Recaps of six cover stories people talked about in 2012
1 Comment · Thursday, December 27, 2012
CityBeat covered a variety of topics in 2012. Here are the stories that really stuck through, from the former pit bull ban to the Anna Louise Inn to private prisons.
Off the Streets graduation marks renowned purpose, hope for prostituted women
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The OTS program, created in 2006, is
spearheaded by Cincinnati Union Bethel and focuses on six areas of
need: emergency needs, housing, medical care, mental health, substance
abuse, education and employment.
Fact-checking Western & Southern's Enquirer editorial
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Representatives for Western & Southern
and the Anna Louise Inn will be in court Oct. 30 arguing in front of
the First District Court of Appeals, which could overturn a May 4 ruling
and allow the Inn to move forward with a planned $13 million
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 9, 2012
The women’s shelter that has called
downtown’s 300 Lytle St. home since 1909 last week faced another hitch
in moving forward with its $12.6 million expansion. Hamilton County Judge Norbert Nadel on
May 4 ruled that the Anna Louise Inn’s zoning was incorrectly done in
its application for a building permit last year for its planned
by German Lopez
Western & Southern set to appeal for third time
The Anna Louise Inn today won another case in front of the
Cincinnati Zoning Board of Appeals. The ruling upheld a Historic Conservation Board
decision that gave Cincinnati Union Bethel, which owns the inn, a
conditional use permit that will allow the social service agency to carry on with a planned
$13 million renovation. Western & Southern in a statement given to reporters following the decision vowed to appeal the ruling.
At the hearing, Western & Southern attorney Francis Barrett, who is
the brother of Western & Southern CEO John Barrett, continued his
argument that the Anna Louise Inn is a “high-crime area.” The accusation
is meant to disqualify the Inn for the conditional use permit, which
requires that the building’s use will not be detrimental to public
health and safety or negatively affect property values in the
neighborhood. During an Aug. 27 hearing, the Historic Conservation Board found no direct evidence connecting residents of the Anna Louise Inn to
criminal activity in the neighborhood.
Barrett also emphasized Western & Southern’s stance that continuing
on the current path set by the Historic Conservation Board is a
waste of taxpayer money because the Inn is receiving public funds.
Barrett labeled the funds “excessive expenditures.” However, that
argument has little bearing on whether the Inn deserves a conditional
use permit, because it’s not relevant to zoning laws and rules.
Tim Burke, Cincinnati Union Bethel’s attorney, began his defense of the Anna
Louise Inn by calling the ongoing case one of the most “frustrating” of
his career. He suggested Western & Southern is just continuing its attempts to
delay the Inn’s renovations as much as possible.
Regarding the charge that the Anna Louise Inn has adverse effects on
public health and safety, Burke told the Zoning Board of Appeals that
the only adverse effect is on Western & Southern because “they want the property
and can’t get it.” He claimed there is no proof that the Anna Louise Inn
perpetuates crime in the area, and testimony and evidence presented in
the case has proven as much.
The case is only one of many in the ongoing conflict between Cincinnati Union Bethel and Western & Southern, which CityBeat previously covered in-depth (“Surrounded by Skyscrapers,”
issue of Aug. 15). Cincinnati Union Bethel wants to renovate the Anna Louise Inn in part
with $10 million in tax credit financing from the Ohio Housing Finance Agency and
a $2.6 million loan funded by U.S. Department of Housing and Urban
Development that was awarded by the city. Western & Southern says it wants to use
the Lytle Park area, where the Inn is located, for private economic
The series of cases began when Judge Norbert Nadel ruled on
May 27 that the Anna Louise Inn classifies as a “special assistance
shelter,” which requires a different kind of zoning permit than the
previous classification of “transitional housing.” That ruling was
appealed by Cincinnati Union Bethel to the Ohio First District Court of Appeals, which held hearings on Oct. 30 and is expected to give a ruling soon.
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
Court likely to rule in 30-45 days
The Anna Louise Inn, the city of Cincinnati and Western
& Southern (W&S) met for what could be the final time in court
today. For the most part, both sides took their time at the Ohio First
District Court of Appeals to restate past arguments.The three-judge panel heard 15-minute arguments by both sides. It is expected to give a final decision in 30 to 45 days. During the hearing, W&S lawyer Francis Barrett insisted that the
Anna Louise Inn meets the definition of a “special assistance shelter,”rather than “transitional housing” as it was originally classified, due to the
Off the Streets program, which helps women involved in prostitution turn
their lives around. The difference in labels could have substantial
implications for the Anna Louise Inn and whether it can go ahead with
its planned $13 million renovation. However, the inn has already
obtained a conditional use permit for its renovations in light of the original court decision classifying it as a special assistance shelter.
Tim Burke, lawyer for the Anna Louise Inn, rebutted by
asserting that the record shows the Anna Louise Inn has never acted as a
special assistance shelter. In one example, Judge Sylvia Hendon asked
Burke if the Anna Louise Inn would take in a woman in the middle of the
night since it is not a special assistance shelter. Burke responded by
saying the Inn would turn the woman away, as required under zoning code:
“She will be directed to one of the traditional homeless shelters. She
is not admitted to the Anna Louise Inn. The program does not operate
that way, and it never has. And the record is absolutely clear about
that.”The ongoing feud was triggered
by Cincinnati Union Bethel’s (CUB) refusal to sell the Anna Louise Inn
property to W&S. The company originally offered $1.8 million to buy
the Anna Louise Inn in 2009. CUB declined, and it eventually obtained
$12.6 million in state- and city-distributed federal funding for long-needed renovations.
From that point forward, relations between CUB and W&S
deteriorated, as CityBeat previously covered in detail (“Surrounded by Skyscrapers,” issue of Aug. 15)When asked how the hearings went, Burke replied, “You never know … until
you hear the decision.”
by German Lopez
In-person early voting is underway in Ohio. Find your nearest polling booth here.
Hurricane Sandy slammed the East Coast last night. At
least 16 people are believed to have died from the storm, and as many
as 7.5 million were left without power. Areas of New York and New Jersey
also faced major flooding. It took until 4:30 a.m. for Sandy to go from
hurricane to tropical storm.
The Anna Louise Inn will be in court at 9 a.m. today arguing in front of the First District Court of Appeals, which could overturn a May ruling and allow the Inn to move forward with its renovation. CityBeat will have online coverage for the hearing later today.
Hamilton County’s probation department is facing
sexual harassment charges. The charges are coming from a county worker
who said her promotion was denied due to her actions “for opposing
discrimination and encouraging others to exercise their right to be free
from acts of discrimination.”
The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes
filed a lawsuit Friday in an attempt to reverse the August reworking of
the Blue Ash airport deal. For COAST, the lawsuit is mostly to stall or
stop the financing for the $110 million Cincinnati streetcar.
City Council will vote next week to decide whether
the city should borrow $37 million to fund development projects and a
portion of the Homeless to Homes program. But Homeless to Homes is
generating some concern due to its requirement to move three shelters.
Three Cincinnati charity groups are coming together to
help veterans with disabling injuries. The organizations will pool
available resources to hopefully find jobs for veterans.
Mitt Romney is running a new ad against President Barack
Obama in Ohio that says Chrysler is moving Jeep production to China. The
ad, which Chrysler says is false, warranted a snarky response from the
car company: “Despite clear and accurate reporting, the take has given
birth to a number of stories making readers believe that Chrysler plans
to shift all Jeep production to China from North America, and therefore
idle assembly lines and U.S. workforce. It is a leap that would be
difficult even for professional circus acrobats.” The Obama team also
responded with its own ad. It is somewhat understandable Romney would be
getting a bit desperate at this point in the race. Ohio is widely
considered the most important swing state, but aggregate polling has
Romney down 1.9 points in the state. Romney is up 0.9 points nationally.
State Republicans are refusing to pull an ad that accuses
William O’Neill, Democratic candidate for the Ohio Supreme Court, of
expressing “sympathy for rapists.” This is despite the fact that Justice
Robert Cupp, O’Neill’s Republican opponent, has distanced himself from
the ad. At this point, even the most nonpartisan, objectives watchers
have to wonder why the Republican Party can’t keep rape out of its
messaging. In comments aired first on Aug. 19, U.S. Senate candidate
Todd Akin of Missouri said on pregnancy after rape, “If it's a
legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole
thing down.” On Oct. 23, Richard Mourdock, the Senate candidate for
Indiana, said, “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came
to realize that life is that gift from God. And, I think, even when life
begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that
God intended to happen.”
Ohio is getting closer to the health exchange deadline
with no plan in sight. Obamacare asks states to take up health exchanges
that act as competitive markets for different health insurance plans.
States are allowed to either accept, let the federal government run the
exchanges or take a hybrid approach. As part of the health exchanges,
the federal government will also sponsor a heavily regulated nonprofit
plan that sounds fairly similar to the public option liberals originally
wanted in Obamacare.
Meanwhile, Ohio and other states still haven’t decided
whether they will be expanding their Medicaid programs. In the past,
state officials have cited costs as a big hurdle, but one study from
Arkansas found Medicaid expansions actually saved money by reducing the
amount of uncompensated care. Some states that expanded Medicaid also
found health improvements afterward.
An inspector at the Ohio Department of Education (ODE) was
caught not doing her job. The inspector was supposed to do 128 site
visits for in-person safety inspections, but she apparently never showed
up to some of the schools and filed fraudulent reports.
Peter Cremer North America could add 50 jobs in Cincinnati over three years in an expansion.
A San Francisco firm bought a major stake in Cincinnati Bell.
by Stefanie Kremer
Posted In: Homelessness
at 10:12 AM | Permalink
Annual Hunger and Homeless Unity March to benefit Anna Louise Inn
This year, the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition's annual Hunger and Homeless Unity March will focus on an abundance of issues regarding the poor and homeless in our city. Marching a route that highlights the path of homelessness, the walk will move through the southern portion of Over-the-Rhine, through the Central Business District and end in Lytle Park beside the Anna Louise Inn. The Anna Louise Inn has been involved with a series of legal disputes with Western & Southern Financial Group as the corporation is on a mission to buy the Inn's property to expand their business. (CityBeat covered the issue in-depth in a Aug. 17 cover story, "Surrounded by Skyscrapers.")For more than 100 years, the Anna Louise Inn has been serving local women in need. Located in Lytle Park, it is the only single-room occupancy residence for women in the city and acts as a safe harbor for women who have nowhere else to go. Former Anna Louise Inn resident Pam Franklin will speak about the importance of affordable housing at the event. Not only will the march show support for social service agencies such as the Anna Louise Inn, it will be educational. Participants will learn about local residents being affected by gentrification, businesses suffering from displacement and the affects of foreclosure. Attendees will learn that in order for "new life" to enter, "existing life" does not have to leave. "This will be a time to protest and to become more informed about the current injustices," says Josh Spring, the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition. Everyone is invited to participate in the march and learn about the affects of gentrification and displacement this Saturday."This really is an event for everyone — people that already are against gentrification, people that might be against gentrification, people that are for it, and people who don't know what gentrification is," Spring says. "Everyone will gain some truth from this experience." Beginning at Buddy's Place at 1300 Vine Street, the march is from 12:45-3 p.m.
Western & Southern continues strategic public relations campaign against Anna Louise Inn
2 Comments · Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Western & Southern might have
completely flubbed an opportunity to purchase the Anna Louise Inn back
in 2009, but it’s hard to describe the Fortune 500 company as anything
but proactive since that time.