JON HUSTED: Kudos go to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, for bucking his GOP colleagues by opposing their push to consolidate voting precincts in Hamilton County. The two Republican members on the county’s Board of Elections, Alex Triantafilou and Chip Gerhardt, wanted to reduce the precincts from 680 to 496. Democrats, however, said the proposal was too extreme and would lead to long lines at polling places on Election Day. Husted broke the 2-2 tie by siding with the Dems, opining that the proposal hadn’t been thoroughly vetted. Lately, all the Republican elections proposals seem designed to hamper access to voting based on bogus claims of voter fraud. It’s a clear sign that the GOP knows its radical agenda is out of step with most Americans. Husted should also lobby against the proposal requiring a state I.D. card to vote, which amounts to a backdoor poll tax.
CINCY TOURISM: Here’s another reason why it’s important to build items like the planned streetcar system and the casino at Broadway Commons. An analysis of U.S. labor statistics by the Business Courier revealed Cincinnati lost 5,900 tourism-related jobs during the recession, from April 2008 to the present. The drop in leisure and hospitality jobs is far more than other Ohio cities such as Cleveland (which lost 4,000 jobs), Columbus (down 2,200 jobs) and Dayton (down 100 jobs). Cities that saw gains include New York, Boston, New Orleans and Austin. The jobs sector includes hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, casinos, museums, performing arts companies and professional sports teams. People need as many reasons as possible to visit the Queen City and investing in infrastructure and attractions is one way to reverse this disturbing trend. Are you listening, Gov. Kasich? Speaking of which...
SISTER ALICE: In an unusual move, Kasich listened to the advice of the Ohio Parole Board and granted clemency to convicted killer Shawn Hawkins of North College Hill. Hawkins, 42, was scheduled to be executed just a few days later when the governor made his decision June 8. He was sentenced to die for the 1989 murders of two people in Mount Healthy in a drug deal gone bad. Since Kasich has been in office, four men have been put to death in the state of Ohio. Referring to Hawkins' case, however, Kasich said details were “frustratingly unclear” and commuted his sentence to life in prison without parole. Sister Alice Gerdeman of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center in Over-the-Rhine, an ardent death penalty foe, lobbied for clemency. She said Hawkins’ case shows why capital punishment should be abolished, because mistakes occur and the penalty is unevenly imposed.
GREEN TOWNSHIP: This small, GOP-controlled burg already is known for its wasteful spending (check the records for the Nathanael Greene Lodge) and cronyism (hi, Mrs. Triantafilou). Now township trustees are showing their true colors (lily white) by voting to opt out of a countywide pact with the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development that called for adding 41 low-income housing units to the township. If that had happened, it would’ve meant 1.8 percent of its housing stock was low-income. Apparently that’s too much for trustees, although it didn’t stop them from accepting related federal aid to renovate the senior citizens center. All of this stems from the time Green Township resident Arnold Barnett sat on the board of the region’s public housing agency and allegedly steered new units away from his home. Who says all the crazy officials are in Cincinnati?