Good morning all. It’s Friday. Before we go off and do fun stuff, let’s get real for a minute and go visit that sometimes befuddling, sometimes depressing, but never boring world we call news.
The city of Cincinnati and two unions representing its police officers and other workers have come to an agreement in contract negotiations via a federal moderator. We don’t know what the agreement is just yet, because both the Fraternal Order of Police and the Cincinnati Organized and Dedicated Employees union must present the contract to their members, but the prospective deal could bring an end to drama around the city's unionized employee pay. A move by Mayor John Cranley to boost pay for many city employees has caused consternation in City Hall because it goes outside the city’s normal collective bargaining procedures. Council is set to vote on Cranley’s proposal in a couple weeks, but the agreement could make the ordinance moot.
• So you’ve probably already heard about GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump’s Cincinnati connection. When he was just a young, golden-haired lad in his twenties, he helped his father, development mogul and documented housing segregationist Fred Trump, manage Bond Hill’s Swifton Commons apartments. Well, that could come back to bite Trump. But also, maybe not. It turns out a black man applying to live in the building filed a lawsuit against Trump in 1970 after he was denied an apartment immediately before a white couple was given one. The Trumps cited a lack of vacancy in the building as the reason for turning the man away. But local fair housing group Housing Opportunities Made Equal sent a couple to apply immediately after the man was turned away. They were offered housing. Trump settled the suit by giving the man an apartment, never admitting wrongdoing, and that was that. Well, until now. Democrats are scouring the area with TV and internet ads looking for other people who may have been discriminated against by the Trumps. It’s something of a long shot, but proof that the Trumps engaged in systematic discrimination would be political gold for his opposition. Then again, maybe it wouldn’t be: The Department of Justice slapped Trump’s father in 1973 for discriminatory practices, including putting the letter “C” for “Colored” on apartment applications at properties he owned in New York. Yikes.
• So just when you thought politics couldn’t get weirder, here’s a quick one: In 2013, a guy who makes fake pee so you can cheat on drug tests gave Mayor John Cranley’s a $500 campaign donation. Matt Stephens, who runs the company Spectrum Labs, which makes “Urine Luck” products, chipped in a bit for Cranley’s first mayoral election bid. Cranley says he also attended a fundraiser Stephens hosted but claims he was unaware of Stephens’ business. The mayor’s campaign has donated the money Stephens gave to the Center for Addiction Treatment.
• As heroin overdoses continue to shake the Greater Cincinnati area, new data shows that Ohio as a whole is seeing a big increase in drug overdoses. Last year, 3,050 people died from drug overdoses, a 20 percent increase over previous years. Heroin was involved in 47 percent of those deaths. Authorities blame dangerous additives like fentanyl for many of those deaths.
• Finally, does it feel like political ads are invading your brain? Does your partner wake you up in the middle of the night because you were screaming talking points about the Trans-Pacific Partnership or immigration policy? Do you end your fast food order with the phrase "this burrito paid for by 'It's Time for Guacamole' PAC?" There’s a reason for that. Ohio is normally ignored by people who don’t live here, but the state being a super important political prize and all has all kinds of folks talking at us from the teevee and the interwebs about all sorts of stupid things related to their political agendas. Ohioans have been subjected to more than 20,000 political ads related to the presidential election since the beginning of last year, a study by the Wesleyan Media Project found. That includes almost 2,500 in the Greater Cincinnati market alone. Stunningly, though, the presidential election isn’t responsible for the most ads. That distinction goes to Ohio’s very contentious Senate race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Rob Portman and his challenger, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. The two, along with outside groups, have run more than 45,000 ads about the race. Almost makes you want to turn off your devices, go outside and spend time with actual, real-life people. Almost.