by German Lopez
3 days ago
at 09:10 AM | Permalink
Tornado strikes Oklahoma suburbs, city holds budget hearing, U.S. driving boom is over
A tornado ravaged Oklahoma City suburbs
yesterday, leaving dozens dead and more injured. Two of the buildings
destroyed in the tornado’s path, which was one mile wide and 20 miles long, were elementary schools — one of which had children that may be trapped under the rubble. Public safety
officials are still on the scene.
Parks and public safety once again dominated discussion
in Cincinnati’s second public hearing for the fiscal 2014 year budget.
The city’s plan would reduce funding for parks, but the park board ultimately
decides what gets cut. Currently, the board is threatening closures at
multiple parks, even though the city manager proposed cuts that would
prevent such drastic measures. Meanwhile, public safety layoffs in the plan have
been reduced to 25 cops and zero firefighters.
A new report found the U.S. driving boom is over,
and that could have implications for local transportation projects like
the streetcar and MLK/I-71 Interchange project. The report shows
Americans are driving less and less Americans are driving, while
other means of transportation are being used more often. The findings
support mass transit projects like the streetcar while calling for a
review of highway projects like the MLK/I-71 Interchange project.
The White House announced yesterday that Councilman Chris Seelbach, Cincinnati’s first openly gay council member, won the Harvey Milk Champion of Change award, joining nine other winners who will attend a ceremony at the
White House Wednesday for showing a commitment to equality and public
service. Since Seelbach took office, Cincinnati has extended health
benefits to all city employees, required anyone accepting city funds to
sign the city’s non-discrimination agreement and established a LGBT
liaison at the police and fire departments.
The tea party is discussing the possibility of fielding a third-party candidate
in the gubernatorial race, which could weaken Gov. John
Kasich’s chances of re-election. Lori Viars, vice chair of the Warren
County Republican Party, told Dayton Daily News that the tea
party is considering a primary challenge, a third-party candidate or
simply sitting out. Among other issues, the tea party recently
criticized Kasich for his support of the Medicaid expansion, which CityBeat covered in further detail here.
The Ohio Senate is slowing down a measure that would have forced universities to decide
between $370 million in tuition revenue and providing out-of-state
students with documents required for voting. The provision will likely
be removed from the budget bill, but it’s possible the issue will pop up
in a standalone bill later on. CityBeat previously covered the measure, which was sneaked into the Ohio House budget bill, here.
Republican state legislators may take away driver’s license rights
from unauthorized immigrants who have been granted
amnesty by the federal government. After being pressured by multiple
advocacy groups, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles interpreted state law
and an executive order from President Barack Obama to grant the driver’s licenses. CityBeat broke the story surrounding the issue here.
Over-the-Rhine’s next generation of restaurants could be bigger.
Microsoft is expected to announce the next generation of Xbox today.
Scientists apparently have trouble replicating cancer studies, which could have implications for finding cures and treatments.
by German Lopez
Cincinnati Park Board ends allegedly discriminatory rules
The Cincinnati Park Board today voted to strike down signs enforcing rules in Washington Park. The vote ended Park Rule 28, which
allowed the Park Board to enact new rules by placing a sign on Washington Park grounds.
The signs, which the city could use to enforce any park rule as law, had recently come under fire by
homeless advocate groups. In a statement, Josh Spring, executive director of the Greater Cincinnati Homeless Coalition, wrote, “Park Rule 28 allowed opening for the back-room creation of the special rules in Washington Park that were written by an employee of the Police Department, a couple of Park Board employees and 3CDC employees — completely without the input of the public or any legislative body or process.”Before the Park Board vote, homeless advocate groups
claimed the rules were being written away from public view — in part by
private companies. Jerry Davis, member of the Homeless Congress, cited 3CDC's involvement in the rule writing as an example: “3CDC is a private corporation that does not answer to the
Citizens of Cincinnati. This private group should not get to decide
what rules are created and enforced. 3CDC is saying to the Citizens of
Cincinnati, ‘You pay the bills and we make the decisions.' "
Three Over-the-Rhine residents, including Davis, sued the Park Board on
Sept. 4 to put an end to the signs. In a statement announcing
the lawsuit, Spring claimed the park rules “discriminate against
certain classes of people” — specifically, the homeless and poor.
The Washington Park rules were different than rules at other
Cincinnati parks in a few ways: They did not allow “dropping off food or
clothing,” “rummaging in trash and recycling containers” or the use of
any amplified sound. Homeless advocate groups claimed these rules were
contrary to broader park rules that allow the sharing of food, permit
inspecting and removing items from trash and recycling containers and
only prohibit amplified sound if it disturbs the peace or safety of the public.
Homeless advocate groups said the rules hurt others
as well. Spring wrote in the lawsuit’s press statement, “If a family
decides to picnic in Washington Park and the parents hand their children
food, they would be in breach of these rules, or if a friend hands a
jacket to her walking companion, she would have broken these rules.”
Cincinnati Police Department Captain Daniel Gerard admitted
the rules were targeting the homeless when, according to documents
revealed by homeless advocate groups, he said, “Until the Drop Inn
Center moves, the line about food and clothing drop off being prohibited
is absolutely needed.” The Drop Inn Center is a homeless shelter.Despite the Park Board vote, the lawsuit will continue. The city will file to dismiss the lawsuit, but the city claims the lawsuit should never have been brought forward.“The issue was brought to our attention, we took a look at it and decided to take down the signs, yet they inexplicably decided to file a suit anyway,” said Aaron Herzig, deputy city solicitor. “That's not how it should work. The city looks at a concern and decides to take action, and there's no need for a lawsuit at that point.”Jennifer Kinsley, the attorney representing the three Over-the-Rhine residents suing the city, defended the lawsuit and its continuance.“We congratulate the city on doing the right thing by repealing Rule 28, but the lawsuit covers a broader range of topics than just that rule,” she said, citing statutory damages. She also said she's worried the Park Board ruling will not overturn rules already enforced by the signs: “It may and it may not. We've seen that the Park Board, 3CDC and others are willing to bend the law in order to make special rules for that park, so the status of the rules for that particular area are unclear at the moment.”Herzig says the rules on the signs were not enforced after the signs were taken down “weeks before the lawsuit.” He says the only rules remaining are the rules officially published by the Park Board.
The Banks is beginning to look like the development many thought would never happen
0 Comments · Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Cartoonist Jim Borgman has taken his shots
at The Banks over the years. From Santa dumping coal on the project
site to comparisons with Northern Kentucky’s exploding development to
The Banks development being transformed into a golf course by five
middle-aged white guys — and we’ve all laughed along.