Greater Cincinnati May Have the Nation's Sorriest Bus Stop; More News

Finally, a tournament we could win. Readers of Streetsblog, an urban transit site, are currently voting on terrible bus stops in a number of cities. One in Greater Cincinnati has made it to the semi-finals. Go team!

click to enlarge A Metro bus downtown - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
A Metro bus downtown

Hey all! Let’s run through the news real quick to start the week off.

Finally, a tournament bracket where Cincinnati has a real shot at winning it all. Readers of Streetsblog.org, a popular urban transit site, are mulling now whether Cincinnati has "the sorriest bus stop" in the country. A Metro bus stop in Springfield Township is up for the dubious honor and has advanced to the semi-finals of the Final Four-style tournament, besting (if that’s the right word) a stop in Ypsilanti, Mich. The Springfield Township stop for routes 15x and 16 isn’t too fancy — there is no shelter and no bench. Oh, it’s also missing a sidewalk. And a streetlight. And a place to stand, really. That stop beat Ypsilanti by 497 out of 536 votes. Dang. Next, Greater Cincinnati’s worst stop will face off against a bus stop in McKee’s Rocks, Penn. Nashville, New Orleans, Suffolk County, N.Y., Pittsburgh, Beverly Hills and Vancouver are all still competing in the tournament. Catch the excitement.

• As college kids stream back to the University of Cincinnati today for the first day of classes, the university has set another record for enrollment. More than 45,000 students will return to UC campuses today — the most ever, marking the sixth-straight year of enrollment increases for the university. School officials say they’re looking toward 47,000 students enrolled in 2019. That goal comes despite national headwind: college enrollment is actually declining nationally.

• Let’s just go ahead and say it: abbreviated internet/text speak has jumped the shark, TBH. There is perhaps no better sign that this is true than the following: Local retail giant Procter & Gamble is seeking to trademark many of the shorthand phrases, including “LOL,” “WTF,” “NBD” and “FML.” P&G, the country’s second-largest advertiser, applied for the designations in April. An attorney for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office requested more information about the filings on July 26.

• Another high-profile political analyst has upgraded Democrat Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval’s chances of winning his challenge to Republican incumbent Steve Chabot’s seat in Ohio’s 1st Congressional District. The Cook Political Report changed their rating for the race from “leans Republican” to “tossup” Friday — the second major political watcher after Sabato’s Crystal Ball to do so.

Pureval, who scored a huge upset against then-incumbent Republican Hamilton County Clerk Tracy Winkler in 2016, has outraised Chabot in the high-stakes race. But the incumbent has some distinct advantages. Chabot has served as the 1st District’s representative since 1994, save a two-year stretch from 2008-2010 when Democrat Steve Driehaus won a single election against him. In 2012, with Chabot back in the seat, state lawmakers changed his district to include staunchly-conservative Warren County, making the seat seemingly safer for Chabot. His campaign says he’s not worried about Pureval, painting the county clerk as too liberal for the district and citing recent questions around campaign finance practices that seemed to show Pureval pulling money for his congressional campaign from the coffers of his Hamilton County Clerk campaign — a potential violation of federal election law. Pureval denies he broke any campaign rules.

• Faculty at Wright State University could strike beginning Oct. 1 if 60 percent of the union representing university employees rejects a report from a fact-finder around a proposed three-year contract without raises and higher costs for health care. Union representatives say that contract represents a nine percent pay cut for faculty at the university.

• Recently-released documents published by the Dayton Daily News reveal federal investigators are working to build a corruption case against former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger and a handful of representatives of the state’s payday loan industry. Documents also show that a grand jury in Cincinnati is considering evidence around those potential charges. A search warrant from May shows that federal prosecutors believed evidence exists showing extortion and attempts at extortion and bribery. Federal investigators have also requested records of Rosenberger’s communications with payday loan industry representatives, as well as travel records. Rosenberger is accused of taking lavish international trips at the expense of lobbyists. During Rosenberger’s time as speaker, a payday lending reform bill strongly opposed by the industry was stalled in the Ohio House of Representatives. Rosenberger resigned from his perch as speaker in April as it came out that he was under investigation by federal authorities.

• Finally, longtime U.S. senator and former Republican presidential contender John McCain died of brain cancer Saturday. He was 81 years old. His death unleashed a flood of takes on the internet — why he was great, why he was terrible, how he symbolized a lost age of political civility and on and on. Make what you will of his record — he once voted against making Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday a holiday, for instance, though later changed his position. But he was complicated. Check out this story about a time when McCain clapped back at fellow conservative WLW host Bill Cunningham for saying nasty things about then-Sen. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.