Friday, December 31, 2010

City Council Approves Budget, Ghiz Throws a Rock in a Glass House

The Cincinnati City Council finally approved a budget for 2011. The deal nearly fell apart after Cecil Thomas and Charlie Winburn temporarily pulled their support over curtailing the Marijuana ordinance. I'm not actually clear what the budget could do to actually repeal the ordinance. I am inferring that they cut the budget for enforcement of the law, but did not overturn the law. The details of the whole plan are quiet sketchy and clearly Thomas and Winburn didn't understand it and only relented after some lobbying from the Mayor. If they did actually repeal the Marijuana ordinance, that's the one good thing to come from this mess.

Leslie Ghiz spewed a gem
"'There are five members of council who won't part with a thing,' she said."
by "thing" I presume she means the non-public safety workers. Trash Collectors must be things in her world. Things can be dumped in the hands of the private sector to be consumed and destroyed. Cops and Fire Fighters are not things in her world. They are gods, that must be appeased all costs. They are not be touched. Not one god can lose their job. That would bring an end to all that is holy. By holy in this case I mean endorsements and conservative voter support, which for some reason isn't considered sacrilegious, even in the slightest. Leslie shouldn't complain about not cutting 'a thing' when there was massive chunk of the budget she refused to cut, even though the evidence shows they should be. I guess she has the "do what I say, not what I do" part of being a mother down pat.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

City Council Found a Way to Punt, AGAIN!

Call it election year gaming,call it gutless, but after basically no one on Council could agree on an honest budget, we got a budget that repeats last year's short term thinking. We punt.

Terrible idea.

In other words we got a big pile of steamy poop.

Politics rules again. Fear of the FOP and Fire Fighter's unions ruled, again. We had multiple council members willing to fire all of the garbage collectors, but not touch the CPD or CFD staff levels at all. That is not honest, that is appeasement to special interest. Refusing to raise fees for trash collection because you want to push through an ideological concept, isn't responsible governance, it a political ploy.

A handful of social service cuts (Pools, school nurses) and a cut to Police overtime, which a couple of years ago wasn't even used, and then the city raids other funds for a ONE TIME FIX.

What that means is unless money falls from the sky, we will be right back where we are this time next year.

We are unfortunately going to get 10 months full of bullshit and hollow political stunts where Ghiz and Winburn will promise the moon and the stars, then in the case of Ghiz put forth no plan and in the case of Winburn be the person who made the steamy pile of poop we got this year, happen again.

Monzel ends his tenure as a City Council member without contributing anything to the City.

As for the rest of council, I am disappointed. The only one making a strong case was Laure Quinlivan. She stood up to the FOP and Fire Fighter's union, pushing both union's leaders to get ejected from Council Committee meeting for disruption. Her ideas were good, but I think her lack of political experience showed in her in ability to muster public support for her plan to cut the excess police staff, something we should do.

There are now clear issues for candidates to run on for election next year. The problem is that few candidates will have the guts to discuss those issues honestly and specifically.

If anyone is paying attention, they might spend some time learning about the candidates and voting for people who would not be afraid to actually make real choices and not use hard economic times to push through selective ideological ideas.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So What Do You Make of Porkappolis?

A new local social media application is out for the iPhone and it is for Cincinnati. It's called Porkappolis, and it's from the Enquirer. If you want it, you need to go to the AppStore on your iPhone and sign-up. At this point, the website is only a place holder.

Picture a localized FourSquare and you have Porkappolis, at least in a nut shell. I've signed up for it and checked in at a whopping one location, which I created myself. I copied a place I created on FourSquare, I'm so original. Porkappolis doesn't stray far from FourSquare's functionality. I don't know yet what makes it better.

Greg Sterling at comments on the new app and is optimistic.

Is Kathy Harrell Possessed By Kabaka Oba?

It has been over four years since Kabaka Oba was gunned down outside City Hall, but his spirit clearly is living inside local FOP President Kathy Harrrell. No, seriously, Harrell is possessed by Kabaka Oba. When she got thrown out of a City Council Committee meeting yesterday for being disruptive, nothing short of Kabaka Oba's spirit entering Harrell's body and taken over her actions can explain it.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Piece of Coal For City Council

The City will not be getting a nice gift wrapped 2011 budget under the tree this year. Instead we get more bickering, contradictions, and lack of planning. I think it is time for the mayor to come in and knock a few heads together, assuming he still has any pull left. If not, we will headed towards a New Year's Eve showdown.

I still don't understand how Leslie Ghiz can be out to protect police and fire union jobs, but more than willing to crush the unionized trash collection workers with the effort to outsource trash collection. I can understand how she might believe ONLY police and fire functions should be provided by the government, a position held by extreme right wing politician, but why the hypocrisy in support for only some union jobs? If she is wiling to outsource part of city services, why not outsource it all? Why have a government at all? (Yes, I am asking rhetorical questions.)

Ghiz and others on council are using the budget crisis as cover to push their goal of outsourcing many government run public services. This has been a long standing political point of many Republicans, and trying to force it through now is far more distasteful then trying to offload the patrol function of the police on the Sheriff. At least the plan to outsource police patrols was vetted with the Hamilton County Sheriff and current police would have good opportunity to keep a job. No plan would exist with the outsourcing of trash collection.

The Enquirer Editorial Board is not pleased with the city council's lack of progress.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I really hope this Cincy Cop is on the layoff list

Seniority likely will rule who gets laid off in the Cincinnati budget cuts, but this cop needs to go. If he's not laid off, then he should be booted off the force without question as soon as possible.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Celebrate Arnold's 150th Birthday on New Year's Day

Cincinnati's oldest bar, Arnold's Bar & Grille, is celebrating 150 years of serving great food and drinks.  Come out New Year's Day night (January 1st) at 6PM for birthday specials and .  In addition, enjoy for the first time the Arnold’s 1861 Porter from Christian Moerlien, the first beer brewed at their newly opened Over-the-Rhine brewery. Here's more of the details:
On New Years Day, Saturday January 1st, Arnold’s and Christian Moerlein are having a Birthday Bash to honor Arnold’s 150th year of continuous operation. We are more than honored to announce that this will also be the release of Arnold’s 1861 Porter, the first beer brewed in Christian Moerlein’s new Brewery in Over The Rhine. We are not shooting for some fancy-shmancy anniversiary party. We want to have a blowout for everyone. For this duel event, 12 oz drafts are just 1.50 in honor of our 150th year. Keeping with the 1.50 theme Arnold’s will also have a 1.50 specials menu. On the menu, hamburgers, veggie burgers, french fries, Spaghetti and Meatballs, and Vegetarian Spaghetti and Marinara. That is not a typo, all will be just 1.50. You can effectively get an entire gut-busting meal and several craft beers for under ten bucks. Oh, and did I mention? Free Cake! A Birthday party is nothing without free cake. Keeping with the party theme, The Cincinnati Dancing Pigs are on stage from 8-10 singing all the drinking songs that they are known so well for. This is just an event for Cincinnati’s oldest tavern to say Thank You to Cincinnati for keeping this old codger around so long. So please come celebrate with us. For those that can’t wait for the new beer, we also will be making it available at midnight on New Years Eve at the stroke of Midnight, for the same 1.50 special price.
Enjoy entertainment from the Cincinnati Dancing Pigs from 8 to 10 PM. Even if you are hung-over from New Year's Eve, you can have a dish of spaghetti or a burger and porter.

What a Fucking Circus, What a Fucking Mess

I am not sure if I have ever seen the Cincinnati City Council be more like a three ring circus, but Tuesday's antics rank up there with the most pathetic in my memory.

Today we don't have any better action.

Where were all of these new plans six months ago?

I have to just ask everyone on Council to please just cut the crap and layoff the Police and Fire Department staff that have been called for in the City Manager's plan. No more false promises,  no more gimmicks, no more pie in the sky dreams.

Gutting all of the rest of the City Services will not erase the city's problems, instead they will get worse. Protecting specific voting blocks(FOP Boosters) is not going to win anyone more votes. None of the other plans are thought out enough to actually work. We are heading into a grandstanding zone when there are about 9 days to get this done. Some of these plans have ideas worth exploring, but that should have been started last December when the new Council began it's current term. We now will face an election year with every candidate promising magic beans in every pot. I'd like some truth and honesty from the current council. There is some there, but not 5 or 6 votes worth.

The worst idea I heard, was the idea to borrow capital funds. Who in the right mind wants to punt layoffs another year? Oh, Monzel was part of that, go figure.

I really wish ego wasn't such a driving force behind so many on council. If the egos were checked at the chamber door, why might not have all of these last minute half-assed plans that don't even add up.

Side Note: Is Charlie Winburn a 7 year old kid? He seems to like to pretend that math is not real and you can not cut anything or get more revenue yet still make the budget balance. If he is planning on performing an exorcism on the City Budget, I really hope he can get it broadcast on local TV. That would be entertainment.

UPDATE: My reading on the capital funding was wrong, updated above.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It Sounds Like a Trial Balloon and It's Losing Air Quickly

Three members of City Council with One non-committal member on the fence, put forth a budget plan that includes a transformation of the Cincinnati Police Department. In some form, details are not really known, it either merges the CPD with the Hamilton County Sheriff's Department, or subcontracts the patrols of CPD to the Sheriff's Department. Either way it would shift police officers to the Sheriff's Department at presumably lower pay rates, thus saving money.

Both possibilities are rather radical. They are the type of ideas that get studied and reviewed and publicly discussed for a reasonable amount of time. I think these plans sound like a trial balloon. These council members want to see how the public reacts and then work on making these plans happen in the coming years, where the cuts that are made in the police force now can be made up by contracting with the Sheriff. We have a year end requirement to pass a balanced budget. We don't have the time to just put this idea into action and hope it works out. That would be foolish.

Yes, it seems clear to me there are going to be cuts in the police and fire departments, but with the latest news the cuts will be less than originally planned because of higher tax revenue projections. We need to face those cuts. Some on council can say they did what they could or still have future ideas, but were forced to make the cuts. Ghiz and Winburn will complain and vote against it, but still refuse to put forth an plan that balances the budget. One that is feasible and doesn't rely on kindness of delinquent tax payers.

Keven Osborne has more on this new plan and the possible conflict with the City Charter in how the council members discussed it with the Sheriff.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tom + Chee Is Open on Court Street

Fountain Square used to be the only place to get the best Grilled Cheese sandwiches in town, but now Tom + Cheehave a restaurant open on Court Street.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

City Publishes Fire Company Closures

Via the Enquirer's Jane Prendergast's Twitter Feed: The City has published the details on which Fire 'Companies' will be closed as a result of layoffs. A total of 4 'Truck Companies' and 7 'Engine Companies' will be closed effective January 2nd under the current proposed budget plan.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Streetcar Project Fully Funded With a New State Grant

The Cincinnati Streetcar Project got yet another boost yesterday with news that the State of Ohio is providing an additional $35 Million grant to fund the construction of the Streetcar lines running from the Banks through Downtown and OTR to the Uptown area. As UrbanCincy Reports, the City now has recieved a total of $150 Million for the $128 Million project.

This doesn't stop the anti-city forces from lying, again. This time they are lying about the position of the Council Member on the Streetcar. The semi-positive news is that in the Enquirer article the reporter indicates that at least someone at the Enquirer is getting closer to the truth about the Funding of the Streetcar and how ending the project will do NOTHING to prevent layoffs of Police and Fire due to the Budget gap.
With the FOP, Cincinnati Fire Fighters Union Local 48, Westwood Concern and other groups searching for ways to preserve some of the 370 city jobs at risk, the controversial streetcar project – and Berding – have become their primary targets. Berding’s support is needed to guarantee a majority vote on council for streetcar matters,

By law, state and federal money that City Hall has received for the $128 million-plus streetcar could not be spent for other purposes. That also is the case, City Hall officials say, with the $64 million in local bonds that the city plans to commit to the streetcar project.

For that reason, supporters insist, blocking the streetcar would have no impact on City Hall’s current $60 million budget deficit. Opponents, though, argue the system’s future operating expenses would divert dollars that otherwise could fund jobs and services.
The Enquirer is closer to the truth, but the reporter still fails on two levels. First they fail to point out that the future expense of operating the Streetcar is IN THE FUTURE. The Streetcar is NOT built yet. We have a budget deficit NOW that will require laying off police officers and fire fighters. If we don't get an economic turnaround and the City's revenues are hurting again, they can have that argument again in 5 or 10 yearrs, when it would be relevant.  The real reason this argument is made, is because the groups making it are against development of the City and Urban core.

The second failure of the reporter comes in how they segregate City laws as something more mysterious than State or Federal Laws. I would prefer that if any media outlet publishes someone demanding an end to the Streetcar and even HINTS that this would save cops or fire fighters jobs (a lie), then the media outlet must print the facts about the Streetcar funding. In this article it would have been nicer for the Enquirer to not just report "City Officials Say" when talking about the $64 Million in bonds to be issued by the City for funding of the project. City Laws are just as much laws as State and Federal laws. We have to follow all of them. The reporter fails to 'have' all of the facts when they write "By law" in regards to the State and Federal Grants, but not for the City Funds. Who did the reporter get to confirm that the State and Federal funds grants are an issue of law? Could it have been a State or Federal official? Are not City officials as much of a definitive source of information on City laws as a State or Federal official on State or Federal laws, respectively?

As we learned recently how the bias in national media outlets affects news coverage and distorts the truth, we must insist that the media be fair to the truth, not just a blind reporting on what one side says.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Winburn Needs to Get Serious

I don't expect Charlie Winburn to be sane. I don't expect Charlie Winburn to be reasonable. I would like him to be serious for five minutes and stop wasting everyone's time with one big ass big pipe dream. I think a bake sale will do about as much good as his 'idea.'

If this plan would have any affect at all, it is the kind of thing he might have thought about mentioning about 12 months ago when he first took office, but that wouldn't have been as dramatic.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

The Finkles' Theater Show Opens at the Know on December 6th

The 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival Robert J. Theirauf Producers' Pick of the Fringe, The Finkles' Theatre Show returns for a special encore performance in December.

Carl & Wanda (and Tinkles Sprinkles Finkles) are going to put on a show for you! It's their first ever theater show, and they will dance, sing, and act just for you! This story of two professional amateur actors, and their very exciting world of secret handshakes, crimped hair, long dance numbers, and big-budget action sequences. They will have you laughing so hard, you may forget to breathe, but don't.

Upcoming Performances
Monday December 6 @ 7:30pm
Tuesday December 7 @ 7:30pm
Wednesday December 8 @ 7:30pm
All tickets are $12
Click here for more information or to purchase tickets

UC Bearcat Mascot Cited For Snow Ball Incident

The University of Cincinnati's Mascot got into a bit of snowball fight with some of the fans today at the UC-Pitt Football game and reportedly when police told him to stop, he wouldn't. At that point things got a little bit ugly as this video shows:

The Enquirer has the story with more of the details.

This has not been a good year for Ohio college mascots.

Miami Wins MAC Football Championship!

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.

Miami won on a last a minute touchdown pass to beat NIU 26-21. Miami was 1-11 last year and finishes the year 9-4 and bowl bound. Miami's 2nd year coach Mike Haywood won MAC Coach of the Year this year for good reason. Read about the game Here

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Miami 75 Xavier 64

Love and honor to Miami,
Our college old and grand,
Proudly we shall ever hail thee,
Over all the land.

Alma mater now we praise thee,
Sing joyfully this lay,
Love and honor to Miami,
Forever and a day.

Read about it Here

Stadium Fund 'Deal' Reached by the County

Hamilton County Commission passed a deal to fund the gap in the Stadium fund. That deal included some concessions from and incentives for the Bengals and Reds. The deal mostly fills the gap by reducing the amount of the Property Tax rollback. It is a deal that got the job done, not a wonderful deal for anyone but the Bengals and Reds, who got of pretty easy. It is a deal that Jim Tarbell would have gotten done, but one Chris Monzel (on the surface) would never have voted for because he says he would rather destroy things than have the citizens chip in to save their county.

There is trouble ahead for the Poor, I fear, when reading this from the Enquirer article:
"Commissioner Greg Hartmann – who will be the board’s president next year and in the majority – committed the board to cutting all county levies next year, which would reduce property taxes."
So Hartman likely will go after the funds from the tax levy passed by the voters of Hamilton County to fund indigent health care. Tax cuts will trump life for the Poor. Got to love the logic of that. "Let them Eat Cake" is what must be stamped on Hartman's forehead. With the Monzel willing to destroy any and all parts of the county, Hartman will have the second vote he needs. If Hartman means to cut other levies the voters of Hamilton County passed, then the public good will be hurt, all for the sake of a little bit of money. The short term profit and appeasement of the greedy shouldn't be allowed to undermind the structure of a viable society. When you have a moat around your Mcfiefdom, I guess you don't care.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Joe Noriega Deters Appears To Be Our 'Dear Leader' Now

Well, I thought we lived in a land where the rule of law was followed by our elected officials. Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters doesn't follow the rule of law and instead he has put himself in charge of running the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Funny, I don't recall Joe Deters being allowed to break the tie of the Board of Elections. I thought Ohio Law stated the Secretary of State did that.

Hey Deters, keep your nose out of the BOE unless directed to do that by the BOE or the SOS or by an applicable court. Being the Prosecutor doesn't make you King. Not even a Burger King. Not even a Little King(s).