Morning News: UC Board approves police reform plan; former local restaurant employees sue over wages; bus bench shuffle continues

Ohio Gov. John Kasich continues to get shots in at GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. His most recent diss: comparing Trump’s claims about the risk of a rigged presidential election to conspiracy theories about the 1969 moon landing.

Hey all. Here’s some news for ya today.

The University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees has officially approved a plan to reform its law enforcement efforts in the wake of the shooting death of unarmed black motorist Sam DuBose at the hands of former UCPD officer Ray Tensing. Some of those reforms are already underway, and the plan has been a long time coming, but the Board’s vote marks the final formal adoption of the plan. At the heart of the reform efforts are six principles: accountability, collaboration, fairness, innovation, legitimacy and transparency. The plan was developed with, and includes future collaboration with, an independent Community Advisory Council made up of residents of nearby neighborhoods and other stakeholders. Reforms include efforts to hire a more diverse police force, increasing training for officers, getting more community input and other measures.

• As you probably already know, the Hamilton County Board of Elections will make a controversial move from its headquarters downtown on Broadway to a new spot in Norwood this January. So, what’s going to go in the BOE’s old building? Possibly loft-style apartments, according to this Business Courier article. The potential apartments are just another sign that the market for downtown living continues to heat up. Meanwhile, a lot of folks, mostly Democrats concerned with voting access, are still upset that the BOE is moving from its spot downtown to a harder-to-access location outside the city. Republicans on the board say it’s a more centrally located spot to serve the entire county, while critics charge that the move is designed to make it harder for Democrats, many of them low-income and minority, to access the BOE.

• Seven former employees for local restaurant Tiger Dumpling have filed suit in federal court against the company, according to a news release from their attorney. Those employees say they were not paid wages for work they performed making dumplings at the restaurant’s Newport warehouse during the entire month of March. Those unpaid wages also include overtime. The restaurant was located near the University of Cincinnati, but will soon relocate to riverfront development The Banks and will also undertake a partnership with Kroger.

These employees worked hard for Tiger Dumpling and cooked the very dumplings that have allowed Tiger Dumpling to capitalize on opportunities to open at The Banks and partner with Kroger,” attorney Clement Tsao said in the news release. “They are rightfully owed compensation under the law.”

• So, will Metro riders get new bus benches or not? The City of Cincinnati has been removing old, ad-laden benches near bus stops, saying they violate city code and represent blight. That’s left some riders without a place to sit. Meanwhile, Councilman Chris Seelbach introduced an ordinance that would provide new, higher-quality benches at stops with restrictions on the size of ads that can be placed on them. Cincinnati City Council’s Neighborhoods Committee yesterday approved that ordinance.

I’m happy that hopefully, in a couple months, you’ll start to see a difference in the quality and number of the benches that 50,000 people a day could use when riding our bus system around Cincinnati,” Seelbach said in a video post after the meeting. “Fifty-thousand people every day ride Cincinnati Metro, our bus system. I had a motion to replace our benches that are currently illegally on our city streets with high-quality benches that will hopefully be better taken care of.”

It looked like smooth sailing for the measure, which has support from five members of Council. However, Mayor John Cranley did not put the legislation on today’s full Council agenda, a necessary step to getting the move passed. Cranley’s communication director Holly Stutz Smith said via social media yesterday that the mayor is supporting a moratorium on bench removal until details around replacement benches can be completely hammered out. Smith said that Cranley is working with Seelbach on his ordinance, but did not stipulate what the original ordinance lacked.

“You will see it on the council agenda in the next couple of weeks,” Smith wrote in a reply on Facebook. “The Mayor is leading the moratorium with Councilmember Seelbach. Everyone wants this to work. Seelbach has agreed to hold his ordinance.”

• Ohio Gov. John Kasich continues to get shots in at GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump. His most recent diss: comparing Trump’s claims about the risk of a rigged presidential election to conspiracy theories about the 1969 moon landing. Sick burn, brah. Kasich joins Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted in decrying Trump’s assertion that if he doesn’t win, it’s because the election has been rigged for his competitor, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Husted earlier this week pushed back against Trump’s claims that there is rampant voter fraud in states like Ohio.

 What amazing things will our two wonderful presidential candidates say next? We’ll have a great opportunity to bask in the warm, glowing light that is the 2016 election tonight during the third and final presidential debate. I’ll be tweeting jokes to stave off the crying.

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