Politics Extra
Enquirer reporters give the scoop on what your politicians are doing

Jessica Brown,
Hamilton County reporter

Jon Craig,
Enquirer statehouse bureau

Jane Prendergast,
Cincinnati City Hall reporter

Malia Rulon,
Enquirer Washington bureau

Carl Weiser,
Blog editor

Howard Wilkinson,
politics reporter

Powered by Blogger

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Today's birthday

Charterite Councilman Christopher Smitherman is 38 today.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ghiz a no-show at Winburn events

Republican mayoral candidate Charlie Winburn has now held two major press events where he was flanked by GOP candidates for City Council: His June 16 camapaign kickoff, and his rally last Wednesday for a new jail.

John Eby, Sam Malone and Chris Monzel were at both. Leslie Ghiz was not.

"I've been really busy in depositions," said Ghiz, a lawyer.

Ghiz was passed over for the council seat vacated by Pat DeWine earlier this year. Malone, who made the appointment, is a Winburn protege, and Winburn and Malone supported the anti-gay rights charter amendment that Ghiz campaigned against.

Ghiz would not elaborate on whether she planned to attend future Winburn press events, but suggested her deposition calendar was packed through at least Sept. 13.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Crowley's career season

If you're the kind of political junkie who pores over campaign finance reports like baseball fans look at box scores and batting averages, here's another way to look at the campaign finance reports filed Monday: David C. Crowley is having a breakout year.

Look at it like this: In some ways, candidates are competing against only themselves. Democrat Laketa Cole and Charterite Jim Tarbell placed third and fourth in the 2003 voting despite raising just less than $50,000 each. They could raise less money and still win. But Republicans Leslie Ghiz, Chris Monzel and Barbara Trauth all lost, despite raising more than $100,000 each. Damon Lynch III, then an independent and now an endorsed Democrat, had raised $0 by this time in 2003 -- but finished ahead of candidates whose early fund-raising was in the six figures.

So campaigns often benchmark themselves against their own previous fund-raising totals, not other candidates. For the 10 council candidates returning from the 2003 campaign, here's how the 120-day reports filed Monday compare to the same report they filed two years ago:

David Crowley (D)$37,150 $92,419 $55,269
John Cranley (D)$100,435 $135,297 $34,862
Leslie Ghiz (R)$56,088 $75,663 $19,575
Sam Malone (R)$6,775 $23,805 $17,030
Nick Spencer (C)$2,800 $15,414 $12,614
Damon Lynch III (I, D)$0 $9,914 $9,914
Christopher Smitherman (C)$28,981 $33,363 $4,382
Laketa Cole (D)$19,445 $21,156 $1,711
Chris Monzel (R)$102,689 $94,234 ($8,455)
Jim Tarbell (C)$17,159 $7,750 ($9,409)

Crowley (above, right, with John Cranley) finished ninth in 2003, just 747 votes above Lynch. Crowley was thought to be "on the bubble" in 2005, but not any more.

"Those numbers are unbelievable," said Crowley staffer Rocky Merz. He attributes Crowley's surge in fund-raising to an earlier start and a yearning for maturity from contributors "sick of the political gamesmanship" at City Council and in the mayoral campaign.

At 68, Crowley is the oldest member of City Council and, if re-elected, will trail only Jim Tarbell and Cranley in council tenure.

(Photo courtesy of Insuring the Children.)

Monzel to citizens: Go see the Reds

What is this? A Cincinnati Reds promotional item? A Chris Monzel campaign piece?

Neither. Or maybe both. But you paid for it with your tax dollars. Monzel's chief of staff, Bradford P. Beckett, explains:
We produced the Reds schedule from City Hall. It was paid for out of our administrative budget. We paid $702.51 for 12,000 of them. Their purpose was 3-fold: economic development tool to bring more people downtown to spend money in restaurants etc.; constituent service vehicle by asking people to call us with problems, etc.; and it was a way to help the Reds' attendance levels by encouraging people to go to the games -- which keeps people employed and generates tax dollars (similar to the first reason).

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mayor sees purple over bridge report

During Mayor Charlie Luken's radio appearance on WDBZ-AM last week, a caller asked about the WCPO I-team report surrounding the architecture on the city side of the so-called Purple People Bridge.

Luken hung up on the caller, one of those frequent protesters who yells profanities at him during City Council meetings. And he refused to talk about the $393,000 the city spent on bamboo plants, yellow poles and hanging lights.

"I don't talk to the I-team because of Laure Quinlivan," Luken said, referring to the reporter who applied for a job as head of the city's police watchdog agency in 2002. "Ever since that happened she has gone out of her way to make the city look bad. I refuse to comment on every story the I-team does because they are unfair."

WCPO News Director Bob Morford responded:
Laure is an excellent journalist. I believe that without her stories on this bridge two years ago there wouldn't be ANY improvements to Ohio's side. Mayor Luken also refused to be interviewed for our Purple People Bridge investigation in 2003. His tired story about our reporter wanting a city job is pure nonsense. As he well knows, she withdrew her application for the position before candidates were interviewed. I believe Mayor Luken wants to deflect attention from the lack of sensible progress on improvements for the Purple People Bridge.
Luken, a former WLWT anchor, did eventually comment on the bridge decorations. He told Kentucky Enquirer reporter Ryan Clark, "I kinda like it ... I think the only thing it's missing is more development in the area."

(File photo by Glenn Hartong/The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Here are the numbers

Here are the City Council campaign fund-raising numbers that were in the final edition of this morning's Enquirer but were not included with the online story:

Jeff Berding (D)$150,740.00
John Cranley (D) *$139,814.98
Chris Bortz (C)$118,050.00
David Crowley (D) *$100,171.00
Chris Monzel (R) *$95,599.40
Leslie Ghiz (R)$77,914.58
Christopher Smitherman (C) *$52,370.01
Sam Malone (R) *$23,823.00
Jim Tarbell (C) *$23,766.27
Laketa Cole (D) *$22,020.60
Nick Spencer (C)$15,889.59
Damon Lynch III (D)$10,223.57
Samantha Herd (D)$8,420.00
John Eby (R)$7,875.00
Eve Bolton (D)$6,809.41
Wendell Young (D)$6,541.23
Paul McGhee (I)$5,500.00
Robert Wilking (I)$4,000.00
Robert Wilson (I)$1,915.00
Andrew Warner (I)$1,550.35
Gerry Kraus (I)$1,300.00
Bill Barron (I)$1,278.57
Curtis Wells (I)$763.34
Cecil Thomas (D)$250.00
* incumbent

A few random notes:
  • These numbers are different from those posted on Charterite candidate Nick Spencer's blog because they include loans, in-kind contributions, interest and other income.
  • Gerry Kraus, the former Board of Health member and North Avondale Neighborhood Association president, has evidently entered the race as an independent.
  • Critics will note that Charterite Christopher Smitherman's numbers are inflated by $8,500 in personal loans he's given his committee. But Smitherman has actually paid down those loans since January, when he owed $13,250.
  • Independent candidate Andrew Warner's report was filed 10 minutes after the 4 p.m. deadline. The Cincinnati Elections Commission will have to decide whether that warrants a fine.

Jim Borgman
Today at the Forum
Paul Daugherty
Politics Extra
N. Ky. Politics
Pop culture review
Who's News
Roller Derby Diva
CinStages Buzz....
The Foodie Report
Classical music
John Fay's Reds Insider
High school sports
UC Sports
CiN Weekly staff