Should Trump get Nobel Peace Prize? GOP Senate candidate thinks so; plus more news

A letter signed by U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci and other GOP congress members nominates Trump for the world's most prestigious peace award, citing his work to "bring peace" to the Korean peninsula

click to enlarge President Donald Trump at a campaign stop in West Chester in 2016. - Nick Swartsell
Nick Swartsell
President Donald Trump at a campaign stop in West Chester in 2016.

Good morning, all. Here’s a quick rundown of the news today.

The Banks Joint Steering Committee yesterday voted to recommend the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and its management firm MEMI to build a music venue on Cincinnati’s riverfront Banks, despite requests from Mayor John Cranley, among others, to chose another developer with plans for an outdoor component to the venue. That selection has some questioning the process by which the CSO was picked.

CSO’s was one of three bids for the project, and its final plan calls for an indoor venue along with outdoor concerts on a temporary stage on adjacent city park land. Two other plans by Columbus-based PromoWest — Cranley’s preferred proposal — and LiveNation would have had dedicated outdoor venues, something that proponents like the mayor say is necessary given the site’s one-of-a-kind view of the riverfront and city skyline. The Banks Steering Committee, however, says that CSO and MEMI presented a strong plan with no cost to taxpayers, minority inclusion efforts and promising green space development. LiveNation, on the other hand, said it needed $36 million in taxpayer money to help its project happen. But PromoWest didn’t need any public money and proposed a permanent outdoor venue. The developer, which first proposed its plan four years ago, says it is skeptical that CSO can pull off its stated goal of as many as 25 outdoor concerts a year on a temporary stage, and that he thinks the committee chose CSO because it is Cincinnati-based.

The steering committee’s vote isn’t the final say — Cincinnati City Council and the Hamilton County Commission will both have to approve the plan.

Shootings are down more than 45 percent in Cincinnati since this time last year, Cincinnati Police Department data shows. The city saw 71 shootings between January 1 and April 30, that data shows — much less than the 132 for the same time period last year. Seventeen of those shootings occurred during the mass shooting at Cameo Nightclub, but even without those, this year represents a big drop. It’s the first time in a decade that shootings have dipped under 100 for the first quarter of the year. Police officials partly credit a more targeted, “place-based” approach to policing for the drop. The real test is still coming, however, as Cincinnati enters its warmest months, when shootings and other violent crime statistically begins to increase across the city.

• Representatives from Major League Soccer will visit the Queen City soon as FC Cincinnati waits to hear about its bid to join the league. The team announced the coming visit yesterday via a press release. That news release had scant other details besides revealing that FCC ownership met with MLS executives recently in Los Angeles. The team says loose ends around a number of deals necessary for the construction of a soccer stadium in the West End need to be wrapped up before MLS will give final consideration to its franchise bid.

• What do you know about the Mill Creek? If you’re like most people, you probably think it’s a scary, dirty sewer filled with pollution and sewage. But the waterway running through the heart of Cincinnati — named America’s most endangered urban river 20 years ago — is a complicated recovery story in progress. In many ways, the Queen City wouldn’t be what it is today without the much-maligned Mill Creek. Our cover story this week is a deep, unflinching look at its ongoing revitalization and the work left to be done.

• It’s primary season. Have you done your early voting yet? If you haven’t, take a last dive into the craziness around the gubernatorial primary campaigns in Ohio this year before you steel yourself to enter the voting booth. Our news feature this week delves into the zany misadventures of the Democrats and Republicans who are vying to be their party’s nominee on the November ballot.

• While we’re talking state politics, here’s the latest on former Ohio House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger. As it turns out, the Republican, who is now under investigation by the FBI, jetted out to California in August last year to meet with Disney executives about a rumor he heard that the entertainment giant wanted to relocate some of its studios to Ohio. The House Republicans’ political campaign committee ended up footing the bill for that trip, which included a stay at an expensive hotel and expensive meals. But that trip could have been avoided with a simple phone call. The potential development in Evendale — pitched by someone named Eliot Winks with a company called D6 Capital Partners — wasn’t something Disney was considering at all. Oops. 

• U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, currently running in the GOP primary for a chance to unseat incumbent U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in November, has signed a letter nominating President Donald Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize. That letter, signed by 17 GOP members of Congress, cites Trump’s efforts to “end the Korean War, denuclearize the Korean peninsula and bring peace to the region.”

Leaders from North and South Korea held a historic summit recently that resulted in a peace treaty and may symbolize an easing of tension in the region. The two countries had technically been at war for more than six decades. Trump has said he will meet with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un soon, though no date or location for that meeting has been set. The as-yet-to-be-scheduled talk comes after Trump hurled insults at the North Korean leader last year.

Several of the congressmen signing the letter, including Renacci, are locked in primary races for U.S. Senate in which they’ve attempted to make appeals to Trump’s base. Renacci last month scored a formal endorsement from the president.

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