Morning News: Tension over Trump endorsements among local police unions; Kroger dumps Tiger Dumpling; Clinton leads big in Ohio, Cincy fundraising

The national Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, and Cincinnati’s local FOP took a floor vote to the same effect that contributed to that national endorsement. That doesn't sit well with some black officers.

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click to enlarge U.S. Sen. Rob Portman - Gage Skidmore
Gage Skidmore
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman

Good morning all. Here’s the news for ya on this chilly fall Friday.

There's some friction between two Cincinnati police associations over the presidential endorsement of one. Did you know that the national Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump? Or that Cincinnati’s local FOP took a floor vote to the same effect that contributed to that national endorsement? That doesn’t sit well with the city’s black officers, who have their own 200-officer-strong fraternal organization called the Sentinels. Officer Eddie Hawkins is the Sentinels president. He says they don’t support Trump and believe police associations shouldn’t be endorsing anyone. Trump has caused controversy with comments many have criticized as racist and has faced federal lawsuits for racial discrimination in his real estate career.

• Did Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Neil's office let out an inmate too early, contributing to his overdose death? Does the sheriff’s office have an obligation to keep inmates locked up when they have severe drug problems, even when facing jail overcrowding? Those are questions swirling around the death of Alex Hesse, who overdosed on heroin last year days after being released from the Hamilton County jail. The judge in his case, Hamilton County Common Pleas Judge Robert Ruehlman, warned the sheriff’s office not to release Hesse due to his drug problem. Ruehlman has since railed against the sheriff for doing so, saying his warning was ignored. But the situation is complicated. Ruehlman is close with Neil’s election opponent, Republican candidate Gary Lee, and it’s clear some politics are in play. Further, Neil’s hands have been largely tied on the issue of jail overcrowding as he’s had a hard time securing the necessary funding from the Republican-led Hamilton County Commission to address the issue.

• Kroger has ended a planned partnership with a local restaurant days after former employees of the eatery filed a federal lawsuit charging its owners with wage theft. The grocery giant just days ago announced its agreement with Tiger Dumpling, which ran a location near the University of Cincinnati until this April and has plans to open a location at The Banks early next year. Now, however, Kroger is pulling out of a deal that would have had Tiger Dumpling at kiosks at its Oakley and Symmes Township locations following the allegations by seven former employees that they weren’t paid for work they did, including overtime work, during the entire month of March.

• If you expected Ohio’s pivotal U.S. Senate race to get as nasty as the presidential campaign has gotten, well, you’re probably going to be disappointed. Democratic former Gov. Ted Strickland, the challenger, and Republican incumbent Sen. Rob Portman squared off for another debate yesterday, and it was as civil as could be. They even shook hands! But there were some serious points of contention the two tussled over as well. Strickland, of course, wants to keep President Barack Obama’s signature health care law, the Affordable Care Act, saying it has insured more than 800,000 Ohioans. Portman would like to replace it, saying it is too expensive for the middle class and doesn’t offer enough competition between providers. The two also wrangled over gun control, foreign policy and fighting ISIS, Portman’s refusal to consider Obama’s Supreme Court nomination, and who would be more effective and bipartisan in the powerful perch up for grabs Nov. 8. They both agreed that the federal government needs to step in and aid Ohio as it struggles with a growing heroin crisis. Portman leads Strickland by double digits in polling, but the race could be much closer if Democrat presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has a strong showing in Ohio.

• Hey, check out this breakdown of campaign donations to presidential campaigns from Cincinnati donors. As you might expect from an urban area, most of the local contributions went to Democrat nominee Clinton — she’d raised $410,000 from individual Cincy donors as of Sept. 1, in comparison to GOP nominee Trump’s roughly $48,000 in donations. But the big surprise is how well Clinton has done across Ohio — supposedly a big battleground state where Trump until recently was tied with her. Clinton has raised almost $2,300,000 here, compared to Trump’s $569,000. Five donors in the Greater Cincinnati gave the maximum $2,700 donation to Trump’s campaign, compared to 27 who maxed out on Clinton.

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