Good morning all. If you're reading this, you probably know what time it is. (It's about ten minutes after my deadline, but that's beside the point). What I mean is that it's news time.
As Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley gears up for his re-election race, his campaign has been making some calls around town. About 500 of them, actually. Cranley’s campaign has hired national polling company Anzalone Liszt, who conducted a poll recently testing some messages about Cranley while floating some negative assertions about his highest-profile opponent, Cincinnati City Councilwoman Yvette Simpson. The poll also attempted to measure fallout from the controversy around emails between Cranley and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the firing of former CPD chief Jeffrey Blackwell. Simpson has criticized the poll, saying it mischaracterizes her record on the streetcar, public safety and human services funding. A series of questions in the poll based on Simpson’s vote against the city’s budget in 2014 implies she chose the streetcar over adding police and funding human services organizations, an issue the Councilwoman has actually battled hard for. Cranley campaign manager Jay Kincaid says the poll is a routine step for a serious campaign, while Simpson has blasted it as political maneuvering.
• In other mayoral race news, Cranley is set to announce an endorsement from Cincinnati's firefighters union today. Cranley's holding a news conference downtown at 10 a.m. to announce IAFF local 48 is backing his re-election bid, per a news release from his campaign. The endorsement further demonstrates Cranley's advantage with organized labor, as multiple big unions have backed him over his opponents.
• Revenues for the Cincinnati Bell Connector are still over budget so far this year, but ridership slipped in November to the point where the streetcar did not bring in as much money as it cost to operate that month, according to a Cincinnati Enquirer analysis. December revenue figures have yet to be calculated, but officials believe ridership revenue and budgeted costs will match up over the course of the year, especially as ridership spikes in spring and summer. Should that not happen, however, taxpayers could be on the hook for any operating expenses not covered by fares and advertising. If you want more about the questions surrounding the streetcar, check out our deep dive here.
• A suburb outside of Cincinnati originally designed and built by the federal government got National Historic Landmark designation Wednesday. The Greenhills historic district commemorates the neighborhood’s origins as a 1930s “garden city,” one of the first federal projects constructed by the Works Progress Administration to demonstrate the potential of planned communities free of blight and overcrowding. Garden or greenbelt cities, the most famous of which came a decade later in Levittown, New York, share common characteristics: They sit just outside major cities, they have a town square with a commercial district surrounded by houses. Beyond the houses was a greenbelt of land for farming. Greenhills was one of 24 historic locations to be declared a historic landmark in the recent announcement. Another Ohio location, the site of the Kent State shootings, also made the list.
• As we told you about yesterday, a group of local faith leaders and medical professionals railed against U.S. Sen. Rob Portman for his role in a vote that made it easier for Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act and encouraged Cincinnatians to let their elected leaders know they support outgoing President Barack Obama’s health care law. At a news conference in Oakley, Rev. Damon Lynch Jr. of New Jerusalem Baptist Church, Rabbi Margaret Meyer of the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati and Dr. Nancy Elder from University of Cincinnati’s Department of Family and Community Medicine on the importance of the ACA for Cincinnati communities and blasted Portman for voting to begin dismantling it. The legislation that could hasten the ACA’s demise was tucked into a budget bill that the Senate passed in the early morning hours Thursday.
“It is irresponsible and I believe immoral for our elected representatives to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act without a substitute plan ready to be in place,” Meyer said.
• Finally, a national story I can totally relate to. A new study has found that Millennials on average are making 20 percent less than Baby Boomers did when they were at the same stage in their lives. What’s more, according to the study conducted by an advocacy group called Young Invincibles using Federal Reserve data, the generation born after about 1980 has half the net worth that their parents’ generation has while carrying much more student debt and having a markedly lower home ownership rate. This despite the fact that Millennials have on average higher levels of education than their Boomer counterparts did. So, that’s super encouraging, eh?