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

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Friday, September 30, 2005

Yard signs, public property, and the law

Campaign signs line the public right-of-way along Kellogg Avenue in California during the Labor Day Picnic this month. But are they illegal? (Photo by Patrick Reddy/The Cincinnati Enquirer)

Cincinnati City Council adopted a resolution Wednesday asking City Council candidates not to violate a city ordinance banning campaign yard signs from public property.

The resolution is a perennial project of Councilman David C. Crowley, who has even been known to stop his car on busy streets to remove offending yard signs of his opponents.

City Council unanimously adopted Crowley's resolution Wednesday, though Mayor Charlie Luken mused out loud that there's something wrong with a legislative body that has to pass a resolution encouraging its members to adhere to its own laws.

But the law that Crowley cites, C.M.C. Section 714-33(b), doesn't seem to apply to freestanding campaign signs not attached to anything but the ground:
Except as otherwise provided in this section, no person shall post or affix, or solicit or procure another person to post or affix, any notice, poster or other paper or device, calculated to attract the attention of the public, to any lamp post, public utility pole or shade tree in the city right-of-way, or upon any public structure or building, except as may be authorized or required by uniform law. [Emphasis added]
Crowley said he always assumed that the law applied to campaign yard signs. "Obviously, I didn't look into those details," he said.

But he said the other part of his resolution still applies: Campaign yard signs on public property shouldn't be there, and city employees should be free to remove them without fear of getting into a political brouhaha.

Crowley said he would look into whether the city ordinance needed to be strengthened.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Police union endorses Mallory -- for judge

In addition to its City Council endorsements, the Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed eight candidates for Hamilton County Municipal Court judge.

As it happens, the only Democratic candidate endorsed by the police union is also an unopposed incumbent: District 1 Judge William L. Mallory Jr. (right). He's the brother of state Sen. Mark L. Mallory, who's running for mayor.

Other endorsements: Kendal Coes (District 3), David C. Stockdale (District 3), Julie Stautberg (District 4), Russell Mock (District 4), Guy Guckenberger (District 5), Alex M. Triantafilou (District 6), and Lisa Allen (District 7). All are Republicans.

FOP Vice President Keith Fangman, chairman of the police union's endorsement committee, said the judicial races are especially important this year. "This is the first time in recent memory that the Democrats have put up competition in these judicial races. Almost every one of these races is a contested race."

More battle for the buck

Cincinnati residents will get the final vote for mayor, but it’s people who live outside the city who have more sway when it comes to campaign fund-raising, an Enquirer analysis of campaign contributions found.

But how and where each candidate has raised his money says a lot about their backgrounds.

State Sen. Mark L. Mallory said his opponent, Councilman David Pepper, has a natural fund-raising advantage.

“David obviously comes from a family situation where he’s going to know a much larger number of wealthy people than I do,” Mallory said. “I think I know a mix of people in terms of income levels.”

Pepper said he's raised his money through hard work from friends and acquaintances who won't ask the mayor for anything in return. Mallory's contributions, on the other hand, come more from Columbus-based special interests, he said.

“If you’re looking for someone who gets into office relatively independent, you want to look at someone who gets their money from individuals,” Pepper said.

Log Cabin Republicans back slate of 3

The Greater Cincinnati Log Cabin Republicans endorsed three candidates for Cincinnati City Council at a reception at the Montgomery Inn Boathouse this morning.

Leslie E. Ghiz got the "full endorsement" of the gay Republican group. John Eby and Paul McGhee were "recommended."

Log Cabin President Ted Jackson said all three were "good strong Republicans who also support fairness and equality." But the group singled out Ghiz for its highest accolades, saying she was the only Republican candidate to support the repeal of Article XII in 2003. (Article XII was the 1993 charter amendment that prohibited City Council from passing a gay rights ordinance until it was repealed last year.)

"The best thing about this group is that it makes me feel good about being in the Republican Party," Ghiz said. "It's tough to be a Republican in Cincinnati, Ohio."

Ghiz and Eby are endorsed Republicans. McGhee is a registered Democrat who sought the GOP endorsement but is running as an independent. Jackson said McGhee has worked for Republican campaigns and causes in recent years.

Not endorsed were incumbent Republican Councilmen Sam Malone and Chris Monzel. Malone, who ran the campaign last year opposing the repeal of Article XII, wouldn't even talk to the group, Jackson said. Monzel was more receptive, but stuck to his opposition to gay rights.

"That was one, for me personally, that kind of tore me up," Jackson said. "Chris is a great Republican and a good guy."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Mallory: David Pepper is not Adolph Hitler

So it's come to this -- dueling press releases from candidates for Cincinnati mayor about a blogger who has somehow managed to inject himself as an issue in the campaign.

It started when an internet prankster, the notorious Nate Livingston Jr., put up a web site last week comparing Councilman David Pepper to Adolph Hitler.

Pepper issued a press release Tuesday demanding that his opponent in the Cincinnati mayoral election, state Sen. Mark L. Mallory, denounce the attack.

"Mark Mallory boasts about being someone who will bring the city together, but he’s displayed a shameful lack of leadership over the past week by refusing to stand up to outrageous statements and tactics by a prominent supporter and boycotter," Pepper press secretary Anne Sesler said. "If Mallory is unwilling to rebuke one of his leading advocates for engaging in the worst kind of divisive politics, he’s clearly not a leader who can bring us together and move our City forward.”

So Mallory issued his own press release this evening offering to denounce not just the Hitler comment, but "every mean thing ever said about Pepper."

“Nate Livingston has said a lot of nasty things about David Pepper. Obviously, I do not think that David Pepper is anything at all like Hitler, but I want to make absolutely sure that everyone is clear on that rather obvious point,” Mallory said in the statement. “I am not usually in the habit of commenting on statements made by private citizens, but it is clear that this matter has upset David and is distracting him from a discussion about the important issues that need to be talked about in this election.”

The statement -- which Mallory later admitted was written tongue-in-cheek -- requests the Pepper campaign to send daily e-mail updates to Mallory by 10 a.m., so that Mallory can denounce the nasty comments and "can return to the normal business of discussing real issues."

Pepper's response: "This is a basic test of leadership and Mark failed. After ten days of being asked by citizens, Mark still won't stand up to the most extreme voices in Cincinnati politics who divide our city and who are now working to elect him. This is a telling signal about how he would lead as Mayor."

The complete press releases follow. First Pepper's:

Mallory Refuses to Denounce Tactics of
Supporter/Boycotter Who Equates Pepper to Adolph Hitler

A prominent supporter of mayoral candidate Mark Mallory, Nate Livingston, has launched a website in which Mallory’s opponent, David Pepper, is compared with Adolph Hitler.

The website, www.davidpepper.org, announces that its "primary purpose is to support honest candidates, like Mark Mallory, who have pledged to work tirelessly to bring Cincinnatians together." The site contains various inaccurate and offensive charges about Pepper including the highlighted line that, “We have grave concerns that, like Adolph Hitler, David is a Dictator!"

Subsequent to the launch of the website one week ago, Livingston has distributed flyers making the same Pepper-Hitler comparison during two joint appearances of Pepper and Mallory. Mallory has declined several opportunities to disavow Livingston’s tactics or rhetoric.

Over the past two years, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin (D-Illinois) and Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania) apologized after receiving withering national criticism for comparing their opponents to Nazis. During the controversy involving Senator Durbin, CNN commentator Paul Begala was quoted in the Washington Post remarking, "...you should never compare anything to Nazis or Hitler. It's as basic a rule as there is in politics."

Anne Sesler, Pepper’s communication director remarked, "Mark Mallory boasts about being someone who will bring the city together, but he’s displayed a shameful lack of leadership over the past week by refusing to stand up to outrageous statements and tactics by a prominent supporter and boycotter. If Mallory is unwilling to rebuke one of his leading advocates for engaging in the worst kind of divisive politics, he’s clearly not a leader who can bring us together and move our City forward.”

According to Livingston, “…the Mallory and Livingston families are friends…” (blackcincinnati.blogspot.com, 1/03/05). Following the launch of the website last week, Mallory was contacted by several Cincinnatians and asked to decry the rhetoric of his supporter. Mallory declined to do so. On September 22 during a Pepper-Mallory debate, Livingston distributed a flyer comparing Pepper to Hitler, right in front of Mallory; Mallory remained silent.

Yesterday, during a Pepper-Mallory debate before an audience of U.C. students, Livingston again distributed a flyer comparing Pepper to Hitler. Livingston directly asked Mallory a question accusing Pepper of wanting to be a dictator. Instead of renouncing Livingston's characterizations, Mallory answered the question routinely.

Mallory's response:
Mallory denounces every mean thing
ever said about Pepper
Senator requests expanded list of people to denounce

(Cincinnati) – Senator Mark Mallory announced today that he does not support any mean or nasty statements about David Pepper now or ever. Pepper has sent out a press release challenging Mallory to denounce comments made by local political activist Nate Livingston.

Mallory wants to be sure that he does not leave any doubt that he is against people saying mean things about David Pepper, so he has requested a complete list of mean things that people have said about David, so that he can denounce all of those statements as well.

“Nate Livingston has said a lot of nasty things about David Pepper. Obviously, I do not think that David Pepper is anything at all like Hitler, but I want to make absolutely sure that everyone is clear on that rather obvious point,” Senator Mallory said. “I am not usually in the habit of commenting on statements made by private citizens, but it is clear that this matter has upset David and is distracting him from a discussion about the important issues that need to be talked about in this election.”

Concerned that denouncing mean statements against David Pepper could be an on-going problem, the Mallory campaign has taken the proactive step of requesting that the Pepper Campaign send daily e-mail updates about any new mean statements made by anyone that need to be denounced. The Mallory Campaign is hopeful that all denouncements can be completed by 10:00 am daily, so that the campaign can return to the normal business of discussing real issues.

Mallory noted that Pepper’s complaints illustrate the short time he has held public office. “David clearly hasn’t been in public life very long, otherwise he would realize that sometimes people say mean thing about you,” Senator Mallory said.

“People have said plenty of mean things about me in the past, and I am sure that people will say many more in the future, but when they do, I won’t be running to David Pepper to stick up for me,” Senator Mallory said. “I fight my own fights David Pepper needs to learn to do the same.”

“David Pepper is tired of talking about his divisive record on City Council and is using this issue to stir up controversy in order to change the subject. I am going to continue to talk about the issues that the people of Cincinnati care about and my opponent’s record of failed leadership. I have a record of bringing people together to build consensus and solve problems, and that is the type of leadership I want to bring to Cincinnati as the next mayor."

Mayoral campaigns release debate schedule

Neither Mark L. Mallory nor David Pepper can be accused of ducking debates.

The two candidates for Cincinnati mayor have already met for four official debates -- and a number of other joint appearances -- in the two weeks since the mayoral primary. Today, the campaigns together released a list of six more debates and a half-dozen more joint public appearances over the next six weeks of the campaign.

Four years ago, Courtis Fuller and Charlie Luken debated only three times.

The official 2005 schedule, released today:

Oct. 4, 7 p.m.
Women League of Voters/Junior League Debate
Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal, West End

Oct. 7, 8:15 a.m.
Seven Hills School
5400 Red Bank Road, Madisonville

Oct. 11, 8 p.m.
Cincinnati Advance Mayoral Debate
Alchemize, Walnut Street, Over-the-Rhine

Oct. 25, 7 p.m.
League of Women Voters and Channel 5 Town Hall Meeting
Este Conference Center, Winton Place

Nov. 1, 8 p.m.
WCET Mayoral Debate
WCET Studios, West End

Nov. 3, 12 noon
Rotary Club of Cincinnati
Forums and other joint appearances
Oct. 6, 12 noon
Mt. Auburn Group for Improving the Community
Christ Hospital

Oct. 6, 5:30 p.m.
Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce/Meet the Candidates Reception
Bell Event Centre, 444 Reading Road

Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m.
Kennedy Heights Forum
Kennedy Heights Presbyterian Church, 6312 Kennedy Ave.

Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Clifton Town Meeting/Meet the Candidates Night
Clifton Recreation Center, 320 McAlpin Ave.

Oct. 27, 6 p.m.
U.C. African-American Cultural Center/Mayoral-City Council Candidates Forum
University of Cincinnati

Nov. 4, 9:30 a.m.
Newsmakers at Channel 12
Both Candidates will appear
(Will air Nov. 6 at 11 a.m. on WKRC)
Debate and appearance guidelines

The campaigns have also worked out a final list of ground rules for the appearances. They are:
1. Mayoral candidates always go first at forums where City Council candidates are included.
2. If a group is proposing a debate or forum, the date must be confirmed by each campaign before the event can be scheduled.
3. All debates will include at least 2 minutes for opening statements and at least 2 minutes for closing statements.
4. Questions will rotate with 1 minute and 30 seconds to answer.
5. Each question will have a 1 minute rebuttal.
6. A coin toss will determine who delivers opening statements first. The opposite candidate will go first when delivering closing statements.
7. The candidates will not be sitting when answering questions unless they are at a table. When possible, the candidates will be at podiums for the debates and forums. If podiums are not available, the candidates will stand to answer questions using hand-held microphones.
8. Debates and forums will have a set time limit. They can last 1 hour, 1 hour and 30 minutes, or 2 hours.
9. Audience questions must be written down and turned in to the event moderator.
10. David Pepper and Mark Mallory are the only two mayor candidates and as such, they will be the only candidates to participate in any Mayoral candidate forum or debate.
11. Each campaign must receive written confirmation of these guidelines from the sponsoring organization at least seven days prior to the date of the event.
Pepper campaign manager Greg Landsman said the campaigns were unable to agree on only one guideline: Mallory's camp wanted opening and closing statements of no more than two minutes. Pepper wanted longer.

"It's not a big deal -- organizers will have some degree of autonomy no matter what we suggest," Landsman said.

Fraternal Order of Police endorses 9 for council

The Fraternal Order of Police Queen City Lodge No. 69 will endorse nine candidates for Cincinnati City Council, union leaders said today. They are:
  • Jeff Berding, Democrat
  • Chris Bortz, Charterite
  • John Cranley, Democrat
  • John Eby, Republican
  • Leslie Ghiz, Republican
  • Sam Malone, Republican
  • Chris Monzel, Republican
  • Cecil Thomas, Democrat
  • Wendell P. Young, Democrat
The count: four Democrats, four Republicans and a Charterite. All but Cranley, Malone and Monzel are non-incumbents. And interestingly, the list includes two former police officers, Thomas and Young.

The FOP endorsement is among the most coveted in town -- not because of the votes of FOP members, but because many voters consider it a seal of approval for tough-on-crime candidates.

"The days of handing the FOP endorsement out like trick-or-treat candy -- and getting nothing in return -- are long over," said FOP Vice President Keith Fangman, who also chairs the endorsement committee. "A major part of fighting crime is to have the political support behind the cops. ... The voters want to know who the police trust and respect. And they also want to know which politicians support the police."

Dropped from the slate this year is Charterite Jim Tarbell, who had enjoyed the FOP endorsement in the past. "It wasn't anything other than the fact that there is a large number of very well qualified people running, and that's really what it came down to. It's nothing against Jim Tarbell," Fangman said.

Fangman said the FOP endorsement committee would also revisit its endorsement in the mayor's race, after its preferred candidate -- former GOP Councilman Charlie Winburn -- came in third place in the Sept. 13 primary.

Some candidates more welcome than others

Tuesday night’s meeting of Westwood Concern, the neighborhood’s upstart pro-police, anti-blight organization, was billed as a "Meet the Candidates’’ night.

It turned out to be a more of a "Meet Some of the Candidates We Like A Little Bit’’ night.

About half of the field of 31 Cincinnati City Council candidates made the trip to Westwood First Presbyterian Church Tuesday night for Westwood Concern’s monthly meeting, hoping to make an impression on the crowd of about 75 citizens of Cincinnati’s largest neighborhood.

Only eight of them were allowed to speak.

Four of the six candidates endorsed by POWR PAC, the west side political action committee supported by Westwood Concern, showed up and were told early on by Westwood Concern’s Mary Kuhl that they would not be invited to the podium because Westwood residents can hear them at three POWR PAC events scheduled in October.

One of the POWR PAC candidates, Jeff Berding, left for another campaign event; John Eby, Cecil Thomas, and Chris Monzel, stayed, even though they had to the one thing no political candidate can bear – stand around with their mouths shut.

Then, Kuhl announced from the podium that only those candidates who received e-mail invitations from her would be allowed to speak and that they would be called to the podium in alphabetical order.

Incumbent Democrat David Crowley sat waiting near the food table, trying to remember whether or not Kuhl e-mailed him. It turned out he did, because he was called up to give his two-minute stump speech.

But two Democrats – incumbent Laketa Cole and challenger Damon Lynch III – cooled their heels for over two hours waiting for a chance to speak that never came.

"I wish they had told me; I could have gone somewhere else,’’ said Cole, who stood through most of the event with her hands folded across her chest, glaring at Kuhl.

Lynch sat patiently at a table at the far end of the room, rifling through a stack of papers and playing with a roll of campaign stickers.

"Their loss,’’ Lynch said, when asked if was miffed at not being allowed to speak.

After the event, as the remaining candidates gathered up unused campaign literature from the church basement (Kuhl also announced that the candidates would have to clean up after themselves), Kuhl said that Westwood Concern is not an official community council, doesn’t receive any city funds and can invite anybody it wants.

Lynch is on Westwood Concern’s "naughty’’ list because of his role as during the 2001 riots and as Leader of the economic boycott of the city; Cole, the organization believes, is not supportive of the police force.

"Why do we want to hear from people who don’t support us?’’ Kuhl said. "They can go someplace else and talk. We don’t want them here.’’

-- Howard Wilkinson

Mallory, Pepper exchange blows on the issues, too

An audience of about 95 people watched the liveliest mayoral debate yet in Evanston Tuesday night.

In their four debates since they emerged as finalists from the Sept. 13 primary, the sharpest attacks between Mark L. Mallory and David Pepper have been about the two candidates' legislative records. Put simply, it's been a contest about "the chaos at City Hall" versus "the mess in Columbus."

Even when they manage to talk about issues, as they did at the NAACP/Woman's City Club debate Tuesday night, the rhetorical thrusts and parries seem to come back to issues of leadership, experience and qualifications.

When Pepper said he was proud to help re-establish the annual Neighborhood Summit as a way to get City Hall to listen to neighborhood leaders, Mallory pounced.

"I think listening is the first part. Acting is the second. My opponent has demonstrated that he's willing to listen. It's the acting part that he has the trouble with," Mallory said. He said Pepper listened to Pendleton residents who didn't want a barricade on 13th street and to neighborhoods who said Fountain Square wasn't a priority, and voted to go ahead with both anyway.

On human services, both candidates pledged to fight to restore a 23-year-old city policy - ended last year - of setting aside 1.5 percent of the city's general fund to social services.

"Here's what I don't like about the talk of human services," Pepper said. "Some will say we don't need human services, we need basic services. To a lot of the community, the basic service is the battered woman's shelter. To many, the basic service is the program that takes them from poverty to a job."

Mallory countered, "My opponent talks about his commitment to human services, but we know that he voted for a $33,000 cut in AIDS funding, and we all know that AIDS is devastating to certain communities, especially the African-American community."

Though the question changed, Pepper couldn't let that go. He said that while the city had to reduce AIDS spending from its original 2005 budget because of federal cuts to human services, spending on AIDS actually increased this year from 2004.

"That AIDS vote is an example of chaos politics. Calling something a cut when it isn't a cut is chaos. This was a game," he said. "It was a wedge issue. Imagine trying to make political hay by saying city council cut AIDS funding when it didn't." He said Mallory accused Mallory and others of "trying to divide the community on an issue we all know is so important."

Mallory called that "spin."

The evening got off to a testy start. The two campaigns are in final negotiations about a list of a dozen or more debates. But after Pepper showed up 20 minutes late to Tuesday's matchup, Mallory said he would insist that both candidates show up on time for future events.

Pepper said he had scheduled an interview with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees before Tuesday's debate was put on the calendar.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Correction: Ward voted against Tye subpoena

Todd Ward, a Republican member of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, voted against a Democratic-led effort to subpoena the Rev. Donald Tye to investigate his involvement with a postcard attack against Democratic mayoral candidate David Pepper. An entry Monday, relying on a tabulation from the board chairman, said the vote was 3-0. Ward clarified his vote to the board secretary after Friday's board meeting.

Ward said he believed the matter was worthy of investigation, but that the Ohio Elections Commission has jurisdiction. His vote does not affect the issuance of the subpoena. Elections Director John M. Williams said he expects to issue it this week.

Finney's check returned to sender -- 5 months later

When conservative Republican lawyer Christopher P. Finney contributed $200 to the campaign of Democratic City Council candidate Jeff Berding on March 22, it raised some eyebrows among liberal Democrats. Finney, after all, is best known for his efforts opposing campaign finance restrictions, gay rights laws and almost every tax ever invented at City Hall or the county building.

Five months later, on Aug. 29, Berding returned the contribution, according to his most recent campaign finance report with the Cincinnati Elections Commission.

Berding works in the front office of the Cincinnati Bengals and leads the league in council fundraising this season. A self-described "conservative Democrat," he would not say why he returned the money, saying only that he discussed his reasons with Finney.

Finney was similarly circumspect, but made clear he still supported Berding: "I like Jeff a lot and think he would make a fine council member."

Pepper led Mallory by just 146 votes

Elections specialist Sherry Poland checks out the results from the early counting in the mayoral primary on Sept. 13 at the Hamilton County Board of Elections. (Photo by Jeff Swinger/The Cincinnati Enquirer.)

The primary election balloting between Mark L. Mallory and David Pepper was even closer than the election night count suggested.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections performed the final count of ballots Saturday, including the 701 provisional and "walk-in" ballots cast on Sept. 13 and a small number of absentee ballots coming in from overseas.

Pepper picked up 182 votes in the final count. Mallory picked up 241. The final, semi-official count:
  • Pepper: 13,493
  • Mallory: 13,347
So what was a 215-vote Pepper lead is now a 146-vote lead. That's well within the margin that would require an automatic recount -- if it had an impact on the outcome. (Under Cincinnati's system, the top two finishers advance to the general election, so the exact order doesn't make a difference.)

Board of Elections Director John M. Williams expects to ask the board to certify the final results today.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Postcard attacker of Pepper subpoenaed

Here's the story from the print edition of Saturday's Enquirer, with additional reporting and links to source documents:
The Hamilton County Board of Elections voted Friday to subpoena a 53-year-old Walnut Hills Republican in an effort to investigate his involvement in a postcard attack on Democratic mayoral candidate David Pepper.

Donald Tye Jr., an ordained minister and body shop owner, admitted in an interview Friday he paid for the postcard, which was sent to Democratic voters just before the Sept. 13 primary. It accused Pepper of being a "lawbreaker," a "flag burner" and "not a Democrat."

The postcard was signed by Alene T. Annan, a 37-year-old Walnut Hills waitress. Board of Elections Chairman Timothy M. Burke said he wants to know who else might have had a hand in the mailing.

Subpoenas will go out to Tye and his bank for bank records and other documents that might reveal where the money came from and where Tye got the mailing list.

Political statements -- even by anonymous individuals -- are protected under the First Amendment. But Under Ohio election law, parties, campaigns and other groups that seek to influence the outcome of an election must include their name on all communications and disclose their sources of money to the Board of Elections. The postcard did not contain a committee name, and Tye has not registered his group with the board.

Annan told Burke that she believed that the money ultimately came "from sources other than Tye's own funds," according to a memo Burke wrote to fellow elections board members seeking the subpoenas. She said Tye paid her $450 for her time, in addition to the costs of printing and mailing the postcard, according to the memo. She said it went out to about 1,000 voters.

Tye denied Friday that anyone else was involved, and said he was not connected to any other campaign or committee. He said he supported Republican Charlie Winburn in the primary, but had a falling out with the candidate because Tye said Winburn wasn't spending enough time campaigning in the black community.

Winburn lost the primary. Pepper, a city councilman, is running against another Democrat, state Sen. Mark L. Mallory, in the Nov. 8 general election.

Tye said he was simply supporting Annan's right to free speech.

"She had explained to me that she was disconcerted over David Pepper, and she had no recourse, as she already voted absentee," Tye said. "She and I came up with a scheme of taking a picture of her at the Brewhouse in front of a board that said 'Vote no on Pepper.'

"She's a private individual. She decided to do it. I just lent her the money to get it done," he said. "It's a private citizen doing it. ... It's time for people to understand that the private citizens in this town, given the political battle from far left to far right, the citizens have to be educated."

Tye had previously filed two complaints against Pepper at the Ohio Elections Commission. On the first count, the commission found that Pepper falsely implied he was the incumbent mayor, but failed to seek criminal prosecution; on the second count, the commission had found probable cause that a violation of election law has occurred but has not given a final ruling.

The Pepper campaign released a statement Friday: "This act was part of continuous and seemingly orchestrated negative attacks from not only actual opponents, but non-disclosed and third-party sources, some who vocally support my opponents," it said. "The Board of Elections action today may open the door for us to get to the bottom of these other potentially illegal actions."

Among those other attacks: an automated phone call before the primary that purported to be from the Pepper campaign, which urged voters to support Pepper because he was "the only white candidate in the race," and an anti-Pepper Web site comparing him to Adolph Hitler.

The board voted 2-1 to issue the subpoena. The fourth member, Republican Party Executive Director Brad Greenberg, is a lawyer who represented Tye before the Ohio Elections Commission. He abstained. He said he knew nothing about the postcard.

Tye said he has opposed Pepper because, as chairman of the Law & Public Safety Committee, Pepper failed to respond to a complaint of police misconduct that Tye filed with the Citizen Complaint Authority. Tye has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that "city policymakers" have participated in a "cover-up" of illegal activities by the Cincinnati Police Department. "He has my full wrath. He should have done something. He didn't," Tye said Friday. "I will give my full effort to take David Pepper down. It's not personal. It's just business."
UPDATE (Tuesday, 4:46 p.m.): Todd Ward, a Republican member of the Board of Elections, voted against the issuance of the subpoena. A previous version of this entry said the vote was 3-0, based on the vote tabulation from the board chairman. Ward clarified his vote to the board secretary after the meeting.

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