Morning News and Stuff

Council to fund disparity study, pension reform signatures turned in, Goetz House might fall

click to enlarge Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls
Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls

Six out of nine City Council members signed a motion to use money from

the city’s parking lease

to conduct a disparity study that would gauge whether minority- and women-owned businesses should be favorably targeted by the city’s contracting policies. Democrats Roxanne Qualls, Yvette Simpson, Wendell Young, Chris Seelbach, Pam Thomas and P.G. Sittenfeld signed the motion. The study, which could cost between $500,000 and $1 million, is required to change city contracting policies after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1989 that governments must prove there is a racial or gender-based disparity before changing rules to favor any specific race or gender. CityBeat first covered a disparity study in further detail

here

. Council members will hold a press conference about the issue at noon today.

Petitioners pushing to reform Cincinnati’s public retirement system with a controversial city charter amendment

turned in almost 16,000 signatures to City Hall

yesterday. Of those signatures, 7,443 have to be validated by the Hamilton County Board of Elections. The plan would put future city workers in individual retirement accounts similar to 401K plans used in the private sector. But city officials argue that, unlike private workers, public employees don’t get Social Security benefits on top of their pensions, which means public workers could get considerably less retirement money under the amendment than someone would in the private sector. Supporters of the amendment point to the city’s struggles with properly funding its pension system, which led to a bond rating downgrade from credit rating agency Moody’s . Opponents of the amendment plan to hold a press conference in front of City Hall at 3 p.m. today or after today’s Council meeting, whichever is later.

A majority of City Council on Tuesday

sided with the Windholtz family

, who will now be able to sell and demolish the old Lenhardt’s restaurant building — also known as the Goetz House — in Clifton Heights. Only Councilwoman Yvette Simpson sided with community members who argued that the building should be declared a historical landmark and preserved. “If I were counting votes, I would go with the community. There are a whole bunch of you and a very few people named Windholtz,” Councilman Wendell Young said. “I believe that the courage to do what’s right this time is to side with the family.”

Election results from yesterday

: The Norwood tax levy failed, the Arlington Heights levy failed with a tie vote and the Cleves tax levy passed.

Gov. John Kasich says

there’s no need to change oversight over JobsOhio

, the privatized development agency that has been mired in controversy in the past few weeks. Most recently, a story in the Dayton Daily News found six of nine members on the JobsOhio board had direct financial ties to companies receiving state aid. Republicans argue JobsOhio’s privatized nature allows it to move quickly with deals that bring in businesses and jobs to the state, but Democrats say the secretive agency is too difficult to hold accountable and could be wasting taxpayer dollars.

Former Gov. Ted Strickland is

calling on Ohioans

to act now and reduce the effects of global warming. Strickland is apparently siding with the near-unanimous scientific consent that global warming is real and man-made. Scientists generally want to reduce carbon and other greenhouse-gas emissions enough so global warming doesn’t exceed

two degrees Celsius

, but the planet is currently on a path to warm by five degrees Celsius. If that trend continues, there could be devastating effects, including more drought and other extraordinary weather events.

The second phase of The Banks

might include a grocery store

.

Procter & Gamble

plans to move

50 customer service jobs from Cincinnati to San Jose, Costa Rica.

The house of Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held captive and raped three women for more than a decade,

was demolished

today. The neighborhood is still celebrating the capture of Castro, who was sentenced to life plus 1,000 years last week, but many in the area are wondering how the man got away with his crimes for so long.

Entrepreneurs were more likely to cause trouble than teenagers

, according to a new study.
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