by German Lopez
Medical marijuana advances, commissioners threaten streetcar, voter fraud report released
If you have any questions about Cincinnati, CityBeat’s staff will do its very best to answer if you submit them here.
The Ohio Ballot Board certified an amendment
that would legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp in Ohio.
Petitioners will now have to gather 385,253 signatures to get the issue
on the ballot — most likely this year or 2014. CityBeat previously covered Ohio’s medical marijuana movement in greater detail here.
Republican county commissioners are asking the Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana Regional Council of Governments to pull $4 million in streetcar funding,
but the city says OKI can’t legally do it. Commissioners Greg Hartmann
and Chris Monzel, who are also members of the OKI board, made the
request in a letter. City spokesperson Meg Olberding says OKI was simply
an agency that passed the money along as it worked through the Federal
Transit Administration (FTA) to OKI to the Southwest Ohio Regional
Transportation Authority (SORTA), and the agreement doesn’t allow OKI to
interfere any further. This morning, the city’s Twitter account
tweeted, “City has confirmed with Feds that OKI cannot pull streetcar $
bc funds are already obligated to this federal project.”
Ohio released its first ever statewide report on voter fraud yesterday, called the “Post-2012 General Election Voter Fraud Report.”
Secretary of State Jon Husted said the report shows voter fraud exists,
but it’s “not an epidemic.” That coincides with previous findings from
researchers: An extensive study of the nation’s databases by News21, a
Carnegie-Knight journalism initiative, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Ohio Democrats are proposing more accountability rules
for JobsOhio, including adherence to public record laws, open meeting
laws, state ethics laws for employees and full state audits. JobsOhio is
a privatized nonprofit agency established by Gov. John Kasich and
Republican legislators to eventually replace the Ohio Department of
Development. They claim the privatized nature of the agency allows it to
respond to economic problems more quickly, but Democrats say the agency
redirects public funds with minimal oversight.
Cincinnati will host a march against genetically modified organisms
Saturday as part of the international March Against Monsanto. The
movement’s organizers are calling on participants that explain the facts
of genetically modified organisms, encouraging “no slandering, no
opinions or paper — just facts.” The protest is scheduled for 1 p.m. at
A.G. Lafley is reclaiming the top spot at Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble. The company says the change is not part of a deeper issue.
The 35th annual Taste of Cincinnati begins tomorrow.
Win or lose, the University of Cincinnati baseball team has a lot of fun.
An adorable Labrador Retriever puppy had her heart cured after a minimally invasive heart procedure — the first ever in the Tri-State.
Salamanders have some lessons for humans when it comes to regrowing limbs.
by German Lopez
Secretary of state race underway, bridge may need private funding, sewer policy dismissed
Is the race for Ohio secretary of state already underway? Ohio
Sen. Nina Turner, who is considering a run against Secretary of State
Jon Husted in 2014, says she will introduce legislation to protect voters against Republican efforts to limit ballot access. She also criticized Husted for how he handled the 2012 election, which CityBeat covered here. Husted responded by asking Turner to “dial down political rhetoric.”
Build Our New Bridge Now, an organization dedicated to building the Brent Spence Bridge, says the best approach is private financing.
The organization claims a public-private partnership is the only way to
get the bridge built by 2018, rather than 2022. But critics are worried
the partnership and private financing would lead to tolls.
The Hamilton County Board of Commissioners threw out
a Metropolitan Sewer District competitive bidding policy yesterday. The
policy, which was originally passed by City Council, was called unfair
and illegal by county commissioners due to apprenticeship requirements and rules that favor contractors within city limits. Councilman Chris Seelbach is now pushing for compromise for the rules.
Believe it or not, Cincinnati’s economy will continue outpacing the national economy this year, says Julie Heath, director of the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center.
Three Cincinnati-area hospitals are among the best in the nation,
according to new rankings from Healthgrades. The winners: Christ
Hospital, Bethesda North Hospital and St. Elizabeth Healthcare-Edgewood.
Democrat David Mann, former Cincinnati mayor and congressman, may re-enter politics with an attempt at City Council.
In its 2013 State of Tobacco report, the American Lung Association gave Ohio an F for anti-smoking policies.
The organization said the state is doing a poor job by relying
exclusively on federal money for its $3.3 million anti-tobacco program.
The Centers for Disease Control says Ohio should be spending $145
The Air Force is gearing up for massive spending cuts currently set to kick in March. The cuts will likely affect Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.
Dennis Kucinich, who used to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, will soon appear on Fox News as a regular contributor.
For anyone who’s ever been worried about getting attacked by a drone, there’s now a hoodie and scarf for that.
by German Lopez
Husted moves to middle, Republicans love early voting, loos coming to Cincinnati
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is pushing local election officials
to begin investigating legitimate cases of voter fraud or suppression.
He also vowed to continue pushing for uniform voting hours and
redistricting. During election season, Husted developed a bad reputation
around the nation for suppressive tactics, which CityBeat covered here, but it seems he’s now taking a more moderate tone.
It looks like in-person early voting didn’t rev up the
“African-American … voter turnout machine,” as Franklin County GOP
Chairman Doug Preisse claimed, after all. New numbers show in-person
early voting was a lot more popular in heavily Republican counties.
The loos are coming. A majority of City Council is on-board
with Councilman Chris Seelbach’s plan to install outdoor bathrooms,
much like the ones found in Portland, Ore. Seelbach promises the loos
will not cost $130,000, a potential price tag critics brought up to criticize the plan.
Hamilton County commissioners are not happy
with a city-approved Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) policy. The MSD
“responsible bidder” policy has been criticized by businesses for making
it impossible to win a contract. Joe Prus of Prus Construction is one
such critic: “We were listed as number one in the nation for our safety
program. Oddly enough, we are not responsible enough under the current
regulations that MSD have in their contracts.”
Cincinnati Public Schools are satisfied with their security, but they’re developing a new lockdown plan.
It started with a flier condoning rape, and now it’s
looking to end with some abuse in the justice system. The Miami rape
flier case just keeps getting more controversial. The case was
originally sealed, sparking some controversy; now, it’s been dropped altogether despite a guilty plea.
A new report found charter schools are evading state closure laws.
The Cincinnati Speech and Reading Intervention Center (CSR), formerly
W.E.B. Dubois Academy, was among the eight suspicious schools looked at
by Policy Matters Ohio.
Cincinnati’s central riverfront plan is winning an award
from the American Planning Association. The National Planning
Excellence Award for Implementation is for Cincinnati’s “success in
converting 195 acres of vast wasteland — between the Ohio River and
Cincinnati’s Central Business District — into an economically successful
and vital, mixed-use development with a dramatic new park,” according
to a press release.
An apartment developer may replace part of an Over-the-Rhine park with parking spaces. The move has sparked some pushback from locals.
Rumpke is building a new recycling facility. It will replace a former facility in St. Bernard that was destroyed by a fire.Audi is showing off its self-driving car. But what will humans do if the cars become self-aware?
by German Lopez
Planned Parenthood could lose funds, Husted loses again, puppy mills regulations
Abortion-rights supporters pushed against
a bill that will kill some funds for Planned Parenthood in Ohio yesterday. The bill would shift $2 million
in federal funds, which legally can’t be used for abortions, from
Planned Parenthood to other family services. An Ohio House committee will hold hearings and
possibly vote on the bill later today. Planned Parenthood has been
a target for anti-abortion activists all around the nation in recent
years, even though abortions only make up 3 percent of its services.
The election is over for us, but it’s not quite over for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted. A court ruled yesterday that Husted was in the wrong
when he directed a last-minute change to Ohio's provisional ballot rules. U.S. District Judge Algenon Marbley wrote that the rules,
which shifted the burden of identification for provisional ballots from
poll workers to voters, were “a flagrant violation of a state elections
law.” Husted will appeal the ruling. For many voter activists, the
ruling comes as no surprise. Husted and Republicans have
been heavily criticized for how they handled the lead-up to the election.
The Ohio House will vote on legislation
to regulate puppy mills. Ohio is currently known as one of the worst
states for puppy mills and regulations surrounding them. The Humane
Society of the United States supports extra limits on Ohio’s puppy
mills. CityBeat previously covered the issue and how it enables Ohio dog auctions.
John Cranley is running for mayor.
Cranley, who served on City Council between 2001 and 2007, promises to
bring “bring fresh energy and new ideas to the mayor's office.” One of
those ideas could be opposition to the streetcar, which Cranley has been
against in the past. Former mayor Charlie Luken will be the honorary
chairman of Cranley’s campaign, which will officially launch at an event in January.
The Ohio Department of Development and Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority will meet on Dec. 14 to discuss how to finance the Brent Spence Bridge. The Port Authority suggested tolls
to help pay for the bridge project, which has been labeled the region’s
top transportation priority; but critics say an unelected agency should
not directly impose costs on the public without some recourse.
The city of Cincinnati might buy Tower Place Mall and its neighboring garage.
An emergency ordinance was submitted to buy the mall and garage, which
are currently in foreclosure, for $8.6 million using the surplus from
the Parking Facilities Fund 102.
The third RootScore report for Cincinnati’s cell phone market found Verizon to be far and away the best. AT&T, T-Mobile and Cricket followed. Sprint did the worst.
Ohio will let the federal government run the state’s health care exchange.
Under the Affordable Care Act — also known as Obamacare — states must
decide by Friday to self-manage or let the federal government manage
exchanges, which are subsidized markets that pits different insurance
plans in direct competition within a state. The move comes as no
surprise from Gov. John Kasich and his administration, which have
opposed Obamacare since it passed in 2010. But support for repealing Obamacare is plummeting, a new poll found.
A state legislator introduced a long-expected plan to reform Ohio’s school report card system.
The bill will shift school grading from the current
system, which grades schools with labels ranging from “excellent with
distinction” to “academic emergency,” to a stricter A-to-F system. A simulation of the new system back in May showed Cincinnati Public School dropping in grades and 23 of its schools flunking.
After a strange bout of Ohio Supreme Court races that
continued a trend of candidates with Irish-sounding names winning, some
policymakers are considering reforming campaigning rules for the Ohio Supreme Court. The proposed reforms would allow candidates to speak more freely and show political party affiliation on the ballot.
A true American hero: A Hamilton man took personal injuries from a car accident to avoid hitting a cat.
Ever wish political pundits were held accountable for their completely inane, incorrect predictions? A new Tumblr account does just that.
Canadian doctors claim they managed to communicate with a man in a vegetative state to see if he’s in pain. Thankfully, he’s not.
by German Lopez
OTR more popular, E.W. Scripps' record revenues and tax break, GOP against abortion
People are feeling better about downtown and Over-the-Rhine, according to a new survey. Out of respondents who said they visited downtown, about 83 percent said their opinion of Over-the-Rhine was more favorable now than it was in the last year. Bars and parks topped activities, while dining and events on Fountain Square topped attractions.The E.W. Scripps Company posted its best TV revenues ever
thanks to the presidential election. The company’s consolidated
revenues rose 31 percent to $220 million. The company recently netted a $750,000 tax break from Cincinnati City Council to hire for 125 new local jobs and retain 184 current employees.
The University of Cincinnati’s Women's Health Center will open a branch in West Chester in spring 2013. The new offices will have 47 exam rooms, large and small conference rooms, a retail store and a café.Ohio Republicans are renewing their anti-abortion agenda.
Much to the dismay of pro-choice groups, Gov. John Kasich appointed two
people from Ohio Right to Life to important positions, and the Ohio
Senate is now looking into a new version of the heartbeat bill. Starting
with a hearing Wednesday, Ohio Republicans will also move to defund Planned Parenthood.
In his post-election presser, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted suggested basing Ohio’s electoral vote on congressional districts.
Due to how Republicans redrew district boundaries, that would have
given Mitt Romney most of Ohio’s electoral votes even though Romney lost
the popular vote. Districts were redrawn by the Republican-controlled
process to give Republicans an advantage in congressional races. The
First Congressional District, which includes Cincinnati, was redrawn to
include Republican-leaning Warren County, which shifted the district in
favor of Republicans and diluted Cincinnati’s Democratic-leaning
urbanites. The proposal seems like another attempt at voter suppression
from a secretary of state that has been heavily criticized for how he and his party handled the run-up to the election.
Redistricting also helped Ohio Republicans take Congress.
Last-minute negotiations may push Ohio’s puppy mills bill to the finish line.
The state currently has a reputation as one of the worst for abusive
puppy mills, and the bill would try to place some additional regulations on the
mills. CityBeat previously covered the puppy mill and dog auction problem in Ohio.
A new study found Ohio may be one of the worst states to retire in.
The state did poorly in terms of property crime and life expectancy of
seniors, but it was found to have good economic conditions, a
relatively low tax burden and lower-than-average cost of living.
Ohioans’ food stamp benefits will drop by $50 a month next year. The change is coming due to a shift in how the federal government calculates utility expenditures for food stamp recipients.
Ohio’s Third Grade Guarantee, which requires holding back
third-graders who do not meet state reading standards, now has some research
supporting it. A new study
found girls who struggle to read early on are more likely to become
teen mothers. However, other research shows holding kids back hurts more
than helps. After reviewing decades of research, the National
Association of School Psychologists found grade retention has “deleterious long-term effects,” both academically and socially.
In response to President Barack Obama’s re-election, the
infamous boss of Ohio-based Murray Energy fired more than 150 workers
around the country. One of those workers decided to leak a letter from the boss. The letter blames the firings on Obama’s supposed “war on coal,” but it’s likely the coal industry would be facing trouble even if Obama wasn’t in office.
Climate change just got a lot worse. It might make some coffee beans go extinct.
Two gay penguins became dads at the Odense Zoo in Denmark.Ever wanted a microscopic glimpse at a Pop Tart? Well, you're getting it anyway.
1 Comment · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
By the time this article is published,
the month of early voting and
Election Day will have come to a close, and voters will have made their
choices. But when it’s all said and done, voters will
be making those choices not thanks to Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted, but despite him.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Despite Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s best efforts
to deter early voting across the state this election cycle, state
election officials estimate that Ohio has seen a record turnout of early
voters this year. CINCINNATI +2
by German Lopez
Today is the last day of in-person early voting. Find your correct polling booth here. Check out CityBeat’s endorsements here.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is under fire for
alleged voter suppression once again. In response to recent court
rulings on provisional ballots, Husted sent out a directive on Nov. 2 that shifts the burden of proper identification during the provisional ballot process from poll workers to voters. The directive may not even be legal, according to a lawsuit
quickly filed by voters’ rights activists in response to the new rule:
“Ohio Rev. Code § 3505.181(B)(6) provides that, once a voter casting a
provisional ballot proffers identification, ‘the appropriate local
election official shall record the type of identification provided, the
social security number information, the fact that the affirmation was
executed, or the fact that the individual declined to execute such an
affirmation and include that information with the transmission of the
President Barack Obama was at the University of Cincinnati yesterday to make a closing argument
to Ohioans. In his speech, Obama compared his own ideas and policies to
those of Bill Clinton, while comparing Mitt Romney’s ideas and policies
to those of George W. Bush. With just two days of voting left, all eyes
are on Ohio as it could play the decisive role in the presidential election. In aggregate polling, Obama is up 2.9 points in Ohio and 0.4 points nationally. FiveThirtyEight, The New York Times’ election forecast model, has Obama at an 86.8 percent chance to win Ohio and an 86.3 percent chance to win the election.
Early voters packed polling places around the state
yesterday. The line around the Hamilton County Board of Elections
wrapped around the entire building for much of the day. Butler County had a lot of early voters
as well. Early voting was only available to all Ohioans yesterday
thanks to a lawsuit from Obama and Democrats, which opened up in-person
early voting during the weekend and Monday before Election Day despite strong opposition from state Republicans.
Election Day may be tomorrow, but the entire process may not be finished at the end of the day. In 2008, Ohio took weeks to count the last 490,852 ballots.
Slate reenacted the entire presidential campaign, from finding the Republican nominee to today, through video games.
The groundwork is already being laid out for an amendment legalizing same-sex marriage in Ohio, which could be on the ballot as soon as November 2013.
Some in northeast Ohio are still without power due to Hurricane Sandy’s fallout. Most people affected are in Cleveland and surrounding suburbs.
Ohio gas prices are dropping.
Early results from air quality tests show no signs of pollution near shale gas drilling wells. But the results are early, and more tests are ongoing. CityBeat wrote in-depth about fracking and concerns surrounding the process here.
The deadline for Ohio’s exotic animal registration is today.
The new requirement came about after an Ohio man released 50 exotic
animals, including some dangerous predators, shortly before committing
suicide in 2011.A lonely Asian elephant learned how to speak some Korean, and scientists want to know how and why.
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is asking for an
emergency stay on a recent court order on voting. The order lets voters
vote in any polling place as long as they’re in the correct county. In
his 22-page motion, Husted expressed concerns the “unwarranted,
last-minute litigation” could cause “ongoing harm and confusion.” He
also stated concerns that if the ruling stands, Ohioans will soon be
able to vote from anywhere in the state, regardless of assigned polling
places and counties.
The Anna Louise Inn and Western & Southern
met in court for what could be the final time yesterday. In front of the
Ohio First District Court of Appeals, both sides reiterated their past
arguments. The Anna Louise Inn said it should be classified as
“transitional housing,” not a “special assistance shelter”; and W&S
argued to the contrary. A final decision is expected in 30 to 45 days.President Barack Obama canceled today’s visit to
Cincinnati to monitor Hurricane Sandy storm relief. Both Mitt Romney and Obama have been
heavily campaigning in Ohio, which could play a pivotal role in the
presidential election. Obama will return to the campaign trail Friday.
Meanwhile, a new Romney ad running in Ohio was given a “Pants on Fire”
rating from Politifact. The ad claimed Obama “sold Chrysler to Italians
who are going to build Jeeps in China” at the cost of American jobs,
which PolitiFact said is throwing “reality in reverse.” In aggregate
polling, Obama leads Romney in Ohio by 2.4 points. Romney is up 0.8 points nationally. FiveThirtyEight, the New York Times' election forecast model, now gives Obama a 77.6 percent chance of winning Ohio and a 77.4 percent chance of winning the election.
Supporters of Issue 4 held a press event yesterday. If
Issue 4 passes, City Council will have four-year terms, up from two. The
reform seeks to allow City Council to focus less on campaigning and
more on long-term policy. Opponents say it will make council members
An anti-Obama memo circulated by the CEO of
Cincinnati-based Cintas Corp. is getting some criticism from Democrats.
The memo took issue with Obamacare, possible tax hikes and “over-regulation,” but it does
not specifically endorse any candidate. Caleb Faux, executive director
of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, says the memo is coercive: “I
think that it’s disgraceful that any employer would use the power
implicit in the employer-employee relationship to coerce people while
they are making their voting decisions.”
Build Our New Bridge Now has already raised $2 million.
The coalition will market and lobby to get a new Brent Spence Bridge
built between Cincinnati and Kentucky.
A University of Cincinnati study found green roofs may
require some special plants. The news could shift some ideas in the
green movement, which is currently pushing green roofs as a way to
improve urban water infrastructure. Cincinnati’s City Council and
Metropolitan Sewer District have some plans for utilizing green
infrastructure. Xavier reversed its decision to not pay for birth control
in its employee health plans. The decision comes largely due to Obamacare's requirement most employers pay for contraception
without a copay. Rev. Michael Graham, Xavier's president,
criticized Obamacare’s requirement in an email to Business Courier: “Religious institutions have never been asked to violate their consciences in this profound a manner.”The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency will be holding a
public hearing on Nov. 13 to accept comments on a draft hazardous waste
permit renewal for Spring Grove Resource Recovery, a Cincinnati-based
company.Josh Mandel is touting his alternative to Obamacare. His plan pushes tax benefits, transparency, tort reform,
health savings accounts and allowing health insurance to be purchased across
state lines. However, one study by Georgetown University found insurance
companies may not want to sell across state lines, and a
Congressional Budget Office (CBO) study found tort reform would only
bring down total national health care spending by about 0.5 percent. The
CBO also found repealing Obamacare would actually increase the federal
deficit by $109 billion. In aggregate polling, Mandel is currently
losing to Democratic incumbent Sherrod Brown by 5.3 points.
State Republicans introduced a bill reforming Ohio’s municipal income tax code. The bill got praise from business interests, but a statewide group representing local communities doesn’t seem too happy.
Ohio school leaders are asking the state to not regulate the use
of seclusion rooms. The rooms are small rooms that are typically
intended to restrain violent or out-of-control students, but an
investigation by StateImpact Ohio and The Columbus Dispatch found the rooms were often used to punish students and for the convenience of school staff.
The Ohio Department of Education announced a $13 million
Early Literacy and Reading Readiness competitive grant. The program
seeks to help students boost reading skills before the end of the third
Ohio victims of Hurricane Sandy could be eligible for reduced interest rates through the state’s Renew and Rebuild programs.
If you have a disturbing lack of faith in humanity, wait until you read this next sentence: Star Wars 7, 8 and 9 announced.How to protect Earth from asteroids: paintballs.
by German Lopez
State data glitch causes late delivery of 33,000 updated registration records
An error in how voters update their address online caused
updated registration records to be delivered late to Ohio’s election
officials. With about a week left in Ohio’s voting process, the late delivery might have caused the Hamilton County Board of
Elections to mistakenly reject some eligible voters because officials did not
have the voters’ current addresses. Amy Searcy, director of elections
at the board, says it’s unclear how many registered voters were
affected, but 2,129 updated registration records were sent from Ohio Secretary of State John Husted’s
office. She says the number could end up varying since some of the
records are duplicates.
Across the state, an unknown number of ballots were
mistakenly rejected as 33,000 registration records were sent late on
Monday and Tuesday. Cleveland's The Plain Dealer reported 71 voters were mistakenly rejected in Cuyahoga County.
Matt McClellan, Husted’s spokesperson, said Husted’s
offices were previously unaware of the data, which is why it wasn’t
requested before the glitch was detected by the Bureau of Motor Vehicles (BMV).
The glitch caused the BMV to not properly send online address changes to Husted’s office, says Joe Andrews, communications
director at the Ohio Department of Public Safety, which oversees the BMV. He
added, “As soon as we discovered it, we fixed it. And I think that, in
cooperation with the secretary of state’s office, the problem has been
In a directive detailing the delay, Husted touted the benefits of the catch.
“While the timing is unfortunate, we are extremely pleased
that the data from this new system can be sent electronically and will
require minimal data entry,” he wrote. “Additionally, the new system has
the potential to help reduce provisional ballots significantly.”
Outdated registration records are one of the major reasons
voters cast provisional ballots, which are ballots given to voters
whose eligibility is unclear. In 2008, nearly 205,000 provisional
ballots were cast and about 40,000 — about 20 percent — were rejected for varying reasons. Recently, a federal judge blocked an
Ohio law that led to 14,000 of those rejections. Husted followed up that
ruling with an appeal and a request for an emergency stay.Tim Burke, chairman of the county Board of Elections and county Democratic Party, expressed mixed feelings about the caught error.“Obviously, you hate like hell to have the secretary of
state’s office, which had promised to have a very efficient election,
popping something like that on us seven days out,” he says. “Having said
that, I’m glad at least once they recognized that these names are out
there they moved to get them to us so that we can do our best to ensure
that these folks are not disenfranchised because of some administrative
glitch.”He says the board will contact any mistakenly rejected voters.