Political forecaster downgrades Chabot's re-election chances; Dever votes against state budget to protest money for stadium infrastructure; more news

State Rep. Jonathan Dever, a Republican, says state money for FCC would be better spent fighting the opioid crisis, shoring up the justice system or improving other infrastructure.

click to enlarge FC Cincinnati at University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium - Hailey Bollinger
Hailey Bollinger
FC Cincinnati at University of Cincinnati's Nippert Stadium

Hello all. I’m going to refrain on commenting on the cruelty of Cincinnati weather and just get straight to the news today. Cool? Cool.

Things are… weird… at CPD. Cincinnati Police Department Chief Eliot Isaac has responded to a Cincinnati Enquirer article about an allegedly unfinished audit that the paper says shows the department went $1.8 million over budget on overtime last year. Isaac says that’s not true and that the paper got its facts wrong.

That tiff is just one dimension of a complicated controversy playing out at CPD right now. It’s all a tangled mess, but here are the basics, including two key questions — is there a “rogue” element within CPD bent on taking down its chief, as Cincinnati City Manager claims, or is that bunk, as the police union president has retorted?

• U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot’s congressional district covering parts of Cincinnati and, due to redistricting, all of Warren County isn’t quite as secure as it once was, according to a prominent political forecasting publication. Sabato’s Crystal Ball, long used for handicapping big races, has downgraded Chabot’s 1st District congressional seat from “likely Republican” to “leans Republican.” Yeah, Chabot still has the edge over his challenger — up and coming Democrat Hamilton County Clerk of Courts Aftab Pureval — but the downgrade seems to show that Pureval poses a serious challenge to the entrenched Republican, who has spent more than a dozen terms in office.

• Should the state of Ohio give FC Cincinnati $4 million toward stadium infrastructure? State Rep. Jonathan Dever, a Republican representing suburban Cincinnati, says no, though other Hamilton County leaders have already said yes. Dever voted against the state’s capital budget yesterday based solely on the stadium money, which was part of funds given to Hamilton County via a request process that involved local elected officials and business leaders. That budget passed the House, however, and now moves on to the Senate. In a statement released yesterday, Dever implored the Senate to remove the money for FCC.

“By allocating nearly 20 percent of our county’s available funds to a stadium, we deny additional resources to fight the opioid crisis, bolster our criminal justice system, enhance the presence of the arts, provide for critical infrastructure and strengthen our communities and local governments,” Dever said in the statement.

FCC looks to build a new, privately-financed $200 million soccer stadium in either Oakley, the West End or Newport it says it needs if it wins a Major League Soccer franchise.

• Cincinnati has the state’s top brewery, according to the New York International Beer Competition. Moerlein Lager House took home brewery of the year honors in the competition’s annual awards, which considered more than 600 breweries nationwide. Moerlein won double gold ratings for its Helles Lager and Exposition Vienna Lager, as well as gold, silver and bronze awards for several of its other beers. Local brewer MadTree also took home gold awards for its Luna Lux ale and silver for its popular PsycHOPathy IPA and Bourbon Barrel Aged stout.

• Yo, you looking for some bargains on clothes grownups wear to work or something? You better hurry. Macy’s has set the final day its downtown location will be open, meaning closeout hunters better get crackin’. The store at high-profile Fountain Place, one of the city’s marquee retail spots, will close March 25. The flagship store, just a block from Macy’s Cincinnati headquarters, employs 54 people, most of whom Macy’s says will be placed at other locations nearby.

• Speaking of prominent Cincinnati things that are going away, demolition has begun on the Cincinnati Gardens and will continue until May. After that, the Greater Cincinnati Redevelopment Authority will place the property up for sale as an industrial site sometime in August. The authority bought the property in 2016 for 1.2 million. I’m sad because I saw innumerable Cincinnati Roller Girls games there and also because the interior of that place looked like something you’d see on an episode of Roesanne in which Darlene becomes a rebellious roller derby badass named “Darmean” or something. Anyway. Here are pictures of the building being torn down. RIP.

• A stretch of I-71 in between Montgomery Road and Dana Avenue in Cincinnati could be named in honor of a Cincinnati police officer killed in the line of duty in 2015. Yesterday the Ohio House of Representatives voted to name that part of the highway “Officer Sonny L. Kim Memorial Highway.” Kim was killed while responding to a 911 call by an armed gunman reportedly experiencing mental illness. The Ohio Senate will next consider the renaming.

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