Good morning all. Hope your Thanksgiving was grand. Mine was awesome, but I also ended up in the emergency room briefly because I ate too many hot peppers in some guacamole. I’m fine, but I now know that the cool, soothing taste of avocado and lime can’t save you from the burn of the Carolina Reaper, which is actually a really hot pepper it turns out. Embarrassing. Worth it. Anyway, on to the news.
• Cincinnati City Council’s Budget and Finance committee yesterday gave approval to Mayor John Cranley’s plan to pay for infrastructure for FC Cincinnati’s proposed stadium in Oakley. But the four-hour meeting left as many questions as it answered, and we’re still not sure how much infrastructure is needed, exactly how much money the city could kick in or whether the stadium will even be built in Oakley yet. Check out our story here on the vote and the many details still left to be hashed out. All nine members of council sit on the budget and finance committee, so a final vote Wednesday should turn out roughly the same as yesterday’s vote barring any major revelations from the team or the city. Stay tuned.
• On a side note, it’s probably a good time to talk about whether having a Major League Soccer franchise is really as attractive as it sounds. Check out this Deadspin story from back in August that pokes at the MLS business model and raises some pretty interesting questions. Boosters here in Cincy have touted the benefits of having another major league team in the city, but just how “major” is MLS, and is the $150 million price of admission for a team worth it in a league that is selling franchises at a break-neck pace? The piece has generated a fair amount of controversy among soccer fans, and it’s totally worth a read.
• University of Cincinnati Police Chief Anthony Carter, hired just a year and a half ago in the fallout of the police shooting of Sam DuBose, resigned from the job Nov. 23, according to an email statement from UC today. Though no reason for the voluntary resignation was given in the email, Carter is a finalist to take the place of outgoing Fairfield Police Chief Michael Dickey, who will retire in February. Carter replaced former chief Jason Goodrich following an external review of the department that found DuBose’s shooting death likely could have been prevented. UCPD's Maris Herold is now the department's acting chief.
• Local grocery giant Kroger will announce its third-quarter results Thursday, with analysts expecting the company to reveal it turned less profit than it did this time last year. Kroger has been fighting an intense battle with both big box stores like Walmart and with online retailer Amazon, which purchased rival brick and mortar retailer Whole Foods earlier this year. Predictions place Kroger’s third quarter profits at about $360 million, down from $391 million last year.
• Ohio’s unemployment compensation fund is severely underfunded and could be broke by 2021, especially if another recession hits. Lawmakers are working on a fix to the fund’s big shortfalls, which date back to the widespread unemployment crisis during the Great Recession. One proposal from State Rep. Kirk Schuring would raise the amount of employee income on which employers must pay unemployment tax from $9,000 to $11,000. That’s still below the national median of $14,000 when it comes to state unemployment taxes for employers. But the bill would also tax workers 10 percent of what their bosses pay into the system. That could be as little as 46 cents or as much as $9.25 a month depending on your income. Schuring’s bill would also limit the amount paid out in unemployment benefits, cutting the time laid-off workers are eligible to receive unemployment and freezing the top-level amount paid to them.
• Finally, The Washington Post yesterday published a scorcher — the kind of story that illustrates what journalists do and why it matters. You can read the story here, but let me hit you with a brief synopsis. A woman apparently working for Project Veritas, a group run by right-wing provocateur James O’Keefe, approached The Post with a bogus story that she had a sexual relationship with U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore when she was underage. The Post has done some pretty fireproof reporting on a number of similar allegations against Moore. The paper debunked the woman’s claims, found out she was likely working for O’Keefe, turned the tables and outted her, publishing the story and video of the encounter. It’s hard to square how Veritas — the Latin word for truth, by the way — furthers its supposed mission of unveiling lies in the media by fabricating a story about sexual assault as a means of discrediting women with verifiable, heavily vetted stories about sexually assault by a man seeking one of the highest offices in the country.