by German Lopez
DeWine calls for school staff training, Music Hall to be leased, bus money not for streetcar
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is proposing
training school staff and teachers to be first responders in the case
of an attack. The news comes in the wake of the massacre in Sandy Hook
Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which caused the deaths of 20
children and six adults. CityBeat proposed its own solution in this week’s commentary: Make this time different by focusing on mental health services and gun control.
Cincinnati will lease Music Hall for 75 years to the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC). The lease
is part of a plan to renovate the iconic building to include more
comfortable seating, extra restroom capacity, heating, air conditioning,
improved plumbing and new escalator models. During the renovations,
Music Hall will be closed for 17 months.
City Council passed
a resolution promising not to use Metro bus money for the streetcar.
The supposed conflict between the city of Cincinnati and the Southwest
Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) is being drummed up by the
media, but it’s really much ado about nothing.
Metropolitan Sewer District rates will go up by 5 percent in early 2013.
The Cincinnati Health Department is pushing
recommendations from a lead hazard study. The recommendations would
prohibit lead-based paint hazards and require all properties to be free
of lead-based paint, dust and soil. City Council is asking the health
department to carry out the regulations, and it expects from a plan and
timetable from regulators within 60 days. One study found getting rid of lead would do wonders for school performance
A Brookings Institute ranking placed Greater Cincinnati among the worst areas in the country due to falling home prices.
Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Bank agreed
to a $16 million settlement in a securities fraud case. The
four-year-old lawsuit was brought in the onset of 2008’s financial
crisis, when the bank’s stock plummeted as it took several large
Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino still needs to fill 450 positions in food and beverage, marketing, finance, security and more. A Washington Post analysis found casinos tend to bring jobs, but they also bring crime, bankruptcy and even suicide.
As expected, hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is helping
Ohio’s economy. The state has 39,000 jobs attached to oil and gas this
year, and the number is expected to triple by the end of the decade. To
take advantage of the boom, Ohio Gov. John Kasich says he will push his oil-and-gas severance tax in 2013. But the plan faces opposition from liberals and conservatives.
If Ohio Republicans tried to push “right-to-work” legislation, it would lead to a very nasty public fight, The Plain Dealer reports. Kasich and Republican lawmakers didn’t rule out
using ballot initiatives to push conservative ideas like right-to-work
in a press conference yesterday, but he did say he’s like a horse with
blinders on, focusing on job creation.
The animal and robot takeover have been merged in the BigDog robot. It can now obey voice commands, follow and roll over.
by German Lopez
City will lease Music Hall to private company for 75 years
Cincinnati’s Music Hall will be getting renovations, but
the project will be much smaller than anticipated. Instead of the
previously estimated $165 million, the project, which involves the city
leasing the iconic building to the Music Hall Revitalization Company (MHRC) for 75 years, will only
cover approximately $95 million.
At a joint press conference Wednesday, Mayor Mark Mallory
and Otto Budig, president of MHRC,
officially announced the plan, which City Council will take up early
Not many details or a timeline were announced at the press
conference, but some information did come to light. The renovations will
include more comfortable seating, extra restroom capacity, heating, air
conditioning, improved plumbing and new escalator models. During the renovations, Music Hall, home of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Opera and Cincinnati Ballet, will be closed for an estimated 17 months.
“We will do this in a manner that carries with it the
surety that the project will be complete,” Budig said. “The worst thing
we could do is start this project without the natural resources and
On top of the leasing agreement, the city will also help fund the project through tax credits.
The lease continues the trend of public-private
partnerships city government has used to revitalize Over-the-Rhine and
downtown Cincinnati in recent years. From the Banks to Washington Park, the city of
Cincinnati has pushed to be seen as a more attractive, business-friendly
However, that has come with some push back. The Cincinnati
Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) and city have previously
faced criticisms from homeless advocates for allegedly discriminatory
rules at Washington Park, which were later voted down by the Cincinnati Park Board.
Some public officials have also raised concerns about the
city giving away too many of its public assets. The 2013 budget
currently relies on a proposal that will privatize Cincinnati’s parking
assets, a plan that has faced heavy criticism from Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld and mayoral candidate John Cranley. City Manager Milton Dohoney argues the privatization plan is necessary to avoid 344 layoffs.
by Andy Brownfield
President touts support for small businesses and LGBT rights
In the first town hall-style event of the 2012 campaign,
President Barack Obama fielded questions on Monday about rights for the
LGBT community, what he would do for small business during a second term
and which was his favorite Girl Scout cookie (Thin Mints).
Obama — the first Democrat to carry Hamilton County since
Lyndon Baines Johnson — held a packed town hall meeting at Music Hall.
Cincinnati Fire Department Capt. Joseph E. Wolf estimated the crowd at
1,200 people in the ballroom with an additional 421 hosted outside.
The most recent Quinnipiac University poll from June 27
showed that 47 percent of Ohio voters favored the president, while 38
percent were behind his presumed Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The
poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Mayor Mark Mallory fired up the crowd before the president
spoke, saying Hamilton County is the most important county in Ohio, and
Cincinnati the most important city in the county.
“The folks in this room are the most important folks in
terms of the re-election of President Barack Obama in the United States
of America,” Mallory said.
Attending the town hall was former Cincinnati mayor and
daytime TV host Jerry Springer, who said he and about a dozen other
folks had a private meeting with the president earlier in the day.
"I think it would be bad for the country," Springer said of an America
that saw Obama lose the November election. He says the
Republican-controlled house would run away with our country without a
Democrat in the Oval Office to issue a veto.
Just an hour before the president spoke and seven blocks
away at Fountain Square, dozens of Romney supporters rallied, carrying
signs with slogans such as “Obama Bin Lyin’.”
Republican Mike Wilson, who is looking to unseat
Montgomery Democrat Rep. Connie Pillich in the Ohio House of
Representatives, was among the speakers at the Romney Rally. Pillich defeated Wilson in the 2010 election.
"Ohio seems destined to play a pivotal role. We're used to it," Wilson said.
Wilson criticized the Obama campaign for “playing politics” with Romney’s tenure at the head of investment firm Bain Capital.
The Obama campaign has claimed that Romney invested in businesses that outsourced American jobs.
“We're all interested with what Romney did with his money,
but we're not interested with what Obama is doing with our money,"
He blamed over-regulation and taxation from the Obama administration for companies moving their operations overseas.
Gerry Molt, who attended the rally with his wife Roxanne,
claimed that Obama is at war with America and says the focus on Bain
Capital is “clearly a distraction.”
Roxanne Molt said she’s excited about the importance of Hamilton County in this year’s election.
“I think this is the premier election of our lifetime,”
she said. “I think Romney’s got a good plan. We need someone who
The president did a little bit to support Cincinnati
capitalism, making a pit stop at Skyline Chili before the town hall,
where he ordered a 4-way and two cheese coneys.
The economy was a big focus of Obama’s speech, but also of questions he received afterward.
Tony White, who owns a barber shop/beauty salon, asked
what the president would do for small businesses with fewer than 10
In his response, the president touted the possible savings
for small businesses under the health care overhaul, saying they could
pool together and receive the same rates as larger businesses. As for
moving forward, Obama said he would continue to put pressure on banks to
lend to small businesses.
“We’ve actually been pushing the banks to say, ‘look,
taxpayers pulled your backside out of the fire, it’s now important for
you to step up and make sure that small businesses aren’t finding their
credit restricted, especially if they’ve been in business for a while,”
The president was also asked by a woman who only
identified herself as Anna what he would do to further help the LGBT
community. Anna’s son Adam is openly gay and is looking at attending
Miami University in Oxford.
Despite earlier teasing that he wouldn’t sing at the town
hall, Obama led the crown in singing “Happy Birthday” to Adam, who
turned 18 on Monday.
Obama again answered the question by touting his
accomplishments so far — ending the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that
forbid homosexuals from serving openly in the military and expanding
hospital visitation rights to same-sex partners — before going on to say that the federal Defense of Marriage Act needs to be repealed.
The Defense of Marriage Act defines marriage as between
one man and one woman. Obama is the first American president to openly
support gay marriage.
The theme the president to which continued to return was that America needs to return to being the land of opportunity.
“What really sets us apart has always been that we have
the greatest middle class and a basic idea that’s at the heart of this
country that says if you work hard then you can get ahead. If you’re
responsive, then you can live out your dreams. You’re not confined to
the circumstances of your birth.”German Lopez contributed to this report.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 27, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court today said “hell
nah” to many parts of an Arizona law designed to fight illegal
immigration by racially profiling people. It wasn’t a total victory for
those who don’t love America and think a nation built by immigrants will
be ruined by them, as the court let a provision stand that allows
police to check a person’s immigration status while enforcing other
by Danny Cross
It was “Rich People Voice Their Concerns Night” at city
councils across town last night, as proponents of the $1 sale of Music
Hall packed Cincinnati City Council chambers even though the proposed
lease deal wasn’t on the agenda. Mayor Mark Mallory insisted that any
middle ground that will allow the nonprofit Music Hall Revitalization
Co. to renovate the building will require that the city retain
Across town (and about 10 miles northeast toward the area with mass trees), Madeira City Council shot down a plan to
develop a luxury apartment complex on Camargo Road. Council voted 6-1 to
scrap the plan for a 184-unit complex after residents who voiced
concern said the complex would be “too dense” and take away from the
city’s single-family character. Word on the street is that the Council
majority didn’t want scumbag renters like this guy to be able to move
into the neighborhood and start playing music really loud out of their car stereos.
Cincinnati City Council yesterday pretty much canceled its
plans to build an atrium at City Hall. Six council members approved a
motion asking administrators to shut it down, and City Manager
Milton Dohoney says he’ll abide by it even though he technically doesn’t
have to because the funding was approved in a spending ordinance.
Council also voted yesterday to keep the property tax rate pretty much the same next year despite a projected deficit.
Now that the Supreme Court has temporarily upheld part of Arizona’s racist
controversial immigration law, no-name state legislators in Ohio and
Kentucky plan to break out the laws they couldn’t previously get passed.
According to The Enquirer’s Mark Curnutte (who apparently won a
national book award for his work covering poverty in Haiti — big ups,
Curnutte!), some dudes named Courtney Combs (R-Ross Township, Ohio) and
John Schickel (R-Union, Ky.) have some great ways to rid of their states'
illegal immigrants, at least until the court strikes down the rest of
New York Times: "Arizona Ruling Only a Narrow Opening for Other States"
Housing prices are going up in most cities due to low interest rates and cheap prices.
A new Obama campaign ad refers to Mitt Romney as “outsourcer in chief.” Ouch!
The War on Drugs is making the AIDS epidemic worse by driving people away from treatment, according to a report released today by the Global Commission on Drug Policy.
California condors are being threatened by lead poisoning
from bullets left behind in dead carcasses shot by hunters, which the
Facebook changed users' listed email accounts, and people on the Internet are mad. Gizmodo explains how to fix it.
The Spice Girls are reuniting to create a musical called Viva Forever! at London's Piccadilly Theatre.
by Danny Cross
Posted In: 2012 Election
, President Obama
, LGBT Issues
, Healthcare Reform
at 09:19 AM | Permalink
Leaders of the nonprofit Music Hall Revitalization Co.
seemed to have compromised last week when the group proposed a 99-year lease of
Music Hall as part of a $165 million renovation. But the lease included a
clause that would allow the group to acquire the historic building for $1 at
the end of the lease or at the end of a second 99-year lease. The permanent
sale of the building is what held up the initial plan to turn the renovation
over to the nonprofit group, which says its donors will not offer the financial
support without the city turning over ownership. Mayor Mark Mallory told The
Enquirer that the proposal will not be approved. “I don’t care if it’s 99 years, 198 years, 500 years or
1,000 years, the city should always retain ownership,” Mallory said. “That
should never change.”
George W. Bush Presidential Library denied a request by a Democratic super PAC
for documents related to Sen. Rob Portman’s work in the George W. Bush
administration. The library says it is not subject to the Freedom of
Information Act and that all are welcome to see the documents in 2014. The
super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, has been researching GOP candidates as
Mitt Romney moves closer to choosing a running mate.
you look at the roster of V.P. candidates, each of them is significantly
flawed,” American Bridge senior adviser Ty Matsdorf said in a statement. “For
Portman, it is his calamitous record on fiscal issues while working at the Bush
White House. It shouldn’t be a shock that he is going to want to keep that
under wraps for as long as possible, but unfortunately it’s pretty hard to hide
a record as terrible as that.”
is live blogging from the Supreme Court to see if there are any rulings on the
health care law or immigration.
Gay pride celebrations took place in New York, Chicago and
San Francisco over the weekend, and Obama organizers were there to recruit
Spain formally asked for European aid for its banks.
The sea level is rising faster along the Atlantic Coast than
other places in the world.
Facebook has created a new “find friends nearby” function
that will allow users to see friends and people they don’t know who are at
events or social gatherings. From some Facebook engineer’s comments on the
I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a
hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we
settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of
a homage to the previous iteration).
For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one
where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met
and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or
sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides
a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people
with minimal friction.
HBO’s The Newsroom premiered last night, and this guy at the
Toronto Star said it kind of sucked while the New York Times says CNN could
learn something from it.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 6, 2012
If the 1985 film Pee Wee’s Big Adventure taught us anything, it’s that rich people think they can have whatever they want
when someone loves an object enough, he or she will do anything to keep
it. That’s kind of what’s going on over at Music Hall these days.
by Danny Cross
The Enquirer today offered a
dramatic headline on its front page story, asking the figurative
question, “Who will blink first on Music Hall deal?” Although
Mayor Mark Mallory is able to literally blink, such involuntary
action will not directly affect his stance on giving away Music Hall,
which he is still opposed to.
Cincinnati's outstanding stadium tax
bonds were downgraded by Moody's Investor Services, partially as a
result of the county's sale of Drake Hospital last year and its
unwillingness to cut the property tax rollback that helped convince
rich people to vote for the tax in the first place. Gov. John Kasich this week signed an
executive order allowing the Ohio Lottery Commission to expedite new
rules allowing slot machines at racetracks. The state's seven
racetracks are expected to begin submitting applications for the
17,500 machines within the next few months.
Condoleeze Rice endorsed Mitt Romney,
as the Republican presidential candidate struggles to differentiate
his foreign policy from Obama's.
A Seattle man yesterday killed five
people before shooting himself as authorities closed in on him.
Various security cameras caught footage of the suspect entering a
cafe, where he allegedly shot and killed four people. He reportedly killed
another person during a carjacking. According to The Seattle Times,
the suspect is Ian Lee Stawicki, 40, of Seattle, whose brother says
he is mentally ill.
Florida Democrats are wondering what's
up with Republican Gov. Rick Scott's effort to purge illegal voters
from the state's rolls before this year's elections, partially in
response to legal voters being booted.
Job creation: light. Unemployment
claims: slightly up. Economy: growing a little slower than expected. Details here
Ever ordered a medium soda only to
realize that the giant cup doesn't fit in a normal car cup holder?
New York City could soon ban large sodas and other sugary drinks.
by Mike Breen
Posted In: Live Music
at 11:24 AM | Permalink
Young rocker Chris Daughtry worked very hard on his way to stardom, traveling the country back and forth in a tiny van with his bandmates, playing any dive that'll have him and hustling to make business connections any chance he got. Oh, wait — actually, he came in fourth place on a TV singing contest. On top of Grammy nominations and No. 1 hits, tonight he's playing with his band at Music freakin' Hall. If Daughtry's generic Radio Rock sound is your thang, have fun. The show starts at 7:30 p.m. with singer/songwriter Mike Sanchez and the band Safetysuit. Tickets are $30.50-$50.50. Daughtry is donating $1 from each ticket sold to Malaria No More, "a leading humanitarian organization determined to end malaria deaths in Africa by 2015." So he's got that goin' for him …He does a wicked Lady Gaga impersonation, too.
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The city of Cincinnati is considering selling
Over-the-Rhine’s historic Music Hall for just $1 to nonprofit Music Hall
Revitalization Co. Inc. The looming need for $165 million worth of
repairs has been too great for the city to handle, and selling it to a
private entity could make attaining the funds easier.