Cincinnati City Council

A Cincinnati Council Committee will wait two more weeks before voting on an ordinance that could make it easier for people to expunge their criminal records relating to the city's now repealed marijuana possession law.

From 2006 to 2010 such convictions were misdemeanors in the city as opposed to the current minor misdemeanors.  The minor offenses are not part of a person's criminal record.  

Some council members have asked if the city can legally ask judges to ignore previous possession convictions when considering expungements.  

Cincinnati Council will vote on a resolution this week asking Ohio lawmakers to exclude marijuana possession convictions when considering whether people should have their criminal records expunged.

From 2006 to 2010, people in Cincinnati who had possessed even small amounts of marijuana were charged with misdemeanors that now appear on their criminal records. That was stricter than state law, which resulted in a citation and no records.

Those city misdemeanor convictions are making it difficult for some people to expunge, or clear, their criminal records.

Cincinnati Council members will be busy Monday with a couple of big committee sessions.  

Law and Public Safety meets at 10 o'clock.  On the agenda, presentations from Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell and Fire Chief Richard Braun.  A public hearing is also scheduled on the city's now repealed marijuana possession ordinance.  Many people were cited under the 2006 law before it was eliminated, and now at least some council members want information about how those convictions can be removed from peoples criminal records.  

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley promised a lot of action in his first State of the City address Thursday night - less gun violence, a greater emphasis on basic services to the neighborhoods and a reduction in the number of Cincinnati residents living in poverty, among other things.

And, Cranley promised, a city that is even more fun to live in than it is now. He went so far as to say he is appointing an unpaid, volunteer “Commissioner of Fun” for the city.

A Cincinnati charter amendment to remove obsolete and ambiguous language from the city's 88-year-old city charter will be on the November ballot.

Cincinnati City Council voted unanimously today for the changes recommended by a 24-member Charter Review Task Force. Council needed to act at today's meeting so the Hamilton County Board of Elections can certify it to the ballot at its meeting Monday.

harry black
Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Harry Black, Baltimore’s finance director for the past two-and-a-half years, will take over as Cincinnati city manager on Sept. 8.

This afternoon, Cincinnati City Council confirmed Mayor John Cranley’s choice by an 8-0 vote. One council member, Christopher Smitherman, was out of town but had previously expressed support for the 51-year-old Black.

The vote came the day after a two-and-a-half hour session where council members questioned the Baltimore native, who was chosen by Cranley from 19 candidates.

WVXU's political reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with Ann Thompson about the likely confirmation of Harry Black as Cincinnati's 15th city manager this week.

It appears that, eight months into his term as Cincinnati’s mayor, John Cranley has found his soul mate.

Amid a flurry of media interviews and press conferences this past week, Cranley introduced his choice to become the city’s next city manager – 51-year-old Harry E. Black, who, for the past two-and-a-half years, has been the finance director of the city of Baltimore.

Harry E. Black, the finance director in Baltimore, is Mayor John Cranley’s pick to be Cincinnati’s next city manager, according to a source close to the mayor.

"I'm very excited about this,'' Cranley said in a news conference this afternoon in the mayor's office. "Here's a guy who lifted himself up by  his own bootstraps in a very tough neighborhood of Baltimore."

As finance director in Baltimore, Cranley said, he guided the city to the first upgrade in the city's credit rating in 10 years.

Provided, City of Cincinnati

  

The barricades on McMicken Street to reduce prostitution are scheduled to be in place for about another month, but some residents want them to be removed now. 

Vanessa Sparks of the Mohawk Area Development Corporation told Cincinnati City Council's Law and Public Safety Committee this morning that the barricades are placing a burden on the neighborhood's residents.

A majority of Cincinnati City Council voted today to give a development company over $1.356 million dollars in federal housing dollars for an affordable housing project in Pendleton.

But that is less than the $1.9 million the city administration had proposed for the plan to rehab 40 units in the neighborhood.

Some council members wanted to hold back $543,000 for a permanent supportive housing project in Avondale that would not have been available if the Pendleton developer, Wallick-Hendy Development had gotten the entire $1.9 million.

The Banks

Cincinnati and Hamilton County have cleared the way to bring General Electric's Global Operations Center to The Banks. 

City Council and the County Commission Monday morning approved several packages of incentives cementing the deal.  GE is expected to bring nearly 1,800 jobs with an average total payroll of $142 million per year.

The five-year lease includes five, 5-year renewal options.

Cincinnati council's budget and finance committee voted today (Monday) to give control of 35 properties in Over-the-Rhine, mostly north of Liberty Street, to the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation for re-development.

The Over-the-Rhine Community Council opposed giving control of the properties to the organization, also known as 3CDC. The council argued that 3CDC already has too much control over development in Over-the-Rhine.

Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley said Friday he is behind his own schedule but he'll recommend a new city manager to city council by the first week of August.

In the meantime, Cranley has asked city council to allow interim city manager Scott Stiles to remain running the day-to-day operations of the city for another two months.

The mayor said his plan was to have recommended a permanent replacement for former city manager Milton Dohoney by now. Dohoney resigned shortly after Cranley was elected last November.

Jay Hanselman

Mayor John Cranley presented a new budget Wednesday morning which closes a $22 million budget hole without lay-offs of city employees.

Cranley, in a press conference at police headquarters, said the $358 million general fund budget, if passed by city council, would be the first structurally balanced city budget in more than a decade.

“No gimmicks, no on-time revenue streams,’’ Cranley said, surrounded by several city council members and representatives of the police and fire departments and city employee union officials.

It was a close vote, but Cincinnati City council Wednesday approved a compromise that will allow a project to install protected bike lanes on Central Parkway from Clifton to downtown.

A compromise plan proposed by Vice Mayor David Mann passed on a 5 to 4 vote. It would take the bike lanes out of the travel lanes to maintain street parking between Ravine and Brighton streets to aid businesses in the area.

Cincinnati City Council will likely act Wednesday to either go forward or kill a plan to install protected bike lanes on Central Parkway.

Monday, council held a special session to have a second reading on an ordinance that would rescind an ordinance from a year ago entering into an agreement with the Ohio Department of Transportation to complete the bikeway project from Clifton to downtown.

Earlier this year some Cincinnati Council members and city public school officials announced plans for joint meetings.  The second such session was held Monday night and another is likely to be held next month.  

The effort is called ACES, or Alliance for Community and Educational Success.  Council Member P.G. Sittenfeld was one of the organizers.

  The mayor of a city can be considered its chief executive officer. But the power that office holds is determined by a city’s rules or charter, which defines what a mayor can, and cannot, do. Cincinnati adopted a “strong mayor” system of government 15 years ago. Now Cincinnati Councilman Christopher Smitherman is exploring another change, to what some call an “executive mayor” system.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners are officially asking a federal judge to intervene in their  Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) dispute with Cincinnati.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to ask for a ruling on which body gets to set policies for the district.

The sewer district is owned by the county but operated by the city.

The sides have been at odds over hiring and procurement policies instituted by the city. County Commissioners argue the policies are unfair and in some cases illegal. City attorneys and a majority of council members disagree.

Provided, City of Cincinnati

 

Provided, City of Cincinnati

A Charter Review Task Force is being formed to do the first comprehensive review of Cincinnati’s city charter since it was adopted nearly 90 years ago.

Council member Kevin Flynn, who chairs council’s rules committee, put out the call Tuesday for people to volunteer to serve on the task force, which will be expected to meet regularly for six months to a year before recommending charter changes to city council.

Not surprisingly, more homeless people have been seeking refuge from the bitter cold temperatures at Cincinnati's winter shelter. 

About 60 beds are used at the Drop Inn Center and another 40 are located at Prince of Peace Church in Over-the-Rhine.  They are available from December through February.  

Officials told a city council committee Monday so far this winter about 600 different people have stayed at the shelter.  That's the same number served all of last winter.  The majority of them are males and range in age from 18 to 59. 

Howard Wilkinson

Cincinnati has nearly seen the end of brownouts in fire stations, with the addition of 41 new fire recruits who graduated last week and a department overtime budget of $2.5 million, Mayor John Cranley said in a city hall press conference Monday.

The new recruits will reduce the number of brownouts of fire equipment from five per day to anywhere from two to zero per day.

But Cranley and Fire Chief Richard Braun said in a city hall press conference Monday that is not good enough.

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Cincinnati Public Schools and the City of Cincinnati are joining forces. A new initiative called ACES -  Alliance for Community and Educational Success - aims to find ways the two can collaborate to improve schools and communities.

Howard Wilkinson

In an effort to stem the homicides that have plagued the city first the first of the year, Cincinnati police will increase police overtime, hire officers away from other departments, add a recruit class and revive a gang unit, Mayor Cranley and Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell said this morning.

“We want people of this city to know that help is on the way,’’ Cranley said at a city hall press conference packed with neighborhood and community leaders, council members and police officers.


Tana Weingartner / WVXU

Hamilton County Commissioners say they're willing to work with the city but when it comes to making Metropolitan Sewer District decisions, they're in charge.

In a resolution passed Wednesday the board agreed to set inclusion goals similar to the aim of the city's Responsible Bidder ordinance. The county says that ordinance is unfair. It also dislikes the city's Local Preference policy and says it's illegal.

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