by German Lopez
Newspapers all around the state — including The Cincinnati Enquirer, which labelled its article an “Enquirer Exclusive” (both The Toledo Blade and Columbus Dispatch ran a story with the same angle as The Enquirer)
— are really excited about a new poll that found Sen. Sherrod Brown
leads Josh Mandel in the U.S. senatorial race for Ohio’s seat by 7
percent. But the poll only confirms what aggregate polling has been
saying for a while now. Mayor Mark Mallory fired back at Commissioner Greg
Hartmann Friday. In a letter Tuesday, Hartmann accused Mallory of
failing to stick to his promises in support of a city-council committee that
would have established greater collaboration between Cincinnati and Hamilton
County governments. But in his letter, Mallory said the committee was
unnecessary and Hartmann was just playing politics by sending a letter
to media instead of calling the mayor on his cell phone.
Contrary to the claims of Mitt Romney’s campaign,
President Barack Obama does care about the work requirements in
welfare-to-work reform. In fact, Obama is disapproving of Ohio’s
program, which his administration says has not enforced work
requirements stringently enough. However, most of the blame is going to
former Gov. Ted Strickland, a Democrat, not Gov. John Kasich, a
The University of Cincinnati received a $3.7 million grant
to increase the participation of women in science, technology,
engineering and math disciplines. The grant comes from the National
Science Foundation, a federal entity that funds science. The grant could
help current problems with science research. One recent study found
scientists prefer to hire male students over female students, pay male
students more and spend more time mentoring men over women.
Local homeless groups managed to get a hold of a $600,000
grant to aid homeless military veterans. The grant will provide
financial assistance and job training for the currently homeless and
vets at risk of becoming homeless.The Cincinnati Enquirer is raising subscription costs by 43 percent — from $210 a year to $300 a year.City Council will host a special session today to get
public feedback and work on the new deal meant to prevent further
streetcar delays. The meeting will be at 10:30 a.m. at City Council
Chambers, City Hall room 300, 801 Plum St.
Ohio is a swing state, which means we get a lot of
political ads during the campaign season. Are you tired of them? Well,
politicians don’t seem to care. In 2008, both parties ran a combined
total of 42,827 ads between April and September. In the same time period
this year, the parties have run 114,840.Citizens for Common Sense was formed to support Issue 4 on the November ballot, which changes City Council terms
from two to four years. The initiative would let political candidates
worry more about policy and less about campaigning, but some critics say
it would make it more difficult to hold council members accountable.Research shows random promotions may be better for
business. The study verifies the Peter Principle, which says many people
are eventually promoted to positions beyond their competence.
by German Lopez
Mayor criticizes county commissioner for going to media first
Mayor Mark Mallory was not happy with Hamilton County
Commission President Greg Hartmann’s Tuesday letter criticizing him for failing to follow through with a city-county shared services plan. Mallory fired back today in his own letter,
criticizing Hartmann for going to the media first and explaining why he
no longer supports the City County Shared Services Committee.
“We have had a
strong working relationship since you have become Commission
President,” Mallory wrote. “So, I was surprised and disappointed that
you sent the letter to the media instead of sharing your concerns with
me directly; after all, you have my cell phone number.”
Mallory went on to point out that Hartmann is the fourth
commission president he has worked with, and the previous three “never
would have handled City/County relations in such a confrontational
The mayor also clarified why he no longer supports the
City County Shared Services Committee, which was meant to consolidate
county and city services to end redundancies and improve efficiency and
“As the scope of the proposed committee’s work was
developed, it became clear to me that not only were we already
collaborating at a high level, but that several new collaborations
proposed by the City had met resistance from the County,” Mallory wrote.
“I began to question the need for a committee to conduct a $400,000
study of future collaboration if there were already potential new
collaborations sitting on the shelf.”
Mallory also said he “will never give away the ability of
the citizens of Cincinnati to control crucial City functions.” He cited
the examples of prosecutors and health clinics, which Mallory implied
could have been given off to the county if the committee pushed through
The mayor also pointed out that even if the city and
county approved the committee and its recommendations, Hamilton County
would still have serious budget problems: “You and I both know that the
recommendations of the Shared Services Committee would never have
resulted in close to enough savings to close the County’s budget
deficit, and to pretend otherwise is disingenuous.” In other words, stop
shifting the blame.
The rest of Mallory’s letter went on to point out
Cincinnati and Hamilton County collaborate on a regular basis to
“improve services, create efficiencies, and save money.” The mayor
pointed to many programs for examples of the city and county working
together: the Banks development, the Convention and Visitors Bureau,
the Metropolitan Sewer District, emergency operations, the Port Authority, a
$1.9 million city-county contract that has the county manage
Cincinnati’s Tenant Based Rental Assistance Program and the Neighborhood
Stabilization Program Consortium.
Mallory also claimed there have been cases in which the county declined to collaborate with the city, citing the Indigent Care Levy. The
county’s consultant recommended Hamilton County give some of that levy
to provide county residents access to primary care at the City Health
Center System, but the county declined the potential partnership.
Mallory then said he was willing to work on collaboration
with purchasing, fire hydrant maintenance and economic development —
three areas Hartmann cited in his own letter to Mallory.
The letter finished with a call to end the politics of the
back-and-forth: “I feel very strongly that it is time to take the
politics out and leave the matter to the public sector professionals.
The City Manager is ready to meet with the County Administrator to
discuss any proposed partnership that would improve the lives of our
citizens by improving service, increasing efficiency, or saving money.”
In his letter, Hartmann
criticized Mallory for not keeping his promise to back the
city-county committee, citing a previous letter from Mallory to the
Ohio Department of Development that promised $100,000 for the new committee.
by German Lopez
Hamilton County Commissioner Greg Hartmann wants Mayor
Mark Mallory to live up to past promises of county-city collaboration.
In a letter to Mallory, Hartmann criticized the mayor for failing to
stick to his pledge of supporting the City-County Shared Services
Committee. The committee seeks to streamline county and city services to
end redundancies and make the services more competitive and efficient.Cincinnati Economic Development’s director asked City
Council to create a “mega incentive” for “huge impact” development. He
also asked City Council to pledge $4 million of casino revenue a year to
a local neighborhood project. If City Council agrees, casino revenue
will be used to boost local businesses.Metro is looking at the world’s quickest-charging electric bus. It supposedly can charge in 10 minutes and travel 40 miles.
The day before Pennsylvania’s voter ID law faced trouble
in court, Secretary of Jon Husted suggested a “more strict” voter ID law
for Ohio. Husted said the current ID system needs to be streamlined and
simplified. Democrats criticized the suggestion for its potential voter
Sept. 22 will be the “Global Frackdown,” a day where
activists will protest around the world in a push to ban hydraulic
fracturing — or fracking. Cincinnati will have its own “Frackdown” at
Piatt Park. Activists are generally against fracking because it poses
too many risks, which CityBeat covered here. But Gov. John Kasich
and other supporters of fracking insist it can be made safe with proper
regulations. Some have also suggested that natural gas, which is now
plentiful due to the spread of fracking, can be used as part of a bigger
plan to stop global warming.A new survey says Cincinnati companies will continue hiring through the fourth quarter. It wasn’t as good as last year, but it was better than the
month before. A new state report says 7,341 new businesses filed to do
work in Ohio in August, down from 7,423 in August 2011.A state commission approved $1.5 million for the
Cincinnati Art Museum and a $600,000 reimbursement for the Art Academy
of Cincinnati.More than half of Ohioans could be obese by 2030, a new
report found. The rise in obesity could push up medical costs by $23.8
billion.But screw worrying about weight. Taste of Belgium (writer’s note: best restaurant in the land) is thinking about expanding.In other restaurant news, it seems Chick-Fil-A may stop its anti-gay donations. Maybe Kermit and friends will be forgiving.The full footage for Mitt Romney’s controversial comments
at a May 17 fundraiser has become available here. The footage shows why
Romney prefers to be dishonest most of the time. More importantly,
Romney’s comments about Obama voters are not accurate. The Onion, a satirical newspaper, has an explanation for why Romney insists on unleashing gaffe after gaffe.One astrophysicist says there is no such thing as time.
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.