by Andy Brownfield
City Council approves ballot measure for non-staggered option
Cincinnati voters will decide in November whether to double
the length of their council members' terms.
City Council voted 6-3 on Wednesday to put the ballot
initiative before voters. The measure would have all nine members run at the
same time, instead of a competing ballot initiative that would have staggered
“We are the only major city in Ohio that still has two-year
terms for its leaders, and the cities that we compete with are also moving to
four-year terms, including Louisville and as far as St. Louis, Minneapolis,
Denver and Atlanta,” said Councilwoman Laure Quinlivan, who spearheaded the
If approved by voters, the change wouldn’t affect
council members serving currently and would go into effect in 2013.
Not every council member was thrilled with the idea.
“I think accountability is paramount, and I don’t see going
from two-year terms to four-year terms as increasing the accountability
citizens want,” said Councilman P.G. Sittenfeld, who was one of three new
faces to join council in last year's election, which saw four Republican incumbents booted from
“I’m sure it’s not lost on my colleagues that last November
the electorate was craving change and wanted change, and if we had been in the
middle of a four-year cycle they wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make that
change and a substantial portion of this council … wouldn’t be sitting up here
Sittenfeld equated an election to a job evaluation. He,
along with councilmembers Chris Smitherman and Charles Winburn, voted against the
Quinlivan has said her rationale for pushing four-year
terms would be to eliminate the cycle that currently has sitting council members
spending half of their terms campaigning.
Councilman Cecil Thomas said four-year terms would allow council members
to focus on longer-term projects as well.
“Four years gives us plenty of time to gel together, to work
together,” Thomas said.
Councilman Chris Seelbach attended all four public hearings
council held throughout the city and called the number of people who support
four-year terms “unbelievable.” Seelbach said he himself was “semi-conflicted”
over the proposed changes, but was not conflicted over whether voters should
have that choice: He voted in favor.
Mayor Mark Mallory was sure to remind councilmembers before
their vote that they are forbidden from using city resources to campaign for a
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: News
at 01:00 PM | Permalink
Health professionals organizing city-wide effort to reduce rates
Cincinnati babies don't get the same chance at seeing their first birthday as do infants in other states across the country, and area health professionals believe it's time to become more proactive about it. On Wednesday, Noble Maseru, Cincinnati health commissioner, and Dr. Elizabeth Kelly, a maternal-infant health specialist at University Hospital, presented statistics to City Council in support of expanding city-wide efforts to reduce infant mortality rates (IMRs) and reconsider infant care and public health strategies. Infant mortality rates are typically measured by the number of deaths of babies under
one year of age per 1,000 live births. Statistics show that the overall
IMR rate in counties across Cincinnati from 2006-2010 was 13.3. In 2010, the U.S. infant mortality rate was 6.8 — just a little more than half of Cincinnati's alarming statistic. According to the City of Cincinnati Health Department, infant mortality rates are currently the highest in the 45202 zip code; the rate between 2007-2009 was 24.2. Other Hamilton County zip codes with high IMRs include 45203 (20.1), 45229 (17.5), 45214 (19.2) and others. Zip codes with the lowest rates included 45218 (0), 45226 (0), 45248 (3.7) and others. Click here to access a complete map with data for all Cincinnati zip codes. Pinpointing causes for discrepancies in IMRs is difficult, but the following are common causes of death in infants under one year old, according to the Ohio Department of Health: • Prematurity/low birth weight (prematurity is the No. 1 cause of infant death) • Congenital anomalies• Sudden infant death syndromeThese abnormalities are distributed differently across demographics, especially varying across race brackets. According to Maseru, the key to reducing rates locally is uniting area hospitals in an effort to provide a comprehensive continuum of care, beginning with monitoring prenatal development and spanning across the delivery experience into post-partum care. That continuum should encompass post-partum home visits, psycho-social counseling and education on nutritional support, domestic violence, etc., especially focusing on families in "high-risk" zip codes. For the past several years, the Cincinnati Health Department has teamed up with University Hospital for the Maternal/Infant Health Improvement Project, a partnership uses that continuum of care to meld public health strategies and medical expertise to reduce IMR rates in University Hospital, and according to the data presented to the Rules and Governance Committee on Wednesday, the system is working. Maseru says that over the five-year span from 2006-2010, the Health Department/University Hospital partnership yielded a 10.6 IMR rate, which marks about a 20 percent difference from Cincinnati's overall rate. The next effort, Maseru says, will be expanding that partnership into a network that applies the strategies the Improvement Project has been using to other local area hospitals, such as Good Samaritan and Christ Hospital, who account for 85 percent of Cincinnati deliveries annually. "It's all about achieving health equity," says Maseru. He hopes a successful parternship could bring IMR rates across every Cincinnati zip code down to single digits by 2014.
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Pit bulls can legally put their paws on
Cincinnati ground for the first time in nine years. After a long,
arduous battle for dog lovers and Cincinnati animal welfare advocates,
Cincinnati City Council on May 16 voted 8-1 to officially repeal the
breed-specific language in Cincinnati’s vicious dog ordinance, which
previously made ownership of pit bulls within city limits illegal.
by Hannah McCartney
Posted In: City Council
at 02:33 PM | Permalink
Breed-specific legislation repealed after nine years
Pit bulls can legally put their paws on Cincinnati ground today for the first time in nine years. After a long, arduous battle for dog lovers and Cincinnati animal welfare advocates, success has arrived. Today, Cincinnati City Council voted 8-1 to officially repeal the breed-specific language in Cincinnati's vicious dog ordinance, which previously made ownership of pit bulls within city limits illegal. Read CityBeat's coverage about the old ban here. "It's fantastic. It's been a long effort, but we've had some great supporters from all across the country ... that's had an overwhelming affect on Council. Dog owners, of pit bulls or not, have flooded Council with requests to change the law," said Jim Tomaszewski, SPCA Cincinnati trustee and one of the main forces lobbying for the removal of the breed-specific language. The amendments to Section 701-1-V of the Cincinnati Municipal code completely remove breed-specific terminology, meaning today marks the first day since 2003 in which ownership of pit bulls within Cincinnati city limits is officially legal. Today, City Council also assigned the following members to the Task Force for the Humane Treatment of Animals, which will recommend future amendments and strategies to further promote responsible animal care and humane animal treatment in city limits: • Veterinarian - Dr. Tamara Goforth, Veterinarian for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA)• Representative from SPCA Cincinnati - Jim Tomaszewski, SPCA Cincinnati Trustee• Representative from the animal rescue community - Elizabeth Johnson, Executive Director, Ohio Alleycat Resource & Spay/Neuter Clinic• Representative fro the City Prosecutor's Office - to be chosen by John Curp, City Solicitor• Representative from the Cincinnati Police Department - to be chosen by Chief James Craig
0 Comments · Wednesday, May 16, 2012
Cincinnati City Council last week
approved a motion brought forth by the Cincinnati Taxicab Advisory
Commission that will implement changes to the design of the city’s
taxicab industry, some of which will be seen as soon as July 1.
0 Comments · Tuesday, May 15, 2012
An entrepreneur profited off of Trayvon Martin’s death by
selling gun range targets featuring a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at
the chest, Skittles and a can resembling iced tea — all items Martin had
in his possession when he was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla. in
February. World -2
by Danny Cross
City Council is
considering increasing cab fares prior to the World Choir Games in
July as part of an overhaul of the city’s taxi industry. During a
Rules and Government Operations Committee meeting Monday, Councilman
Wendell Young described the industry as having little regulation and
often undesirable experiences, The Enquirer reports. Council last
spring removed a city rule that made it illegal to hail a cab. Among
the recommendations expected to be made are the standardization of
rates, an increase in the number of permanent taxi stands and the
visible display of a Customer Bill of Rights.
The two men hired to
beat a Columbia Tusculum man over a property dispute admitted in
court yesterday to having been paid by Robert Fritzsch to whoop on
Tom Nies Jr. The beaters will avoid jail time in exchange for
testifying against Fritzsch. The beating was allegedly a retaliation after a court ordered the removal of Fritzsch's addition to his home that blocked the river view of Nies' house.
Robert Chase is a
member of Ohio’s oil and gas commission, in addition to operating a
private consulting firm that deals with many of the private companies
interested in making mass money off the state’s drilling leases.
The Ohio Ethics Commission this week warned Chase that such consulting
work could present a conflict of interest, though Chase says he’s
not surprised and that he knows what his ethical responsibilities
NBC has picked up a
sitcom set in Cincinnati starring Anne Heche, who reportedly plays an
Indian Hill housewife who believes she can channel God after
surviving an accident involving nearly choking on a sandwich (with
humorous results?). The show, which will have a 13-episode first season, is titled Save Me.
administration might be hinting at considering same-sex marriage
rights during a second term, but the folks down in North Carolina are
having none of it: A state constitutional amendment to ban gay
marriage and civil unions is on today’s ballot, despite the
existence of a state statute that already outlaws it.
Meanwhile, the Obama
administration is busting Mitt Romney up for choosing not to address
a woman’s suggestion that Obama should be tried for treason.
During an event near
Cleveland yesterday, a woman asked Romney if he thinks President
Obama is "operating outside the structure of our Constitution,"
and "should be tried for treason."
Romney did not
respond to the treason comment, but instead criticized Obama's recent
comments on the Supreme Court -- drawing a rebuke from the Obama
Romney says he doesn’t
correct all the questions that are asked of him and that he obviously
doesn’t believe Obama should be tried for treason. USA Today
pointed out that the incident is similar to one that occurred during
the 2008 election, which John McCain handled quite differently:
It was one of the
defining moments of the 2008 presidential campaign: A woman at a
rally for Republican John McCain, while asking McCain a question,
called Democratic contender Barack Obama "an Arab" who
couldn't be trusted.
McCain took the
microphone and said, "No ma'am. He's a decent family man ... who
I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues."
McCain's response symbolized his discomfort with the volatile crowds
he was seeing as his campaign faded during the final days of the 2008
A study suggests that
fighting obesity will necessitate a broader approach than blaming the
individual, likely involving schools, workplaces, health care
providers and fast-food restaurants.
Yahoo CEO Scott
Thompson has apologized for pretending to have a degree in computer
science. Thompson says he’ll update his resume but has no plans to
The U.S. could make a
$1.5 billion profit on its bailout of insurance company American
International Group, Inc. At least that’s what the Government
Accountability Office says.
cars have received their permits in Nevada. What's next? Drive down every single street in America and photographing it?
by German Lopez
Trend follows other cities, states, countries and a majority of Fortune 500 companies
Cincinnati inched closer to
equality after moving forward Monday with a measure that would allow city
employees in same-sex and other partnerships to receive health insurance
With a push by Chris Seelbach,
the first openly gay councilman in Cincinnati, the measure passed the finance
committee with the support of all council members except Charlie Winburn, who
The approval came after a city
report found that same-sex benefits could cost as much as $543,000 a year if 77
partners took advantage of the benefits.
The report suggested City Council
mimic a system already in place in Columbus, which requires partners to prove
financial interdependency and that they have been together for six months.
If the measure passes City
Council, Cincinnati would be more caught up with other cities, states,
countries and companies that already grant health benefits to same-sex
couples. Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign estimated that 60 percent
of Fortune 500 companies offer health benefits to same-sex couples, including
Procter and Gamble and Fifth Third Bank.
Altogether, it seems like a small
step toward equality. What’s unfortunate is none of it would be required if
same-sex marriage was legal in Ohio. If it was,
same-sex couples could get marriage benefits, including health-care coverage.
Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Tuesday approved
the petition language for an amendment that would overturn Ohio’s 2004 ban on
gay marriage. The new amendment would define marriage as “a union of two
consenting adults, regardless of gender.”
The amendment now moves forward
to the Ohio Ballot Board. If approved, it will then require 385,253 signatures
from registered voters and, finally, voter approval.Ohio banned same-sex marriage in
2004 with a majority vote of 62 percent. But Ian James, co-founder of the
Freedom to Marry Coalition, told the Huffington Post that he is optimistic
things will be different this time, citing recent polls that show the nation is
moving toward support of gay marriage.
by Kevin Osborne
If you come from a large family, you might remember when older siblings would always get new clothes when you were a child and you'd get their hand-me downs. That's also been the situation at Paul Brown Stadium in the past, but Hamilton County commissioners are putting a stop to it. Because the county's Riverfront Parking Operations needs two new trucks, the plan had been to move two trucks from Paul Brown to parking services and buy new ones for the stadium. Commissioners balked at the plan Tuesday, saying the new trucks should be bought for Parking Operations. Commissioner Todd Portune estimates the county will save up to $20,000 because Parking Operations doesn't require the same kind of heavy-duty trucks the stadium uses.Cincinnati City Council is considering restoring $250,000 to the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). Council had cut the money from CIRV's budget in late 2010, but statistics show that the number of shootings increased in the city afterward. When CIRV was in full effect, the percentage of shootings linked to gang activity fell from nearly 70 percent in 2007 to around 50 percent in 2008 and 2009, but has bounced up to 60 percent in 2011 and so far this year. Part of the cash allocated to CIRV would pay for a statistical analysis by researchers at the University of Cincinnati, to determine if there is a verifiable link.Federal prosecutors want the jury in the upcoming insider trading trial of former Procter & Gamble Co. board member Rajat Gupta to hear secretly recorded telephone conversations with another man as evidence of the alleged conspiracy between them. The government said in a pre-trial filing that the conversations showed Gupta, also a former Goldman Sachs director, leaked Goldman board secrets at the height of the financial crisis in 2008. The Federal Bureau of Investigation recorded the calls.The Reds postponed Tuesday's game against the Chicago Cubs due to high water on the field at Great American Ball Park. Heavy rains on Tuesday afternoon and evening saturated the area, and the stadium was no exception. A makeup date hasn't been announced. The action marks only the sixth time that the Reds have postponed a game since Great American opened in 2003.Cincinnati Public Schools will make energy-saving renovations at 28 schools using a nearly $27 million low-interest loan. The school board approved the plan Monday, despite some board members' concerns about moving ahead with the projects while the district cuts jobs and faces an estimated $43 million deficit.In news elsewhere, the rumors were true: Blind Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng was hiding at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing since escaping house arrest last month. Chen's presence was revealed today when he left the diplomatic compound to seek medical treatment after receiving assurances from China’s government that he would be treated humanely. Chinese leaders agreed that Chen would be reunited with his family, moved to a safe place and allowed to enroll in a university, U.S. officials said. (Well, that's one international crisis averted, and only about 50 more to go.)One of Willard Mitt Romney's top campaign spokesmen is leaving his job less than two weeks after his appointment. Richard Grenell, Romney's national security spokesman, resigned after some hardcore conservatives complained about the hiring of the openly gay man. Others, however, say it also was because Grenell was coming under fire “for numerous sexist and impolitic statements he had made about prominent women and members of the media.” After the complaints, he scrubbed over 800 tweets from his Twitter feed and deleted his personal website. Some reporters who dealt with Grenell while he was a spokesman for the United Nations years ago called him the "most dishonest and deceptive press person" they had ever encountered.An eyewitness to the 1968 assassination of U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy says she heard two guns firing during the shooting and authorities altered her account of the crime. Nina Rhodes-Hughes, who is now 78, is coming forward as a federal court prepares to rule on a challenge to Sirhan Sirhan's conviction in the assassination. Sirhan, who is now 68, wants to be released, retried or granted a hearing on new evidence.President Obama made a surprise visit Tuesday to U.S. troops in Afghanistan, just before today's first anniversary of the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Willard Mitt Romney has been criticizing the president's recent comments about bin Laden's death, but the Obama campaign questions whether Romney would've made the same decision, given his past statements. While in Afghanistan, Obama signed a security pact that means the United States will maintain a military presence there through 2024 – despite supposedly ending combat operations at the end of 2014. (For those keeping track, the deal means the United States will stay in Afghanistan for 23 years; let's just end the suspense and declare it our 51st state.)Tuesday was May Day, which traditionally is a day to celebrate workers' rights around the globe — or protest the lack of same. The Occupy Wall Street movement and its various off-shoots held demonstrations in New York, Seattle, San Francisco and elsewhere across the United States to commemorate the occasion.
by Kevin Osborne
A federal investigation into a January construction accident at the Horseshoe Casino site is now completed and the fines in the case have been reduced. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration originally imposed $108,000 in fines, but has since cut that amount in half. Thirteen workers were injured when a concrete floor they were pouring gave way. Four firms were cited in the mishap.An article in a journal published by the American Heart Association states that a review of eight cases indicates the use of electrical stun guns by police can cause cardiac arrest. Douglas Zipes, a physiologist with Indiana University, wrote the article that examines the effects of the Taser X26 ECD. At least three people have died locally in recent years after being shocked by Tasers, most recently a North College Hill man who was shocked at the University of Cincinnati last August. Police in Colerain Township and Fairfax have stopped using stun guns, but Cincinnati police officers still use the devices.A single woman who used artificial insemination to become pregnant has filed a federal lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Cincinnati after she was fired from her teaching job at a Catholic school. Christa Dias, who was fired in October 2010, isn't Catholic and says she wasn't aware of the church's teachings against the procedure. She taught computer classes and had no ministerial duties at the school. Employment law experts expect the issues involved in the case will attract national attention and could set a precedent.Nine local schools will receive part of a $21 million federal grant given to the state of Ohio to help improve low-performing schools. The Cincinnati facilities that will get aid are Rothenberg Preparatory Academy, Woodward Career Tech High, South Avondale Elementary, William H. Taft Elementary, George Hays-Jennie Porter, Schroder Paideia High, West Side Montessori High, Oyler and the district's Virtual High School. Local school officials say the grant money has been used the past two years to take all but one school out of the “academic emergency” classification.Cincinnati City Council could vote as soon as Wednesday on a proposal to extend insurance benefits to the same-sex partners of city employees. A council committee voted 8-0 Monday to give tentative approval to the plan, which was lobbied for by Councilman Chris Seelbach, the first openly gay man to serve on the group. The benefit is expected to cost the city between $300,000 and $540,000 annually, depending on how many claims are filed. Councilman Charlie Winburn, a Republican and evangelical Christian minister, abstained from the vote.In news elsewhere, documents seized from Osama bin Laden's hideaway in Pakistan after his death reveal the terrorist leader was worried about al-Qaeda's image. The records show bin Laden trying to reassert control over factions of loosely affiliated jihadists from Yemen to Somalia, as well as independent actors whom he believed had sullied al-Qaeda’s reputation and muddied its central message. Bin Laden was killed in a raid by Navy SEALs on May 2, 2011.British lawmakers said today that global media tycoon Rupert Murdoch is unfit to run a major company and should take responsibility for a culture of illegal telephone hacking that has shaken News Corp. A parliamentary committee said Murdoch and his son, James, showed "willful blindness" about the scale of phone-hacking that first emerged at Murdoch's News of the World newspaper. In the United States, Murdoch owns the Fox News Channel, The Wall Street Journal and The New York Post.President Obama expressed support Monday for the blind Chinese dissident at the center of a standoff between Beijing and Washington. Speaking at a press conference, Obama said he wouldn't address specifics of the Chen Guangcheng case, but then went on to urge Beijing to address its human rights record. It's believed that Chen is hiding at the U.S. Embassy in China, but officials have declined to confirm the speculation or whether negotiations are underway.Although most Republican politicians are united in their opposition to federal health-care reforms known as “ObamaCare,” they disagree on what should replace it, Politico reports. Even after three years of railing against Obama’s plan, Republicans haven't coalesced around a full replacement plan. Although most Republicans support the health law’s requirement that insurance companies accept all applicants, the main replacement plan put forward by the GOP ignores that idea.Violence continues in Syria between government forces and rebels despite both sides agreeing to a United Nations-sponsored ceasefire. A human a rights group reported 10 civilians were killed in an army mortar attack and 12 soldiers killed in a firefight with rebel gunmen today as U.N. monitors tried to broker an end to the fighting, which has lasted more than a year.