Morning News: FOP set to endorse in mayor's race; King Records decision delayed; GOP gov. candidates praise Trump

Those waiting to learn the fate of King Records will have to wait a little longer — a Historic Conservation Board hearing scheduled today on the demolition of the historic building has been delayed until Aug. 27.

Mar 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

click to enlarge The former King Records building - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
The former King Records building

Good morning all. I hope your weekend was grand. Bockfest was great. (Protip, however: Don’t drink a couple dopplebocks on an empty stomach right after you go on a seven-mile run unless you like being real dizzy.) I also heard there was a wine fest going on downtown. But enough about that. Let’s talk non-drinking-related news.

The Cincinnati Fraternal Order of Police is set to make its endorsement in this year’s mayoral primary, the organization said in a news release today. FOP President Dan Hils will announce the endorsement, which the police union votes on, at a news conference at 2:30 p.m. at the FOP Hall on Central Parkway. Mayor John Cranley would seem to be the favorite to win that endorsement — he’s increased police hiring in the city and pushed a pay boost for police and other city employees last year — but we’ll know for sure this afternoon. Cranley’s opponents, City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson and former University of Cincinnati board chair Rob Richardson Jr., also have close ties to labor. Richardson is the son of labor leader Rob Richardson Sr., and Simpson also voted for last year’s pay boost, though she had criticism for the way in which Cranley went around the city’s usual collective bargaining practices.

• A hearing today by the city's Historic Conservation Board on a request to demolish the Evanston building that once housed King Records has been pushed back to Aug. 27 as the city and owners Dynamic Industries seek to reach an agreement. The city declared the site a historic landmark, and has indicated it is looking at using eminent domain in hopes of preserving it and turning it into a museum; Dynamic would like to tear the building down to make a larger industrial development. The record label was the sixth-largest in the country during its heyday in the 1950s and launched the careers of James Brown, Bootsy Collins and other music legends. It was also one of the first integrated workplaces in the country.

• Cincinnati City Council’s Human Services Committee will hear a presentation today on equitable social change and human services funding by nonprofit Design Impact and the Human Services Chamber of Hamilton County. The presentations come ahead of the city’s budget process, where the Human Services Chamber is pushing for an increase in human services funding by the city to 1.5 percent of the city’s general fund budget. That’s a goal some council members have been pushing toward for years, but one that may prove difficult politically as the city faces a $25 million budget shortfall. Design Impact will present its presentation on six themes they say could increase equity in Cincinnati. The presentations kick off at noon at City Hall.

• Today, Ohio Court of Appeals Judge Marilyn Zayas-Davis will become the first Latina to preside over a panel in that court. Zayas-Davis, a little-known Democrat, unseated incumbent Republican Judge Peter Stautberg back in November. She spent two decades in private practice, focusing on immigration law, before her win. Zayas-Davis’ history-making first panel began at 9 a.m. this morning.

• Fast food near the new highway interchange? Not so fast. The Cincinnati Planning Commission voted Friday to rezone a five-block area of Walnut Hills just south of the coming I-71-Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard interchange, changing it to a pedestrian-centered commercial zone. That means commercial buildings will have to be closer to the street than before, which could block businesses like fast food drive-thrus. That will hopefully boost pedestrian-friendly businesses along the once-bustling Lincoln Ave. business district. Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation Executive Director Kevin Wright says the move is an important part of revitalizing the area.

• Here’s a transportation story of a different sort. Did you know Friday was the 200th anniversary of the Anderson Ferry? George Anderson of Northern Kentucky began carrying people and freight across the Ohio River from Northern Kentucky to what is now Delhi Township on March 3, 1817, and the boats have been going ever since. The boats used to be propelled by poles pushed against the river bottom, but these days, diesel engines do the work. Otherwise, not much has changed in 200 years.

• Let’s stay on the bluegrass side of the ferry for a minute and talk more about Kentucky. A bill allowing the state to recognize charter schools — private schools run with public money, but not subject to most state standards — has passed through the Kentucky House of Representatives and is on its way to the Republican-controlled Senate, where it also looks likely to pass. Kentucky is one of seven states that doesn’t currently have charter schools. Supporters say charters outperform public schools and that they’re cheaper for the state to operate, though a number of problems have plagued similar schools in Ohio, including a data-rigging scandal and low performance among many of the schools.

• Did you know that Ohio is one of just eight states that still has “marital privilege” statutes on its books? Those laws mean that raping your spouse in some instances is not illegal here. But Democrats in the State House are trying to change that. One example cited by lawmakers like Democratic State Reps. Greta Johnson of Akron and Teresa Fedor of Toledo — drugging a spouse and having sex with them while they are unconscious is not a criminal offense, according to current law. Johnson’s bill would close that and other loopholes. A similar bill two years ago didn’t go anywhere, mostly because no Republicans in the General Assembly would support it. The proposed law could face the same fate this time — no GOP lawmakers have signed on to vote for the changes. Opponents of the law say it’s hard to prove what happens “between a husband and a wife in private,” according to John Murphy of the Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association, which was against the bill advanced two years ago. “It’s one person’s word against another.”

• A gathering of Hamilton County Republicans over the weekend may have marked a growing sea-change in the state’s conservative politics. The event drew the GOP’s four potential contenders for the governor’s seat, open next year as Gov. John Kasich is term limited out. Three of the four gubernatorial hopefuls at that event made overtures to Trump voters, praising the new president and his policy moves. Lt .Gov. Mary Taylor, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci offered glowing appraisals of Trump’s short stint in office, as well as defenses of some in his administration, like Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who have been under fire of late. That marks a big shift — Kasich has been a vocal and consistent foe of Trump. Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, meanwhile, kept his remarks about Trump short, noting only his margin of victory in Ohio in the 2016 presidential race.