Noon News: Local groups push Portman on ACA repeal; Cranley joins Clifton Market

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio could be a pivotal vote in the GOP's last-ditch effort to repeal and replace Obamacare. The program provides 700,000 Ohioans with Medicaid.

click to enlarge U.S. Sen. Rob Portman - Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman

Hey Cincy. Here are some quick news things to get your week started.

Progressive groups and local elected officials will hold a news conference today at 12:30 p.m. today outside the downtown office of U.S. Sen. Rob Portman to try and convince the Republican to vote against a bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. That legislation would allow states the option of waiving protections for people with pre-existing conditions, end the Medicaid expansion — which has provided 700,000 Ohioans with healthcare coverage — and could cost millions their health insurance over the next few years. Currently, GOP leadership’s ability to pass the bill through the Senate rests on a knife-edge — the party has just a 51-48 majority there. Two GOP Senators have already signaled they won’t vote for the bill, meaning any other Republican, including Portman, could sink the bill entirely by refusing to vote for it.

• FC Cincinnati — and some of the soccer team’s fans — still want a dedicated stadium. So far, that’s been a no-go among city and county officials fatigued by the twenty-year albatross that has been the stadium deals for the Bengals and the Reds. But proponents of a taxpayer-funded stadium will give it another shot tomorrow at the Hamilton County Commission’s weekly meeting, where they’re expected to swarm to demand county leadership reconsider their stance against public money for a dedicated home for FC Cincinnati. Commissioners are set to talk about a dozen or so huge projects looming before the county, including a replacement for the Western Hills Viaduct and other vital projects. FC Cincinnati is vying for an invitation to become an expansion team for Major League Soccer, but needs to have concrete plans for its own stadium to score that prize. 

• One of Over-the-Rhine's historic music venues is in the running for funds to aid in its preservation. Woodward Theater is one of 25 places across the country competing in Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, a program by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Main Street America that will select five sites for grants up to $150,000. You can vote for the Woodward here.

• The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has filed to pull its subsidies from the Alms Apartments in Walnut Hills, meaning the neighborhood could lose 200 units of affordable housing. The move comes at a time when the region’s need for that housing is exploding. How did it happen? We have a deep dive on the revolving door of owners who didn’t pay for the building’s upkeep and the missed signs that something was amiss at the Alms.

• Mayor John Cranley on Friday became an owner in Clifton’s cooperative grocery store Friday, tweeting a selfie at the grocer. Clifton Market has struggled in the past few months as sales have dipped well below projections and board members debate how to right the ship. Cranley hasn’t always been such a fan — in 2015, he vetoed a vote by Cincinnati City Council to provide a $400,000 grant to the store. Cranley’s tweet received an enthusiastic replies from Councilman Charlie Winburn, who would have been the sixth vote needed to override that veto. Winburn, who had supported the grant, changed course just before the vote. He noted he shopped at the market every week in a tweet to Cranley.

“Glad to see you at Clifton Market!,” Winburn said in another tweet. “Glad.”

• Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble certainly wants you to see ads for its products — it spends more than $7 billion a year so that you will, making it the nation’s biggest advertiser. But it would rather not advertise to you if you’re watching videos made by terrorist groups, or if you’re checking out content about cute kittens. The company has pulled more than $100 million in ad spending on sites like YouTube over concerns that placement of some ads is doing damage to its brands’ reputation — or that viewers simply won’t be receptive and would rather not see them. If only all advertisers were so self-aware, eh?

“There’s no question ads should never be on an ISIS recruiting video,” marketing chief Mark Pritchard told the Cincinnati Business Courier. “But how many cat videos should we advertise on? If you’re watching cat videos, do you really want to see a toothpaste ad?”

• Finally, this newly minted state lawmaker from Butler County says he's not a Scientologist. But Robert Lang, sworn into the Ohio General Assembly last week, gave a speech to the controversial church in 2012 in which he slings around a lot of its highly specific terminology, credits it with helping his hearing and credited its beliefs with experiencing "personal miracles."

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