CLEVELAND, Ohio — The Ohio General Assembly passed a bill that could shift the burden of school funding more toward homeowners by limiting how school districts challenge commercial property values.

We’re talking about how the change hurts school districts on Today in Ohio.

Listen online here. See the automated transcript at the bottom of the post.

Editor Chris Quinn hosts our daily half-hour news podcast, with editor Leila Atassi, editorial board member Lisa Garvin and content director Laura Johnston.

You’ve been sending Chris lots of thoughts and suggestions on our from-the-newsroom text account, in which he shares what we’re thinking about at You can sign up for free by sending a text to 216-868-4802.

Here are the questions we’re answering today:

Why were the Social Security numbers of people accused of crimes in Cleveland publicly accessible on Thursday?

Are Northeast Ohio zoos taking a page from other zoos in the nation to protect their birds from the avian flu outbreak that is ravaging parts of bird population?

The last few years have seen a lot of turnover in the Cleveland power structure, and Thursday brought a surprise announcement of yet another major figure stepping away. Who was it?

We’ve talked repeatedly on this podcast on a move in the legislature to save commercial property owners millions at the expense of Ohio homeowners – helping, we hope, to gum up the bill for a while – but it has now been amended a bit and passed. Is it still a gift from Ohio’s lawmakers to commercial property owners?

What would it mean to Clevelanders if JetBlue beat out Frontier airlines in the battle to merge with Spirit airlines?

Ohio is getting $259 million in federal transit money, with the bulk of it going to Cleveland, so what will the Regional Transit Authority do with it?

Who is Sonya Pryor-Jones, and what is Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb looking for her to do?

What’s at stake in a class-action lawsuit that got the greenlight this week against an Akron-based personal injury law firm, Kisling, Nestico and Redick?

What is going on in the Rock Hall’s big Beatles weekend that kicked off Thursday night?

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Read the automated transcript below. Because it’s a computer-generated transcript, it contains many errors and misspellings.

Chris: [00:00:00] We close out another week on today in Ohio without knowing what the legislative districts are in the state for this year’s elections, kind of amazing how bollixed up that has been, hopefully we’ll get some resolution next week. It is today in Ohio, the news podcast discussion from and the plain dealer.

I’m Chris Quinn here with a cheerful group of regulars. Cause it’s Friday. Layla autopsy and the Laura Johnston happy Friday.

Lisa: It doesn’t mean much to a retiree, but yay.

Leila: So envious of you 20 more years, it’ll be you. I know

Chris: by the time they get there, 30, more years easy.

Laura: I got all my mulch yesterday. So even if it’s going to snow, I am spreading mulch from.

Chris: Okay, well, good segue. Speaking of retirement, why were the social security numbers of people accused of crimes in [00:01:00] Cleveland, publicly accessible on Thursday, Layla, this is not supposed to have.

Leila: No, this is, this was a pretty serious snafu with the Cleveland municipal courts, new public website for, for nearly an hour, between 11:00 AM and 12:00 PM. When the court site went live Thursday, it provided. Personal identification information, including social security numbers for defendants. And the glitch was in a section of the new website that at, at the time allowed members of the public to download filings and criminal or traffic cases, it appears that this came to light when a reporter.

Uh, at reporter, I’m assuming it was at Adams.

Chris: It was Adam. Yeah. They call me, so what do we do if we write about this? Are we, are we giving away data, but they had fixed it and I said, no, nobody can get them anymore. Let’s go ahead and write the story. But yeah, Adam public service save lots of people from possible identities.

It’s amazing.

Leila: Yeah, he was looking at a case and he [00:02:00] spotted a social security number that shouldn’t have been there. And according to his story, he was on the phone with the court spokesperson, Obie Sheldon at the time, and notified him immediately. And Shelton said that during, during that time, that window.

Those numbers were available. 484 attempts were made to access the website, but it’s unclear if any documents were downloaded, containing that personal information. So the court is still trying to figure out what went wrong with their rollout of this new technology. Sheldon said that the courts, it employees immediately.

From public access, the problematic section of the website, but that’s a pretty serious data breach. They better iron that out. And if

Chris: not for Adam, who knows how many hours this would have gone on, I mean, good for Adam for noticing it, notifying the court. And then we didn’t write the story until people couldn’t go on and get those anymore.

They moved very, very quickly. I am a little bit surprised, not a little bit, a lot surprise that they didn’t do testing. That would have been. [00:03:00] The revealing of this kind of personal confidential data. And we all know whenever you go to a new computer system, bad things can happen. But privacy in the court system is kind of an important details to be on top of so way to go at them and getting it and give credit to the court for moving quickly to fix it.

I wonder if the county has yet fixed its pay it’s software for paying people much about it. Okay. Stay tuned. You’re listening today in Ohio. Our Northeast Ohio zoos taking a page from other zoos in the nation to protect their birds from the avian flu outbreak. That is ravaging parts of our bird populations.

Lisa, we saw a story that other zoos were doing this, and we set out to find answers here. Of course, the Metropark zoo refused to tell us anything for about day and a half. They’re so helpful, but what’s the deal. The

Lisa: Akron zoo has moved all of its birds to indoor enclosures [00:04:00] to prevent an avian flu outbreak amongst that population, the avian collection manager there, Joel gold, Gosky says they have to do that because what happens during feeding times because of the way the enclosures are wild birds mix in with the zoo birds during feeding times and spring, right.

Gration is going on. He says, that’s a concern. There are two major. Flyways through Northeast Ohio. He says he don’t, he doesn’t know when these boot birds will be moved outside again. The Cleveland zoo did issue a statement. They said certain bird species were moved indoors, but they offered no other details on that.


Chris: and it was kind of hilarious, right? Because this is people who care about birds are worried about this. We call simple question. Hey guys, what are you doing to protect your birds? And for a day and a half, they refuse to answer. Y, I don’t know. And then they give us the bears details that they want people to care about the zoo.

I just don’t get how the zoo does public relations under Brian Zimmerman [00:05:00]

Laura: to clarify, they only gave us a statement after Evan put up the story of a McDonald’s that said Akron zoo and what they’re doing and said, Cleveland Metroparks. And then they’re like, oh wait, I guess we look stupid.

Chris: Yeah. And so they, they put out a statement that keeps them looking stupid.

You know, Akron immediately gives us all the details. We’re doing this, we’re doing this, the penguins, blah, blah, blah. And the Cleveland zoo doing what it typically does, such a

Lisa: hassle. And this is, this is, this is serious. I mean, 23 million birds in America have died either from the flu itself or from calling flocks, which is mostly chickens and turkeys.

So yeah, this is a serious issue.

Chris: I know that people care about. And so they want to know, Hey, wait, you know, what’s going on with our zoo? What are you doing to protect the Eagles and all that? And you know, and other zoos, they, they built roofs over the outdoor enclosures to keep the birds from swooping in.

Are we doing that? What are we doing? So anyway, maybe they’ll give more detail now. It’s today. [00:06:00] The last few years have seen a lot of turnover in the Cleveland power structure. And Thursday brought a surprise announcement of yet another major figure, stepping away, Laura, who.

Laura: So this is Len Komorowski the CEO of the calves.

He joined the calves as president in 2003. That was two years before Dan Gilbert bought the team in 2005 and has been the CEO ever since 2013. So let’s put that in perspective. 2003 was the same year LeBron was drafted. So that is a whole long time ago. I mean, 19 years. So he’s going to remain affiliated with rock entertainment group, which is Dan Gilbert’s company.

He’s going to focus on the company’s growth and development, but he’s not as a Cavs guy. He worked on a lot of deals throughout the city to get things to the queue and then to transform it into rocket mortgage field house, but the RNC and all sorts of events, he had a hand.

Chris: Yeah, I’ve gotten to know him a bit over the years because he has been [00:07:00] around for a very long time and he has been involved in lots of things.

And I always found him to be a true gentleman, even when he had legitimate grievances. Something we did in our coverage as he presented it, he always did it in a very reasonable fashion. He was never one of those that, that screamed and yelled and said bad things. So just a good guy who has been very active in all sorts of public because of so many, I was having a hard time remembering them all.

Cause he goes back so far and he was part of the original debate about the convention center. They had been trying to put it over by tower city, um, and was. Yeah, very active in all of that. So I he’s, he’s gonna stay in town. So I imagine that means he will remain active in the various discussions or no,

Laura: probably he’s been on a bunch of boards, including the greater Cleveland partnership, the downtown Cleveland Alliance and destination Cleveland, which obviously are huge when it comes to business [00:08:00] and tourism in Cleveland.

And. So, I, I believe he’ll still have a role in that and, and plan for the future and maybe to see what next events he could bring here. Cause he had a role in bringing the NCAA tournaments and the all-star weekend. So, you know, who knows what else?

Chris: Yeah, he’s a smart guy. He’s been very, he’s got a lot in his background that helped the city.

So it was a surprise. And I don’t think anybody saw that coming. I mean, the reaction that I saw everywhere, it was like, wow, it’s a, he’s been just a fixture. So good luck to him. It’s today. We’ve talked repeatedly on this podcast about a move in the legislature to save commercial property owners, I’ll bundle a cash at the expense of regular Ohio homeowners, helping.

We hope gum up this bill for awhile by talking about how sleazy it is, but it has now been amended a bit and past Layla. Is it still a big gift, a big smooch from the lawmakers to the commercial property. [00:09:00]

Leila: Yeah, I mean pucker up. Right. I don’t know the final version that was sent to governor DeWine. This weekend included changes that really shift the burden on the tax burden on a residential property owners, by creating all kinds of.

Loopholes for commercial property owners, obviously school districts, more often challenged commercial property values because changes at home values just don’t don’t generate a significant amount of tax revenue compared to commercial properties. But under this latest version of house bill 1 26 commercial property owners and developers really benefit the most from these changes and among them.

S the school districts would be allowed to continue to file counter complaints. When property owners want to lower their values at the board of revision, but school districts can only initiate complaints when there has been a recent sale of a property and the sale price was at least 10% and $500,000 more than the county auditor’s value of the [00:10:00] property.

That is quite a high bar to clear, um, school boards have to adopt a resolution to allow an attorney to initiate a property value complaint at the board of revision. For the past 45 years, most districts would allow their attorneys to just work with district administrators to determine which properties to challenge.

So that is a big departure from the way it’s worked a school districts, can’t appeal boards of revision decision to the Ohio board of tax appeals. But property. Can, um, government entities that receive property taxes, wouldn’t be allowed to enter into a private settlement with a property owner to dismiss or settle a complaint.

So they’re hamstrung in the way they handle these matters. And boards of revision would have to dismiss an original school district complaint a year after it was filed. If there isn’t a decision by then the current law requires boards to render decisions within 180 days, but there, you know, there isn’t a.

Mechanism for dismissal of a complaint. Uh, it just completely shifts the tax burden to the residential property owners [00:11:00] and it blocks the due process for local governments and school district. Don’t you agree?

Chris: Yeah. So here’s, here’s the legend, the Republicans and the legislature. When the Democrats, as Matt Puffin, Bob cup here, they are claiming to serve the people of Ohio, making the rich, get richer and sticking it to all of the people who vote in this state.

It’s. Stunning slap in the face of regular people while they stand up every year and claim they’re serving the citizens of IO and you watch Mike DeWine will sign it while he’s claiming that he serves the people of Ohio. This is going to cost regular people more money while making the commercial property owners richer.

It’s just inexcusable that they’ve gone down this road, but this is what we get with gerrymandering and, and dishonest politicians that really don’t do what they claim to do.

Leila: How, how are they going to defend this? You know, when it’s time, I mean, how, how can they defend this to their constituents?

Chris: I think we’ve reached a [00:12:00] point where there’s been so much misbehavior by politicians that people aren’t paying attention.

That was the goal, right. Just lie to them repeatedly. D B cause controversy do bad things. And people look away. We’ve seen that people are like, I’m so tired of all the bad news. You know, when, when the gerrymandering happened 10 years ago, there was a lot of activism. And this time there’s a lot less activism because I think people were just burned out.

That’s the cynical approach that the legislators are taking. We don’t think people are going to pay attention

Laura: well, and I think there’s the spin from the Ohio chamber of commerce. Right. But this is limiting the overreach of school.

Chris: Yeah, which is ridiculous. There’s nothing about this. That is legitimate.

This is to N you know, w we’ll see, will there be an investigation some years from now that finds that there was sinister reasons the legislature pushed this, you know, like we saw in the first [00:13:00] energy case, let’s not forget

Lisa: the dropdown LLCs that these commercial property owners are using as a loophole to hide the value of.

Their property when it sells. I mean that it’s an loophole that needs to be closed.

Chris: Well, if, if the democratic primary winner for the governor’s race, John Cranley or Nan Whaley want to, they can make an issue of this. If the wine signs it, you know, he’s sticking it to you to pay off the big property owners.

So maybe that threat will have the governor veto it you’re listening to today. What would it mean to Clevelanders if jet blue, beat out frontier airlines and the battle merge at spirit airlines, Lisa, the combination of jet blue, which is much more of a luxury flyer with spirit, which isn’t anything, but seems like it doesn’t work, but all the industry experts

Lisa: say it does.

And this is an unsolicited bid. I mean, jet blue offered $3.6 billion to. Spirit, which is a [00:14:00] Florida based low cost airline. But two months ago, frontier airlines announced a merger with spirit and that, that merger, if it went forward would make them the fifth largest airline. So actually as far as it goes with Cleveland Hopkins airport, a frontier spirit, Merger would probably have a greater impact because if you look at Hopkins passengers in 2021, frontier was number four with 14.3% of passengers.

Spirit was number five with 13.3% of passengers. Jet blue is dead last only 1.9%. They also cut their Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale routes temporarily. So, you know, jet blue and spirit, the. Benefits there that some analysts are saying is the, you know, the price might come down for jet blue and jet blue does have good customer service.

They consistently get high marks on their customer service.

Chris: Yeah. Well, and if spirit and frontier combined, because they serve so much of Cleveland, [00:15:00] it, it would hurt us. But, you know, jet blue is just not a factor here. So it’d be interesting to see which one of them wins. It’s today in Ohio, Ohio is getting $259 million in federal transit money with the bulk of it going to Cleveland.

What will the regional transit authority do with it? Laura, we’re going to have to guess here because we don’t have them on the record yet. Well, we

Laura: do actually have them on the record. Sabrina Eaton went back and got to talk to the RTA, um, talked to deputy general manager, Michael shipper about this money.

So 65 millions coming to Cleveland, 57 of that will go. Specifically to RTA and they hope to use that to, um, for projects on this third $332 million unfunded projects list. So that’ll make a dent in it, but definitely not going to fix everything they want. That includes rail car replacement, bus replacement, improving the railroad tracks station and maintenance of [00:16:00] facilities.

And, uh, he said the board will probably decide on a spending plan in may. So unlike some. Uh, government agencies, they haven’t spent the money before they got it, which is always good news. Um, and this comes from a bipartisan infrastructure law and the 2022 government spending.

Chris: They’re getting ever closer to the day where they’ll be able to replace those aging rail cars, which is a good thing because their lifetime is coming to

Laura: an end.

They’ve been working on this for a long time. They tried to find a manufacturer last June, they received only one proposals. They said, didn’t meet the needs, but then again, they didn’t give other places, other companies any more time to get bids in. So expects to spend. $40 million just on the rail cars.

It wants cars that will like are custom made to fit on all of its different rail lines, which I guess is harder to find and obviously has to be made specifically. So, um, it’s a lot of money, but it’s not going to solve all of the RTAs woes.

Chris: Okay. If you’re listening [00:17:00] to today in Ohio, who is Sonia prior Jones and what is Cleveland mayor, Justin bib looking for her to do and his administration.

We have a, we had a profile about her by Courtney. Staffie published. Yes. Yeah,

Leila: Sonia prior Jones is Justin bibs, new chief of youth and family success under, under bibs predecessor, Frank Jackson. This job was known as the chief of prevention, intervention, and opportunity for youth. And the job was at that time.

Convene government agencies, nonprofits, businesses, and others in the private sector to address the social problems and the lack of opportunities that underlie crime, but bib and prior Jones are kind of re-imagining this job. In addition to cultivating youth opportunities. Prior Jones also oversees the city’s department of aging and parts of the community relations board.

So she’s taking an intergenerational approach to programs and services. And prior Joan says, Strengthening the family strengthens the community, [00:18:00] which strengthens the city. So her duties touch many aspects of family life. She’ll be considering violence prevention, initiatives, how to connect kids with jobs of the future opportunities for fun.

Play and how to partner with city departments and non city organizations to create the kind of environment that allows for learning and development to take place. So these are the out of school needs of kids. Bib also has a chief of education. So together they are two parts of, of, of bibs vision for how to tackle, uh, the needs of kids, uh, under his administration.

But prior Jones, you know, she is a Glenville Navy. A graduate of Cleveland public schools and the daughter of two Cleveland public school bus drivers, just an amazing homegrown talent that he recruited here, an incredible resume. So wishing her

Chris: well, do you think that part of his state of the city speech on his hundredth day in office, he’s going to [00:19:00] talk a good bit about the, the wide variety of.

Of talent that he has brought into his administration. Is that going to be one of the highlights? Do you think of his first hundred days? Oh, of course.

Leila: And he should. I mean, if you, if you look back over the profiles that Courtney has rolled out of, of all of the new faces at city hall, um, I mean, it’s, it’s.

It’s a quite impressive, uh, array of, of new talent that we haven’t seen in a very long time, this, this, this level of innovative and, uh, and, uh, you know, uh, new thinkers. It’s, it’s quite impressive. So he should, he should, he should spend some time on that. It was a

Chris: lot of talk in the campaign about changing the culture of city hall that, you know, it’s got.

Technology, and it’s not very welcoming and you’ve got multiple stops. So, so, you know, new mayor coming in, you got to assemble your team and you spend the first hundred days doing that. Now you’ve got to change that culture. [00:20:00] You’ve got to overcome the Malays and inertia of decades of city hall practice.

And I hope these folks can do.

Leila: Yeah. I mean already. I think we’re, we’re seeing, we’re seeing things happening that, uh, I don’t think we could have fathom in the last 16

Chris: years. Well, as 40 years and the state of the city is sold out. So if you don’t have a ticket, you’re going to have to stream that. If you want to see it, you’re listening.

Leila: That’s the sign of the times, right?

Chris: It’s good. It’s a, it’s a good thing it was sending to today. What is at stake in a class action lawsuit that got the green light this week against an Akron based personal injury law firm, Kissling Neste Tico and Reddick. Lara was surprised. This was actually a question because it seems like a slam dunk that you go to court, but the law firm made a pitched argument to defeat this.

Laura: Yeah, [00:21:00] this is all over this $50 investigative fee. And this case has been going on for six years, but a three judge panel of the ninth district of Ohio court of appeals, unanimously upheld a lower court ruling that grants class action certification to these former clients. Basically everybody was charged $50 for investigative services that attorneys say was never provided.

Instead. They basically went to funnel into investigators who would find new cases for the law firm to take on. And this could apply as many as 45,000 clients dating back to 2008. That’s a whole lot of money. And what you said, the full name of the law firm. I don’t know if that rings as familiar to listeners, but you’re probably know the slogan hurt in a car call Canaan.

Chris: Yeah, that’s right. It’s very, well-known there. They’re ubiquitous. There’ve been around everywhere. Uh, and there’s a lot of clients that have paid this fee. It’s 50 bucks each, [00:22:00] but, but when you add it all up, it could be a lot of money.

Laura: Yeah. And there’s still a questions in this case over a chiropractor that all of these clients were sent to, to, um, get help after their injuries in their car accidents.

And apparently they didn’t take insurance and they charged, um, they’re alleging that he charged way too much just so that the law firm could get that back. Um, so that’s still a question about that, but yeah, six years of fighting this already and, uh, All

Chris: right. You’re listening to today in Ohio. It’s going to be a short podcast today.

We’re on to our final question. What is going on? And the rock hall is big Beatles weekend that kicked off Thursday night. Lisa, I give this one to you. You’re the Beatles fans.

Lisa: That’s right. Yeah. And because I’m the oldest, I actually lived through the Beatles, but, uh, yeah, there’s an ongoing exhibit. The Beatles.

Get back to let it be, but they’re doing a special fan weekend that started last night and they had an event. Tonight with recording engineer, Glyn Johns who worked on the get back sessions back in [00:23:00] 1969. He’s also a 2012 hall of fame inductee. Um, so there’s going to be a lot going on. They’re going to be showing Beatles gear from the hall of fame collection.

There’ll be trivia contest. You can design your own Beatles album cover. They will all. Footage from the Beatles induction ceremony, which was back in 1988 and live music from the mechanics. And if I could just kind of go back down memory lane just a little bit, I was 12 years old in 1969, when get back, let it be sessions were being recorded.

And this was, there was big signs of tension within the Beatles. John Lennon was hooked on heroin. Yoko Ono was being a pain in the butt and they started recording these sessions at Twickenham. Film studios. Cause they were going to make a movie out of it, which they eventually did, but then George Harrison walked out and so they moved it to apple records.

And thankfully they did, because what we got from that was the famous rooftop concert, where they stood on top of apple [00:24:00] studios and saying, and then John Lennon at the end says, I hope we pass the audition for a 12 year old little hippy girl. It was like a big.

Chris: Well, and the get back documentary that came out last year that, um, Jackson put together, uh, it’s eight hours long.

And a lot of people I heard from who were not Beatles fans didn’t want to watch it, but they should, you should watch the last 45 minutes because it is that rooftop counts are from 10 different cameras, pieced together, just brilliantly. It’s hilarious. It’s suspenseful with police officers and you get to hear the concert.

The cool thing about Glen Johns is. There was, uh, there was an argument even as they were doing the recording about what, how to release it and whether to release it, Glen Johns put together his own version of a mix of that music that has now been released as part of the recent, let it be deluxe edition, which it’s like getting a new Beatles album, really.

Um, so it would have been cool to hear him. I just couldn’t get down there. I have you been down. [00:25:00] New exhibit. Yeah, no,

Lisa: and I need to, I did, I wasn’t aware of it, so I need to go down and check it out. My parents actually took me to see the, let it be movie, which was released in 1971. So yeah, a big deal.

Chris: Very few people got to see that.

And it was a V it was very different, I guess it was very somber. Showed them fighting a lot. Whereas the get back eight hour shows there. They, those guys loved each other and they’re having fun. And God, it’s just a great peak into the creative process of a genius musical group. I can’t wait to go see the exhibit.

I’m glad the rock hall picked up on that and put it together. So. All right, you’re listening to today in Ohio. We’re going to give you a few minutes back this morning. Thank you for listening. Thanks Lisa. Thanks slowly. Let thanks Lauren. We’ll be back Monday.