by German Lopez
Commissioner asks mayor to live up to county-city collaboration promises
In contrast to the partisan gridlock at the federal level, Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, a Republican, sent a letter
to Mayor Mark Mallory, a Democrat, today asking the mayor to commit to earlier
promises to boost collaboration between Hamilton County and the City of
“I am writing to express my disappointment in the lack of
progress of the City-County Shared Services Committee that we originally
announced in October 2011,” Hartmann wrote. “Despite numerous attempts
by my office and County Administration to make progress with the
Committee, it appears you have abandoned your commitment to this
The committee was meant to increase collaboration between the
city and county to bring together important county and city leaders and
make government services more streamlined and competitive. According the
letter, the county expected to “eliminate any duplicative services,
overlapping departmental functions and competing initiatives with the
With the county and city both facing budget shortfalls in
the face of the Great Recession, Hartmann says the increased
collaboration would help ease tight budgets. The Hamilton County
commissioners are currently going through meetings with department heads
to see what can and needs to be cut from county services to make up for
what is projected to be a $20 million budget shortfall.
But the committee never came to be. Hartmann claims his
office tried to contact Mallory again and again, but he never received a
response. The county even set aside $100,000 for a promised joint
review of city and county operations, and the Cincinnati Business
Committee did as well. Mallory pledged to devote $100,000 to the effort in a letter to the Ohio Department of Development,
but “the follow-up legislation by the City Council never occurred,”
The commissioner even specified some ideas to the City
Manager’s Office in February. The three areas covered: improved
collaboration on purchasing, countywide fire hydrant maintenance and
improved collaboration on economic development. The ideas never made it
past discussion.Jason Barron, spokesperson for Mallory, could not
immediately comment on the letter. This story will be updated if a comment becomes available.The full letter, along with the attached letter from Mallory:Open publication - Free publishing - More cincinnati
by Danny Cross
Posted In: 2012 Election
, President Obama
, LGBT Issues
, Healthcare Reform
at 09:19 AM | Permalink
Leaders of the nonprofit Music Hall Revitalization Co.
seemed to have compromised last week when the group proposed a 99-year lease of
Music Hall as part of a $165 million renovation. But the lease included a
clause that would allow the group to acquire the historic building for $1 at
the end of the lease or at the end of a second 99-year lease. The permanent
sale of the building is what held up the initial plan to turn the renovation
over to the nonprofit group, which says its donors will not offer the financial
support without the city turning over ownership. Mayor Mark Mallory told The
Enquirer that the proposal will not be approved. “I don’t care if it’s 99 years, 198 years, 500 years or
1,000 years, the city should always retain ownership,” Mallory said. “That
should never change.”
George W. Bush Presidential Library denied a request by a Democratic super PAC
for documents related to Sen. Rob Portman’s work in the George W. Bush
administration. The library says it is not subject to the Freedom of
Information Act and that all are welcome to see the documents in 2014. The
super PAC, American Bridge 21st Century, has been researching GOP candidates as
Mitt Romney moves closer to choosing a running mate.
you look at the roster of V.P. candidates, each of them is significantly
flawed,” American Bridge senior adviser Ty Matsdorf said in a statement. “For
Portman, it is his calamitous record on fiscal issues while working at the Bush
White House. It shouldn’t be a shock that he is going to want to keep that
under wraps for as long as possible, but unfortunately it’s pretty hard to hide
a record as terrible as that.”
is live blogging from the Supreme Court to see if there are any rulings on the
health care law or immigration.
Gay pride celebrations took place in New York, Chicago and
San Francisco over the weekend, and Obama organizers were there to recruit
Spain formally asked for European aid for its banks.
The sea level is rising faster along the Atlantic Coast than
other places in the world.
Facebook has created a new “find friends nearby” function
that will allow users to see friends and people they don’t know who are at
events or social gatherings. From some Facebook engineer’s comments on the
I built Find Friends Nearby with another engineer for a
hackathon project. While it was originally called ‘Friendshake’, we
settled on ‘Find Friends Nearby’ for launch (the URL was a little bit of
a homage to the previous iteration).
For me, the ideal use case for this product is the one
where when you’re out with a group of people whom you’ve recently met
and want to stay in contact with. Facebook search might be effective, or
sharing your vanity addresses or business cards, but this tool provides
a really easy way to exchange contact information with multiple people
with minimal friction.
HBO’s The Newsroom premiered last night, and this guy at the
Toronto Star said it kind of sucked while the New York Times says CNN could
learn something from it.
by Danny Cross
A local developer has offered to build a new jail adjacent
to the Justice Center, a cost of $65 million, in return for the county
leasing it for 30 years at $10 million a year, according to The
Enquirer. The developer, Rob Smyjunas, said the offer isn’t about making a profit, just making the county better for his and other families.
Mayor Mallory didn’t answer The Enquirer’s questions about
the potential for a Council majority to block the property tax increase in
City Manager Milton Dohoney’s proposed budget. A Mallory spokesman says he’ll work
behind the scenes on a budget that will win a Council majority and
that he’s off to New Orleans for a conference on reclaiming vacant
An environmental summit in Rio de Janeiro kicked off on
Wednesday, with environmental groups and activists disappointed with the
Rio+20’s lack of progress on creating clear goals for sustainable
The Sanford, Fla., police chief who drew criticism for not investigating the shooting death of Trayvon Martin has been fired. Sanford
City Manager Norton Bonaparte said he relieved Bill Lee of his duties
because the police chief needs to have the trust and respect of the
A video of middle school kids in upstate New York bullying
a 68-year-old bus monitor has drawn international media attention. The
woman says the kids are all pretty much normal and are OK to deal with
The bullying continues unabated for about 10 minutes in
the video, reducing Klein to tears as a giggling student jabs her arm
with a book. Recorded by a student Monday with a cell phone camera, the
brazen example of bullying went viral and spurred international outrage.
A population of chinstrap penguins in Antarctica has declined by 36 percent due to melting sea ice.
"Actually, in the '90s it was thought that the climate
change would favor the chinstrap penguin, because this species prefers
sea waters without ice, unlike the Adelie penguin, which prefers the ice
pack," study researcher Andres Barbosa told LiveScience. He added that
at the time, chinstraps, named for the thin black facial line from cheek
to cheek, seemed to increase in numbers, with some new colonies being
established. The sea-ice decline in the winter, however, has become so
big that it is now impacting krill populations, said Barbosa, of the
National Museum of Natural Sciences in Madrid.
Researchers found evidence of ice on the moon.
A new study has found that eating disorders are common
among older women. Researchers say weight and eating concerns do not
discriminate based on age.College football BCS commissioners have endorsed a
four-team playoff format to determine college football’s national
champion instead of the current computer-human two-team system. The plan will go to the BCS presidential oversight committee
on June 26 for approval. LeBron James and the Miami Heat are one win away from winning the NBA championship after going up 3 games to 1 with a 104-98 win in Game 4 Tuesday.
by Danny Cross
City Leaders have decided that they
don't need to sell Music Hall to a private organization in order for
the historic building to receive tax credits toward its renovation.
Mayor Mallory on Sunday told The Enquirer that selling the building
was not part of any discussion he's willing to have. While city
leaders hope a public-private partnership like that which has
renovated Washington Park can help update the building, organizers
with the Music Hall Revitalization Co. say some donors willing to
contribute to the private renovation of the building will not
contribute to the project while it is city owned. On Saturday, the Music Hall Revitalization Co.'s leader, Jack Rouse, resigned.
First they had a giant bridge built
over their neighborhood. Now the residents of Lower Price Hill who
live near the Sixth Street viaduct hope construction crews can take
it down without causing too many clouds of lead paint dust to cover
their homes. The viaduct is being replaced by a new structure
currently under construction south of the existing one.
Ohio's second of four new casinos is
set to open in Toledo next week. Cleveland's casino opened last week,
while Columbus' Hollywood Casino is scheduled to open this fall with
Cincinnati's Horseshoe in-line for an early 2013 unveiling.
Jury selection in the trail of former
Goldman Sachs/Procter & Gamble board member Rajat Gupta began
today in federal court in Manhattan. Gupta is accused of insider
trading stemming from a 2008 phone call that authorities have already
used to convict hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam, who is currently
serving an 11-year sentence. From the AP:Rajaratnam has been the biggest catch so far in a wide-ranging
insider-trading investigation by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara that's
resulted in more than two dozen prosecutions of white collar
defendants. But based on Gupta's standing in the world of finance,
his trial could draw more attention — and a potential conviction
could resonate farther.
Aside from his role at Goldman Sachs, the Indian-born Gupta is
the former chief of McKinsey & Co., a highly regarded global
consulting firm that zealously guards its reputation for discretion
Gupta, 63, is also a former director of the huge consumer
products company Procter & Gamble Co., a pillar of American
industry and one of the 30 companies that make up the Dow Jones
industrial average. P&G owns many well-known brands including
Bounty, Tide and Pringles.Researchers have created a national
registry of wrongful conviction exonerations that has identified 873 faulty convictions
during the past 23 years that have been recognized by authorities.
The registry's founders say the collection is only a fraction of such
convictions and that it demonstrates a serious problem with
America's criminal justice system.
"What this shows is that the
criminal justice system makes mistakes, and they are more common than
people think," said University of Michigan law professor Samuel
Gross, the registry's editor. "It is not the rule, but we won't
learn to get better unless we pay attention to these cases."
Mitt Romney is having some trouble
getting conservative donors to back his campaign. Meanwhile, Obama
continues to talk about Romney's business dealings.
The John Edwards jury is still in
deliberations today trying to determine whether the former Democratic
presidential candidate conspired to violate election laws while
hiding an extramarital affair during his campaign. Prosecutors say
Edwards solicited more than $900,000 from a 101-year-old woman named
Rachel “Bunny” Mellon and a Texas lawyer to hide a child from his
wife, who had cancer at the time.
Protests continued in Chicago today
during the final day of the NATO summit.
Apparently 25 percent of American teens
have diabetes or pre-diabetes, up from 9 percent in 1999-2000.
People in Asia and the western U.S. last night got
to see a solar eclipse that looked like a ring of fire.
The private rocket scheduled to launch
a commercial space capsule was forced to abort its mission on
Saturday but is scheduled to fly up into space on Tuesday.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Mayor
, Public Transit
, Urban Planning
at 09:35 AM | Permalink
Cincinnati is moving forward, despite the better attempts of state Republicans
In his State of the City address
last week, Mayor Mark Mallory called on Cincinnati to continue pushing for
improvements. After years of stalling, projects like Washington Park’s
renovation, the Horseshoe Casino and the streetcar are finally moving forward,
and Mallory wants to make sure that work continues.Politically and economically, it
makes sense. Not only have voters approved of both the casino and the
streetcar, but the projects will create jobs. Casino developers have already
begun to fill what they promise will be 1,700 permanent jobs, and city
estimates show the first segment of the streetcar will create 300 construction
jobs and 25 permanent jobs.But while voters and local
politicians may approve, some state Republicans are doing their very best to
tear the projects down. Gov. John Kasich, who dismantled Ohio’s passenger rail
project, tried his hardest to continue his anti-transit rampage by railing
against the streetcar in public speeches last year. He even ripped away more than
$50 million in state funds from the project.The casino has been a little
luckier, but not by much. Kasich has claimed both neutrality and approval of
casinos, but he has made building the Horseshoe Casino more difficult. Despite
the fact Ohio has the highest casino tax in the nation, Kasich pushed for
renegotiations for higher taxes and fees last year, ultimately delaying the
casino’s opening from late 2012 to spring 2013.For the governor, such actions
probably make sense. Kasich has been an ardent supporter of tax cuts — sneaking
them into every single budget even when Ohio had a reported $8 billion deficit.
When he found massive education and health care cuts weren’t enough to close
the gap he helped create, he moved onto casinos and transit projects.Still, the projects move forward. Kasich and other state
Republicans have not been successful in killing them off, largely thanks to
local voters and local politicians pushing back.Last year, voters rejected Issue 48, which tried to ban all
investments in rail transportation for the next decade. Last week, Mallory
announced CAF USA was already drawing up designs for the streetcar, and the
first car could be finished as soon as 18 months from now.Meanwhile, the casino’s construction is 35 to 40 percent
complete, according to developers. This is despite an accident in January that
resulted in the injury of 20 workers after a steel beam fell and caused a floor
to partially collapse.But what needs to be clear is that these developments are in
spite of state Republicans like Kasich. When these job-creating projects are
said and done, it’s important credit goes where credit is due — straight to
local voters and local politicians.
by Kevin Osborne
Mayor will accept federal money on Thursday
Cincinnati officials will
hold a press conference Thursday to announce that the city will receive a $3
million federal grant to address lead paint problems in apartments and houses.
The U.S. Department of
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded the grant to the city’s Community
Development Department. City staffers will work with some local nonprofit
agencies in allocating the funds.
At least 240 residential
units will be able to have lead abatement completed, officials said.
Mayor Mark Mallory and City
Manager Milton Dohoney Jr. will formally accept the money, which is the fourth
lead-related HUD grant given to Cincinnati, in council chambers at 10 a.m.
Thursday. The chambers are located on the third floor of City Hall, 801 Plum
Representatives from the
agencies that will help the city use the money also are expected to attend.
They include Price Hill Will, Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, Cincinnati
Housing Partners, People Working Cooperatively, Working In Neighborhoods and
the Northside Community Urban Redevelopment Corp.
Lead poisoning is the leading
environmentally induced illness in children, according to the Environmental
Protection Agency. At greatest risk are children under the age of six because
they are undergoing rapid neurological and physical development.
The United States banned the
use of lead in household paint in 1978, but it often can be found on the walls
of dwellings in cities with older housing stock like Cincinnati.An estimated 19,000 children
under age six in Ohio have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, according to
an analysis by the Environmental Working Group. The number includes an
estimated 1,400 children in Hamilton County.
by Kevin Osborne
Winburn, Murray will speak after Mallory's speech
In a replay of the Republican kerfuffle after President Obama’s State of the Nation address last year, there will be dueling GOP responses tonight to Mayor Mark Mallory’s State of the City address.The Hamilton County Republican Party sent a press release this afternoon announcing that Amy Murray, an ex-Cincinnati City Council member, would provide the GOP’s formal response to Mallory’s speech.A Democrat, Mallory will give his seventh State of the City address at 6:30 p.m. It will be presented in the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, located at 650 Walnut St., downtown.After the press release about Murray’s response arrived at 2:55 p.m., however, current City Councilman Charlie Winburn sent a notice from his council office at 3:39 p.m. In the notice, Winburn announced he “will be available to give the Republican response” immediately after the mayor’s speech.Winburn’s release helpfully noted that he is “the only Republican on Cincinnati City Council,” in case anyone wasn’t sure.The concurrent responses are similar to what occurred after Obama’s speech in January 2011. At that time, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) was selected to give the GOP’s official response to the address. But U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.), then a rising star in the Tea Party movement, decided to give her own response.At the time, House Speaker John Boehner (R-West Chester) called the move "a little unusual." Bachmann’s performance was widely lambasted, as she didn’t look directly at the camera but off to the side, and appeared disconnected and halting during her remarks. Bachmann later sought the GOP’s presidential nomination but dropped out of the race early after several disappointing primary finishes.Murray is a former Procter & Gamble employee who now owns a consulting firm that tries to attract Japanese companies to Cincinnati. The party’s release stated she would give her response immediately following Mallory’s address in the Fifth Third Bank Theater’s lobby at the Aronoff Center.A Hyde Park resident, Murray ran unsuccessfully for Cincinnati City Council in 2009, finishing in 12th place out of 19 candidates. She then was appointed by party leaders in January 2011 to fill the remainder of Councilman Chris Monzel’s term, but lost election in her own right the following November. In that election, Murray again finished 12th, this time out of 22 candidates.
by Kevin Osborne
“Accentuate the positive” has always been Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's motto when giving his annual State of the City address, and Tuesday night's speech was no different. Mallory talked about the new development in Over-the-Rhine and The Banks riverfront district, adding that type of vision for the future must continue. The mayor also said city officials must strive to improve the quality of life for residents.A national teachers' union said Cincinnati Public Schools officials have used faulty budget estimates to justify a plan to lay off up to 225 teachers next week. CPS says it will have a $43 million deficit next year and already has laid off 40 administrators. At the request of the local union president, the American Federation of Teachers reviewed the CPS budget forecast and declared it has identified at least $17.9 million in savings, enough to save at least 197 teaching jobs.Less than a week after the Reds agreed to a major contract extension for Joey Votto, the team now has struck a deal with Brandon Phillips. The second baseman will get a six-year, $72.5 million contract. Referring to the deals, Sports Illustrated wrote, “the small-market Cincinnati Reds show that they're serious about winning.”A University of Cincinnati student remains hospitalized today after a toxic chemical explosion on campus overnight. Police say a female student was working with the chemical alone at the engineering building around 1 a.m. when a reaction caused an explosion. The student was working on a process known as aluminum etching.Oxford police have had to stand watch while members of a fraternity that was ordered to shut down at Miami University clear out their belongings from the frat house. Sigma Chi International officials yanked the local charter and ordered the 29 frat house occupants evicted by today after years of sanctions for alleged drug use, alcohol abuse, hazing and property damage. Police had to arrest an apparently inebriated 21-year-old student from Chicago for refusing to leave the scene after he repeatedly barked at a police dog. (How douchey.)In news elsewhere, Rick Santorum announced Tuesday he was leaving the race for the Republican presidential nomination, clearing the path for Mitt Romney. Although Santorum — an ex-Pennsylvania senator who lost reelection in 2006 — said his decision partially was prompted by health concerns about his three-year-old daughter, Bella, most pundits agree he likely was afraid of losing the primary election in his home state on April 24, which could've dashed his plans for a political future.More Americans think the U.S. Supreme Court justices will be acting mostly on their partisan political views than on a neutral reading of the law when they decide the constitutionality of President Obama’s health-care law, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News. Only 40 percent of respondents expect their decisions to be rooted primarily “on the basis of the law.”Attorneys representing George Zimmerman in the Florida shooting death of an unarmed black teenager dropped out of the case Tuesday, saying they've had no contact with their client since Sunday. The attorneys, who conceded they had never met their client in-person, said Zimmerman had been in contact with Fox News commentator Sean Hannity during the same period. Meanwhile, special prosecutor Angela Corey said Tuesday she would hold a press conference “in the next 72 hours.” Corey will decide whether Zimmerman should face criminal charges for killing 17-year-old Trayvon Martin.McDonald's has become the fifth major company to recently drop its membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). The shadowy group, which has ties to the Koch brothers and the NRA, provides model legislation for state lawmakers to introduce on various conservative and “free market” issues. ALEC has been criticized for pushing the “stand your ground” law in Florida that allows people to kill someone in public places if they feel their life is threatened. Other firms that have dropped membership are Kraft Foods, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and Intuit.A massive earthquake off Indonesia’s western coast triggered tsunami fears across the Indian Ocean today, sending residents in coastal cities fleeing to higher ground. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first 8.6-magnitude quake was centered about 19 miles beneath the ocean floor. At least one aftershock also has been reported.
by Kevin Osborne
Event will be Tuesday at Aronoff Center
Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory will deliver his annual State of the City address next week.The address, which will be Mallory’s seventh since taking office, will be given 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. It will be held in the Jarson-Kaplan Theater at the Aronoff Center for the Arts, located at 650 Walnut St., downtown.When CityBeat asked what the theme would be for this year’s address, a spokeswoman for Mallory declined comment.“Our office won’t be previewing or giving information out about the speech this year,” said Julianna Rice, a policy aide to the mayor.Generally, because seating is limited, anyone wishing to attend must receive a ticket through the mayor’s office. For more information, call 513-352-3250.Mallory, a Democrat, was sworn in as the 68th mayor of Cincinnati on Dec. 1, 2005 and was reelected in 2009. He cannot run again in 2013 due to term limits.Mallory’s election marked a new era for City Hall as the first two-term mayor under the city's new “stronger-mayor” system, as well as Cincinnati’s first directly-elected black mayor, and the first mayor in more than 70 years who didn’t first serve on City Council.Mallory celebrated his 50th birthday on Monday.
City, Duke Energy spar over streetcar construction technicality
3 Comments · Tuesday, March 6, 2012
If you listen to many native
Cincinnatians, they will tell you their hometown is different from other
cities. Special. Unique even. What works everywhere else doesn’t always
work in the Queen City, and vice-versa. Whether the provincial attitude is due to
a sense of pride or a neurotic inferiority complex, its accuracy
ultimately is a matter of personal opinion.