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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 10, 2012
This is not just my response to the first presidential
debate, which truth be told wasn’t a debate at all since one of the guys
behind the podium was decidedly not in the mood to debate or discuss
much of anything that voters might have been concerned about.
1 Comment · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
We’ve all been there. You’re just minding your own
business, killing time on the Internet, when you see “4 friends like
this” beneath Mitt Romney’s shining visage. First comes the feeling of
anger. Before you shed a single tear and click “Hide all updates from this
user” or — gasp! — “Unfriend,” stop what you’re doing.
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
THURSDAY SEPT. 13: Amanda Bynes, once named one of Teen People’s
“25 Hottest Stars Under 25” got herself into hot water today after
paparazzi filmed her driving around for hours while hitting a marijuana
pipe that looks like a car lighter.
by German Lopez
Democratic council members call for extended early voting
In a letter to the Hamilton
County Board of Elections, City Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld today asked the
Board to extend in-person early voting hours in the county. Council members
Roxanne Qualls, Chris Seelbach, Cecil Thomas,
Laure Quinlivan, Yvette Simpson and Wendell Young also signed the letter.
Council members Christopher Smitherman, an Independent, and Charlie Winburn, a Republican, were notified
of the letter Thursday, but they did not agree to sign.
voting will begin on Oct. 2 and run until Nov. 2. If hours are not
extended, polls in Hamilton County will only be open on weekdays between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. If the Board agrees to Sittenfeld's recommendations,
early voting will be extended to 8 p.m. on weekdays and Saturday
The letter brings home a political controversy that has recently gained
national attention. In recent weeks, Democrats have accused state Republicans of extending in-person early voting in
predominantly Republican counties and keeping shorter in-person early
voting hours in predominantly Democratic counties.
Democrats typically point to Warren County and Butler
County — two predominantly Republican counties with extended in-person
early voting — and the recent actions of Ohio Secretary of State Jon
Husted. In the predominantly Democratic counties of Lucas, Cuyahoga,
Summit and Franklin, Husted had to break ties in Boards of Election
on the issue of in-person early voting hours. In every case, Husted
voted against extending in-person early voting hours.
Jerid Kurtz, spokesperson for Ohio Democratic Party, says
the move follows a clear Republican trend: "Every opportunity that
presents itself, Republicans take away the right to vote."
referring to Republicans' initial push to end
in-person early voting in Ohio. In 2011, Republicans passed two laws —
H.B. 194 and H.B. 224 — that ended in-person early voting in the state. After
Democrats managed to get enough petition signatures to put the early
on the November ballot, Republicans repealed H.B. 194. However, by not
repealing H.B. 224, Republicans have made it so all non-military voters
are still disallowed to vote the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before
Election Day. Democrats
and President Barack Obama have filed a lawsuit to restore those early
voting days for all voters, including military personnel and families.Democrats
like Kurtz argue that in-person early voting is necessary to
maintain reliable, efficient elections. In 2004, Ohio did not have
in-person early voting in place, and the state drew national attention
when its long voting lines forced some people to wait as long as 10 hours
to vote. After the debacle, a Republican-controlled legislature and
Gov. Bob Taft, also a Republican, passed laws allowing in-person early voting.But
now Republicans seem skeptical of their own laws.
Republicans say the measures are meant to cut costs and stop voter
fraud, but Democrats say the measures are all about suppressing the vote. In
a moment of honesty, former Florida Republican Chairman Jim Greer told
MSNBC that the measures are about disenfranchising demographics that typically side with Democrats. Even Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has stepped in to criticize Republicans for what he sees as disenfranchisement.Husted told reporters at Cleveland's The Plain Dealer that he is considering establishing uniform rules. With such rules,
every county would have the same in-person early voting hours.But Kurtz says the talk about a uniform rule is "pure
silliness." He says counties have differences, so they need
different voting times. Instead of worrying about uniformity or what
counties can afford, Kurtz says Husted should worry managing elections
and "empowering people to vote."
The calls for extended early voting come a time when
Hamilton County is facing budget issues. With a $20 million budget
shortfall projected for next year, affording more early voting hours might
be difficult. No official estimate has been released on how much the
extended hours would cost.The Hamilton County Board of Elections will meet Thursday at 9 a.m. to discuss extending in-person early voting hours.