by German Lopez
Presidential candidate Mitt Romney announced his running mate Saturday:
U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan. Ryan is currently the chairman of the U.S. House
of Representatives Budget Committee. He is known by many Republicans as
an “intellectual” in the party. He is known by everyone else as the guy
who tried to dismantle Medicare. Ryan is also a Miami University
graduate, and he was once a staffer for now-Gov. John Kasich when Kasich
was still a congressman.State Rep. Connie Pillich, a Democratic House member for suburban Cincinnati, is facing a tough campaign for re-election against Republican Mike Wilson. One of the reasons the campaign is more difficult for Pillich this time is the redistricting process was used to redraw her district to favor Republicans.Hamilton County is going to be holding eight budget
forums. The forums give the public an opportunity to discuss what they
think should be prioritized and slashed in the next Hamilton County
budget.A new report found the 2020 Cincinnati jobs market will be
dominated by health care and computer jobs as the city continues its
strong growth. The report also found a surprising amount of top jobs
will only require a high school diploma or an equivalent to a high school diploma.The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes
(COAST) is continuing its dishonest campaign to block the Blue Ash
Airport deal, but Cincinnati and Blue Ash lawmakers don’t seem too
worried. At least COAST admits it’s largely interested in blocking the
streetcar “boondoggle,” not just the legitimacy or details of Blue Ash
rescinding the original deal. CityBeat previously covered the Blue Ash Airport issue here.The number of Ohio homeowners late on mortgage payments
rose in the second quarter, according to a new report. The rise reverses
a trend of dropping mortgage delinquencies seen earlier in the year.The Complete Ohio College task force will be meeting for
the first time today. The group is meant to increase the amount of
college degree holders in Ohio.The Brookings Institute released a study that shows unemployment would be at 7.1 percent without cuts to government job.Romney has called for a truce on his business record and
tax history. Apparently, Romney wants to focus on issues, even though
he’s the one that has repeatedly brought up his business record time and
time again. Seriously, is this real life?Speaking of Romney, he will be in Ohio Tuesday.President Barack Obama takes the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” really seriously.Here is a turtle with a mohawk.
by German Lopez
Blue Ash City Council approved rescinding and redoing its
airport deal with the city of Cincinnati in a 6-1 vote last night. The
deal will free up $37.5 million for the city of Cincinnati — $11 million
of which will go to the streetcar while $26 million will go to
municipal projects. After the vote, the Coalition Opposed to Additional
Spending and Taxes (COAST) vowed on Twitter to lead a referendum on the
deal. But COAST’s opposition is misguided, fueled by their disapproval
of all things streetcar.
Three Greater Cincinnati universities were praised for
their part-time MBA programs. The programs were in the top 100 of a
U.S. News and World Report ranking.Ohio has the second worst toxic air pollution in the
United States, according to a new report from the National Resources
Defense Council. The report also found that toxic air pollution has
dropped by 19 percent nationwide. The report claims this drop is partly
attributed to natural gas, which is cleaner than coal and has become
cheaper thanks to a fracking boom in Ohio and other states. New
pollution controls also played a role, according to the report.JobsOhio is claiming to have saved 11,238 jobs and created
4,666 new jobs during the second quarter of 2012. All the jobs saved and created are expected to keep $712 million in new payroll, according to state
The successor to State Superintendent of Public
Instruction Stan Heffner might not be much better. He also has a history
of using state resources for personal reasons.
Former Judge William O’Neill, a Democratic candidate for the Ohio
Supreme Court, has accused two Republican justices of taking campaign
contributions from parties they heard cases from. O’Neill says the
campaign contributions are a blatant conflict of interest. Mike
Skindell, another Democratic candidate, chimed in to say he would recuse
or refuse money instead of inviting a potential conflict of interest.
The Ohio EPA announced yesterday a new plan for cutting
down on water pollution in Ohio rivers, streams and lakes. The new plan
is a joint effort between Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky to make it more
economically viable through incentives for businesses to cut down on
water contamination.Ohio voters can now change addresses online. The new system will save taxpayer money and combat fraud.
July was the hottest month ever recorded, and 2012 has
already had more record temperatures than all of 2011. Meanwhile, Mitt
Romney’s spokesperson promoted climate change denial on behalf of
Romney says campaigns should pull ads that are found
to be dishonest or misleading by fact checkers. Well, his campaign
should get to it.
The U.S. Postal Service reported $5.2 billion in losses in the second quarter of 2012. On the bright side, a recent study found the U.S. Postal Service is the best at delivering mail.The U.S. women's soccer team beat Japan for the gold medal yesterday.
by German Lopez
Posted In: COAST
at 12:54 PM | Permalink
Reworking airport deal doesn't cost Blue Ash anything
The Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes
(COAST) has long been known locally for its unwavering opposition to the
streetcar project, but the organization crossed the line into
dishonesty Monday with its call to action about the sale of the Blue Ash
In short, the statement claims that Cincinnati is trying
to force Blue Ash into rescinding the sale of the Blue Ash Airport so a
new deal can be worked that will funnel the sale money into the
The real story behind the sale of the Blue Ash Airport is
not as scandalous as COAST portrays. Some background: In 2006, the city
of Blue Ash agreed to a deal with the city of Cincinnati to buy out 130
of 228 acres owned by Cincinnati at the Blue Ash Airport. Blue Ash would
pay Cincinnati $37.5 million over 30 years, Cincinnati would move the
airport to the adjacent 98 acres and Blue Ash would build a central park on the 130 acres.
The deal was approved by Blue Ash voters in a two-to-one margin with a related 0.25 percent earnings tax to fund the new park.
Unfortunately, things didn’t go exactly as planned. As
part of the deal, Cincinnati had to apply for a $10 million grant from
the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The expectation was that
Cincinnati would get this grant, making the cost of moving and
maintaining the airport sustainable. But Cincinnati did not get that
grant, and it has since decided to close the airport to save money.
This is where it gets tricky. Under federal law, since the
land was sold as an airport, the money gained from the sale must be
used on airports. That severely limits how Cincinnati can use the sale
What Cincinnati wants to do is have Blue Ash rescind the
original sale and then officially close down the airport before re-selling the
land to Blue Ash. This would let Cincinnati sell the land when it’s not
classified as an airport, which would let Cincinnati use the $37.5 million
in sale money on non-airport projects. Cincinnati has said $11
million of that freed-up money would go to the streetcar, and $26
million would go to municipal projects.
Everyone wins here. Cincinnati shuts down an airport that is no
longer affordable, money is freed up for other projects and Blue Ash is
a good neighbor and doesn’t lose anything. It still gets the park its voters want and pays the same amount for the property.
Well, not according to COAST. Even though less than
one-third of the money is going to the streetcar, COAST insists Blue Ash
is getting screwed in the deal so Cincinnati can fund the streetcar. The organization
claims the new deal will result in “Blue Ash’s pockets” being “picked”
for streetcar funds.
But Blue Ash is not paying for the streetcar. It is paying
for the 130 acres of land to build a park. It has been paying for that
land for more than five years now. What Cincinnati does with the money
from the sale is of little relevance to Blue Ash.
That hasn’t stopped COAST from doing its very best to link
the deal to the streetcar. After all, when something is remotely
related to the streetcar, it’s a sure bet COAST will be there, trying to “hold the line” against the project, which the
organization sees as wasteful spending.
That’s where irony comes in. The organization is adamantly
against any new spending and taxes. That is its basic purpose. But in
this case, the organization is so blinded by its disapproval of the
streetcar that it is actually opposing a deal that saves Cincinnati
money. By freeing up $37.5 million in funds and closing down the
airport, Cincinnati is stopping unnecessary spending and gaining a new,
temporary revenue stream. That will let the city continue funding other
projects without higher taxes or raising overall spending.
In other words, the deal is doing the exact kind of thing
COAST promotes. But if there’s anything COAST is more determined to stop
than extra spending and higher taxes, it’s the streetcar. Screw any
principles and standards. If something is slightly related to the
streetcar, COAST will be there to oppose it.
That’s why COAST’s Twitter feed is filled with these kind
of petty retweets (from @GOCOAST): “Coming soon to Cincinnati. RT @lzzbott:
Got punched in the back and five dollars stolen from me at the trolley
station...yay.” This kind of flimsy connection is how the organization
opposes the streetcar.
COAST says it is not alone in its opposition. In the Blue
Ash Airport statement, the organization claimed that the City Council’s
streetcar “boondoggle” has been blocked at “every turn,” citing the
pulling of funds by Gov. John Kasich, Hamilton County commissioners
Chris Monzel and Greg Hartman and Congressman Steve Chabot.
The statement leaves out one important group of people
that has approved the streetcar: Cincinnatians. Just like the park
deal was approved by Blue Ash voters, Cincinnati voters have approved
the streetcar twice — once in 2009 and most recently in 2011.
For an organization that claims to want to protect
taxpayer money, COAST seems out of touch with the proven interests of
taxpayers in both Blue Ash and Cincinnati.
by German Lopez
Mayor Mark Mallory announced a trade deal between the small Greater Cincinnati-based Solutions Plus, Inc. and the giant Saudi Arabia-based Diversified Lines Petroleum Company. The deal will produce $20 million in business in the next two to five years, said Solutions Plus President Charlie Weaver. The deal is largely due to a trade mission to Saudi Arabia Mallory led in January.The Cincinnati streetcar project is moving forward. On Wednesday, City Council will be voting on a routine ordinance to transfer $3 million to the streetcar project.Cincinnati is studying the feasibility of a bike share program. If enacted, the program would begin next summer in Over-the-Rhine and Uptown.Kings Island is taking down the Son of Beast. The attraction, which was originally advertised as the only wooden roller coaster with a loop, has been closed since 2009 due to a series of problems.Gov. John Kasich announced the approval of 25 new economic projects by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority. The approval should pave the way to 2,003 new jobs and $212 million in investment in Ohio, according to the announcement. Three of the projects will be in the city of Cincinnati: Integra LifeSciences Corporation, Southern Air Incorporated and Corbus, LLC.Kasich wants answers. Yesterday, the governor gave his opinion on the ongoing investigation into the Ohio Department of Education and Ohio schools for fraudulent data reporting. Kasich said both schools and the Ohio Department of Education should be held accountable if necessary.Democrats are setting the groundwork to endorse same-sex marriage in the official party platform for the 2012 election. The news would echo President Barack Obama’s endorsement of same-sex marriage earlier this year.Medical marijuana is heading to court. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will be hearing whether or not the federal government is right to classify marijuana as having no medical value.James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder in the case for the Colorado theater massacre.Mitt Romney praised Israel’s health-care system, which does a lot of what he’s opposing in Obamacare.Japanese developers have built a real-life mech robot. The robot can be piloted, and it can shoot 6,000 BBs in a minute.
by Andy Brownfield
Mayor plans to reach out to Washington to remove funding restriction
Mayor Mark Mallory is working to thwart an effort by
Cincinnati’s own U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) to prevent federal
funding from being used to construct a streetcar in the city. Chabot
offered an amendment on June 27 to the 2013 Transportation and Housing
Urban Development spending bill that would bar federal transportation
money from being used to design, construct or operate a “fixed guideway”
project in Cincinnati.
Mallory called Chabot’s move “nothing but a political stunt.” Mallory today said in a press release that he is reaching out to
legislative leaders in both the U.S. House and Senate to remove the
amendment. Mallory said he’s also making calls to the White House.
“Steve Chabot seems determined to stop progress in Cincinnati,” Mallory
said in the release. “He seems determined to make sure that other parts
of the country thrive, while Cincinnati is left in the past. That is not
the kind of leadership that we need in Washington, D.C..”
The city has procured a $25 million federal Urban Circulator Grant. That
funding would not be jeopardized, as the Chabot amendment would only
apply to federal funding for fiscal year 2013.
The U.S. House approved the amendment on a voice vote. To become law, it
would have to be passed by the Senate and signed by the president.
“Far from a necessity, the Cincinnati streetcar is a luxury project that
our nation and our region simply cannot afford,” Chabot said during
testimony on the House floor.
Some opponents of the amendment worry that it could prevent funding for other transportation as well.
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, fixed guideway
refers to any transit service that uses exclusive or controlled
rights-of-way. That means the ban on federal funding to those modes of
transportation could apply to ferryboats, designated bus or carpool
lanes and aerial tramways in addition to streetcars.
Chabot’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Tuesday. (Andy Brownfield)
by Danny Cross
Steve Chabot’s self-righteous attempt to block federal
streetcar funding found new criticism yesterday, as The Enquirer spoke to
several credible sources who say his amendment is broad enough to affect
federal funding for transportation projects beyond the streetcar,
including bus lanes or ferries.
Mayor Mark Mallory and 3CDC representatives were scheduled
to kick off a grand opening celebration of Washington Park at 10 a.m. this
morning. The $48 million renovation includes an underground parking
garage, concession building, dog park and concert space. A rally against
the renovation and displacement of residents was scheduled for 10:30
a.m. CityBeat’s Mike Breen blogged away yesterday about the park’s
scheduled weekly music series.
It’s going to be another sucky hot weekend in Cincinnati.
U.S. hiring is being weak again.
Walgreens is buying mass drug store chains, preparing to cash in on that ObamaCare money.
Brad Pitt’s mom wrote a pro-Mitt Romney, anti-abortion and
anti-same-sex marriage letter to the editor of a Missouri newspaper.
Brad, for the record, is pro-gay marriage and donated to the 2008
anti-Proposition 8 campaign in California. I have given much thought to Richard Stoecker’s letter (“Vote for Mormon against beliefs,” June 15). I am also a Christian and differ with the Mormon religion.
But I think any Christian should spend much time in
prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals,
business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian
conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon.
Any Christian who does not vote or writes in a name is
casting a vote for Romney’s opponent, Barack Hussein Obama — a man who
sat in Jeremiah Wright’s church for years, did not hold a public
ceremony to mark the National Day of Prayer, and is a liberal who
supports the killing of unborn babies and same-sex marriage.
I hope all Christians give their vote prayerful consideration because voting is a sacred privilege and a serious responsibility.First they were telling us that the Higgs boson is the
building block of the universe. How Professor Peter Higgs says he has no
idea what the discovery will mean in practical terms. Come on, Higgs!
Apparently 250,000 people are going to wake up without the Internet on Monday.
Scientists believe they’ve created the most realistic robot legs ever.
1 Comment · Tuesday, July 3, 2012
A voice vote introduced to the U.S. House by our own
Rep. Steve Chabot (R-OH) led to an approved amendment to the 2013
Transportation and Housing Urban Development spending bill that bars
federal transportation funds from being used to design, construct or
operate a Cincinnati streetcar.
by Kevin Osborne
Cincinnati's streetcar project manager told City Council Monday that top level officials from the city and Duke Energy are continuing negotiations on who should pay for the relocation of underground utilities for the project. Chris Eilerman, an assistant to the city manager, called the discussions “fruitful.” City officials say some of the cost should fall to Duke as some of the pipes and wiring are old and will need to be eventually replaced regardless of the streetcar project. A CityBeat review of streetcar projects in other cities found that utility companies often paid the entire cost for relocation.About 55 percent of hospitals think they will experience a drop in revenue because of federal health-care reform, according to a new survey. Twelve percent anticipate an increase in revenue and 28 percent don’t know what to expect, according to research by Woburn, a Massachusetts-based benefits consulting firm. The Business Courier reports that Greater Cincinnati hospitals are taking steps to make the best of the reform including forming tight networks with physicians and other providers in order to pursue quality-improvement initiatives the government is promoting.Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig told City Council that some violent crime is the result of lack of parental involvement in their children's lives. At a special council session Monday evening to discuss a recent spike in shootings, Craig said each homicide costs a community millions of dollars in various expenses, so it's in everyone's best interests to try to reduce the crimes.Ohio's tax-credit program for film production has helped create work for thousands of people, and sparked millions of dollars in economic impact, according to a new study. The report, compiled by the Center for Economic Development at Cleveland State University, estimates that each dollar of state tax breaks results in $1.20 in economic impact. The tax credits have cost the state some $30 million so far, the study reports. The film industry has created more than 9,000 temporary jobs and more than 1,100 full-time jobs in the Buckeye State since 2009.ESPN will shoot a TV commercial promoting its popular College GameDay football show at a campus selected by fans based on online voting. Every college with a Division I football team is eligible to compete for the honor, and the University of Cincinnati is encouraging its fans to participate. Voting in the contest began Monday, and can be done here.In news elsewhere, Republican presidential primaries are being held today in New York, Connecticut, Delaware, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. A total of 228 delegates are at stake, although frontrunner and presumptive nominee Willard Mitt Romney is expected to easily win the primaries. Of the five states, only Pennsylvania is considered as a swing state that could go either way in November's general election.Facebook's stunning growth might be starting to cool a little. The social media company reported its first quarter-to-quarter revenue decline in at least two years as it prepares to go public in the largest ever Internet IPO. Net income slid 12 percent to $205 million in the quarter, from $233 million a year earlier, which executives blamed on seasonal advertising trends. Facebook is preparing to raise at least $5 billion in an initial public offering that could value the world's largest social network at up to $100 billion.A nonpartisan group that advocates for open government has filed an IRS complaint against a secretive conservative group, alleging it is falsely claiming tax-exempt status while doing widespread lobbying. Common Cause filed the complaint Monday against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which has pushed for voter ID and “stand your ground” laws, among many other efforts. "It tells the IRS in its tax returns that it does no lobbying, yet it exists to pass profit-driven legislation in statehouses all over the country that benefits its corporate members," said Bob Edgar, president of Common Cause. The group wants an audit of ALEC's work, penalties and the payment of back taxes.The net flow of Mexicans into the United States has dwindled to a trickle and may now be in reverse, according to a survey by the Pew Hispanic Center. From 2005-10, about 1.4 million Mexicans immigrated to the U.S., exactly the same number of Mexican immigrants and their US-born children who quit America and moved back or were deported to Mexico. By contrast, in the previous five years, about 3million Mexicans came to the U.S. and fewer than 700,000 left it. Poor economic conditions and an increase in border patrols are being credited with the reversal.Israel has approved three settlements in the occupied West Bank, the office of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has said in a statement. At a meeting late on Monday, a ministerial committee "decided to formalize the status of three communities which were established in the 1990s following the decisions of past governments," the statement said. The formal approval was criticized by Palestinians, who said it's another impediment to peace talks about contested land.
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.
0 Comments · Wednesday, April 18, 2012
More than 600 people today were expected
to attend an anti-tax rally on Fountain Square, the city’s most
recognizable public space which happens to be beautifully maintained by
tax money. Attendees planned on complaining about poor people being offered health
care and how the American dream now sucks.