by German Lopez
Only 11 streetcar workers to lose jobs, federal funds endangered, GOP reducing early voting
Streetcar Project Executive John Deatrick yesterday said only 11 streetcar workers are expected to lose their jobs
following City Council’s pause of the $132.8 million project, far below
the original estimate of 200 city officials gave on Monday. The remaining workers will be moved by contractors to other jobs or
kept under ongoing utility work, which utility companies agreed to
continue despite no longer qualifying for reimbursements from the city,
according to Deatrick. He also said it’s “a wild guess” whether the
number of layoffs will grow in the future.
Cincinnati should expect to return up to $44.9 million in
federal grants funding nearly one-third of the streetcar project even
though the project is only on “pause” as local officials weigh the costs of cancellation and completion, according to transportation experts who
talked to The Cincinnati Enquirer. Without the federal grants, the project is effectively dead.
The two swing votes on council — David Mann and Kevin Flynn — say they
want to evaluate whether it would make financial sense to cancel the
project this far into construction. Deatrick previously estimated
the costs of cancellation could nearly reach the costs of completion after accounting for
$32.8 million in sunk costs through November, $30.6-$47.6 million in
close-out costs and $44.9 million in lost federal grants. But Mann and
Flynn voiced distrust over the projections and called for an independent
Democrats and voter advocates claim Republican legislators are slowly rebuilding “voter suppression” laws
that were the subject of referendum in 2012 before Republicans backed
down. Democrats called on Gov. John Kasich to veto the bills. Among
other measures, the bills would reduce the amount of in-person early voting days
and restrict elected officials’ ability to to mail out unsolicited
absentee ballot applications. Democrats claim the bills are meant to
suppress voters. Republicans argue the measures help
reduce “cheaters,” even though in-person voter fraud is very rare.
Chris Finney, a high-profile lawyer who is critical of local tax breaks for businesses, apologized for denying that he sought tax breaks for his law firm.
Finney sought the tax breaks shortly after criticizing Cincinnati for
granting a tax incentive package to convince Pure Romance to move from
Loveland, Ohio, to downtown Cincinnati. Finney is the top legal crusader
for the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes (COAST), a conservative group with a history of anti-gay causes.
Tea party group One Percent for Liberty nominated Mayor
John Cranley as a “Defender of Liberty for 2013” for his work against the
streetcar project and parking privatization plan. The group previously nominated various conservative politicians and activists from around the
region. The award will be presented at COAST’s Christmas party.
Hundreds of schools and businesses in the Cincinnati area today closed in response to the developing winter storm.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare and TriHealth, two of the areas’ largest health systems, yesterday announced they’re teaming up to reduce costs, improve the patient experience and generate better health outcomes.
Attorney General Mike DeWine yesterday announced he will crack down on electronic raffle operations.
Nelson Mandela, a South African icon of peace, died yesterday.
Mandela was a peaceful leader of the anti-apartheid movement who went
on to become South Africa’s first black president. His consistent
devotion to peace inspired similar peaceful protests around the world. The New York Times put together a great interactive featuring several correspondents who witnessed Mandela first-hand here.
U.S. unemployment fell to 7 percent in November, the lowest rate in five years.
Popular Science explains how to get rid of animal testing.
Follow CityBeat on Twitter:• Main: @CityBeatCincy• News: @CityBeat_News• Music: @CityBeatMusic• German Lopez: @germanrlopez
1 Comment · Wednesday, November 7, 2012
I have never before felt so simultaneously relieved to vote and deterred from it in all my life. And it’s because of astounding voter turnout.
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
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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 31, 2012
On Nov. 6, America will be watching Ohio
voters to see which presidential candidate we put over the top. But in
Ohio, no issue will hold the long-term weight of Issue 2. The
little-known issue seeks to reform a redistricting process that has long
been dominated by politicized redistricting — also known as
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 16
declined to take up Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s early voting
appeal, meaning Ohio must allow all voters to vote on the weekend and
Monday before Election Day — a right previously reserved for military
personnel and their families. The decision came slightly more than seven
weeks after the initial Aug. 31 decision by a lower court that extended
the three voting days to all Ohioans.
by German Lopez
Voting on weekend and Monday before Election Day must include all Ohioans
The U.S. Supreme Court says it will not take up Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted's early voting appeal. With the decision, Ohio must allow all voters to vote on the weekend and Monday before Election Day — a right previously reserved for military personnel and their families.The news comes just a week after Husted promised to appeal a ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, which said if early voting will take place on the three days before Election Day, boards of elections must make sure all Ohioans can use the opportunity.However, some ambiguity is left in the process as different county boards of elections decide on voting hours. The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals said it's up to Husted and individual county boards when and even if Ohioans will vote on the three days. If there is a tie vote in the county boards, Husted will be the tie breaker.When he announced his intention to appeal the appeals court ruling, Husted said in a statement that he will ensure Ohio has uniform early voting rules and hours no matter the outcome of the appeal: “While I will be asking the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold Ohio law
through the appeals process, the last thing I want to see is a
non-uniform system where voters will be treated differently in all 88
counties. Since some boards of elections have already started to take action on
hours of operation for the three days before Election Day, I am going
to take time to consult with all 88 counties before crafting a
directive to set uniform hours should the state not be successful upon
appeal.”UPDATE (1:30 P.M.): Husted sent out a directive to county boards of elections enforcing uniform voting hours for the three days before Election Day. On Saturday, booths will be open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Monday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
by Andy Brownfield
Posted In: 2012 Election
, Barack Obama
, LGBT Issues
, President Obama
, Mitt Romney
at 02:52 PM | Permalink
On National Coming Out Day, Obama campaign releases new ad featuring LGBT activist
On National Coming Out Day, Cincinnati’s only openly gay
city councilman told CityBeat that equality for America’s Lesbian Gay
Bisexual and Transgendered people would take a hit under a President
“On day one (of his presidency) he (Romney) could hurt gay
families by reinstating Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and hurt security for our
country,” Seelbach said. “We need as many people serving as possible.”
Councilman Chris Seelbach spoke to CityBeat as he waited to vote early outside of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
Proponents of the measure that prevented openly gay
service members from serving in the military have said repealing Don’t
Ask, Don’t Tell would damage the country’s combat-readiness.
A study published by the Williams Institute at University of California Los Angeles Law School in September found that there has been no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale.
Seelbach said there would be a stark contrast for LGBT
people under President Barack Obama and his GOP rival. He pointed to the
Obama administration’s refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in
court; his vocal approval of same-sex marriage; anti-discrimination
measures signed by the president that, among other things, give same-sex
partners the right to visit their loved ones in the hospital and make
He said the next president would also likely have the
opportunity to appoint new justices to the U.S. Supreme Court. The court
will likely decide the fate of California’s Proposition 8, which
outlawed gay marriage."If you care about equality, you've got to vote," Seelbach said. "The easiest way to vote is to vote early."
The Obama campaign in Ohio plans to release a new online ad touting the president’s accomplishments for LGBT people.
The ad, made available to CityBeat, features Zach Wahls, a
gay-rights activist born to a lesbian couple via artificial
insemination. Wahls is known for his testimony before the Iowa House
Judiciary Committee against a constitutional amendment that would ban
gay marriage in that state.
In the ad, Wahls touts the president’s accomplishments and exhorts Ohioans to reelect Obama.
“We want to make sure that we’re all doing everything we
can this fall to get out, register voters, canvass, knock on doors, get
our family members and friends out to the polls so that we can re-elect
the best president this country has ever seen on LGBT rights,” Wahls
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your
nearest polling booth here. More than 1.1 million Ohioans have requested
Secretary of State Jon Husted appealed an early voting
ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court. The ruling by the appeals court said
all Ohioans must be allowed to vote on the three days before Election
Day. Previously, only military personnel and their families were
allowed. The appeals court ruling also passed the final decision on
whether voting should be allowed during those three days to the county
boards of elections and Husted.
Husted also sent out a directive Thursday telling board of
elections employees that they can only notify absentee voters about
mistakes on their ballots through first-class mail. Previously, email
and phone notifications were allowed.
Rev. Jesse Jackson was in Cincinnati yesterday in part to
criticize Husted and other Republicans. Jackson accused Ohio’s state
government of engaging in voter suppression. The reverend’s claims have
some merit. In moments of perhaps too much honesty, Republican aides
have cited racial politics as a reason for opposing the expansion of
in-person early voting. In an email to The Columbus Dispatch published
on Aug. 19, Doug Preisse, close adviser to Gov. John Kasich, said, “I
guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to
accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter-turnout machine.”In a new video, Josh Mandel, the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate,
dodged answering a question about whether he would support
the auto bailout for five straight minutes.
More preliminary data for Ohio’s schools and school
districts will be released next week. The data gives insight
into how Ohio’s education system is holding up.
The Ohio Board of Education also promised to pursue the
state auditor’s recommendation of making the student information
database in-house, which Auditor Dave Yost says could save $430,000 a
“We are holding our own feet to the fire,” promised Bob
McDonald, CEO of Procter & Gamble, at P&G’s annual meeting. The
Cincinnati-based company had a rocky year, and the harsh questions
at the meeting reflected the troubles. McDonald promises he has a plan
In response to last week’s Taser report, local police departments haven’t done much.
President Barack Obama and opponent Mitt Romney were in
Ohio yesterday. Obama drew significant crowds at Ohio State University,
while Romney drew a new chant of “four more weeks.” Ohio is considered a must-win for Romney, but Obama is currently up by 0.8 points in the state.
A new report from the left-leaning Urban Institute says
Obamacare will lower health care costs for small businesses and have
minimal impact on large businesses. But another report says Obamacare
will raise costs for mid-size businesses. A new ad shows that the presidential election has probably jumped the shark:
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has
appealed to the nation’s highest court a ruling that expands in-person
voting during the three days prior to Election Day.