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, June 09, 2006

Commissioner money update

Today was the deadline for candidates to file updated campaign finance reports.

In the race for Hamilton County Commissioner, Democratic challenger David Pepper raised $111,573 and spent $54,998.96 between the April 13 reporting deadline and the last week's reporting deadline for the report filed today.

That leaves Pepper's campaign with a balance of $142,190.48.

That is still far below the $380,313.14 incumbent Republican Commissioner Phil Heimlich has on hand. Between the April report and today's, Heimlich raised $32,660 and spent $8,474.71.

Here are the reports filed today for each candidate.

Heimlich report

Pepper report

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Cranley kicks off campaign for 1st District

Democrat John Cranley kicked off his campaign to oust Rep. Steve Chabot from Cincinnati’s 1st Congressional District last night with a message to voters that if they’ve had enough of skyrocketing federal deficits, high gas prices, congressional corruption and one-party rule, they should elect him in November.

"For ever one of those problems, Steve Chabot has been in the middle. He’s become part of the problem in Washington and now we need to vote for change in order to offer solutions," said Cranley, a Cincinnati City Council member from Price Hill.

Gary Lindren, a spokesman for Chabot, R-Westwood, called Cranley’s attacks "empty rhetoric" and pointed out that while Cranley has been on the city council, the number of murders in the city have skyrocketed while taxes have risen and people have continued to move out of downtown.

"People see through the false negative attacks and recognize that Congressman Chabot votes in a manner that is consistent with the interests of the district," Lindgren said.

Cranley’s campaign kick-off rally was held Tuesday evening at the Covedale Theater - a spot Cranley chose because of the work he did as councilman to help keep it open.

"It highlights what I have done and what I can do for people of this district," he said.

Cranley’s gala also featured three former congressmen who represented the 1st District: Tom Luken, Charlie Luken and David Mann, all Democrats who are backing Cranley’s election.

Zarqawi dead. Our pols are in favor of that.

Some reaction from the Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky delegation to the killing of top Iraqi terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi:

Rep. John Boehner, R-West Chester, House Majority Leader:

"The American people received good news from Iraq and another important milestone was achieved for the Iraqi people and the Global War on Terror. The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is an important and tangible success for our mission in Iraq and in the larger Global War on Terror. Americans are safer today as a result of the death of a man whose followers characterize their murderous actions as a 'fierce war on the malicious ideology' of Democracy. Our military personnel deserve our praise and gratitude for their tireless efforts to track down the terrorists who have declared Iraq to be the central front in their violence against democratic and free societies.

"In addition, the appointments of the Ministers of Defense and the Interior today were positive political steps for establishing a united, free, and sovereign Iraq. We have a demanding task ahead of us, but we are making concrete progress. We remain committed to supporting the efforts of the Iraqi people and working with them and our coalition partners to bring peace and democracy to Iraq and the region."

You can listen to Boehner here.

Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood:

"The death of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is a great stride in the global war on terror. Al-Zarqawi and his deranged followers targeted innocent men, women and children to spread fear and division inside Iraq. I am hopeful that the death of al-Zarqawi and a continued emphasis on training Iraqi security forces will allow our brave soldiers to return home as soon as possible."

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Senate Whip:

“The death of terrorist Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi is a big victory in the war on terror and the continued march toward freedom and democracy in Iraq. Our brave troops in the field, the new Iraqi government and their security forces should be commended for taking the fight to these murderous terrorists. While there will no doubt be tough days ahead, the terrorist Zarqawi will murder no more.”

Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Ky., on the "termination" of Zarqawi, as he called it:

“The death of Al-Zarqawi is good news for the Iraqi people and our continued success in the War on Terror. This terrorist thug is directly responsible for the deaths of coalition soldiers and thousands of Iraqi civilians, and his death serves as a huge blow to al Qaeda in Iraq.

“The Iraqi government and coalition forces worked closely together to achieve this important victory and I am extremely proud of the job being done by both the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and their Iraqi counterparts to keep these insurgents on the run.

“I am also encouraged by the news today that Prime Minister al-Maliki has completed the formation of his cabinet with the appointment of his defense and interior ministers. These are all signs that we are making great strides in the effort to establish a free and stable Iraq.”

Rep. Geoff Davis, R-Hebron:

"The death of Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi, Al Qaeda's leader in Iraq, is an important success for Operation Iraqi Freedom and for the War on Terror. Dismantling the terrorist organizations that continue to wreak havoc on neighborhoods throughout the country is a critical step in securing a sovereign and peaceful Iraq. I am extremely proud of our armed forces serving in Iraq and across the world who are continually fighting to preserve our freedom and promote democracy."

Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., who represents part of Dearborn County and areas north of it.

"I rejoice in the death of no man, but today I'll make an exception. "As America and the world just learned, the al Qaeda leader in Iraq Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is dead. "The President of the United States said it was an opportunity to 'turn the tide,' and that the ideology of terror had lost one of its visible and aggressive leaders, and it has. "But this was not simply a tactically significant strike by US and Iraqi forces. Somebody dropped a dime. "It is also evidence, as U.S. General George Casey in Iraq said earlier today, of increased cooperation. "I commend U.S. and Iraqi forces for this extraordinary accomplishment. The leading enemy of freedom in Iraq is dead. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi is gone. "Let freedom reign in Iraq."

Rep. Mike Sodrel, who represents parts of Dearborn County and areas south and west of it.

"The death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the terrorist mastermind of al-Qaida's violence in Iraq, is an important milestone in the war on terror and in the development of a stable and free Iraq. Zarqawi was not only Osama Bin Laden's personally anointed terror leader in Iraq, but was also responsible for the murder of hundreds of innocent Iraqi's. His death is a victory for the United States Armed Forces, the Iraqi military and all Iraqi's.
"The significance of the Iraqi parliament's approval of defense and interior ministers should not be overlooked. The new Iraqi government has overcome this political challenge and has taken another important step forward.
"While these developments do not signal an immediate end to violence in Iraq, this is a very good day in the very young history of the free and independent Iraq."

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Montgomery released from hospital

Ohio Auditor Betty D. Montgomery was released from Ohio State University Medical Center earlier today after being treated for Guillain-Barré Syndrome.

Montgomery was hospitalized May 17 for complications following a respiratory virus.

“I’ve been blessed with the support of a wonderful family, the compassion of friends from all across Ohio, and the expert care of an outstanding medical team at OSU Medical Center,” Montgomery said in a prepared statement. “I’m feeling stronger each day and will continue to focus on my complete recovery. I look forward to resuming my full work and campaign schedule shortly.”

The inflammatory disorder affects different people differently. Some remain hospitalized or confined to a wheelchair for months or years.

Montgomery, Republican candidate for Ohio Attorney General, will continue to receive physical therapy and her doctors have encouraged her to continue normal activity such as taking walks and working in her garden, according to her spokeswoman, Jennifer Detwiler.

Montgomery speaks with her staff daily, Detwiler said, and hopes to resume her full schedule over the course of the next few weeks.

JKB to RFK.....

After speaking to a luncheon gathering of university trustees in Columbus today, Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell was asked to characterize Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s article in the current issue of Rolling Stone, titled, "Did Bush steal the 2004 election?''

Among other points, RFK Jr. cites Blackwell's dual role of serving as Ohio's chief elections officer and as co-chairman of the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign.

"Look, I feel for him,'' was all Blackwell would say.

More on the article, including a Salon critique and Kennedy's response can be found at www.salon.com.

Borgman on drawing Portman, Schmidt

Today marks Jim Borgman's 30th anniversary as an editorial cartoonist for The Enquirer. In a story in today's paper, the Pulitzer Prize-winning artist talks about which politicians are the hardest to draw - and which ones are the easiest.

In his words...

Hardest person to draw: Rob Portman. He has a distinctive face, so I don't know what's making him so elusive. I also had a hard time with Charlie Luken. Usually, people whose features are in really good order are the hardest to draw. People who are traditionally handsome or pretty are hard to capture.

The easiest person to draw is: Someone with odd characteristics that become their signature. Like Bill Clinton's big strong chin, pink nose and porcupine hair. He always looked like he had had a bad night's sleep. Dick Cheney has a wealth of eccentric features. President Bush (George W.) has those bushy eyebrows, eyes that are too close together and mouth that drops.

Ronald Reagan was so expressive and had that pompadour and strong jaw - he came together easily. I was post-Nixon but I have had the occasion to draw that ski nose, those jowls and those shifty eyes.

Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory is kind of angular and has those distinctive thin glasses, unique eyes and that moustache. I don't know if I am quite nailing him yet but I felt from the first day that I had a sense of him.

Women are: Harder to draw than men. In our culture, women are more adept than men at looking attractive. Men still don't get it and their faces say so much. Also, it's still a man's world, so I find myself drawing men more than women.

Still, Madeleine Albright, Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice have been pretty easy - and Jean Schmidt, well, she's a gift.

Read more of this article here.

Blackwell: Subsidize students, not colleges

Jon Craig reports from Columbus:

Secretary of State Ken Blackwell said Tuesday that Ohio must find a way to make attending state universities more affordable.

Ohio tuition averaged $7,941 this year at public four-year universities, compared to $5,491 nationally.

Blackwell, a Republican candidate for governor, suggested state financial aid go directly to college students rather than distributed to colleges. He did not offer details, saying he is still formulating ideas.

Speaking at a luncheon of university trustees, Blackwell also said he would not act like the chairman of the Ohio Board of Regents if he is elected governor Nov. 7, but seek the input of university professionals. Blackwell is a former vice president and faculty member of his alma mater, Xavier University

“Right now our policy direction is geared toward subsidizing the institution, not subsidizing the consumer,’’ Blackwell said.

Keith Dailey, a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, Blackwell’s Democratic opponent, said Strickland thinks financial aid should go directly to the student as well as the state’s universities.
Strickland previously proposed creating up state taxpayer-subsidized college savings accounts in a program called Ohio Knowledge Bank.

Blackwell said he does not believe in freezing tuition increases, preferring to let the free market drive that. But he is concerned about making sure lower-income families have equal access to higher education.

Under the Strickland Knowledge Bank program, the state would set aside an initial $500 dollars and an additional $100 per year for every Ohio child whose parents make a minimum $15 investment in a 529 Education Savings Account.


New city manager nominated

Mayor Mark Mallory nominated a new city manager today. Read about it here.

Meanwhile, here's the mayor's press release:

News Release

From Mayor Mark Mallory
City of Cincinnati

For Immediate Release: June 6, 2006

Mallory Chooses Milton Dohoney to be City Manager

Lexington Official the Right choice to help lead the city to new levels

Cincinnati - Mayor Mark Mallory announced Milton R. Dohoney, Jr. as his choice to be the next City Manager at a news conference in the Mayor's Office this morning. After a thorough nationwide search, Milton Dohoney emerged as Mayor Mallory's clear choice to be the City Manager. Currently, Mr. Dohoney is the Chief Administrative Officer of the Lexington Fayette Urban County Government. He has previously served as the Deputy Mayor and Director of Public Safety in the City of Louisville.

"Milton is the ideal person to be the next City Manager for Cincinnati and I am looking forward to introducing him to the citizens of Cincinnati," Mayor Mallory said. "I will be working very closely with the new City Manager and Council to achieve our goals for Cincinnati. Milton has the exact qualities and background that I was looking for to help take this city to the next level."

As the Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) in Lexington-Fayette, Milton Dohoney directed the merged City and County government, including oversight of a $411 million budget and a 3,500-employee workforce. As CAO, he personally chaired the Chaired Neighborhood Support Team, which brought together representatives of various city departments to share information and coordinate strategies to reduce crime and clean up troubled neighborhoods.

Dohoney has experience in economic development, developing strategies to redevelop inner city neighborhoods and attracting major businesses to relocate to downtown faculties. He also helped in the $450 million expansion of University of Kentucky Medical Center.

Throughout his career, Dohoney has a history of actively promoting diversity and inclusion in all aspects of government.

Dohoney also directed the city government in Louisville where he helped lay the groundwork for merger of Louisville and Jefferson County's governments. As the Public Safety Director of Louisville, he managed the emergency service divisions including Police, Fire & Rescue, and Emergency Management. While Dohoney was the city's Public Safety Director, Louisville saw its lowest homicide rate in 50 years in 2001.

"I am excited about the opportunity to come to Cincinnati and help the community move forward," Milton Dohoney said.

The City Charter gives Mayor Mallory the power to officially appoint Milton Dohoney as the next City Manager, once City Council approves the Mayor's recommendation.

Pepper surpasses goal; Heimlich had no big push

David Pepper asked contributors last week for $25,000.

They gave him $40,000.

That’s the amount Pepper said he raised last week just before the latest deadline for candidates on this fall’s ballot to report their campaign finances. Those reports are due to the Board of Elections by Friday.

Pepper is the Democratic challenger to incumbent Republican Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, who raised just under $400,000, the last campaign finance reports noted.

With last week’s $40,000, Pepper said his campaign now has about $200,000 in contributions.

Rob Seddon of Heimlich’s campaign said Heimlich had no big push last week. In fact, his big fund-raising event was Saturday, the day after the deadline. That means the money from that event won’t be on this report filed this Friday.

Seddon could only say today that Heimlich’s campaign has raised over $400,000.

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