” In response to this, we at WWE! have decided to start calling our traditional Monday dinner of diced hot dogs and macaroni “Surf and Turf.”  
by Danny Cross 06.07.2012
 
 
streetcar

Morning News and Stuff

The Enquirer today broke out its Freedom of the Press Card, pressing the city to release details of the bids to build the streetcar's five vehicles. Enquirer Editor and Vice President Carolyn Washburn says the newspaper is being a good watchdog by investigating all the redacted parts of documents released by the city, which reportedly include typical streetcar parts, performance data and personal information of employees. A firm called CAF USA, which won the bid for more than $20 million, is trying to block the release of the data, along with two losing bidders who claim the information is trade secret. Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear are considering a private-public partnership that includes tolls to fund renovations to the Brent Spence Bridge. President Obama enjoyed an enthusiastic welcome from Los Angeles LGBT supporters at an event in Beverly Hills. Republicans are saying Obama is being all glitzy in California so he's out of touch with Americans' struggles. Russia would like Iran to be involved in forcing a political transition in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says Syrian President Bashar Assad should quit and roll out. The U.S. is losing patience with Pakistan, too. George Zimmerman's bond hearing has been set for June 29. He returned to jail on Sunday after a judge revoked his bond for failing to disclose $135,000 in funds raised for his legal defense. Thousands of homes in the Atlantic and Gulf coasts are at high risk for hurricane damage, and New York City has the highest risk of losses. Do you use LinkedIn or eHarmony? Well, you shouldn't. Also, both sites were hacked and had user passwords breached. A car called the Honda Fit EV has earned the highest ever miles-per-gallon equivalency rating from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency — 118 mpg. More than 80 lawsuits by former NFL players have been consolidated and filed in a Philadelphia federal court, accusing the league of hiding details that linked head trauma to permanent brain injuries. The NFL denies culpability. The Reds are still in first place.   
 
 
by Danny Cross 06.01.2012
 
 
kenwood

Morning News and Stuff

The FBI has been investigating the long-stalled Kenwood Towne Place development for the past year, and a grand jury will determine whether crimes were committed involving the improper use of funding for the project, according to The Enquirer. CityBeat on May 16 reported that Nathan Bachrach, host of local radio show Simply Money, was among those in heat over the development's debt. The city of Cincinnati used eminent domain to secure a piece of Over-the-Rhine property to build its streetcar maintenance facility. So, uh, Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan rewrote the lyrics to John Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” (“Rolin' on the River”) as part of a promotion for the World Choir Games. Celebrities such as Bootsy Collins, Nick Lachey and Jerry Springer participated. Cool? Awkward? The city does look pretty nice — shots were filmed at Fountain Square, Great American Ballpark, Findlay Market, the School for Creative and Performing Arts and the Serpentine Wall.John Edwards is basically off the hook after jurors returned from nine days of deliberations believing that the government did not prove its case. Edwards was found guilty one one charge of accepting illegal campaign contributions to hide his pregnant mistress, but a mistrial was declared on five charges. President Obama and Mitt Romney reportedly spoke on the phone yesterday. Romney says they exchanged pleasantries and congratulations. Obama apparently gave Romney some credit for his health care bill, which sounds kind of passive aggressive. The nation's unemployment rate is up to 8.2 percent; apparently a third month of disappointing payroll led to the addition of only 69,000 jobs. New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is being called “Nanny Bloomberg” in response to his proposed ban on extra large sodas by people such as 18-year-old Johnny Ojeda of Kansas City, who reportedly pounded a 21-ounce soda and its 240 calories in front of Kansas City Star reporters. “A lot of teenagers get them,” said Ojeda, On the other hand, today is National Donut Day. And cancer is expected to increase worldwide by 75 percent by 2030, partly due to poor nations adopting unhealthy Westernized lifestyles. DC Comics' Green Lantern is revealed to be gay in an issue that comes out next week. Green Lantern is one of the comics' oldest heroes and the latest in a growing number of out superheroes. From the San Jose Mercury News: In May, Marvel Entertainment said super speedster Northstar will marry his longtime boyfriend in the pages of "Astonishing X-Men." DC comics has other gay characters, too, including Kate Kane, the current Batwoman. And in the pages of Archie Comics, Kevin Keller is one of the gang at Riverdale High School and gay, too. Some groups have protested the inclusion of gay characters, but Robinson isn't discouraged, noting that being gay is just one aspect to Scott. "This guy, he's a media mogul, a hero, a dynamic type-A personality and he's gay," Robinson said. "He's a complex character."
 
 

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