by German Lopez
New details regarding the Blue Ash Airport deal have found that
Blue Ash will gain $2.25 million from the deal. The new details
means both Blue Ash and Cincinnati benefit from the deal by having
extra funds, potentially benefiting budgets without having to make cuts
or running to taxpayers for more money. The number also puts a damper on
COAST’s campaign to stop the new deal, which is spurred by their
extreme disapproval of all things streetcar.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted yesterday directed county
boards of election to set uniform in-person early voting hours. Before the decision, Democrats were accusing state
Republicans of extending early voting hours in predominantly Republican
districts and keeping early voting hours shorter in predominantly
Democratic districts. However, Democrats are still not pleased by the
new directive because they claim it’s limiting voting hours.Supporters of redistricting reform now have a ballot issue to get
behind: Issue 2. Issue 2 is the redistricting amendment supported by
Voters First. If voters accept Issue 2, the redistricting process will
be placed in the hands of an independent citizens commission that will
be void of lobbyists and politicians. If voters reject Issue 2, the
process will continue being placed in the hands of politicians, who have
abused the system in a process known as “gerrymandering” to redraw
districts in politically beneficial ways. In the latest redistricting
process, the Republican-controlled committee redrew Cincinnati’s
district to include Warren County, giving Republicans more voters in the
district. CityBeat previously covered the redistricting issue at length here.Cincinnati Public Schools (CPS) are adjusting to new,
tougher academic standards. CPS Superintendent Mary Ronan says schools
will have to develop new methods of teaching and learning to comply with
the academic standards. Democrats and Republicans clashed in court yesterday as
they argued over Ohio’s early voting rules. The debate focused on the
Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. Under current law, only
military personnel and their families are allowed to vote on those
days. The Democrats and President Barack Obama want everyone to be
allowed to vote on those days, and Republicans do not. The judge said he
will hold off on a decision.Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, was at
Miami University yesterday. During his speech, Ryan did not shy away
from bringing up the Medicare issue, and he claimed Obamacare will cut
$716 billion. However, Ryan included the same cuts in his own budget plan,
and they’re actually savings, not cuts. The architect of Obamacare also
said recently that repealing Obamacare, which Romney and Ryan advocate,
would cut benefits to seniors.Two Hamilton County commissioners are running unopposed in
what some suspect was part of a deal between Republicans and Democrats. Hamilton County Democratic Chairman Tim Burke says there was no deal.U.S. House Republicans are freaking out over the Ryan pick. Apparently, they’re worried Democrats will bring
up the fact Ryan’s budget plan tried to end Medicare as most
Americans know it. House Speaker John Boehner tried to calm Republicans.Scientists have discovered a galaxy that gives birth to more stars in a day than our galaxy does in a year.
by German Lopez
Husted calls for longer hours in last two weeks of early voting
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced today he will direct Ohio’s county boards of election to adopt standardized
early voting hours.
In-person early voting begins on Oct. 2. In a directive,
Husted said he wants the first three weeks to be kept to standard voting
hours, or 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays. An exception is made for Oct. 9,
which will have voting hours of 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., to make up for polls
being closed on Oct. 8 in observance of a state holiday.
For the final two weeks of early voting, Husted said he
wants hours extended to 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Another exception is made for
the final day of early voting — Nov. 2 — that has voting hours last from
8 a.m. to 6 p.m. because state law requires all early voting ends at 6
p.m. on Nov. 2.
The polls will still not be open on weekends throughout the entire process, however.
The news comes amid a state issue that has gained national
attention in recent weeks. Democrats have been accusing state Republicans of
suppressing Democratic votes by extending in-person early voting hours in
predominantly Republican counties and keeping shorter hours in
predominantly Democratic counties.
Ohio Democrats are not pleased with the call to
uniform rules. Jerid Kurtz, spokesperson for the Ohio Democratic Party,
told CityBeat yesterday that the call for uniform rules is “pure silliness.” He
said counties have differences, so they need different voting rules. He
called on Husted to stop worrying about uniformity and county budgets
and instead worry about managing elections and “empowering people to
Today, Democrats released another statement lashing out at
the uniform rules. In a statement released shortly after Husted's press
conference, Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said
the new directive was limiting voting access by eliminating weekend
voting and slashing hours.
However, the directive will actually extend early voting
hours in the predominantly Democratic counties of Lucas, Cuyahoga,
Summit and Franklin that were bound to the old hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the entire early voting process.
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.
by German Lopez
Former Ohio Superintendent of Public Instruction Stan
Heffner, who was forced to resign amid controversy, has cashed out with
$160,428.17. The money comes from saved-up vacation time, sick days and
personal time. Heffner will get all this money, even though he had to
resign in shame after an investigation from the Ohio inspector general
found Heffner had been misusing state resources and used his
political position to benefit his other employer.
The Horseshoe Casino is kicking off its hiring process for
a new batch of employees. In total, the casino is seeking to fill 750
new positions. New employees must be 21 and have a high school diploma
or GED, among other requirements. The casino says it’s committed to
keeping at least 90 percent of its workforce from the Greater Cincinnati
area. It’s currently estimated to open in spring 2013.The early voting controversy has reached Hamilton County.
The Democrats in City Council are pushing for extended in-person early
voting hours as Democrats around the state accuse Republicans of voter
suppression. The Hamilton County Board of Elections will decide on the
voting hours issue tomorrow at 9 a.m.Four Greater Cincinnati companies ranked in the 2012 Inc.
500 list of the fastest-growing businesses nationwide, up from one last
year. This year, NorAm International Partners, Tiger Fitness, Graybach
and Integrity Express Logistics made the list.The Brent Spence Bridge passed a major regulatory hurdle
Tuesday. The Federal Highway Administration declared that the bridge has
no significant environmental impact, which will allow bridge operators
to skip filing an environmental impact statement.Ohio Democrats are suing Gov. John Kasich over his public
schedule. Democrats say Kasich is breaking the law by not being more
transparent about his public schedule. They also suspect Kasich is campaigning on the behalf of presidential candidate Mitt Romney.The Ohio endangered species list has been updated. The bobcat
is no longer listed as endangered, although it is still considered
threatened. The list’s updates can be seen here.The Cincinnati Archdiocese debuted a plan to improve
Catholic schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. The plan will also make the
schools more affordable.Paul Ryan will be at Miami University today. The visit was organized by the university's campus Republicans. Doors will open at 3:30 p.m., and the event will start at 5:30 p.m. Instructions for tickets can be found on the Miami Republicans' Facebook page.Much to the dismay one of Romney’s surrogates, CNN’s
Soledad O’Brien called out the Romney campaign for propagating an
impossible budget and spreading lies about Obamacare. John Sununu, who
was on O’Brien’s show on behalf of Romney, did not appreciate the
lecture in reality, and he said O’Brien should wear an Obama bumper
sticker on her forehead. Unfortunately for Sununu and the rest of the
Romney team, it is true that Obamacare does not cut Medicare benefits to
seniors, and it’s also true Romney’s plan is impossible without similar cuts
to entitlement programs.It seems like Mother Teresa may have died an atheist. At
the very least, her faith in Catholicism was greatly diminished before
death.A new study has found that antibacterial soap could cause muscle function impairment.Behold, the Pizzabon.
by Kevin Osborne
Deadline for mail-in ballots is noon Saturday
Anyone hoping to avoid long lines at the polls on Election Day next week has a little more time to cast their ballots before the March 6 primary.Early voting — both at the Board of Elections and via mail-in ballot — is still underway. The deadline for mail-in ballots is Saturday, March 3, at noon. Early in-office voting ends on Friday, March 2, at 6 p.m.Early in-office voting is available 8 a.m.-6 p.m. each day this week, through Friday. The Hamilton County Board of Elections is located at 824 Broadway, downtown.For more information, call the board’s offices at 513-632-7039, 513-632 7040 or 513-632-7044 or visit the board’s website.