Morning News: Go vote; city responds to third lawsuit against city manager

The city’s law department yesterday blasted the suit, saying it contained “numerous allegations that are either false, contain half-truths or demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the city and Public Services Department.”

Nov 7, 2017 at 11:29 am

click to enlarge We Ohio Voting
We Ohio Voting

Good morning Cincinnati. Did you vote yet? Go vote. Don’t eat breakfast yet. Don’t check Twitter. Don’t text your boo. Don’t shower. OK, maybe shower first. Then get down to your polling location and vote. If you still need help deciding, check out our election issue and this list I made of our coverage of pertinent issues. Then… uh, go vote. And stick with CityBeat (and follow me on Twitter) for updates as the night goes on. Today’s like journalism Christmas.

So… who’s going to win in the Cincinnati City Council races and the mayoral election between Mayor John Cranley and Councilwoman Yvette Simpson? I can’t tell you, but here are some things to look for as you follow along. Simpson won a decisive victory in the May primary over Cranley, fueled largely by overall low turnout and voters in the city’s central neighborhoods. If you see big turnout in those precincts, which tend to vote more progressive and are predominantly African-American, Simpson will probably do very well. However, Cranley took nearly all the precincts on the city’s east and west sides. If more conservative-leaning folks in those areas turn out to vote en masse, (which could be happening), Cranley could win reelection.

Council elections are more complicated. Each candidate has her or his areas where they are strong — think Derek Bauman and Chris Seelbach in Over-the-Rhine or Henry Frondorf in Westwood — but you can roughly apply the same logic. Conservative and moderate candidates will benefit from high turnout in areas where a lot of Republicans live. Progressives will do well if center-city neighborhoods that lean more liberal really pack into the polling places. Also keep an eye on early voting — who’s doing well in the early returns? Sometimes these trends reverse themselves, but often, the die is cast early for elections. The Hamilton County Board of Elections originally forecast about 35 percent of voters would turn out for this election; now they think it may be less, The Cincinnati Enquirer reports. So. Go vote.

• Last week we told you about the hubbub around some election fliers circulating that blast Mayor John Cranley, calling him racist and a bad steward of public money. Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper denounced the charged missives and announced the party would file an ethics complaint because the funder of the mailers isn’t disclosed on the flier. But is that illegal? At least one expert says maybe not, the Cincinnati Business Courier reports. Cranley’s allies have also used the controversy around the mailers to attack his opponent Simpson, saying she hasn’t done enough to denounce the potentially illegal campaign material. Simpson released a statement late last week disavowing the mailers and contrasting the outrage over them with the lack of attention given to dark money fliers denouncing her. The campaign material was paid for by Republican group Pierce Communications, which has done work for Councilman Charlie Winburn and Council candidate Jeffrey Pastor.

• Cranley and Simpson both sat down for interviews on the Lincoln Ware show on Soul 101.5 yesterday, where they gave their last-minute pitch to voters. The hot subjects? Children’s Hospital, of course, and those above-mentioned fliers.Though not technically a debate, the final statements from the candidates definitely got testy. 

• OK. That’s enough election stuff for the moment. There will be plenty more later. On to another fun subject… city government. As we reported Friday, a former supervisor with Cincinnati’s public works department, Gary Colorez, has filed a lawsuit against City Manager Harry Black alleging retaliatory behavior after he tried to blow the whistle on wasteful spending. It’s the third such lawsuit filed by a city employee alleging that behavior and calling out contracting practices in City Hall. Colorez is represented by the same attorney as plaintiffs in the two other recent lawsuits. The city’s law department yesterday blasted the suit, saying it contained “numerous allegations that are either false, contain half-truths or demonstrate a lack of knowledge about the city and Public Services Department.” The city says Colorez was fired for inappropriate behavior and poor job performance.

A new exhibition explores Cincinnati’s removal of more than 25,000 people and the destruction of thousands of buildings in the city’s West End in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Finding Kenyon Barr takes 39 photographs from the Cincinnati Museum Center’s collection of more than 2,800 shots the city took of structures before demolishing them. We talked to former residents of the lost West End for this week’s news feature article on the exhibit and the legacy of urban renewal in Cincinnati. The exhibition will feature three panel discussions: one Nov. 16 featuring former residents talking about living in the West End and one on the photographs themselves Nov. 30, featuring Cincinnati Museum Center’s James DaMico and exhibit curator Anne Steinert (full disclosure: I will make a brief cameo appearance on this panel as well). A final panel Dec. 14 will feature journalists and historians exploring the neighborhood’s final days.

• Cincinnati is tops for beer, if you didn’t know that already. Real estate website Zumper ranked the Queen City No. 8 on its list of “Best Cities to Live In if You Love Drinking Beer.” I mean, we already know we’re a great beer town, but I guess it’s nice to get some external validation from time to time. Cincy scored an A- on the list, which took into account the number of breweries and bars in the city per capita, the number of medals the city has won at the Great American Beer Festival, median rent, taxes on beer and the average price of a pint of beer.

• Finally, bizarre news from Kentucky. As you may have read, U.S Sen. Rand Paul was attacked at his home in Bowling Green last week by neighbor Rene Bouchard. At first, Bouchard was charged with misdemeanor assault in the incident. Paul claims Bouchard came up behind him and tackled him. Prosecutors are now mulling felony charges against Bouchard after Paul’s injuries turned out to be more severe — he has several broken ribs. Bouchard’s attorneys acknowledge the altercation took place but say it was over a “petty” matter and that politics were not involved.