‘Cash for Clunkers’ not so environmentally motivated after all

It appears like the ‘Cash for Clunkers’ program is more about stimulating the auto industry than it is about being environmentally beneficial. Officially known as the Car Allowance Rebate System (CARS), the program officially kicked off on July 1, 2009 with $1 billion worth of money to go out and get an estimated 250,000 “clunkers” off the road. That money was intended to last until November 1, 2009, but it was already projected to be depleted within the first month. As a result Congress acted “within minutes” by allocating an additional $2 billion for the program following a briefing by Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood.

The auto industry, car dealerships and many individuals out there seem to be giddy at the idea of getting up to $4,500 to trade in a vehicle for a newer model…especially when they might not have been planning on doing so. This benefit is being matched some some automakers and car dealerships which makes it even more financially advantageous for Americans to go out there and ditch their car for a modestly more efficient vehicle whether they need to or not.

There is estimated to be 1,000 gallons worth of energy within an already existing automobile. So the lifetime gas savings should exceed that 1,000 gallons worth of fuel in order for this program to be worthwhile from a fuel standpoint alone. ABC News notes that:

“A car may be traded in for a new car that gets as little as 22 miles per gallon; the owner of a large pickup truck that gets 15 miles per gallon or less may be eligible for a $3,500 voucher to purchase another large pickup truck of no better fuel economy if it is “smaller or similar” in size.”

It has been said that the most “green” building is one that already exists, so it makes more sense to renovate historic and other existing structures than it does to tear them down or let them deteriorate beyond repair. I guess this same theory can be applied to automobiles. This program just seems to be more evidence that our nation is obsessed with consumption and that we can not accept lower growth rates as reality. At some point our revenue and growth models are going to have to be adjusted in a way to be profitable without such high rates of consumption that leave us all broke.

Photo from TheCarBlogger

Big night in OTR tonight

Tonight is not only a Final Friday gallery hop night throughout historic Over-the-Rhine, but it is also another Vine-L Friday in the Gateway Quarter.

Vine-L Friday will run from 6pm to 10pm and is looking to compliment the Final Friday crowds in the surrounding area. As a result many Gateway Quarter businesses will have displays from local artists and live music throughout. There will also be food, drinks and discounts at all your favorite locally-owned shops.

There will also be members of ArtWorks Cincinnati around to discuss their four-story mural of Mr. Cincinnati – Jim Tarbell. The new mural will be prominently displayed on the southern wall of the same building that houses Park+Vine. The mural should be complete within the coming weeks according to officials.

Following the Final Friday and Vine-L Friday fun, there will be an after party starting at 10pm at Below Zero Lounge at the southeast corner of 12th & Walnut streets.

Here’s a full lineup of this week’s Vine-L Friday activities:

  • Venice on Vine Pizza, 1301 Vine St. – Visionaries and Voices exhibits “Hair Salon” by Kenny Barger with a special menu of gourmet pizzas as well as live jewelry making by “One Bead at a Time.”
  • Segway Cincinnati, 1150 Vine St. – Works by Josh Beeman and Billy 7. Live music by “Vinny Bricks” and “that guy from Okinawa” City Cellars will be on hand with its frozen desert cart to cool off the crowd.
  • Park+Vine, 1109 Vine St. – The unveiling of the new exhibit “Mimockracy.”
  • Switch Lighting and Design, 1207 Vine St. – New works by Alison Shepard will be exhibited.
  • Outside, 16 E. 12th St. – Live DJ playing Electronica, Trip Hop, Soul and Funk, with refreshments served.
  • Below Zero Lounge, 1122 Walnut St. – The official VINE-L Friday After Party. Live music by the “Blue Merchants” at 10pm benefitting Gary Burbank’s “Play It Forward” Project.
  • Mixx Ultra Lounge, 1203 Main St. – Marcus Jordan exhibiting works from his collection titled “My Passion.”
  • Coffee Emporium, 110 E. Central Parkway – Extending its hours until 10pm and featuring works by Allison Archberger and the Thirty Duo Collection.
  • Lackman Lofts, 1237 Vine St. – Kate McClung exhibiting works from her “Balanophagy” collection.
  • Duveneck Flats, 1220 Vine St. – Mark Cummings exhibiting new works from his “In Bloom” collection and Stan Stenten will be showing pieces from the collection “Visions of Cincinnati – Old and New”

Photo from 5chw4r7z

Just another night in downtown Cincinnati

The Bad Veins held their CD release show in downtown Cincinnati last Friday as part of Fountain Square’s Summer Music Series. The show was followed by an after party at the newly opened Righteous Room just a block away. Downtown is such a 9(pm) to 5(am) kind of place.

Thanks to Each Note Secure for the great write up, and special thanks to Sam Spencer for the terrific photographs which can be found on ENS.

The stimulus money is starting to flow in Cincinnati

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) has been criticized for not injecting the necessary amounts of money into the economy quickly enough. The stimulus package is meant to do exactly that, stimulate the economy, and thus far even the proponents of said stimulus package have been frustrated by the slow activity so far.

Luckily things may be starting to change as it appears that the money is starting to flow into the Cincinnati region. Yesterday at Mayor Mallory’s press conference regarding rail transit in Cincinnati and the budget, he announced that the City received $13.5 million from the ARRA for the Cincinnati Police Department – something Mayor Mallory says could save around 50 police officers from being cut. Another $3.4 million will be going to Hamilton County to rehire 15 road patrol deputies that were laid off earlier this year.

Then today Steve Driehaus (D, OH-1) announced that the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA) which runs the Metro bus system will be receiving an $823,000 grant that will be used to purchase 3 forty-foot replacement biodiesel buses.

Driehaus then sent out a later press release that announced the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has awarded just over $2 million to the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center through the Recovery Act. The $2+ million will go towards biomedical research and research training at the Uptown hospital.

All three seem to be good uses for the stimulus money as they are directly creating or preserving jobs. So what’s next for the Cincinnati region? The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County is currently going through some issues as the state threatens funding cuts. The streetcar would not only create engineering and construction jobs in the Cincinnati area, but it would also help spur additional economic development that would come as a result of the streetcar. The announcement of a new rail transit system in the Midwest might even spur the creation of a new manufacturing facility to produce the rolling stock needed for such rail projects. What’s on your list?

Cleveland amongst finalists for the 2014 Gay Games

Cleveland is on the verge of landing a major event that would not only pump an estimated $60 million into Cleveland’s economy, but also further establish Cleveland as a place that is welcoming to the LGBT community.

The Gay Games are the world’s largest sporting and cultural event for the LGBT community, and Cleveland is currently competing with Boston and Washington D.C. to hold this event in 2014 that, like the summer or winter Olympics, occurs once every four years.

The Cleveland Synergy Foundation (CSF) is one of the main groups pushing to land the Gay Games for Cleveland. The foundation states that its mission is to, “measurably enhance the economy, image and quality of life in the greater Cleveland LGBT and Straight community by attracting and creating athletic, cultural events and festivals.”

Cleveland Synergy Foundation also notes that while Cleveland may not sound like the first place for an event like this to be held, it should, as it has many advantages over Boston and D.C. – values that could be applied to many Midwestern cities:

  • Value – Your dollar will definitely go farther here than in Boston or DC, and that’s critically important for international spectators and athletes. More visitors add up to sold-out hotel space and significant economic impact across the entire Greater Cleveland region.
  • Location, location, location –Cleveland is centrally located in the Midwest with many major metropolitan areas, including those in Canada, less than 500 miles away.
  • Community support – The Cleveland Synergy Foundation (CSF), a nonprofit organization rooted in the LGBT sports community, is galvanizing support from public officials at the state and local levels as well as the LGBT, civic and business communities.

CSF is working hard to promote Cleveland in those ways and more, and on Friday they intend to rally the Cleveland community with an event called Frivolity that will be held at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in downtown Cleveland.

The event and Cleveland’s efforts to attract it are important because the LGBT community is one of the key demographics when it comes to urban revitalization. It has been seen time and time again that the LGBT community is often a demographic that is known for being ‘urban pioneers.’

These pioneers go into decaying neighborhoods and take a chance where others would just take a pass. Urban pioneers are a rare breed and one to be sought after. In Cincinnati one such neighborhood is Northside where a once borderline neighborhood has become one of Cincinnati’s best with a neighborhood business district that boasts tons of local businesses with unique offerings, fun nightlife and an enjoyable street scene.

Over-the-Rhine is another such neighborhood. Given its size it will take more than just one set or urban pioneers like the LGBT community in Northside. In OTR it is the artists and creative class, young professionals, LGBTs and others. It took these pioneers to turn 12th & Vine from one of the worst intersections in Cincinnati to one of the best. It’s happening right now just up the street at 14th & Vine and throughout much of the 100+ block historic neighborhood.

If city’s want to continue to turn themselves around and repopulate their urban neighborhoods, then the demographics that are known for doing so must be pursued aggressively. That means Cincinnati must do a better job at attracting immigrant populations, artists and the creative class, young people and the LGBT community.

Hat tip to Ashley from Raves and Reviews in Cleveland. Photo of 2006 Gay Games in Chicago by William Zachary.