Morning News: mayoral race flooded with cash; UC professor apologizes for comments to Muslim student

Mayor John Cranley’s campaign has raised a record-setting $2.3 million in the contest, nearly doubling the previous record set by David Pepper's unsuccessful 2005 mayoral bid.

Nov 2, 2017 at 11:22 am

Mayor John Cranley - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
Mayor John Cranley

Good morning all. Lots going on so let’s run through the news real quick-like.

The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County got a new trustee yesterday as it mulls a controversial move that could mean the sale of one of its downtown facilities. Hamilton County Commissioners voted to appoint Karen Clemons to the library’s board, replacing former board president Allen Zaring, whose term ended Sept. 30. Opponents of the library’s facilities plan also showed up at the commissioners’ meeting. They repeated opposition to the library’s plan, but expressed cautious optimism about Clemons, a long-time educator. Clemons has yet to take a position on the library’s plan to decommission and potentially sell the north building of its downtown campus.

• This year’s mayoral race has shattered fundraising records, The Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Mayor John Cranley’s campaign has raised a record-setting $2.3 million in the contest, and his opponent, Councilwoman Yvette Simpson, has taken in more than $576,000 for her campaign. Cranley’s haul nearly doubles the previous record David Pepper set in 2005, when he raised $1.2 million in an unsuccessful bid against Mark Mallory. Mallory raised just $380,000 in that contest. Most of the money for Cranley came from donors in the business and development industries. Simpson also received some money from those donors, including Reds owners the Castellini family, Bengals owner Mike Brown and Uptown Properties president Dan Schimberg. Simpson also received big donations from Democrat politicians in the Congressional Black Caucus. Council candidates are also raising boatloads of cash — incumbent Democrat P.G. Sittenfeld has taken in more than $500,000 for his bid. Incumbent Republican Amy Murray is second in total cash raised with more than $333,000. Some first-time candidates are also bringing in big hauls: Democrat Derek Bauman, Republican Jeff Pastor and Democrat Tamaya Dennard have blown past the $100,000 mark. 

• A University of Cincinnati music professor caught making Islamophobic comments on a student’s assignment is apologizing for those remarks. UC College-Conservatory of Music instructor Clifford Adams asked his students to write personal responses to the song “Walk on Water” on UC’s online Blackboard site. One female Muslim student said the song gave her renewed faith in America in the midst of “Trump’s presidency and all the hate he has promoted.” That set Adams off. In a lengthy post on Blackboard replying to the student, he made broad generalizations about the ways Islam treats women and told the student, “the greatest threat to our freedoms isn’t the president, it is radical Islam. Review this list of Islamic terrorist attacks and then tell me about your hurt feelings.” (In fact, right wing extremists carried out more attacks on U.S. soil and have killed roughly the same number of people in the last 15 years.) The post was viewable to 75 people in the class. Another person not in the class shared a screenshot of the post on Facebook, where it went viral before it was deleted. Adams says he’s not a “religious bigot” and apologized to the student, but seemed to chalk up the controversy to the medium in which he made the comments. He says he wished he could have had the conversation in person instead of online. “We would have enjoyed a lively, provocative, scholarly argument,” he told The Cincinnati Enquirer. UC officials are investigating the comments and possible disciplinary action.

• Walnut Hills is about to get a new brewery — the first in Cincinnati to be minority-owned. Esoteric Brewery co-founder Brian Jackson is a graduate of minority startup accelerator MORTAR's first class. The brewery will occupy one of the neighborhood’s most iconic structures, the Paramount Building, which is undergoing a $20 million redevelopment. That’s part of a larger push at Peebles’ Corner bringing new housing and businesses to the neighborhood.

• State Sen. Cliff Hite of Findlay recently stepped down after revelations that he had allegedly requested sex from one of the state's legislative employees multiple times, repeatedly messaging her and following her around. In the wake of that scandal, Hite has disputed some of those allegations. However, other harassment or discrimination claims against state lawmakers and staffers have come to light. You can read about the allegations against the lawmakers and staffers here. 

• If you’ve ever wanted an insider look at how Ohio’s congressional districts are drawn, here you go: this report from, the League of Women Voters of Ohio and policy think tank Common Cause Ohio has it all. What was redistricting like in 2011? Secret hotel rooms accessible only to the four state-paid contractors on leave from their gigs as staffers for Republican politicians; emails detailing the choices made to benefit the GOP; messages showing that former U.S. Rep. John Boehner, then Speaker of the House, had final say in all the plans. Since those efforts, not a single district has flipped. There’s a treasure trove of information about how these decisions get made, and here’s a spoiler — it doesn’t have much to do with input from communities, voters or anyone other than high-level Republican officials.