Spencer not coming to UC in March; will blacks get a cut of Ohio's medicinal marijuana industry?

White nationalist Richard Spencer's appearance at University of Cincinnati has been postponed pending a legal fight with the school over a $10,000 security fee.

Feb 13, 2018 at 10:08 am
click to enlarge Richard Spencer - Vas Panagiotopoulos via WikiMedia Commons
Vas Panagiotopoulos via WikiMedia Commons
Richard Spencer

Good morning all. I’ve missed the last few days of this news rundown because I’ve had the flu. That was super-fun. I’m back now and ready for news.

As we reported last night, FC Cincinnati told the Cincinnati Public Schools Board of Education that it’s interested in swapping land with the district to build its new, $200 million soccer stadium in the West End. FCC would like to build its soccer field on the current site of Taft High School’s Stargel Stadium. In exchange, it would build the district a new, $10 million Stargel across Ezzard Charles Blvd. on vacant land. You can read more about the team’s proposal, as well as reaction to it and next steps, in our story here.

• White nationalist Richard Spencer won’t come speak at University of Cincinnati in March after all, his attorney Kyle Bristow says. Georgia State University student Cameron Padgett, the Spencer supporter who initially requested space for the speaking engagement on UC’s campus and who threatened to sue the school if one wasn’t provided, says he’s now shooting for a date in summer or fall. That’s pending a lawsuit Padgett filed over the $10,000 security fee UC is charging Spencer to speak. That fee comes after the deadly “Unite the Right” event in Charlottesville, VA. last summer, which Spencer helped organize. Violence broke out at that event, killing one anti-racism protester and injuring dozens. Padgett and Spencer’s attorneys say that the security fee amounts to an unconstitutional limitation on free speech. Other schools have spent much more on safety for Spencer events, however, including the University of Florida, which dropped $600,000 on security costs during a Spencer speech last October.

• A Cincinnati police officer accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct is still on the job, according to this Cincinnati Enquirer report. The city’s investigation into allegations against officer Dwight Pewett is the most comprehensive it has undertaken in the past five years, according to the story, and involves allegations that Pewett, a long-serving officer with no other disciplinary record, kissed, groped and exposed himself to women during police ride-alongs. Pewett denies those allegations and has received only minor disciplinary actions as a result of the reports.

• A group of nine Elder High School students Monday went to Xavier High School to apologize to students there for racist and homophobic chants during a game between the two on Feb. 2. Elder students who were chanting those epithets were not among the delegation Elder sent to its fellow private Catholic high school, though Elder’s principal says they have come forward and apologized for their actions.

• Will African Americans, traditionally left behind by Ohio’s economy, get a cut of the new legal marijuana industry? So far, signs aren’t hopeful. Just two of the 24 licenses Ohio has issued for medicinal marijuana cultivation went to minority owners. That’s just above the 15 percent threshold required by a bill introduced in the Ohio State House by the Ohio  Legislative Black Caucus. But the problems go deeper than the licensing process. Just 38 of the 185 applicants for those licenses were minority business owners.

State Rep. Alicia Reece of Roselawn says blacks are missing out on Ohio’s coming marijuana boom for a number of systemic reasons.

“They're either locked up or locked out and can't get in the game now that it is legal,” she says.

The war on drugs and its uneven racial application may be part of the reason. Though drug use is roughly the same across racial demographics, blacks are almost four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession, according to FBI statistics. The pervasive, racially-based wealth gap also hurts blacks, who may not have the capital to start a medicinal marijuana enterprise.

• Leaders with the Ohio Republican Party have endorsed Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine over Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor in Ohio’s GOP gubernatorial primary. Taylor’s not happy about that, as you might expect, calling the vote by the state party a “coronation.” DeWine got 59 votes in the Friday endorsement poll, while Taylor took only two. The state party also voted to endorse U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci in his Senate primary bid to oppose incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown. Renacci is facing off against Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons in the GOP primary.