by German Lopez
13 days ago
City, county clash over law; Senate restores some school funding; Jim Berns misleads public
Got questions for CityBeat about, well, anything? Submit them here, and we’ll try to get back to you in our first Answers Issue.Also, take our texting while driving survey here.With a $3.2 billion price tag and 15- to 20-year time
scale, Cincinnati’s plan to retrofit and replace its sewers is one of
the largest infrastructure projects in the city’s history, but the
program is experiencing hurdles
as the city and county clash over how to reward contracts and whether
the government should have a say in training employees. Cincinnati
recently passed and modified a “responsible bidder” law that sets rules
for apprenticeship programs and a fund for pre-apprenticeship programs,
which Councilman Chris Seelbach says help promote local jobs and job
training. But critics, backed by county officials and business
organizations, say the law puts too much of a burden on contractors.
The Ohio Senate budget bill would restore $717 million in education funding, but it wouldn’t be enough
to overcome $1.8 billion in education funding cuts carried out in the
last biennium budget. The funding increase also disproportionately
favors the wealthy, with the property-poorest one-third of school
districts getting 15 percent of the funding increases and the top
one-third getting the vast majority. The Senate is expected to vote on
the bill today.
Libertarian mayoral candidate Jim Berns didn’t hand out “free marijuana plants”
at a campaign event Wednesday, instead admitting to multiple media
outlets that he was misleading the public to raise awareness of his
campaign and marijuana legalization platform. Berns handed out tomato
plants instead, which look similar to marijuana plants.
Commentary: “JobsOhio: Something to Hide, Something to Fear?”
With 8-0 support from City Council, Mayor Mark Mallory appointed Stan Chesley
to the city’s Human Relations Commission yesterday. Chesley retired
from practicing law after he was disbarred in Kentucky for allegedly
keeping millions of dollars that should have gone to clients involved in
a lawsuit about phen-fen, a diet drug. Mallory and Chesley have worked
together in the past, particularly to raise money for the city’s
Ohio lawmakers are considering two laws
that would tighten rules about who can carry guns in schools and
encourage religious education. The changes related to guns would involve
local law enforcement in deciding who can carry guns, but it would also
allow schools to conceal the names of who can carry a firearm and
protect those individuals from liability for accidents unless there was
“reckless and wanton conduct.” The changes for religious education would
allow public high schools to give credit to students who take religious
courses outside of school.
Ohio senators scrapped a plan that would have raised vehicle registration fees.
Ohio gas prices jumped above $4 this week.
NASA is building an intergalactic GPS.
Sleep-deprived men are apparently really bad at judging who wants to sleep with them.
by German Lopez
14 days ago
Posted In: News
at 12:29 PM | Permalink
Campaign event could violate state law
Update (June 5, 11:20 p.m.): Libertarian mayoral candidate Jim Berns didn't hand out marijuana plants at a campaign event Wednesday, instead admitting to multiple media outlets that he was misleading the public to raise awareness of his campaign and marijuana legalization platform. Berns handed out tomato plants instead, which look similar to marijuana plants.In perhaps an act of civil disobedience, Libertarian mayoral candidate Jim Berns is planning to hand out marijuana plants at a campaign event Wednesday.But the event could run foul of state law for both Berns and attendees. Ohio law prohibits obtaining, possessing or using a controlled substance — a category that includes marijuana.The event will take place at the intersection of Martin Luther King Drive and Clifton Avenue on Wednesday at 5 p.m."If you want one of the plants I suggest you get there early," Berns said in a statement.In this year's mayoral race, Democratic candidates John Cranley and Roxanne Qualls are generally considered the top contenders, although neither candidate has received an official endorsement from the local Democratic Party.Berns has differentiated himself from the frontrunners by pushing marijuana legalization in his platform. Drug prohibition laws are generally dictated at state and federal levels, but city governments can legalize or decriminalize certain drugs and force police departments to give the issue lower priority.Marijuana is already decriminalized in Ohio. Cincinnati re-criminalized the drug in 2006, but the drug was decriminalized through a city budget passed in 2010.Some groups are attempting to legalize medical marijuana in Ohio. CityBeat covered those efforts in further detail here.
0 Comments · Wednesday, June 5, 2013
In an effort to
differentiate himself from his Democratic opponents, Libertarian mayoral
candidate Jim Berns plans to hand out free marijuana plants at a
campaign event. CINCINNATI -1
by German Lopez
34 days ago
Medical marijuana may be on ballot, mayor reduces layoffs, budget hearing tonight
The Ohio Rights Group could be asking voters to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp statewide
in 2013 or 2014. The Coalition for a Drug-Free Greater Cincinnati says
drug approval should be up to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),
but that may not matter because polls so far shows medical marijuana
getting widespread approval from Ohio voters. The Ohio Rights Group
argues its amendment would help Ohioans by opening up better health
treatments and boosting the economy. Whether that will be enough to land
the issue on the ballot remains to be seen.Mayor Mark Mallory revised the city manager’s budget plan
to carry out less layoffs but more cuts to outside spending and
recreation centers. Mallory's changes will restore 18 firefighter
positions, 17 police positions, three inspector positions at the Health
Department and two positions at the Law Department, reducing the total
layoffs to 161, with 49 of those being police positions and 53 being
firefighter positions. But it will come with more cuts to third-party
agencies, including the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority, the Center
for Closing the Health Gap and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of
Commerce, and two closed recreation centers. The plan will also use
about $500,000 in recently discovered revenue. Mallory said the layoffs and cuts have to be made in part because of multiple outside factors, including reduced state funding and courts holding up the city's parking plan.The first hearing on the city's fiscal year 2014 budget proposals will be tonight at the Duke Energy Convention Center at 6:30 p.m. The public will be asked to give feedback on the budget plan put forward by the city manager and mayor, which would lay off 161 city employees, including cops and firefighters, to help balance the city's $35 million operating budget deficit.CityBeat editorial: "Cincinnati's 1 Percent."The Ohio Department of Transportation has raised its estimated price for the MLK/I-71 Interchange project by about $10 million to $30 million after meetings with business owners in Cincinnati's uptown area. It's so far unclear how the project's costs will be divided between the city, state and federal governments. Originally, Cincinnati was looking to pay for its share of the project through its plan to lease the city's parking assets, but that plan is being held up in court.City
Council approved a resolution yesterday supporting a statewide ban on
injection wells used to dispose wastewater during the hydraulic
fracturing — "fracking" — process, a drilling process that injects
millions of gallons of water underground to unlock natural gas and oil
reserves. The injection wells are a vital part of a fracking boom that
has helped revitalize economies in Ohio and other states and could help combat climate change,
but environmentalists and health advocates are concerned about the
unintended consequences the wells could have on nearby water sources ("Boom, Bust or Both?" in issue of June 6, 2012).The Ohio House approved changes to the state's third grade reading requirement that will relax standards teachers must meet to provide reading instruction and tutoring services for young students. The current law requires teachers to have taught reading for at least three years, but the bill approved by the Ohio House would eliminate that requirement.Mayoral candidate John Cranley says choosing Cincinnati's next police chief should wait until the next mayor is elected in November.The Hamilton County Board of Elections sent two more voter fraud cases to the prosecutor, but the question remains whether the dozens of people who filed provisional ballots and absentee ballots are actually in the wrong — an issue that will be ultimately decided by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.Top public safety issues are urging schools not to arm teachers to protect students from gun violence. CityBeat previously found that arming teachers is not supported by research.Ohioans, including CityBeat’s most dazzling staff member, apparently enjoy swearing.Before the IRS harassed tea party groups, it harassed gay rights groups.No further explanation necessary: "Police: Man used grenade to rob Hamilton bank."Scientists have created the first cloned human embryo.A new laser scanner can detect someone watching you from a kilometer away.
Statewide group asks Ohio voters to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp
2 Comments · Wednesday, May 15, 2013
While two states have successfully
legalized marijuana, Ohio is beginning to move forward with ballot
initiatives that could legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and to
produce industrial hemp.
by German Lopez
With voter approval, Washington state embraces new freedoms
This morning, social conservatives around the world dug
themselves into Armageddon-resistant bunkers, preparing for what they
knew was coming. Today, marijuana and same-sex marriage were
being legalized in Washington state.
But the bunkers may have been a waste of time and money,
considering the end of the world didn’t occur. In fact, it seems like a lot
of people are happy with the legal changes, which voters approved on
From the perspective of this CityBeat writer, same-sex marriage would be great. It’s something I wrote about extensively before (“The Evolution of Equality,”
Nov. 28 issue). As a refresher, not only does same-sex marriage bring a
host of benefits to same-sex couples, but it also produces economic
benefits for everyone. A recent study from Bill
LaFayette, founder of Regionomics LLC, found that legalizing gay
marriage would grow Ohio’s gross domestic product, which measures
economic worth, by $100-$126 million within three years.
Marijuana has similar benefits. Not only does it give
people the freedom to put a relatively harmless plant into their bodies,
but it also provides a big boon to state budgets. For Washington, it’s
estimated the marijuana tax will bring in as much as $500 million a
Legalization also creates jobs and economic growth as
businesses pop up to sell the product and customers buy the plant to
toke up. Washington State’s Office of Financial Management estimates the
marijuana market will be worth about $1 billion in the state.
Considering the state is about 2 percent of the U.S. population, that
could be extrapolated to indicate a potential $50 billion nationwide
Still, public use of marijuana and driving while
intoxicated remain illegal. In a press conference Wednesday, Seattle
City Attorney Pete Holmes said, “If you're smoking in plain public view, you're
subject to a ticket. … Initiative 502 uses the alcohol model. If
drinking in public is disallowed, so is smoking marijuana in public.”
The Seattle Police Department (SPD) seems a bit
friendlier. In an email today, SPD told officers to only give verbal
warnings until further notice. The warnings should essentially tell
people to take their marijuana inside, or, as SPD spokesperson Jonah
Spangenthal-Lee put it on the SPD Blotter,
“The police department believes that, under state law, you may
responsibly get baked, order some pizzas and enjoy a ‘Lord of the Rings’
marathon in the privacy of your own home, if you want to.”
The Washington law also faces possible federal resistance.
Even though the state legalized pot, the drug is still illegal under
federal law. That means the feds can still shut down marijuana
businesses and arrest buyers, just like they have with legal medical marijuana
dispensaries in the past.
In fact, maybe the limitations are what’s keeping the
apocalypse at bay. Maybe social conservatives will get to make use of
those bunkers if the rest of the country catches on to Washington’s
0 Comments · Wednesday, December 5, 2012
A Bangladesh woman was forced to remarry the man who
mutilated her by dousing her face with acid after she divorced him for
cheating on her. WORLD -2
by Kevin Osborne
Posted In: Drugs
, Public Policy
at 01:47 PM | Permalink
Ex-police officer among those pushing for legalization
A retired Cincinnati police captain will be among the speakers
Thursday at a local event about legalizing the medicinal use of marijuana in
Howard Rahtz, who retired from the Cincinnati Police Department
in 2007, will speak at a forum organized by the Ohio Medical Cannabis Association (OMCA). The group is trying to
collect enough signatures to get an amendment to Ohio’s constitution on the
ballot that would allow the use of cannabis with a physician’s prescription.
The event will begin at 6:30
p.m. in Room 500 at Swift Hall on the University of Cincinnati campus.
Other speakers will include Theresa
Daniello, a mother of five children who is OMCA’s executive director, and Mark
Ramach, the group’s attorney.
After their presentation,
attendees can participate in a question and answer session about the proposed
Rahtz, who is a volunteer
with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, is a conservative who has no interest
in using drugs but supports legal and controlled public sale of marijuana. With
a dual background in drug treatment and drug interdiction, Rahtz has first-hand
experience with drug enforcement policy.
“I defy you to find anybody
who will applaud what the war on drugs has accomplished,” Rahtz told CityBeat in
June 2011. “Use rates have not changed in four decades. We’ve accomplished
nothing. We spend more money, we incarcerate more people than any other place
in the world and we end up with less for it. The fact is, what we’re doing
isn’t working. My question is, particularly in this age of shrinking resources,
are we going to continue pouring money down this rat hole?”
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 13, 2012
The city of Cincinnati is considering selling
Over-the-Rhine’s historic Music Hall for just $1 to nonprofit Music Hall
Revitalization Co. Inc. The looming need for $165 million worth of
repairs has been too great for the city to handle, and selling it to a
private entity could make attaining the funds easier.
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 21, 2009
There are some things that even the dumbest kid doesn't need his mom to tell him more than once: The stove is hot, scary movies aren't real and eating at Taco Bell will make you poop your pants. A new study hopes to put another surprisingly debatable issue to rest: whether hanging out in a room full of cigarette smoke is bad for the people who aren't even smoking.