Most Americans don’t spend a lot of time thinking about places outside of our country, so it would be normal for many to respond to news of Copenhagen, Denmark’s ranking as the happiest city in the world with something along the lines of “Who cares? Fuck Denmark.”
In an effort to fortify Cincinnati’s ailing retirement system for municipal workers, City Council narrowly approved a package of reforms March 16 aimed at reversing the system’s current course toward a projected $1 billion shortfall. In a 5-4 vote, City Council approved reforms that stiffen eligibility requirements, reduce some benefits and increase the retirement age for current workers.
If everything goes as planned, Cincinnati’s streetcar system connecting the University of Cincinnati to Over-the-Rhine and the downtown riverfront will carry its first passengers on Reds Opening Day in 2013 — about 25 months from now. That’s the unofficial target date for the system’s opening, according to City Hall sources. But readers can safely bet that between now and then there will be plenty of overheated and inaccurate rhetoric designed to confuse citizens and block the project.
As it awaits the outcome of a multifaceted legal battle that will likely decide its fate, Westwood’s historic James Norris Gamble House is enduring a harsh winter. The uncertain future of the Gamble House has stirred contentious debates between the property’s owners, city government and preservationists across Greater Cincinnati and beyond.
How can you tell when an idea is really, really bad? When it brings together people to oppose it who otherwise are typically political foes, that's how. Mayor Mark Mallory, police union President Kathy Harrell and local NAACP President Christopher Smitherman all are united against City Council's proposal to consider letting the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office take control of policing in the city.
In decades past, Cincinnati City Council typically would do whatever the Fourth Street crowd would tell it. In the authority-loving, hierarchically driven Queen City, CEOs have ruled the roost, even more so than in other cities. So we’re surprised and pleased that City Council decided to grow a collective backbone and reject a request from the Western & Southern Financial Group to block federal funding for a battered women’s shelter on Lytle Street downtown.
When I was first told by a friend Sunday morning that former Cincinnati City Councilman and Vice Mayor David Crowley had passed away at age 73, I was taken aback by how much the news affected me. After all, I knew that his prostate cancer, which he successfully battled in 2005, had returned last year and he had begun chemotherapy. But I soon realized that David was one of those rare people I admired both professionally and personally.
The death of Jack Horkheimer in August left the hosting duties open for Star Gazer, the five-minute TV show on astronomy seen on many PBS stations late at night. Horkheimer appeared on the mini-show, based in Miami, Fla., for a whopping 34 years. Now producers are trying out potential replacements on a temporary basis and one of the lucky few given the nod was Dean Regas, assistant director at the Cincinnati Observatory in Mount Lookout.
Last week's extended soap opera at City Hall about how to fill a $54.7 million deficit in the budget ended anti-climatically, with differing City Council factions temporarily solving the dilemma by resorting to the same sort of tricks they did last year — instead of showing leadership or political courage, the mayor and nine elected council members decided to use $27 million in one-time sources of cash to patch over the immediate problem and approve studies into possible changes that could yield the rest of the savings.
Even as Cincinnati officials grapple with what cuts to make to avoid a $54 million deficit — cuts that might include laying off more than 100 cops — the city's arrogant, clueless police chief Tom Streicher spent money from the CPD budget for an extravagant, unnecessary junket to Las Vegas.