WHAT SHOULD I BE DOING INSTEAD OF THIS?
 
 

Wired for Words

Leah Stewart’s love of the written word goes way back

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
 It’s a frigid weekday afternoon in early February, less than three weeks after the publication of Leah Stewart’s fourth novel, The History of Us, a Cincinnati-set coming-of-age tale marked by psychological insight, a sneakily addictive narrative thrust and a deft use of dialogue.   

On the Bus

0 Comments · Wednesday, February 13, 2013
I have lived in Cincinnati for close to 13 years and I’ve never been on a Metro bus. For the last few months I’ve been thinking about this fact, and it bothers me because I’m not sure where the problem lies. Is it Cincinnati or me?  

The Love List 2013

1 Comment · Wednesday, February 6, 2013
This Valentine’s Day we’re not going to try to define love. But CityBeat’s 2013 Love List will introduce you, in a strictly platonic way, to nine “hot” locals in various service, creative and philanthropic industries who have turned their passions into successful careers.   

The Love List: Jessie Hoffman

2 Comments · Wednesday, February 6, 2013
“From as early as I can remember I wanted to be a hairstylist,” says Jessie Hoffman, owner/stylist at Parlour salon. “I always had my hands on hair — cutting my dolls’ hair very early on and foiling and hacking at brave friends’ locks in high school.”  

Worst Week Ever!: Jan. 9-15

0 Comments · Wednesday, January 16, 2013
WEDNESDAY JAN. 9  As a sign of growing maturity and responsibility, WWE! is going to refrain from making some sort of poop joke about the proposal to install new public toilets downtown.   

My Downtown Covington Normal

4 Comments · Thursday, January 3, 2013
I’ve been living in downtown Covington, Ky., since the middle of July 2011. Having lived in Cincinnati for most of my adult life and with a lot of that time working and/or living downtown, Covington has been an adjustment for me. In my view, Downtown Covington isn’t anything like the city across the river.   
by Andy Brownfield 12.14.2012
 
 
city hall

Council Passes Budget Reliant on Parking Lease

Council also approves 2014 property tax increase

Cincinnati City Council on Friday approved a budget that relies on parking privatization as a means to plug a $34 million budget deficit while also raising property taxes in 2014. Mayor Mark Mallory opened up the council meeting with a moment of silent prayer for the 27 students and adults killed at an elementary school in Connecticut. “I want us all to take a moment and put into perspective what we’re doing today,” he said. Council voted to increase the property tax by about 24 percent, from 4.6 mills (a mill is equal to one-tenth of a cent) to 5.71 mills. That means Cincinnatians would pay an additional $34 for every $100,000 of their home’s value. The vote reverses a move made last year by conservatives on council, who reduced property taxes. Council also passed a budget that relies on $21 million from a proposed lease of the city’s parking facilities — a deal that is expected to be voted on in March. Of the proposals submitted to the city so far, Cincinnati stands to gain $100 million to $150 million in an upfront payment and a share of the profits over the 30-year lease. “My concern about balancing this budget with a onetime revenue source by selling our parking system seems to be ill advised,” said Independent Councilman Chris Smitherman. “We don’t know how council will vote in March … but we have tied not only the budget to this one time revenue source, but we have also tied reciprocity.” Council nixed a plan to eliminate tax reciprocity for people who lived in Cincinnati but worked elsewhere and paid income tax in both cities.  Though the budget doesn’t mention parking privatization, council hasn’t mentioned other options to close the budget deficit. If opponents of parking privatization want to keep facilities under city control, they would have to come up with $21 million in revenue elsewhere or make $21 million in cuts.  Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld suggested using casino revenue, cutting travel expenses, downsizing the ratio of managers to workers, sharing services with nearby jurisdictions and downsizing the city’s fleet as ways to cut down the budget. Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan, long an advocate of downsizing the police and fire departments, voted against the property tax increase in protest of what she said was bloated spending on departments that were outpacing population growth. The budget also requires Cincinnati to accept police and fire recruit classes in 2014, regardless of whether the city gets a federal grant to fund the classes.  The budget also restores the Cincinnati Police Department’s mounted patrol, which patrols downtown on horseback. The city will use $105,000 from off-duty detail fees from businesses that hire off-duty officers. Council also voted to start charging those businesses an extra $1.64 on top of the off-duty pay. Council also voted to shift $50,000 for repairs and upgrades to the Contemporary Arts Center to pay for maintenance and beautification at Washington Park, which is operated by 3CDC.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 12.07.2012
Posted In: Privatization, Budget, Community at 03:52 PM | Permalink | Comments (0)
 
 
annman_clifton_jf95

Clifton: Private Parking Bad for Business

Head of community group sends letter opposing parking privatization

One of Cincinnati’s largest neighborhoods and business districts is adamantly against a proposed plan to lease the city’s parking systems. A Dec. 7 letter to the mayor from Clifton Town Meeting President Peter Schneider calls the plan “baffling,” “short sighted” and “counter-intuitive.” The city administration wants to lease all Cincinnati parking meters, garages and surface lots for 30 years in exchange for an upfront payment of at least $40 million and a share of the profits. The city wants to use $21 million of the upfront payment to help close a $34 million hole in the upcoming budget. Schneider writes that the proposal is bad for business, making it harder for customers to find cheap or free parking near retail areas like Clifton’s Ludlow Avenue corridor. He also worried that a private operator would ratchet up the price for parking, making the facilities “unidirectional ATM’s (sic) benefiting a third party that provides minimal or no value to the citizens.” Schneider also complains that Cincinnatians have not been given details of the deal or the opportunity to weigh in on it. “It is unconscionable that the City administration would allow a similar plan (to the citizen-defeated red-light cameras) affecting parking meters and services be railroaded through City Hall without the appropriate sunshine and input of the populace,” he wrote. He also compares the proposal to Hamilton County’s mishandling of the stadium deals, claiming that a similar long-term lease is unwise. Schneider ends the letter by admitting that there are some aspects of outsourcing that could be beneficial, such as private management of surface lots or garages or maintenance, but the idea of privatizing everything goes too far.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 12.07.2012
 
 
milton dohoney

City, Union Reach Deal Over Parking Privatization

City workers would get raises, protection from layoffs if City Council approves parking plan

In order to win the support of the largest city employees union for the leasing of Cincinnati’s parking facilities, the city administration has agreed to pay raises and no layoffs for three years. There’s a catch — municipal employees only get the raises and job security if the city’s parking meters, garages and surface lots are leased to a private company for 30 years. City Manager Milton Dohoney wants to lease the facilities for at least $40 million upfront and a share of parking profits for the next 30 years. He’d use $21 million of the upfront payment to patch a $34 million deficit in the city’s budget. During recent budget hearings before City Council, Dohoney said extra revenue was needed to avoid the layoff of 344 city employees. In a memo to the mayor and city council members, Dohoney outlined the agreement between the city and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). Any municipal employees who will lose their jobs because of the deal would be placed in other city jobs with no loss of wages. No city employees covered by the union would be laid off between 2013 and 2016. City employees will receive a 1.5 percent cost of living raise for the 2013-2014 contract year and another 1 percent raise for the next contract year. AFSCME members will continue city vehicle maintenance work from 2013-2016.  However, if City Council doesn’t approve of the plan to privatize parking, city employees get nothing.  Public employees in Cincinnati have not been given raises in almost four years. Meanwhile, council voted last month to give Dohoney a 10 percent raise and a $35,000 bonus. Dohoney had not received a merit raise since 2007, but had collected cost of living adjustments and bonuses over the years.
 
 
by Andy Brownfield 12.05.2012
 
 
quinlivan

Council Approves Resolution Asking for Fracking Control

Cincinnati asks state to overturn law preventing cities from regulating oil and gas drilling

Cincinnati City Council continued its effort to prevent a controversial method of drilling for oil and gas by passing a resolution on Wednesday asking the state to allow the city to make its own regulatory laws. The resolution expresses council’s dissatisfaction with the Ohio Legislature for granting “special privileges to the oil and natural gas industry” and asks it to repeal any laws that pre-empt local control over drilling. The resolution targets the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing or “fracking,” which uses chemically-laced water to free up natural gas trapped in shale formations underneath Ohio. Fracking opponents worry that the chemicals used in the fluid — which companies aren’t required to disclose — can be toxic to people and animals. Prior to the council vote, Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls and Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan held a news conference on the steps of City Hall. “I believe local officials should have a say on all matters related to potentially hazardous activities such as fracking,” Quinlivan said in an emailed statement. “I urge my colleagues to send a strong message to the Ohio Governor, the Ohio Legislature, and Cincinnati residents by passing this resolution.”  A 2004 state law puts regulation of oil and gas drilling under the state’s purview, preventing municipalities from regulating drilling on their land. Copies of the resolution will be sent to Gov. John Kasich and members of the Ohio General Assembly elected from the Cincinnati area. The resolution comes after Ohio recently lifted a moratorium on new injection wells, which shoot wastewater deep underground for storage.  There had been a temporary ban on new wells almost a year ago after seismologists said an injection was to blame for 11 earthquakes around the Youngstown area. City council in August passed an ordinance to band injection wells within city limits. Because the injection well ban doesn’t mention drilling, council hoped it wouldn’t clash with the state law preventing local regulation of oil and gas drilling.
 
 

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