by German Lopez
Posted In: News
, City Council
at 12:49 PM | Permalink
Council member could permanently resign if he wins re-election
Council member Chris Smitherman announced in a statement today that he will leave his post as president of the Cincinnati chapter of the NAACP while he runs for re-election to City Council.If he does win re-election, Smitherman will offer his permanent resignation to the local chapter's executive committee, which can then accept or reject Smitherman's leave.James Clingman, a vice president of the NAACP and founder of the Greater Cincinnati African-American Chamber of Commerce, will take Smitherman's spot for now.Smitherman, City Council's sole Independent, has come under criticism recently to step down from his NAACP post as he runs for office. Others have also criticized Smitherman's involvement with political organizations like the conservative Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST) and his support for Republican City Council candidates — involvement and support that critics argue are too political for the NAACP.A memo titled "Election Year Dos and Don'ts" from the NAACP tells members to avoid partisan, political activity."Although NAACP units are 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organizations, the national NAACP is a 501(c)(3) organization which is restricted in how it can assist people in registering or getting out to vote. In addition, NAACP policy specifically prohibits units’ engagement in political campaign activity. This means that NAACP units cannot endorse or oppose candidates running for public office, make financial or in-kind contributions to candidates, political parties, or PACs, or engage in other activity that is designed or targeted to influence the outcome of any candidate election," the memo reads.By separating himself from the NAACP, Smitherman can continue his political activities without violating federal and national NAACP rules.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: Life
at 10:24 AM | Permalink
Soliciting lots more questions on everything and anything about life in Cincinnati
Hopefully, you've heard about CityBeat's first Answers Issue by now, and hopefully, by now you've submitted plentiful golden, glowing and totally insightful questions you want us to answer. If you haven't, however, there's still time to rack your brain for the most stump-worthy questions about life in Cincinnati so we, CityBeat's faithful editorial staff, can do some sleuthing, drink some Red Bull, make
some calls, read some files, spend a few hours on Google, hit up the
library, talk to some fortune-tellers — whatever we can to get your
questions answered. Ask us questions about
life in the Queen City you want
answered — that means anything on city politics, arts and culture, food, sports,
neighborhoods, E. coli in the Ohio River, bird law, what an inmate eats for breakfast at the Hamilton County Justice Center, etc. Whatever's on your mind. You submit your question (check out the Answers Issue page here),
and our dutiful reporting team will pick the ones we like best, divide
them up and bring you back the answers in an issue sourced directly from
you guys. Your questions will be anonymous when we print them. We could use a lot more questions, you inquiring minds. Here's the question submissions form.
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 20, 2013
So what is it about Jews? Not only real Jews but also fearful fantasies about Jews. I ask because so many mainstream
reporters, bloggers and columnists seem fascinated and repelled by the
implied menace of “the Jewish lobby.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Here’s an unfortunate fact for journalism
teachers and angry website commenters all around the world: Reality
sometimes has a bias.
by German Lopez
Parking vandalism, Cranley demands debate, Kasich plan limits counties
Damaged parking meters in Over-the-Rhine are causing problems
for residents and local businesses. For months, thieves have been
cutting off the top of meters to steal change. The vandals
directly steal revenue from the city, ensure the damaged meters
won’t collect revenue until they’re fixed and force the city to shell
out more money to fix the meters. Businesses and residents are also
worried the damaged meters cause confusion for drivers
and make the area look unattractive.
Democratic mayoral candidate John Cranley wants to debate
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls, a Democrat who’s also running for mayor, over
the city’s plan to privatize parking services. Cranley, a former
council member, has pushed the city to find an alternative to the
privatization plan — sometimes leading him to make claims with little backing.
Qualls isn’t ecstatic about the privatization plan, but she seems to
side with City Manager Milton Dohoney’s position that it’s necessary to avoid the layoff of 344 city employees.
County officials around the state are peeved at Gov. John Kasich’s budget plan because it limits how much they can leverage in county sales taxes.
The proposal bars counties from changing their sales tax rates for
three years starting July 2013, and it also adjusts county’s rates to
force a 10 percent revenue increase over the prior year beginning
December 2013. The Kasich administration claims the move is necessary to
prevent county governments from using the governor’s plan to subtly raise the sales tax, but county officials argue the
move infringes on local rights. Kasich’s plan lowers the state sales tax rate from 5.5 percent to 5 percent, but it expands what’s affected by the tax.
CityBeat analyzed Kasich’s budget proposal yesterday:
CPS Still Loses Funding Under Kasich Administration:
The budget does increase school funding for Cincinnati Public
Schools (CPS), but it’s not enough to make up for the last state budget cuts
to CPS.Kasich Tax Cut Favors Wealthy:
Kasich claims he’s giving a tax cut to every Ohioan, but a new report
from Policy Matters Ohio shows the poor and middle class will pay more
on average under his plan.
Kasich’s school funding plan is also drawing complaints
from school leaders. At a press conference, Kasich made his plan sound fairly
progressive, but school leaders found the actual numbers underwhelming,
and 60 percent of schools won’t get any increased funding.
City Council Member Chris Seelbach took to Facebook to
slam Cranley for some recent comments regarding
freestanding public restrooms. During an interview with Bill Cunningham,
Cranley tried to politicize the issue
by saying City Council wants to build a $100,000 freestanding restroom.
In his Facebook post, Seelbach explained that’s not the case: “John
Cranley, if you haven't heard (which I find surprising), NO ONE on City
Council has ever said, in any capacity, that we should spend $100,000+
on a 24-hour public restroom facility. No one. In fact, I went on Bill
Cunningham to make that clear. I'd appreciate if you'd stop trying to
politicize the real issue: Finding a way to offer more public restroom
choices in our urban core for our growing and thriving city. In case you
didn't hear my interview with Cunningham, or my comments to almost
every media source in this region, I'll post the interview again.”
Seelbach’s interview with Cunningham can be found here.
Clifton’s new grocery store will begin construction next week. Goessling's Market-Clifton is finally replacing Keller's IGA on Ludlow Avenue.
A local high school’s prom was canceled
to punish students for a massive water balloon fight at lunch. The giant fight
was planned as a prank on social media, and school staff tried to
prevent it by warning students of the repercussions on the day of the
prank. Students did not listen. Prom was lame, anyway.
PNC Bank donated $450,000
to Smale Riverfront Park. The money will be used to build the PNC Grow
Up Great Adventure Playground, which will have a swinging rope bridge
for kids to walk across a canyon. PNC is among a handful companies to donate
to the riverfront park; most recently, Procter & Gamble donated $1
Cincinnati was called the most literate city in Ohio.
The Montgomery County Democratic Party endorsed the Freedom to Marry Amendment, which would legalize same-sex marriage. CityBeat wrote about the amendment here.
Kasich’s latest budget proposal would privatize
food services in prisons to save $16.2 million. The Ohio Civil Service
Employees Association, which represents prison staff, has come out
against the plan.
A lawsuit has been filed
to take down a Jesus portrait in Jackson Middle School in southern
Ohio. The lawsuit is being backed by the American Civil Liberties Union
of Ohio and the Freedom from Religion Foundation. They argue the
portrait is an “unconstitutional endorsement of religion and must be
A new cure for color blindness: goofy glasses.
There’s new evidence that a giant asteroid really sparked earth’s last great mass extinction event, which killed the dinosaurs.
0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
I swear there are days when it would be
best to turn off the television, stay away from computers, the Internet
and smartphones, maybe just remain in bed with the covers firmly clasped
over my head to silence the ignorant noise spewing out of the mouths
(and from the furiously tweeting thumbs) of politicians, commentators
3 Comments · Wednesday, December 12, 2012
I’m grateful to the GQ magazine reporter who asked Florida Sen. Marco Rubio about the age of the earth. It raises a vital question for a country
where significant numbers of Americans reject much of science from
creation to evolution.
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 28, 2012
I value small publications
with strong opinions or reporting. The small publications that I
turn to live off subscriptions, a few ads, wealthy benefactors,
foundations and/or myriad smaller donations.
by Andy Brownfield
Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati warns against politicking in parishes
The Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati this week sent a letter to all local parishes warning them to keep politics off the pulpit.
The letter reminds pastors and parishioners that church
leadership may not endorse parties or candidates or take any action that
could be construed as endorsement, let candidates or parties use church
facilities, distribute political materials in church or use church
publications to promote a party or candidate.
“The Church has the responsibility to provide moral
guidance on political issues; however, the Church does not wish to
engage in political activity,” Chancellor the Rev. Steve Angi wrote in
the Oct. 24 letter.
Some Cincinnati-area parishes had placed stacks of tickets
to a rally for Rep. Paul Ryan or stacks of Republican sample ballots,
according to Parishes Without Politics, a group of lay Catholics.
“We think the Cincinnati Archdiocese’s letter should be a
model for bishops nationwide and the rest of the Church leadership,”
group spokesperson Deborah Rose-Milavec wrote in an emailed statement.
“Catholics should feel free to vote their own consciences
without being bombarded by partisan political messages from the pulpits,
on parish websites, in parish bulletins, in the vestibules or anywhere
else on parish property.”
CityBeat has previously written about how both major
parties are using different aspects of Catholic social teaching to woo
Social justice vs. religious freedom: Catholic organizations woo a divided voting bloc
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Were it not for the giant touring bus
emblazoned with the words, “Nuns on the Bus,” it would be hard to assume
that the collection of about 10 white-haired women were members of
Catholic religious orders.