by Bill Sloat
Penalty threatened because too few recipients shifted to paying jobs
For the past month, Romney-Ryan and crew have been busy
accusing President Obama of eliminating welfare-to-work requirements.
You can hardly miss the campaign commercials that claim Obama has taken
the “work” out of welfare reform. But what we haven’t heard is that
state officials in Columbus are getting squeezed by the Obama
Administration because Ohio failed to move enough people off public
assistance programs into real jobs. The feds contend the state has
mismanaged welfare reform since 2007.
It is former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland’s administration getting blame for not being aggressive with the work component. Now Ohio is desperately trying to dodge $136.2 million in penalties for failing to shift welfare recipients into the workforce. Next
week, Republican Gov. John Kasich’s administration plans to spend
nearly $500,000 on a consultant to help clean up Ohio’s mess. Public
Consulting Group Inc. of Boston is in line to get the $499,642 contract.
That company says the welfare to work reforms suggested by the Obama
Administration in July — the waivers denounced by Romney-Ryan — could
actually help get more people off assistance and into jobs.
Here’s language straight from the Kasich Administration’s request to hire the Boston consulting firm:
“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,
Administration for Children and Families (ACF), notified Ohio of its
failure to meet the performance threshold of fifty percent (all
families) and ninety percent (two parent families) for TANF work
participation for FFY’s 2007, 2008, and 2009. These
notifications carried potential penalties of $32,758,572 for FFY 2007,
$45,050,074 for FFY 2008 and $58,517,487 for FFY 2009. Ohio’s current
corrective compliance will require Ohio to completely correct the
violation by meeting the work participation threshold during the current
FFY 2012. Failure to do so will result in a reduction of Ohio’s State
Family Assistance Grant (i.e. TANF) of $32,758,872 …”
State officials said the consultant would do analysis to
increase work participation rates “in accordance with federal
requirements.” Nobody is suggesting that work participation requirements be ended.
The consulting firm says it knows how to help a state win a
waiver, which is an alternative way to assist TANF recipients into the
workforce. The waivers are what Romney and Ryan have denounced as
killing welfare reform. (So far, Ohio hasn’t asked the consultant
directly to develop a waiver plan.) But the consultant Ohio is hiring is
clear that waivers don’t end work requirements and they could actually
help achieve better employment outcomes.
“The Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
recently issued a challenge for states to develop and test new and
innovative strategies that will improve employment outcomes in the
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program,” the consulting
firm says. It sees the change as opening up “thoughtful and innovative
approaches that connect TANF participants to jobs in a more effective
and less administratively burdensome way.”
Again, the consultant being hired by the Republicans at
the Statehouse in Columbus doesn’t say Obama is gutting welfare reform.
The consultant says, “The waiver authority specifically allows states to
test new ways of helping achieve better employment outcomes within the
TANF program by offering flexibility on how work requirements and work
participation are defined, administered and measured.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, September 19, 2012
A Gaza resident and taxi driver tired of dealing with the
region’s ongoing fuel crisis created Gaza’s first electric car, made
from all recycled materials for less than $1,000. WORLD +2
by German Lopez
City says a number of issues contributed to more than yearlong postponement
The $110 million streetcar project's opening is being delayed by more than a full year — from spring 2014 to summer 2015.
Meg Olberding, city spokesperson, attributes the delay to “a number of scheduling issues.”
“There’s so many moving pieces,” she says. “There are
issues with utility and we have to order the cars. We
have to get a contractor on-board for the work. So we still have a
couple of things that are taking longer than we thought.”The delay, which was announced Sept. 10, is
the latest in a history of plan and schedule changes for the Cincinnati
streetcar, which saw $52 million pulled by Gov. John Kasich last year and forced
the city to abandon its Uptown connector lines. Kasich, who has been against other rail projects in the state, claimed the move was necessary to balance the 2012-2013 budget.Today, a feud between
the city and Duke Energy is causing more trouble. The city and utility company disagree over
who should pay for moving utility lines to accommodate the
streetcar. On Aug. 29, the city said it was considering a lawsuit to
resolve the issue. Olberding says the conflict played a role in the delay.“We need to resolve that quickly because, obviously, the
longer we can’t get utility work done, it’ll cause delays and cost
overruns,” she says. “So we want to get that done as soon as possible.”
Before the current spat, the city and Duke could not agree
on whether manhole covers and utility lines should be eight feet from
streetcar tracks or three to four feet. The city claimed the smaller
number was fine, but Duke disagreed, citing fears for its workers. In a
previous look at the issue, CityBeat found the city’s standard
was supported by experiences in other cities (“The Great Eight Debate,”
issue of March 6). The city eventually won out, and manholes will only be required to be three to four feet from streetcar tracks.The streetcar has faced consistent opposition from other Republicans besides Kasich. U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot of Cincinnati successfully amended the 2013 transportation bill to ban federal funding from going to the streetcar and other light rail projects. Councilman Charlie Winburn, the lone Republican on Cincinnati City Council, said the city should stop its threat of lawsuit against Duke Energy.
by German Lopez
Posted In: Governor
at 10:34 AM | Permalink
Governor makes offensive remark when GOP trails among women voters
At a Romney-Ryan rally near Cincinnati yesterday, Gov.
John Kasich made some remarks women voters might find offensive. When
describing what his wife and the wives of Mitt Romney, Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Rob Portman are
doing as the men attend political rallies, Kasich told Romney supporters the women are “at
home doing the laundry.”
The full quote: “It’s not easy to be a spouse of an
elected official. You know, they’re at home doing the laundry and doing
so many things while we’re up here on the stage getting a little bit of
applause, right? They don’t often share in it.”
The comments were quickly picked up by liberal blog Plunderbund, which criticized Kasich's history with women.While the comment may be true (CityBeat could not
confirm if Karen Kasich was doing laundry while Kasich was speaking), it
does little for a political party already struggling with women voters.
In the latest poll from Public Policy Polling, Romney was down 10
points to Obama among women voters in Ohio. This is often attributed to
what Democrats labeled a “war on women” by Republicans to diminish
contraceptive and abortion rights. CityBeat previously covered the local and national political issues regarding women here.Kasich had problems with public speaking in the past. In his 2012 State of the State speech, which The Hill
labeled “bizarre,” Kasich repeatedly mentioned his “hot wife,” imitated
a Parkinson’s patient and referred to Californians as “wackadoodles.”
In a previous statement, Kasich said he would run over opponents with a
bus. “If you’re not on the bus, we will run over you with the bus,” he
told lobbyists. “And I’m not kidding.”Kasich's latest comment can be found on YouTube:
by German Lopez
A federal judge ruled that in-person early voting in Ohio
must be extended to include the weekend and Monday before Election Day
for all voters. The ruling is a result of President Barack Obama’s
campaign team and the Democrats filing a lawsuit against Secretary of
State Jon Husted to extend early voting. Attorney General Mike DeWine
has vowed to appeal the ruling. Republicans have consistently blocked
all attempts to expand early voting in Ohio, citing costs and racial
politics.Cincinnati manufacturing is on a big rebound, according to
a new survey. The Cincinnati Purchasing Management Index, which is used
to measure manufacturing in the area, showed some decline in July, but
it is now bouncing back. The news could indicate a wider economic
recovery.Presidential candidate Mitt Romney was in town Saturday.
During his speech, Romney pointed fingers to “cheaters” like China,
which Romney believes is unfairly manipulating its currency. (China has
not been manipulating its currency for some time now.) Romney also
rolled out his plan to restore America’s economy by emphasizing small
businesses and cutting government spending. But the Brookings Institute
says the unemployment rate would be at 7.1 percent if it wasn’t for
government cuts passed by state and federal governments in the past few
years. Romney also wants to cut back on the Environmental Protection Agency, which he says is
hurting local jobs with too many regulations.
Some Democrats are calling for Husted to resign. Dennis
Lieberman and Tom Ritchie, both who were fired for attempting to expand
in-person early voting to include weekends despite Husted’s uniform
rules demanding no weekend hours, said in a press release Husted should resign for missing a
critical deadline. The deadline was to establish the ballot language and
argument against Issue 2, a ballot initiative supported by Ohio Voters
First that would place redistricting in the hands of an independent
citizens committee. If Issue 2 is not passed, politicians will continue
drawing district boundaries, which typically leads to a process known as
“gerrymandering” that politicians use to redraw districts in
politically beneficial ways. In Cincinnati, gerrymandering has been used
to de-emphasize the urban vote — or African-American vote, according to
Doug Preisse, adviser to Gov. John Kasich — by redrawing district
boundaries to include Warren County. CityBeat previously covered the redistricting issue here.Competition in the Greater Cincinnati area has allowed
some cities to pay less for trash hauling services. Rumpke previously
held a stranglehold on the business, but that seems to be changing with the arrival of legitimate competitors — such as CSI and Forest Green.
The Obama campaign will open its offices in
Cincinnati tomorrow. The Obama team promises to use the offices for a
large ground game.The Ohio Board of Regents is calling on some Ohio colleges
to continue enrolling military veterans despite a temporary disruption
in federal benefits, which was caused by a loss of records.Former Gov. Ted Strickland might run again to knock Gov.
John Kasich out of the spot. Strickland is expected to speak at the
Democratic National Convention today.Rep. John Boehner of Ohio seems to have his geography
confused. At a speech, he said he wants senatorial candidate Josh Mandel
of Ohio to win to "run Harry Reid back to Nevada.” Reid is a U.S.
senator for Nevada.U.S. home prices rose in July by the most in six years.
The news could indicate a recovery in the housing market. The housing
crash is generally attributed as the primary cause of the Great
Recession.The Democratic National Convention is heading into day two
today. The convention is touting the new Democratic platform, which now
includes support for same-sex marriage. At the Ohio delegation in the
convention, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, who is often cited as a
potential presidential candidate for the 2016 election, criticized Kasich.A cure for baldness could be in stores as soon as five years from now.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
“I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the
voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American —
voter-turnout machine,” said Doug Preisse, chairman of the Franklin
County Republican Party and close adviser to Gov. John Kasich.
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Some Democratic lawmakers want answers from Republican Gov. John Kasich.
A group of Democratic state
representatives has put forth a bill that would require Kasich — and
every governor after him — to come before the Ohio House of
Representatives 10 times per year for 45-minute question and answer
sessions where the governor would have to take at least five questions
from each side of the aisle.
by German Lopez
Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown was in Cincinnati yesterday to
launch his Small Business Owners for Sherrod group. At the event, Brown
touted his small business and job creating credentials and received
endorsements from leaders of small businesses, which Brown says are
vital to restoring the economy. A letter of endorsement from John
Pepper, retired CEO of Procter & Gamble, was read aloud at
the event. In the letter, Pepper said, “Brown brings a level of
experience and maturity to the office that it demands and that his
opponent does not possess.” Brown’s opponent — Josh Mandel — is known to
lie from time to time.A federal judge issued a final ruling yesterday banning the tiny free speech zones at the University of Cincinnati. The zones were declared to be too restricting of constitutional rights to free speech. The ruling is seen as a major victory for student rights.Ohio Democrats are pushing a bill that would require Gov.
John Kasich and every governor after him to go before the Ohio House of
Representatives for 45-minute question and answer periods 10 times a
year. Local Rep. Denise Driehaus is one of the bill’s co-sponsors.Move to Amend will host a forum on corporate personhood in
Cincinnati. Corporate personhood refers to court rulings that established constitutional rights
for corporations. Critics argue the ruling makes corporations too powerful. Move to Amend wants to pass an amendment that would overturn the rulings. The forum will take place at the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church on Aug. 29 between 7 and 9 p.m.In response to the ongoing controversy about early voting,
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has some advice: deal with it. In a
statement yesterday, Husted said, “The rules are set and are not going
to change.” It’s doubtful the statement will actually stop criticism,
which has been recently leveled at racist remarks from Doug Preisse,
chairman to the Franklin County Republican Party and close adviser to
Gov. John Kasich.A poll from the University of Cincinnati shows both the
presidential and senatorial races are close. The poll has President
Barack Obama three points over opponent Mitt Romney with Obama at 49
percent and Romney at 46 percent, but the poll’s margin of error is 3.4
percent. The senatorial race is even closer: Brown is at 48 percent and
Mandel is at 47 percent. Aggregate polling has the presidential race
close somewhat close, but the senatorial race is much more in Brown’s favor.Home sales are up in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
Median home sale prices are still below where they were a year ago, but
the news is a sign the economy could be recovering.Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing Larry Foster, a
water system seller that works in Cincinnati and Columbus under the
names Water's Edge, DC Water Solution and Water Pro, for multiple
alleged violations of consumer protection laws. The lawsuit claims
Foster did not deliver water systems or, if he did, failed to install
them properly or at all.Once again, Ohio tested above the national average in the
ACT, a test that measures high school students’ potential ability in
college. ACT officials said Ohio is one of the few states notably
pushing to improve in math and science.The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says if
Congress fails to act, the economy could plunge back into recession. The
worry is that Congress will fail to extend tax cuts and stop budget
cuts.Nearly two-thirds of Americans can’t name a single Supreme Court justice.How to keep bananas ripe: spray them with recycled shrimp shells.
by Andy Brownfield
Group of Democratic state lawmakers wants Ohio governor to face legislative Q&As
Some Democratic lawmakers want answers from Republican Gov. John Kasich.
A group of Democratic state representatives has put forth
a bill that would require Kasich — and every governor after him — to
come before the Ohio House of Representatives 10 times per year for
45-minute question and answer sessions where the governor would have to
take at least five questions from each side of the aisle.
Rep. Mike Foley, D-Cleveland, is the bill’s sponsor. He did not return CityBeat’s call for comment as of Wednesday afternoon.
Cincinnati Democratic Rep. Denise Driehaus is one of the
bill’s co-sponsors. She said Foley had the idea while visiting Canada,
where their parliament has a similar procedure.
“I think it’s a great idea where the governor interacts
with the legislature and we have the opportunity to question him and
really engage on some of the issues and get his opinion on things,”
She said the Legislature doesn’t currently have a whole
lot of opportunity to interact with the governor, except for the State
of the State address, but even then they can’t really engage Ohio’s
The Ohio Democratic Party has recently filed suit against
Kasich for what it says is a failure to comply with open records laws
for redacting parts of his public schedules when responding to a public
The ODP has called Kasich opaque and secretive for failing to respond or only partially responding to records requests.
However, Driehaus said the bill isn’t meant to apply only
to Kasich, but would apply to every governor after him. She said she
didn’t think it was in reaction to her party’s spat with the governor.
“This is much broader and much more forward thinking than that,” Driehaus says.
Ohio Democrats say Kasich, Mandel are blowing off records requests
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Rival political parties in Ohio probably
know more about your elected officials than you do. It’s common practice
for the major parties to file open records requests to get everything
from schedules and emails to staff resumes from officeholders.