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Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Reece grooves on Vibe

Vice Mayor Alicia Reece always gets good press from the national black media. The September issue of Vibe magazine (the one with Jamie Foxx on the cover) puts her among "a cadre of emerging politicos expanding the political discussion."

"As the youngest woman elected to Cincinnati City Council, the former Miss Grambling State University helped diffuse the city's bubbling racial tensions by negotiating with the Justice Department and others to combat racial profiling," said a capsule profile that ran alongside a longer story about Illinois Sen. Barak Obama.

Reece, 34, is the youngest politician on the high-powered list, which also includes Cory Booker, a candidate for mayor in Newark, N.J., (and former law school classmate of Reece rival David Pepper); Rep. Kendrick Meek, D-Fla.; Rep. Artur Davis, D-Ala.; Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Tenn.; and Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill.

Reece cites the article as evidence that she's best equipped to improve the city's national reputation. "One of the issues for the city is to turn around our image, not only locally but nationally," she said. "Any time we can have positive stories on leadership in Cincinnati, I think that's good for our city."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Pepper's early columns show liberal bent

Republican mayoral candidate Charlie Winburn has stirred some debate for writing, in a book he published in 1989, that "only born-again Christians" should be elected to public office.

But he's not the only candidate with a paper trail.

As a 19-year-old student at Yale University, Democrat David Pepper spent the summer of 1990 as an intern for the weekly Western Hills Press. Much of what he wrote were the staples of community journalism: stories on a spat over the volume of the church bells at St. Catharine Church in Westwood, a special report on convenience store safety after a string of holdups, a profile of a controversial Cheviot developer.

But Pepper also wrote columns on the editorial page. In one, "Burning the Flag Small Price to Pay for Liberty," (June 27, 1990) Pepper called the proposed flag-burning amendment "a ploy by politicians to garner easy votes in upcoming elections."
If we make this form of protest illegal, we might as well collect every flag, every copy of the Constitution and every bald eagle and destroy them in a huge incinerator. If we are going to curtail the fundamental democratic right of freedom of speech, those symbols and others will all be meaningless anyway.

Most Americans agree that seeing somebody burn the flag is not merely an insult, but an action that brings about their deepest anger and eats at their national pride. We would all like to end flag burning.

My solution, however, is to examine the reasons behind those burner's actions. Let's listen to their complaints, and work to solve the problems they are exposing.
But Pepper is particularly embarrassed by the column he wrote on taxes, headlined, "Cleves, the U.S. Facing Similar Financial Woes" (July 11, 1990):

The village of Cleves and the United States are experiencing the same problem right now -- a large deficit.

Leaders are under fire. George Bush is being called a liar for going back on his "read my lips -- no new taxes" promise, while Cleves residents want to know what council members have been doing with all the tax money they have collected in previous years....

In these two cases, however, supporting the tax hikes, though financially painful, is the smartest long-term decision.

Both the nation and Cleves have delayed raising taxes for too long already. Without substantial increases in years, with rising costs, and, in the government's case, inept spending and handling of funds, the two institutions have managed to dig fiscal holes for themselves that simply can not be filled any longer by cutting costs....

Yes, people can use the leaders as scapegoats. Maybe they should have seen that cutting costs simply wouldn't hold water forever, and should have raised taxes sooner.

But they should not blame them for proposing higher taxes....

We, too, should realize that though our wallets seem to be opening more and more for far too many things, these are two cases where we should give money.

Though it looks like an expensive proposition now, the benefits to Cleves and the nation will far outweigh the costs -- especially the cost of doing nothing.

Confronted with what he wrote 15 years ago, Pepper all but volunteered to go back in a time machine to straighten out his younger self -- especially on the issue of taxes.

"I do not agree with that young man," he said. "What's the expression? When I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible."

The Pepper campaign later released this statement:
While it's amusing to dig up what I wrote as a 19-year-old newspaper intern, what's important is my record in office and my proposals to change City Hall as the next mayor. I have a proven record of rolling back property taxes and, of course, I oppose flag burning.

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