Morning News: DNC day two, Parks Board audit uncovers lack of accountability, Hamilton County residents continue pipeline fight

Yesterday, delegates officially voted Hillary Clinton the party’s nominee for president. Sanders supporters were rowdy still, but probably less rowdy than the convention’s opening night as the event becomes more about the established Democratic Party.

click to enlarge Proposed routes for a new Duke Energy pipeline
Proposed routes for a new Duke Energy pipeline

Good morning all. Here’s your news today.

Let’s talk Democratic National Convention day two, shall we? Yesterday, delegates officially voted Hillary Clinton the party’s nominee for president, which means I won’t have to type the word “presumptive” for like, almost four more years.

Sanders supporters were rowdy still, but probably less rowdy than the convention’s opening night as the event becomes more and more about the established Democratic Party. Former president Bill Clinton gave a well-received speech that sought to shore up Hillary’s credentials while also providing a window into their relationship. Bubba is a talented orator, maybe one of the best public speakers alive, and his silver tongue didn’t fail him last night.

Hillary herself appeared to the crowd via a live feed that started with her busting through a glass ceiling made of the portraits of the nation’s (all male) past presidents. Regardless of your politics, that’s pretty hardcore. While not the first woman to run for president (Democrats had Shirley Chisholm seek the nomination in 1972, and there were others before her in other parties), nor the first woman to get a party’s nomination (Jill Stein was the Green Party’s nominee in 2012, and there were others before her, probably), Clinton made history by being the first female candidate for one of the country’s two major political parties.

• Same-sex marriage advocate and Over-the-Rhine native Jim Obergefell was in the house for the convention and read off Ohio’s roll call votes for Clinton. Obergefell was one of the plaintiffs in the U.S. Supreme Court case that legalized same-sex marriage across the country. Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper invited Obergefell to do the honors. Ohio delegates cast 98 of their 160 votes for Clinton, with the rest going to Sanders.

• While we’re talking about elections, let’s just give this a little bump: lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union will begin oral arguments in U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals today. The ACLU has sued Ohio over the practice of purging inactive voters from its voter registration rolls, which it says suppresses low-income and minority voter involvement. You can read more about that in our story here.

• Yesterday, Cincinnati City Manager Harry Black released the city’s audit of the Cincinnati Parks Board and its non-profit foundation. That audit, which you can see here, showed arrangements that could “result in a lack of accountability” in the organization. The foundation raises money from private donors, while the Parks Board spends mostly public dollars. However, the flow of money between the two has little structure or oversight, the audit found. That could cause some conflicts of interest and even questions about whether certain parks projects are owned by the city. In addition, the audit found that the Parks Board doesn’t do a comprehensive budget, making it extremely difficult to know all of its inner workings. The board has been under scrutiny since last year’s push for a new tax levy to pay for parks improvements pushed by Mayor John Cranley. During that campaign, it was revealed that the board gave $200,000 for promoting the levy, even though it is restricted from political activity. The parks levy campaign returned the money. Other questions around board member perks and expenditures have also arisen in the wake of investigations into the board’s operations.

• Residents from around Hamilton County in the path of a proposed natural gas pipeline will be turning out tonight at the Sharonville Convention Center to protest the plan by Duke Energy. The pipeline, first reported here by CityBeat, could run through very populated parts of Pleasant Ridge, Blue Ash and other areas near schools and other high-traffic facilities. Duke has slowed down its movement on the pipeline and held public input sessions, but still looks likely to move ahead with the project. Plans by the energy company are due to the Ohio Power Siting Board by Sept. 15. Residents who are against the pipeline have created a group called NOPE, or Neighbors Opposing Pipeline Extension, to protest the plans.

• Officials in West Chester township are making moves to block swingers clubs there. Township trustees are working to extend a temporary ban on the so-called sexual encounters businesses until they can complete more permanent zoning changes that would lock out those clubs. The temporary ban came in November after a swingers club called the Champagne Club looked into moving to the area. The township blocked the club, which sued. An agreement reached between the club and the township awarded the business $61,000 in exchange for a promise it would not seek to start a club there.

• Finally, here's a real thing a real human being in the real 21st century said. That human being also happens to have a real TV show that millions of other real humans watch. Scary.

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