Hello Cincy. Ready to talk about some news? Let’s do it.
City Manager Harry Black may be gone, but the drama around his ouster continues. An email released yesterday from Mayor John Cranley’s private email account to the private accounts of Cincinnati City Council members Amy Murray, Greg Landsman, David Mann and Vice Mayor Christopher Smitherman details what the mayor says was a threatening phone call made March 8, the night before Cranley asked Black to resign.
In that call, according to Cranley, Black flung expletives at the mayor and detailed what Cranley calls a “crazy conspiracy theory” tying the firing of Cincinnati Police Assistant Chief David Bailey to pay raises Cranley negotiated over Black’s head in 2016.
The email release comes after Cranley discussed the call more generally earlier in his battle to oust Black. The city manager has rolled out his own accusations in that fight. Earlier this month, he alleged that Cranley’s close involvement in the city’s economic development deals is unethical and maybe even illegal. Black has said that he did call Cranley March 8, but that the call did not take place the way Cranley describes it.
• FC Cincinnati yesterday released schematics that show the potential layout and orientation of a West End soccer stadium. Those plans are preliminary, the team says, and could be subject to change. The schematics show a 21,000 seat stadium with room to add another 7,000 seats later. You can read all the details and see the schematic in our story here.
• Rhinegeist Brewery and the Cincinnati Museum Center are teaming up on a new brew — and the unveiling of a never-before-seen object from the museum's collection. The joint launch, called Jurassic Geist, will take place on May 15, which happens to be National Dinosaur Day. Hm. Wonder what that museum piece might be. The limited-edition beer the brewer is creating, called Brittlebrain, will be a Belgian-style golden ale. A portion of the sales of the beer will go to benefit the Museum Center.
• Luxury homes are flying off the shelves… err, plots… or whatever… in Greater Cincinnati these days. There were 15 percent more single-family homes and condos worth more than $500,000 sold last year than the previous year, according to a report on luxury housing by Comey & Shepherd Realtors. In contrast, the rest of the local housing market saw just a 1 percent increase in sales in 2017. Hyde Park and Mount Lookout led the pack in terms of neighborhoods with the highest number of luxury home sales, according to the report.
• More green energy is now online in Northern Kentucky. Duke Energy yesterday opened its new solar energy farm just south of Walton in southern Kenton County. That farm features more than 17,000 solar panels on 60 acres of land. It complements another 11,500-panel solar farm Duke owns just south of Crittenden in Grant County. Together, the two generate enough electricity to power 1,500 homes annually.
• President Donald Trump yesterday waded into Ohio’s Senate race, endorsing U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci in his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Sherrod Brown.
“. has worked so hard on Tax Reductions, Illegal Immigration, the Border and Crime,” Trump tweeted. “I need Jim very badly to help our agenda and to keep MAKING AMERICA GREAT AGAIN! He will be a fantastic Senator for the Great State of Ohio, and has my full endorsement!”
That’s not a big surprise — Trump has touted Renacci’s campaign before, but had previously stopped short of outright endorsing him. Renacci is the favorite in the May 8 GOP primary against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons. Despite his front runner status, Renacci has been dogged by questions about his potentially illegal use of campaign funds from an abandoned gubernatorial bid for his Senate race.
• Speaking of that gubernatorial race, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who is running in the GOP primary against Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine to replace Gov. John Kasich, released a new ad this week pledging to end Ohio’s participation in the federal expansion of Medicaid if she’s elected. That expansion insures roughly 700,000 people in the state. It’s been a hot button issue for staunch conservatives ever since Kasich fought his own party in the state house to bring the Obama-era program, part of the Affordable Care Act, here.
• Finally, a federal judge yesterday again struck down attempts by the Trump administration to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which keeps undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as minors from being deported. Trump has tried to end the DACA program multiple times, challenging the legality of the Obama-era executive order. Federal Judge John Bates ruled yesterday that Trump’s administration provided “meager legal reasoning” for its contention that the program is illegal and thus must be shut down. The administration has 90 days to provide more thorough legal reasoning; if it does not, it must begin accepting new DACA applications immediately after that.