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, June 03, 2006

Barack Obama says he's "had enough."

U.S. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois was the main speaker Saturday night in Columbus at a $150-a-head fund-raising dinner for Ohio Democrats.

When he first ran for state senate in 1995, Obama said on the door-to-door campaign, he always was asked, "Where'd you get that funny name? Although people wouldn't say it right. They would call me 'Alabama.' Or they would call me 'Yo Mama.' And I would have to explain that it was O Bama."

"I never thought that I'd hear myself say this at a Democratic Party dinner,'' Obama said.
"But Newt Gingrinch made a great point the other day. He was being interviewed, talking about what an awful job his party has done in running the country. . . A reporter asked, 'Well what would you do if you were a Democrat?' ''
The former Republican House speaker said, "I would just use a two-word slogan. 'Had enough.' "

Then Obama ramped up his speech, attracting several standing ovations:
"I think we've all had enough. Enough of the broken promises. Enough of the failed leadership. Enough of the can't do, won't do, won't even try style of government. Four years after 9-11, I've had enough of being told that we can't find the money to make sure that our ports are protected and our railroads are protected and are chemical plants are protected, but we can find the money to give a tax break to Paris Hilton. I've had enough. I've had enough of the closed-door deals that give millions to HMOs, but we're told that we can't do a thing for 45 million uninsured, or the millions more that can't pay the medical bills. I've had enough of being told that we can't afford body armor for our troops and health care for our veterans and benefits for our wounded heroes that risked their lives for this country. I have had enough of that. I have had enough of giving millions away to oil companies, but we're told we can't invest in the renewable energy that will create jobs. . .and finally free us from our dependence on oil wells in Saudi Arabia so we can't stop funding both sides of the war on terror. . .I've had enough of being told that all we can do about this is sit and wait and hope that the good fortures of the few trickle down on everyone else in the country, including Ohio. I've had enough of that Ohio."

Obama, the only African American in the U.S. Senate, attended a reception at Veterans Memorial Hall sponsored by the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, which includes state Rep. Tyrone K. Yates of Evanston, state Sen. Eric Kearney of North Avondale and state Rep. Catherine L. Barrett of College Hill.

Kearney introduced Obama before his keynote speech. In July 2004, Kearney hosted a Cincinnati fund-raiser for Obama. Kearney's wife, Jan-Michele, was in Obama's class at Harvard Law School. And the Kearneys attended Obama's wedding.

"We find ourselves at a crossroads in American history,'' Obama said. "I believe it is out time to lead this country once again."

The state Democratic Party raised more than $550,000 at the dinner attended by 2,500 people, according to party spokesman Brian Rothenberg.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, a former state senator, said he's been attending annual party dinners for 15 to 20 years, "and this is the biggest crowd I've ever seen. I think this says Democrats are energized.''

Mallory was named Ohio Democrat of the Year by Chairman Chris Redfern, who cited Mallory's leadership and "seamless transition" as the Queen City's new mayor.

Asked about Republican hopes that black Democrats will "cross over'' and vote for Secretary of State Ken Blackwell in this year's race for governor, Mallory said, "It's a two-way street with crossovers. There will be white Republicans who will cross and vote for (Democrat) Ted Strickland.''

Former Cincinnati Council candidate Samantha Herd, who is now working on the campaign to elect Ohio Rep. Barbara Sykes of Akron as state Auditor, added, "Electing Ken Blackwell is not the kind of historic we need."

Friday, June 02, 2006

Pepper, Portune react to jail news

David Pepper's campaign reads the newspaper.

Pepper, the Democratic challenger to Republican incumbent Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, issued this press release just before 4 p.m. today.


Early Releases Continue while Heimlich Wastes More Time and Money with Delays and Band-Aid Solutions
Pepper, Portune Would Move Forward Immediately; Use Casino Revenue and Other Resources To Begin Work

(June 2, 2006)- Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune and candidate for Commission David Pepper vow to end the jail crisis once and for all when Pepper is elected to office. For the past 3½ years, Commission President Heimlich has offered no real solution to the ongoing overcrowding crisis, while costing taxpayers money with his band-aid approach. The result: over 9000 prisoners released, and millions of dollars wasted. Pepper and Portune offer a new approach—action.

Along with Sheriff Leis, Portune and Pepper support adding casinos in the City and County as the primary way to pay for new jail space, and would reallocate the other funds necessary to get the job done. Although he’s offered no solution, Heimlich has rejected the casino option.

According to the Cincinnati Enquirer today, despite blowing through half a million dollars in six weeks to send prisoners to Butler County, hundreds of prisoners are still being released early. Now, 9,000 prisoners have been released early under Heimlich’s watch, and he has still not committed to a permanent solution.

As the Sheriff’s spokesman said in the Enquirer—“Sending 200 (inmates) to Butler County doesn’t solve our problem of being overcrowded.”

"No more band-aids, no more press conferences, no more half-promises, no more passing the buck—this just needs to get done,” Portune said. “I’ve been in the minority for almost six years listening to the majority members talk tough about public safety yet oppose, time and time and time again concrete steps to improve it. Enough is enough.”

Pepper added: “Today's report in the Cincinnati Enquirer highlights once again how Phil Heimlich has failed as commission president. For 3 1/2 years, he has known the dangerous consequences of these early releases, and he has done nothing other than hold press conferences and give the issue lip-service."

To save time and avoid further delay, Pepper and Portune called for immediate steps to end the crisis, including
• Initiate the location and engineering analysis for the added jail space, including tabling the decision made by Heimlich to sell county owned property that might be useful for the jail location,
• If that analysis shows that a purchase of property is necessary, swiftly move forward to conclude the siting and purchase of the necessary property,
• Appropriate and reserve out of unallocated county reserves the money necessary to cover capital expenses for the project between now and the anticipated opening of the Broadway Commons Casino, and
• Take initial and necessary steps to begin a bid process.

“We’re committed to adding the necessary space,” Pepper said. “Taking these preliminary steps now shows this—and means no more wasted time later.”

For more information contact Bridget Doherty @ 513-658-0149

Bush most unpopular prez ever: Ohio Poll

See the new Ohio Poll here:

Howard Wilkinson reports:

President Bush’s approval rating of 35 percent among Ohioans is the lowest of his presidency – and the lowest for any president in the 25-year history of the University of Cincinnati’s Ohio Poll.

The Ohio Poll, released Friday by UC’s Institute for Policy Research also showed that lame-duck Ohio Gov. Bob Taft’s job approval rating continues to plummet – only 26 percent approve of him in this most recent poll.

The president’s falling job approval rating in Ohio mirrors his performance in national polls. Since the last Ohio Poll measuring presidential job approval in April 2005, President Bush’s rating has dropped 14 percentage points.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Three's a charm....or deja vu all over again.

There's another election coming up. . . so it must be time for Gov. Bob Taft to leave the United States.

Haven't you read that somewhere before?

Yes. The Cincinnati Republican with the lowest public approval rating of any U.S. governor left our nation the month preceding the last two statewide elections.

Today, Taft announced plans to go on a seven-day trade mission to Mexico in October -- just before his successor is elected Nov. 7. Mexico - the source today of illegal immigrants and political angst - is also Ohio's second-largest export market.

It will be the governor's 10th trade mission in eight years, and second to Mexico, which he visited in 2003.

Taft went on an 11-day European trade mission last October, leaving Lt. Gov. Bruce Johnson behind to do the heavy-stumping for passage of the $2 billion Issue 1 state bond issue that included $500 million for Third Frontier research and development. (Johnson was rewarded with a trade mission to China in December.)

Taft's poll ratings continue to be the lowest of any governor in the United States, according to 50-state tracking by Survey USA. http://www.surveyusa.com/50State2006/50StateGov060518Approval.htm

The most recent poll, taken last month, put his approval among Ohioans at 18 percent, with a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.

In April, two weeks before the primary election, Taft went to Germany and Belgium.

Since his election in 1998, Taft also has led foreign missions to Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Japan, Taiwan and the United Kingdom. In a press statement, the governor said the trade missions resulted in $882 million in new business and investments and nearly 2,600 new jobs.

Taft said his fall trip, scheduled Oct. 8-14, will allow economic development and university participants to make business contacts in Monterrey, Mexico City, and Mexico's central industrial region, which includes Queretaro, Guanujuato, Leon and Silao.

RFK Jr. recounts 2004 election

Like it or not, theories about whether Ohio votes were "stolen,'' were rekindled again today by an article in the latest Rolling Stone magazine.

Written by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it's titled, "Was the 2004 Election Stolen?"

Their claim: "Republicans prevented more than 350,000 voters in Ohio from casting ballots or having their votes counted -- enough to have put John Kerry in the White House."

Read it yourself, here:

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

How much is that per meeting?

Summer is a tough time if you want something officially approved by the Hamilton County Commissioners – they have just four commission meetings between now and Labor Day.

The commissioners usually meet twice weekly. Mondays are reserved for staff meetings generally used to provide information for items on the Wednesday commission meeting agenda.

But Board Clerk Jacqueline Panioto sent out a notice late last week noting the commissioners’ summer schedule included just three commission meetings and three staff meetings – one each in June, July and August.

She sent a revised schedule today adding a Wednesday, Aug. 2, commission meeting to the schedule.

Commissioners are paid $83,287 per year.

Here is the summer meeting schedule:
Monday, June 5, staff meeting
Wednesday, June 7, commission meeting
Monday, July 17, staff meeting
Wednesday, July 19, commission meeting
Wednesday, Aug. 2, commission meeting
Monday, Aug. 14, staff meeting
Wednesday, Aug. 16, commission meeting.

The usual meeting schedule resumes after Labor Day.

Lippert adds to victory margin

Last week’s recount shows that Kathy Wiethe Lippert held on to her victory.

Lippert won the May 2 election for the State Central Committee seat for the Democratic woman in the 7th District, a jurisdiction that includes parts of Hamilton and Warren counties.

Lippert defeated Mari Ferro by 13 votes, 5,092-5,079. Because she won the race by less than one-half of one percent, a recount was automatic under Ohio law.
The recount, costing taxpayers about $3,500 in overtime for election workers, won Lippert two more votes and Ferro one more.

Officially, Lippert won 5,094-5,080, said John Williams, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

Lippert is the daughter of former longtime Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman John "Socko" Wiethe

Welcome to the tenth most conservative city

Cincinnati was ranked the tenth most conservative city in the nation by Human Events, a weekly conservative magazine.

The rankings were compiled by the magazine's editors, and aren't based on any data. Most conservative city in the nation? Provo, Utah, according to the magazine.

We were the only city outside the South or West to make the list.

From their May 2 edition:

10. Cincinnati, Ohio
Home of GOP Rep. Steve Chabot (ACU lifetime: 98%; 2005: 96%) who won his seat by campaigning for the balanced budget amendment and against abortion. Only Ohio Republican to oppose prescription-drug bill. Called "too conservative" by Democrat opponents, but city's district has re-elected him five times. Boasts conservative Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell as a former mayor.

Pepper: Show me the money -- NOW

David Pepper wants to raise $25,000 before the next deadline for filing campaign finance reports.

Pepper, the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, wants the money to offset some of Heimlich’s big-dollar contributions.

In the last report from late April, Pepper’s campaign had $104,856.09 available. For the same time frame, Heimlich had $392,853.76 available, including one $75,000 payment from Cincinnati financier Carl Lindner.

Here are the finance reports for Pepper and Heimlich from that April deadline.
Pepper's campaign finance report -- contributions (in .pdf format)
Pepper's campaign finance report -- expenses (in .pdf format)
Heimlich's campaign finance report (in .pdf format)

Pepper asks for the money in an e-mail today noting the deadline for contributions to be shown on the next campaign finance report is Friday. The deadline for candidates to file that report is June 9.

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