Morning News and Stuff

Cranley outraises Qualls, city pension recommendations stalled, layoffs at 'The Enquirer'

Ex-Councilman John Cranley

is outraising

Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls in the mayoral race by $124,000, but the history and research of money in politics suggest the lead might not matter much, if at all. Mayor Mark Mallory was outspent more than three-to-one in the 2005 mayoral race by David Pepper, but Mallory won the vote 52-48 percent. Political scientists argue fundraising and campaigns generally have a marginal impact, while economic growth, the direction of the city, state and country, incumbency or successorship, name likability and recognition, and political affiliation have much bigger effects. [Correction: This originally said $134,000 when the correct number is $124,000.]

The board that manages Cincinnati employees’ struggling pension system

won’t make a recommendation to City Council Monday

, as originally planned, because it can’t decide how much taxpayers and employees should suffer to help fix the $862 million unfunded liability. Board members couldn’t agree on the proper balance between benefit cuts and increased funding from the city. Credit rating agency Moody’s on July 15

downgraded Cincinnati’s bond rating

from Aa1 to Aa2 and revised the bonds’ outlook to “negative.” Moody’s stated one of the biggest causes of concern for Cincinnati’s debt outlook is its pension fund.

There

were massive layoffs

at The Cincinnati Enquirer and its parent company Gannett yesterday, including the reported closing of the newspaper’s Kentucky office. As of the latest update from

Gannett Blog

, more than 200 people were laid off nationwide and 11 lost their jobs at the Cincinnati offices. The news comes just two weeks after Gannett CEO Gracia Martore

proudly claimed

on July 22, “We are accelerating our transformation into the ‘New Gannett’ every day.”

Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who held and raped three women at his house for years, yesterday was

sentenced to life in prison plus 1,000 years

.

A few dozen residents organized by a conservative group

asked the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority

to kill Cincinnati’s parking lease at a meeting Thursday. The Port is taking control over Cincinnati’s parking meters, lots and garages as part of a controversial deal that will net the city $92 million up front and $3 million or more a year afterward. CityBeat covered the lease in further detail

here

.

While the Port Authority meeting apparently warranted live tweeting and various articles from several outlets, other local media outlets never covered

a streetcar social

that involved roughly 200 supporters of the Cincinnati streetcar and Mayor Mallory.

State officials claim average costs for health insurance will soar by 41 percent for Ohioans who buy coverage online under Obamacare, but experts

say the state’s claims are misleading

. “These are sticker prices, and very few people will pay these prices,” said Larry Levitt, senior vice president of the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Many will qualify for subsidies.” The Republican officials touting the claims of higher costs, including Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, have opposed Obamacare from the start.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald is once again

asking for an ethics probe

of Gov. John Kasich and JobsOhio, the privatized development agency established by Republicans to replace the Ohio Department of Development. Republicans claim JobsOhio is creating thousands of job in the state, but Democrats argue the agency’s secretive nature makes it difficult to verify whether taxpayer dollars are being effectively used.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine yesterday announced a statewide Internet cafe investigation spanning to an establishment in Middletown. “We are still in the beginning stages of what we expect to be a very lengthy investigation,” DeWine said in a statement.  “While it is too early in the investigation to go into specifics, we do believe the alleged criminal activity at these locations goes beyond illegal gambling.” Earlier in the year, Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature effectively banned Internet cafes, which they claimed were hubs for online gambling and illegal activity.

The Ohio crime lab

received about 3,300 untested rape kits

from law enforcement around the state and found nearly 400 DNA matches after testing more than 1,300 of the kits. DeWine says the extensive tests are helping solve sexual assault crimes.

The Cincinnati Zoo

has a

region-wide eco

nomic impact of $143 million

, according to a study from the University of Cincinnati’s Economics Center.

Just one day after announcing he’s quitting the mayoral race, Libertarian Jim Berns is asking to rejoin. Berns

withdrew from the race

Wednesday in protest of the mayoral primary election and debate schedule. In a statement, he said he had changed his mind because staying in the race supposedly allows him to shed light on important issues.

Keeping Cincinnati Beautiful

is offering a one-day free recycling event

Saturday for hard-to-recycle items.

Evolution

punishes selfish people

, according to a game theory study.
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