Good morning all. It was a busy weekend in Cincy with tons of news, so let’s get to it.
Thousands of Cincinnatians gathered Saturday at Washington Park to protest the inauguration of President Donald Trump, which took place Friday. The rally and march that followed were local iterations of the Women’s March on Washington, which drew more than 500,000 to Washington, D.C. Saturday and dwarfed the 250,000-person crowd present at the inauguration itself. A number of speakers including Black Lives Matter’s Ashley Harrington, representatives from Planned Parenthood, the Amos Project’s Iris Roley, mayoral candidate Yvette Simpson and her fellow Cincinnati City Council Democrats Chris Seelbach and P.G. Sittenfeld, Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune, Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval and others spoke.
More than 600 solidarity rallies took place around the world, including massive events drawing hundreds of thousands in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other major cities. Those rallies in the U.S. all together brought out more than 3 million people. Trump has made a number of comments that have raised ire among women, including those caught on tape a decade ago where he casually discussed sexually assaulting women. Trump has also vowed to appoint Supreme Court justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark decision that legalized abortion. The march was just one of a number of events around the city protesting Trump. At the same time the Women’s March was winding its way through downtown and Over-the-Rhine, a smaller pro-life demonstration and a few Trump supporters also gathered.
• Vandals yesterday spray-painted a number of racist and anti-Semitic symbols on Withrow High School in Hyde Park. Those symbols were accompanied by the name “Trump.” The vandalism marks the second recent incident in which a local school has been tagged with Nazi and other racist iconography — earlier this month, Hebrew Union College saw similar graffiti. Hundreds, including local political and faith leaders, gathered at the school this morning with juice and doughnuts to show students they are welcome and supported. Cincinnati police are working to find out who committed the hate crime.
“This unfortunate event is further evidence of our need to heal and grow as a community,” a Cincinnati Public Schools statement read. “If this awful act encourages anything, we hope that it sparks continued dialogue among families about our need to come together as one country. Our diversity is an asset and should be celebrated.”
• A new, long-awaited community-owned grocery store opened yesterday in Clifton. After three years of work, Clifton Market welcomed its first customers — shareholders — at noon. The general public was welcomed in at 2 p.m. The market fills a space vacated by Keller’s IGA, which closed in 2011 after tax troubles. The store will be open from 7 a.m. to midnight seven days a week every day except Christmas, organizers say. The co-op, which is collectively owned and operated by 1,500 shareholders who raised more than $6 million, is expected to give a shot in the arm to the Ludlow Ave. business district, a long-popular corridor of locally-owned shops and restaurants.
• The first pretrial hearing since Hamilton County assigned new prosecutors in the Ray Tensing trial will happen today. The hearing will hash out issues before the May 25 trial with assistant Hamilton County prosecutors Seth Tieger and Stacey DeGraffenreid and Hamilton County Judge Leslie Ghiz, who took over for judge Megan Shanahan. Tieger and DeGraffenreid are stepping in for Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and assistant prosecutor Mark Piepmeier. Deters says they’ll be tied up with a re-sentencing trial for convicted serial killer Anthony Kirkland. Tensing is facing murder charges for the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Samuel DuBose in Mount Auburn in July, 2015. A previous trial ended with a hung jury.
• About 1 million fewer Ohioans will have health insurance if the Affordable Care Act is repealed, as Republicans intend to do, according to a study by the Urban Institute. That includes about 550,000 people insured by the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which GOP Gov. John Kasich fought the state’s conservative legislature to accept. Should congressional Republicans move forward with a plan to repeal former president Barack Obama’s healthcare plan, that expansion would more than likely disappear.
• Finally, let’s zoom about a bit. OK, a lot. Now that Trump has been inaugurated and is leading our country, how can we expect lawmakers in Congress to react? How will a mercurial and unpredictable president affect the already rocky workings of America’s federal legislative branch? There’s no way to know, insiders say, but buckle up for a bumpy ride. It’s going to be one of the biggest questions if the year, if not the next four, so this Atlantic piece on congressional uncertainty is a must-read.