7 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Rich people get to do whatever the hell they want in this city. Maybe that’s the way it is in every city
and anyone surprised by it is a simpleton who clearly grew up on the
wrong side of I-75. But the influence that Cincinnati's rich people have over the direction of this city and the distribution of its resources should disturb everyone.
1 Comment · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Western & Southern on May 13
announced an agreement with Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB) that will sell
the Anna Louise Inn in Lytle Park to Western & Southern for $4
by German Lopez
35 days ago
Mallory to propose budget today, ALI settlement criticized, council reviewing rules
Mayor Mark Mallory will deliver his operating budget proposal to City Council today after making changes to the city manager’s proposal,
which hikes property taxes and lays off 201 city
employees, including cops and firefighters. City Council will then be
able to change and give final approval to the budget plan before June 1.
Some of the cuts may hit parks the hardest,
but city administration officials are cautioning that they did not
recommend the specific cuts being outlined, and it’s up to the
Cincinnati Parks Board to decide which areas the cuts will impact. The
city planned to help balance its $35 million operating budget
deficit with the parking plan, but that plan is currently being held up in court.
The Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition is speaking out against the settlement to sell the Anna Louise Inn to Western & Southern for $4 million.
“What has been served today is not justice nor moral on the part of
Western & Southern, and we will push for a day when Western Southern
recognizes their wrong-doings, asks for forgiveness and turns to doing
good,” said Josh Spring, executive of the Homeless Coalition, in a
statement. The group is asking supporters of the Anna Louise Inn to meet
at the Mt. Auburn Presbyterian Church Friday at 6 p.m. to discuss
City Council is likely to keep its ability to call votes on different items
in larger ordinances and motions after seemingly failing to get support
from six elected council members. Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, who
proposed the changes, says the power is confusing because there’s no
hard standard set for what is separable, but Councilwoman Laure
Quinlivan, who has used the power before and supports it, says the rule
retains choice and flexibility. City Council is currently reviewing many
of its procedural rules, according to Simpson.
Ohio’s third grade reading guarantee was reworked by the Ohio House in part to relax standards for teachers. Previously, the law mandated teachers providing
reading guarantee services to have taught the subject for at least three
years, which critics of the law previously called “impossible to meet.”
The Ohio House is slowing down
with its Internet cafe moratorium bill while the Ohio Senate works on its bill that would effectively ban the businesses altogether. State
officials, particularly Attorney General Mike DeWine, have warned that
Internet cafes are prone to criminal activity, but supporters say the
businesses are just providing a demanded service.
The National Transportation Safety Board is recommending states strengthen drunken driving standards from a blood-alcohol limit of 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent.
Here is the science behind hating nails on a chalkboard.
by German Lopez
36 days ago
Police chief leaving to Detroit, council scrutinizes streetcar, Anna Louise Inn sold
The city confirmed today that Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig
will be leaving Cincinnati to take a job in Detroit. During Craig’s
time, the city experienced a significant drop in crime. City officials praised Craig for his attempts to forge better ties between the
Cincinnati Police Department and local communities, particularly by establishing
the External Advisory Committee, a group of active local
community members and business leaders that gives advice on the police department’s policies and procedures. City Manager
Milton Dohoney Jr. said the city will begin a nationwide search for
Craig’s replacement tomorrow.
Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB) is selling the Anna Louise Inn to Western & Southern for $4 million,
and CUB will be relocating the Inn’s services to Mount Auburn. Many Anna Louise Inn
supporters are taking the sale as a sign Western & Southern won,
while others are glad the extensive legal battles are finally over. The
sale came after years of Western & Southern obstructing the planned renovations for the Anna Louise
Inn through court battles and other legal challenges, which CityBeat covered here. In a Q&A with The Cincinnati Enquirer,
Western & Southern CEO John Barrett reflected on the events, saying
his company took the “high road” throughout the controversy — a claim many Anna Louise Inn supporters dispute.
City Council grilled Dohoney
yesterday over fixing the streetcar project’s $17.4 million budget gap and
whether paying for the cost overruns to save the project is worth it.
Supporters of the streetcar pushed questions and comments that touted
the streetcar project’s return on investment, which was further
supported by Dohoney’s testimony and previous studies
from HDR, a consulting firm, and the University of Cincinnati.
Opponents suggested the cost overruns were too much and the project,
which now stands at $133 million, is too expensive. A final decision is
expected by the end of May. The streetcar project’s funding comes from
the capital budget, which can’t be used to fix the city’s $35 million
operating budget deficit because of limits established in state law.
The city and county governments are clashing over the city’s hiring policies
for companies bidding on the Metropolitan Sewer District’s (MSD)
construction projects. The city’s laws require construction
firms to have apprenticeship programs, which the city says promotes job
training on top of employment. But the Hamilton County Board of
Commissioners claims the requirements aren’t feasible and put too much
of a strain on companies. Democratic Commissioner Todd Portune
questioned why the city’s policy only applies to MSD and not other local
The Duke Energy Garden is the latest addition to the Smale Riverfront Park.
A Catholic teacher union will not support Carla Hale,
a gay Columbus-area teacher who was fired after she named her
girlfriend in an obituary for her mother. Hale says she was fired over
her sexuality, but the Catholic Church says she was fired for revealing a
“quasi-spousal relationship” outside of marriage. The Catholic Church
opposes same-sex marriage, which means all gay couples are in a
non-marital relationship under the Church’s desired policies.The Internal Revenue Service scandal, which involves IRS officials unfairly scrutinizing conservative groups, is now nationwide. Previous reports pinned the practice on a Cincinnati field office, but numerous IRS offices around the country, including one in Washington, D.C., were found to be guilty of the practice in documents acquired by The Washington Post.
Headline from The Columbus Dispatch: “Man who killed wife, then self: ‘I couldn’t take her mouth anymore.’”
The brain catches grammar errors even when a person doesn’t realize it.
by Hannah McCartney
37 days ago
ALI to sell Lytle Place property for $4 million, relocate to Mount Auburn
It's over. Big guys, you won.Western & Southern in a press release today announced an agreement with Cincinnati Union Bethel (CUB) that will sell the Anna Louise Inn in Lytle Park to W&S for $4 million, ending years of entanglements between the two entities over what should be done with the property in need of millions of dollars in renovations. As part of the deal, ALI will move to a new
location in Mount Auburn at the corner of Reading Road and Kinsey
Avenue, in the same vicinity as the United Way of Greater Cincinnati and The
Talbert House. The settlement also provides CUB time to construct the
new Inn, so none of the current residents will be displaced. CUB will still retain its $13 million in funding to develop the new property. The Anna Louise Inn, which provides safe and affordable housing for low-income women, has called the Lytle Park location home since 1909. The new agreement will dissolve all ongoing litigation; most recently, W&S accused ALI of potentially discriminating against men.In 2009, W&S passed up on an opportunity
to purchase the Inn for $3 million, before CUB obtained city- and state-distributed federal funding to renovate the building and stay in
the neighborhood, a decision Western & Southern admitted it regretted. Since then, the Fortune 500 company has been battling with the ALI in hopes of getting another chance to purchase the property. According to the CUB website, the settlement came about for several reasons, including concern that ongoing litigation with W&S would have caused it to lose tax credits earned through the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, which were due to expire at the end of 2013 and cannot be used during ongoing litigation. Now W&S plans to renovate the building
into an upscale new hotel, which will essentially give the company a
monopoly on real estate in the Lytle Park neighborhood. It's a bittersweet change for the women and staff at the Inn, explains CUB President and CEO Steve MacConnell, but "ultimately, it's the right decision," he says. MacConnell says CUB learned about the plot of land just three to four weeks ago, when they started seriously considering a move. "After two years of litigation, the women — and us — we were all feeling so much uncertainty," he says, "and ultimately what's best for the women is what we've always had in mind."
by German Lopez
42 days ago
at 09:23 AM | Permalink
Anna Louise Inn rally today, casino revenue drops, Ohio's business climate improves
Supporters of the Anna Louise Inn, the women-only shelter near Lytle Park, will hold a rally in front of the Hamilton County
Courthouse at noon today, which was supposed to be the day Western &
Southern and Anna Louise Inn owner Cincinnati Union Bethel met in court
again. The court date has been delayed as the controversy continues to
grow. The legal battle surrounds Western & Southern’s attempts to
take over the Anna Louise Inn property and build a luxury hotel in its
stead. After Western & Southern failed to buy the Inn at below
market value in 2009, the financial giant has taken to court challenges to
slow down government-funded renovations at the property and seemingly
force Cincinnati Union Bethel to give up and sell. CityBeat’s extensive coverage about the Anna Louise Inn can be found here.
Cincinnati’s Horseshoe Casino dropped to the No. 3 spot
for Ohio casino revenue last month, losing out to casinos in Columbus and
Cleveland. The Horseshoe Casino brought in adjusted gross revenues of
$17.8 million, according to figures released by the Ohio Casino Control
Commission. With the drop, the city’s projections of bringing in $10 million to
$12 million in casino tax revenue for the year are looking far more
Ohio’s business climate is the most improved in the nation,
with Ohio’s rank going from No. 35 in 2012 to No. 22 this year,
according to the annual survey of CEOs by Chief Executive Magazine. The
improved ranking comes despite Ohio losing half a star in “workforce
quality” and “taxation and regulations” between 2012 and 2013.
But the ranking doesn’t seem to be translating to real jobs,
considering both liberal and conservative think tanks seemingly agree
Ohio is not undergoing an “economic miracle.”
If the city fails to restore its emergency powers through court battles, it could ask voters to reinstate the powers
on the November ballot, according to City Solicitor John Curp. Previously, the city used emergency clauses to
remove 30-day waiting periods on laws and effectively remove the ability
for voters to referendum, but opponents of the city’s parking plan
say the City Charter does not explicitly remove referendum rights. So
far, courts have sided against the city; if that holds, voters will have
to rework the City Charter to restore the powers.
A study from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital found nurse-to-patient ratios really do matter.
Charles Ramsey, the man who allegedly helped save three
kidnapped women and a child in Cleveland, has become an Internet
sensation because of his expressive interview with a TV news station. Read more on the kidnappings at the Toledo Blade.
A 32-year-old Hamilton man jumped on a moving train because, according to him, he’s filming an action movie.
News of massacres and gun violence can seem pretty bleak
at times, but it’s worth remembering gun homicides in the United States
are down 49 percent since 1993. The analysis from The Washington Post and Pew Research points to economic conditions, stricter prison sentences and lead abatement as driving factors, but it’s also worth noting the Brady Act,
which requires background checks on many firearm purchases, passed in
1993 and went into effect in 1994, around the time the dip in gun
Teachers, rejoice. New software can teach photocopiers to grade papers.
A vaccine halts heroin addiction in rats, and it’s now ready for human trials.
1 Comment · Wednesday, August 29, 2012
The Historic Conservation Board knew it
was in for a long afternoon when Western & Southern showed up to
Monday’s hearing with an army of suits to argue against a recommended
zoning permit for the Anna Louise Inn.
by Danny Cross
Western & Southern expected to appeal something else next week
In the ongoing saga of Western & Southern vs. the Anna
Louise Inn, there have been several court cases and zoning rulings,
most of which have been appealed by one side or the other. Today it was
the Cincinnati Zoning Board of Appeals’ turn to rule on
something that’s already been ruled on, and it went in favor of the
Anna Louise Inn.
The Board upheld a certificate of appropriateness for the
Anna Louise Inn’s planned renovation, which essentially also upholds the
Historic Conservation Board’s right to issue a conditional use permit —
at least for now. Western & Southern is expected to appeal that
permit, granted by the Conservation Board Aug. 27, before its 30-day
window to do so expires.
Before this series of appeals can play out, the 1st
District Court of Appeals will hear arguments in the Anna Louise Inn’s
appeal of Judge Norbert Nadel’s May 27 ruling, which set in motion the
Inn’s attempts to secure zoning approval from the Historical
Conservation Board in the first place.
(All of this could have been avoided if Western & Southern would have purchased the Anna Louise Inn when it had the chance. CityBeat
previously reported the details of Western & Southern’s failure to
purchase the Inn and the company’s subsequent attempts to force the Inn
out of the neighborhood here.)
About 40 people attended today’s hearing, including City
Councilman Wendell Young, who said he supports the Anna Louise Inn but
was not there to testify on its behalf.
By upholding the certificate of
appropriateness, the ruling keeps alive a conditional use permit that
could allow the Anna Louise Inn to move forward with a $13 million
renovation of its historic building, once the expected appeals process plays out. (CityBeat covered the Aug. 27 Historical Conservation Board hearing here.)
The Board heard brief arguments from lawyers for both
Western & Southern and Cincinnati Union Bethel and then entered
executive session for about 15 minutes before ruling in favor of the
Anna Louise Inn.
Western & Southern lawyer Francis Barrett, who is the
brother of Western & Southern CEO John Barrett and a member of the
University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, told CityBeat after
the meeting that he disagreed with the board’s finding because a
designed expansion of the building’s fifth floor has not yet had its use
“With this case, the Historical
Conservation Board is basically approving for the certificate of
appropriateness the design of the building,” Barrett said. “But the
design included an expansion of the fifth floor,
and until that use issue is resolved the code reads, in my opinion, you
can’t approve the design because the use hasn’t been approved.”
Barrett during the hearing read a written statement to the
board arguing two main points: that the Historic Conservation Board
didn’t have the jurisdiction to grant the certificate of
appropriateness; and even if it did, Barrett argued, the physical
expansion planned makes it a non-conforming use which wouldn’t qualify
for the building permit.
Cincinnati Union Bethel attorney Tim Burke told the Board
that the Anna Louise Inn is not seeking a permit for non-conforming use
because it already received a conditional use permit from the Historic
“Western & Southern is doing everything it can to block this renovation from happening,” Burke told the Board.
At the Historic Conservation Board hearing last month
Western & Southern tried paint a picture of the Anna Louise Inn’s
residents contributing to crime in the area because a condition of the
conditional use permit is that the building’s use will not be
detrimental to public health and safety or negatively affect property
values in the neighborhood. But the Board granted the permit, stating
that the Anna Louise Inn will not be detrimental to public health and
safety or harmful to nearby properties in the neighborhood and that the
Board found no direct evidence connecting residents of the Anna Louise
Inn to criminal activity in the neighborhood. Western & Southern has until next week to appeal that ruling.
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Financial giant Western & Southern
last week accused city officials and other Anna Louise Inn advocates of
repeatedly deceiving the Department of Housing and Urban Development
(HUD) to obtain federal funds for the Inn’s long-awaited, $13 million
0 Comments · Wednesday, March 27, 2013
In its ongoing fight against the Anna Louise Inn, Western & Southern has sunk to a new low: It is now accusing ALI of discriminating against men.