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

Friday, June 23, 2006

DeWine gets Bush, Giuliani, McCain aid

Sen. Mike DeWine’s re-election campaign is getting some more help from President Bush, who already headlined a fundraiser for the Cedarville Republican at an Indian Hill home Feb. 23.

This time, the president will hold court at a private home in Powell, Ohio. The June 30 dinner reception costs $2,100 to attend and $10,000 to take a photo with Bush.

Soon thereafter, DeWine will host former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani at a fundraiser in Cleveland. The July 10 event costs $1,000 to attend and $1,500 for a photo with the courageous former mayor and possible 2008 presidential candidate.

DeWine already hosted Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., another possible 2008 presidential candidate, at a June 11 fundraiser that cost between $1,000 and $2,100 to attend.

DeWine spokesman Brian Seitchik declined to say how much money was raised at the McCain event.

DeWine faces Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown of northern Ohio in the November election.

Cranley gets Blue Dog support

The Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 37 conservative and moderate Democrats in Congress who focus on fiscal responsibility, announced Friday that they’ve endorsed Democrat John Cranley for Congress.

Cranley, a Cincinnati city councilman who has balanced the city’s budget as finance chairman, is challenging Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican, in the 1st District.

Cranley has pledged not to accept a congressional pay raise until the current federal budget deficit is erased and supports restoring pay-as-you-go budget rules.

Here’s what the co-chairmen of the Blue Dog PAC had to say about Cranley:

Rep. Allen Boyd, D-Fla., said: “For too long, Congress has been indulging an addiction to deficit spending while the Blue Dogs have been trying to put a stop to it. John Cranley knows that our economy cannot sustain these structural deficits, and he'll work with us to institute PAYGO spending policies and common sense budget reforms that will bring our books back into the black.”

Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn., said: “The Blue Dogs are proud to endorse John Cranley as the next congressman for the 1st District of Ohio. His leadership capabilities, his values and his fiscally responsible commitment to fighting for a balanced budget make him qualified to be a leader in the United States House of Representatives. We look forward to working together with John Cranley to find practical, solution-oriented answers to the questions facing our country.”

Thursday, June 22, 2006

DeWine gets Brady endorsement

Sen. Mike DeWine today became the first Senate candidate of 2006 to win an endorsement from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, the country's top gun violence prevention group.

Sarah Brady, who is honorary chairwoman of the campaign, said that in a political world where many pander to special interests, DeWine "consistently and reliably does the right thing for his country and for the people of Ohio."

DeWine was a vocal opponent of a bill that Congress passed last year to shield gun dealers and manufacturers from lawsuits brought by victims of gun crimes or their families.

Read about DeWine's opposition in an Aug. 1, 2005, column in the Enquirer here.

DeWine also is a lead sponsor of the TRACE Act, which would help law enforcement officers and prosecutors solve crimes by creating a database to link guns used in crimes to their owners.

The Cedarville Republican faces a tough re-election challenge this year from Rep. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from northern Ohio.

Three's a crowd?

Enquirer intern Allison D'Aurora filed this report today from our Columbus Bureau:

Awaiting the Ohio Supreme Court's decision on the legality of Norwood seizing private property for economic development, a mighty fleet of three protesters gathered in front of the Ohio Supreme Court building today.

Through the sweltering heat these infuriated souls proudly carried signs that read: "Hands Off My Home" and "Eminent Domain Abuse" with a red circle with a line struck through it. One showed a giant hand gobbling up a home.

Yet the only people to approach these loyal ralliers were news reporters and plainclothed building security guard to outline their rules of protesting.

"I wish more people would come to support this," said one of the protesters, Robert Butler, secretary of the Ohio Libertarian Party. "It's an issue everyone seems to agree on, except elected officals."

It appeared most concerned citizens were evading the intense humidity and staying cool indoors.

Butler, of Powell, said if the Supreme Court does not rule in favor of property owners, he will pursue a statewide ballot issue that would "eliminate the use of eminent domain for ecnomic purposes and better define 'blight.'"

"We're trying to clean up some of the legal language so politicians don't try and abuse it any more," Butler said.

To successfully be on the statewide ballot, Butler would have to get an approved petition and collect nearly 323000 signatures.

However, based on today's turnout, Butler has his work cut out for him.

Butler said protesters will rally again Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Clifton and Ludlow Avenue in Cincinnati. Butler said he's confident many more people will show up tomorrow night.

A decision in a lawsuit involving homeowners and the City of Norwood is expected from the Supreme Court this summer -- so the three dedicated protesters will be able to put down their angry posters.

Boehner on "Hardball" tonight

House Majority Leader John Boehner, a West Chester Republican, is scheduled to appear today as a guest on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews."

The show airs at 5 p.m., and repeats at 7 p.m.

Also in Washington today, Boehner held a 10:30 a.m. on-camera briefing and is participating in a 2:15 p.m. press conference with House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill.

On the floor today: A bill to erase the death tax and legislation to give President Bush line-item veto authority.

That means new White House Budget Director Rob Portman, a Terrace Park Republican, will be in the Capitol today, lobbying former colleagues just off the House floor to vote for the line-item veto bill.

Meanwhile, the Senate is considering the defense authorization bill today, which includes voting on two Iraq-related amendments that seek to express the "sense of Congress" on the policy regarding Iraq and the re-deployment of U.S. Armed Forces to Iraq.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Portman’s new office tops the rest

Rob Portman’s office just keeps getting bigger and better.

As Ohio’s 2nd District congressman, the unassuming Portman held court in a few cramped rooms of the Cannon House Office Building. (Those offices are now being used by his successor, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Ohio.)

Then, as U.S. trade representative, Portman moved up in the world – landing a corner office in the Winder Building on 17th St. that had high ceilings, lots of light, and was just across the street from the White House complex (pictured above).

Now, location may be everything. But size matters too.

Lucky for Portman, his new digs in the Office of Management and Budget have both.

Situated in the Eisenhower Executive Building adjacent to the White House, Portman is now inside the complex.

Translation: You need a special credential or White House clearance to get past the iron gates surrounding both the White House and the building where Portman’s offices are located.

Now, about that office… It’s easily twice as large as his USTR pad. And – this is probably the best part – it has a massive stone balcony that overlooks Pennsylvania Ave. On top of that, Portman’s office sports beautiful wooden parquet floors, a fireplace, and a private bathroom.

One more thing: There are seven framed cartoons from Enquirer Editorial Cartoonist Jim Borgman hanging in his office, although only four are – ahem – on public display.

GOP: City Democrats can't do anythiing

Shortly after The Enquirer posted a story on its web site noting Cincinnati City Council wouldn't vote on the proposed city manager, the Hamilton County Republican Party issued a rebuking press release. Here it is:

June 21, 2006


The Democrat controlled City Council failed to hire a City Manager today. Despite a Democrat Mayor and a Democrat majority on City Council, the Democrats could not agree on hiring a City Manager for Cincinnati.


“Democrat leadership is failing our city. The crime rate is going up and population is going down. Meanwhile, the Democrats running the city can’t even hire a City Manager. Voters will remember this most recent Democrat failure when electing the next City Council.”

Social service advocates lobby city council

Kimball Perry reports from city hall

Cincinnati Council chambers were packed today as representatives for the city’s human services agencies fought to remain a priority to council – and not be forgotten come budget time.

The current discussions about the city’s 2007 budget indicate the approximately $4 million from the city budget that goes to human services could be cut.

“We’re just afraid it’s not a priority and that human services won’t get funded,” said Ann MacDonald, head of the Rape Crisis and Abuse Center of Hamilton County.

MacDonald’s agency used to get $125,000 per year from the city. Now it gets $100,000 – and she worries that number may continue to shrink.

About 50 executives and supporters of those agencies – sporting colorful stickers declaring “I Support Human Services” – were at today’s council meeting.

Victoria Brooks, chief executive officer for AIDS Volunteers of Cincinnati, said the money the city gives her agency is used to match other money AVOC needs.

“AVOC brings $1.3 million in federal funds to Cincinnati (in one year),” Brooks told Council.

There were enough speakers on that subject that the usual 30 minutes set aside for public comments before today’s meeting was extended.

Hillary's on her way

With her own re-election to the U.S. Senate seat from New York looking more like a slam-dunk every day, Sen. Hillary Clinton seems to have some time on her hands -- so she is turning her attention westward to Ohio.

Saturday, Clinton will be the headline draw at a private fundraiser in Cleveland for Rep. Sherrod Brown, the Lorain Democrat taking on Republican incumbent Mike DeWine.

The junior senator from New York will return to Ohio in July for a fundraiser at a private resident in Columbus, the beneficiary of that event being gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland.

You wouldn't be going too far out on a limb to say that public opinion in Ohio is split on Sen. Clinton, and her likey bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2008. But she, like her husband, can sell tickets to a political fundraiser like nobody's business, so both the Brown and Strickland camps say they will welcome her with open arms.

But note that both campaigns are holding "private'' events and neither will be dragging her out in public.

Open thread on Cincinnati's population loss

You've probably seen the Enquirer's special report today on how Cincinnati is the shrinkingest city in America this decade.

It's also a big day at City Council; the vote is scheduled on Mayor Mark Mallory's city manager nominee, Milton Dohoney Jr.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Ghiz: Mayor is disingenuous

Press release Cincinnati Council Member Leslie Ghiz just released:

June 20, 2006


Ghiz Calls Mayor’s Push for Vote Minus Tarbell “Underhanded”

Councilmember Leslie Ghiz today blasted Mayor Mallory’s decision to call for a vote tomorrow on his selection for City Manager. During the Mayor’s weekly press conference last Tuesday, Mayor Mallory stated that he would not be calling for a vote because of the absence of Councilmember David Crowley. A week later, however, the Mayor is now pushing forward with a vote despite the absence of Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell, who is in Nantes, France for a Sister City program in his official capacity as Vice Mayor.

“It seems a bit suspicious to me that the Mayor would be calling for a vote with the Vice Mayor 4,000 miles away,” Ghiz said. Ghiz further noted that Crowley is supportive of the City Manager candidate and Tarbell has been opposed. “If the Mayor is confident that his candidate is the best one for the job, certainly he can hold off on the vote for another week,” she said.

Ghiz has been steadfastly opposed to the City Manager candidate, citing an overly favorable contract, the candidate’s lack of experience.

The City Council meeting will be held tomorrow, June 21, at 2:00pm in Council Chambers.

Francisco Franco still dead. So is Cincy casino.

This week's award for belaboring the obvious goes to Queen City Gaming Entertainment, which announced Tuesday that it has pulled the plug on its plan for a slots parlor at Broadway Commons, at least for this year.

That outcome became apparent a week ago, when the company headed by hotelier Louis Beck stumbled out of the gate on the very first day of its satatewide petition initivative drive.

A competing group - Ohio Learn & Earn, a group formed by race track owners and Cleveland developers - filed challenges to the Queen City petitions in a number of counties around the state, guaranteeing yet another delay for the Cincinnati group.

Staring at an Aug. 9 deadline to come up withte signatures of 323,000 registered Ohio voters, Queen City Gaming Entertainment spokesman Brendon Cull conceded last week that the Cincinnati group was probably licked.

Tuesday, Cull made it official.

"With less than 50 days to collect over 600,000 signatures (the number the group would probably need to get 323,000 valid ones), we realized that time is too short and no amount of money can buy time,'' Cull said.

Queen City gaming, Cull said, "was hampered by too many legal challenges, too many missteps and a late start that ultimately doomed our efforts.''

That leaves Ohio Learn & Earn, which collected about 200,000 signatures in its first month of operation, as the only game in town with a plan for slots at race tracks and a Cleveland location that leaves Cincinnati out in the cold.

Strickland lands in JKB's hometown

After a "Turnaround Ohio'' bus tour last week that skipped most of the city's major urban areas, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ted Strickland will land at the corner of Hamilton and Blue Rock in Northside Saturday afternoon for a rally with Cincinnati supporters.

Promising "entertainment and refreshments,'' the Strickland campaign will take over Hoffner Park at 1:30 p.m. in the heart of the city where his opponent, J. Kenneth Blackwell, made his bones in politics.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Lawsuits coming in Ohio 2004 election?

Robert F. Kennedy says he may file lawsuits related to the 2004 presidential election in Ohio, which he maintains was stolen in a Republican conspiracy.

Here are excerpts from his interview with PRWeek:

PRWeek: Tell me about the process of putting the story together - it obviously took a while.

Kennedy: I read the literature out there, and read the articles. (Emphasis added by blogmaster - we can do that.) Then I interviewed voters in Ohio, and public officials, and people who were involved in the election from all over the country.

PRWeek: Why do you think this wasn't covered heavily by major media directly after the election?

Kennedy: I think the mainstream media took up the Republican echo chamber, and just echoed the right-wing talking points.

PRWeek: Is there a next step?

Kennedy: I've been meeting with attorneys... to devise a litigation strategy. And I would say that very soon we'll be announcing lawsuits against some of the individuals and companies involved.

PRWeek: Who exactly would that litigation be targeting?

Kennedy: I wouldn't say, right now.

Read the full article here.

It doesn’t, however, guarantee good grammar

Guest blogger Lori Kurtzman contributes...

From the Web site of Ohio Learn & Earn, the group trying to bring slot machines to six horsetracks -- including River Downs in Anderson Township and Lebanon Raceway in Warren County -- and the city of Cleveland:

"Learn & Earn is an exciting new proposal that will put a college diploma within your reach! This unique program will deposit nearly one billion dollars a year directly into college grants and scholarship accounts of all Ohio students who have successfully completes the core curriculum established by the Ohio Board of Education."

You have successfully completes reading this now.

To learn more about the importance of higher education and proofreading, visit ohiolearnandearn.com.

UPDATED, 5:20 p.m.

Hey, they fixed the typo. Someone up at Learn & Earn must read this blog.

Ted Strickland's not-so concealed weapon

When was the last time you heard a Democratic candidate for Ohio governor raking Republican state legislators over the coals for being soft on gun rights?

The answer is, you haven't.

But Ted Strickland is not the typical Democrat. He comes from hard-nosed, hard-scrabble southeast Ohio, where gun-toting is a way of life, whether for hunting deer or just for some peace of mind when you live down at the end of a long farm lane in the middle of nowhere.

So Strickland touts his 2nd Amendment beliefs at every opportunity, much to the chagrin of the upscale urban Democrats who shudder at the thought of J. Kenneth Blackwell in the Ohio governor's office.

It was not so strange, then, that the Strickland campaign cut loose a press release Monday morning taking Ohio Senate Republicans to task for adjourning for summer recess before acting on House Bill 347, a piece of legislation that gun owners belive would strengthen the Ohio Concealed Carry law. One of the things it would do is eliminate the requirement that concealed carry permit-holders keep their weapons in plain sight while in their vehicles.

"As governor, I would support passage of this bill in its entirety and would sign H.B. 347 into law the moment it hit my desk,'' Strickland said in the press release.

The statement of support for H.B. 347 came just as Strickland was winding up a three-day, 19-stop "Turnaround Ohio'' bus tour.

The tour assiduously avoided all major urban centers with the exceptions of Dayton and Columbus, winding its way instead through small towns and rural areas like Waverly, Chillicothe, Wilmington, Troy, Sidney and Wapakoneta.

These are places full of conservative, Republican-leaning voters - the same kind Strickland has depended on in his southeast Ohio congressional campaigns - who might well appreciate a gubernatorial candidate eager to protect their 2nd Amendment rights.

They also happen to be the backbone of the Republican voter base in Ohio, the kind of voters Republican candidates for governor can't live without.

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