Hello all. Here’s your news this morning, the last update I’ll be doing for a bit before a busy stretch of days this weekend and next week. I’ll be covering the first two days of the NAACP convention this weekend, then heading up to Cleveland to get a first-hand look at the Republican National Convention for a long story. I’ll be tweeting and writing the occasional blog at both. Stay tuned.
• I dunno how to preface this so here we go. Per The Enquirer, when Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn was asked about the potential fallout from a recently-revealed $55,000 rushed-and-hushed payment ordered by city administration to close friend and ally Sam Malone, Cincinnati Winburn compared himself to Freddie Krueger and called any suggestion of wrongdoing “poppycock,” a word I can definitely picture the Nightmare on Elm Street villain using. The city payment to Malone has caused rounds of questions. Malone, a contractor who was paid by the city through a Columbus-based law firm, got the oddly timed payment just before Winburn switched his deciding vote on funding for co-op grocery Clifton Market, which Mayor John Cranley opposed. Winburn’s no vote allowed Cranley to veto the $400,000 loan for the market. Council member Chris Seelbach has questioned the timing of the payment to Winburn’s close ally. So far, no evidence ties Winburn to the payment to Malone. Anyway, Winburn is taking the scrutiny in stride, comparing himself to the infamous movie villain as a way of letting folks know he’ll keep coming back to local politics. Winburn is term-limited and can’t seek another spot on Council but might have his eyes on other offices. Even mayor? Winburn says he’s not interested, unless he becomes interested, but right now, he’s not interested. Got that?
• Want to weigh in on Wasson Way? Well, your wait is waning and your wish will wash up within the week. (Ugh. Very sorry about the alliteration. I’m a little bored today.) Basically, Listermann Brewery in Norwood is hosting a design session for the 7.6-mile bike trail that will stretch from the city’s east side to Xavier University, and you can join in. The session will happen Monday at 5:30 p.m. at the brewery.
• What does college mean to you? For more and more students, it means posh living in really nice apartments and dorms with Grade-A meal services and amenities. What’s more, local colleges are investing tons in stepping up their residential games, striving to compete with each other and schools across the country for those valuable tuition dollars. That competition means fancy food service, private showers (in a dorm? Heresy!) and other swanky stuff. Funny, I’ve always associated college with temporary soft poverty (the eating Ramen noodles in your seedy, tiny apartment, wearing the same shoes for a year-and-a-half kind of poverty, not the spirit-crushing generational kind), possibly because me and my friends were pretty damn poor when we went to school. I got to know a lot of roaches in my undergrad years, some of whom now probably make more money than I do because they’re not journalists.
• Experts have called a proposed eastern bypass around the Brent Spence Bridge a dubious proposition that could cost as much or more than replacing the bridge itself. But that won’t stop the state of Kentucky from spending $2 million studying the proposition. The Brent Spence is more than half-a-century old and structurally inadequate, though not yet dangerous. It will cost $2.6 billion to replace it, and it’s unclear where that money will come from. Some have floated the idea of a public-private partnership including tolls, but many in Northern Kentucky are dead set against that. Enter the Eastern Bypass, an idea in which traffic would be diverted from the Brent Spence Bridge so it wouldn’t have to be replaced. That, however, could cost as much as $5 billion, according to Washington, D.C.-based traffic experts. Kentucky’s legislature has also allocated $38 million to repaint the bridge, because a little Sherwin Williams fixes everything.
• The Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, which is headed by State Rep. Alicia Reece of Cincinnati, will hold its annual convention today at 3 p.m. downtown ahead of this weekend’s NAACP national conference. The OLBC will be focusing on reforms to the criminal justice system as well as voting rights issues. Those are two huge, looming subjects in Ohio — last week, a Black Lives Matter rally drew thousands to the West End, downtown and Over-the-Rhine, and recent fights between state officials and the Ohio Supreme Court have put voting access in the spotlight. Specific priorities, according to Reece, include a bill that would require body cameras for all law enforcement officers in the state, stipulations for how footage from those cameras is to be made public, as well as laws reforming the prosecutorial and grand jury process.
• Finally, GOP presumptive presidential nominee Donald Trump has chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate. Pence is seen as somewhat more establishment than Trump (though, to be fair, Ron Paul pretty much looks establishment in comparison to The Donald), but he’s overseen a raft of anti-LGBT efforts in Indiana as well as a number of other hard-right policy moves. So, that happened.