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, August 25, 2006

War of Words

After reading in an Enquirer today that Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich blasted Auditor Dusty Rhodes (left) for "inaccurate" information in the past, Rhodes fired off a nasty letter to Heimlich.

The bad feelings started when Hamilton County Budget Director Christian Sigman released a document that noted the "very rough estimate" that a proposed sales tax increase and accompanying property tax rollbackwould save the owner of a $100,000 house a total of $49.59 in the three years the rollback runs.

Rhodes followed with a letter (in .pdf below) noting Ohio law grants his office the authority to calculate the correct number -- a number commissioners and the administration could have had by asking for it from Rhodes' office.

The real number a rollback would save the owner of a $100,000 house, Rhodes noted, was $44.83.

In a story noting that, Heimlich indicated he wasn't worried about Rhodes' comments because the last time Rhodes gave commissioners information on the issue, it was "inaccurate."

Rhodes noted in a June 9 letter that he asked commissioners which specific Ohio law pertained to the sales tax/rollback commissioners were contemplating.

The same letter noted the last time a Hamilton County property tax was considered was 1996 that specifically was to fund the two professional sports teams -- and cited the specific Ohio law pertaining to that.

Heimlich said Rhodes gave commisisoners the wrong law.

Rhodes, in a letter today to Heimlich informing him he was disappointed "that you misinterpreted my efforts to provide you with accurate information."

Here's the letter.

DeWine drops pretty, new campaign ad

Sen. Mike DeWine just released another campaign ad today. It’s what you might call a stealth attack ad. Kind of like a backward compliment.

It looks pretty and nice – DeWine’s wearing a blue plaid shirt and sitting on the white railing of his farm in Cedarville with a turning buckeye tree in the background and light guitar music playing – but it’s actually a subtle attack ad on his opponent, Democratic Rep. Sherrod Brown.

The ad, featuring DeWine himself speaking directly to the camera, starts like this: “We all have to work together – Democrats and Republicans.”

It continues: “Together, we lowered taxes for millions of Ohioans. We just passed a law to help protect the retirement benefits of Ohio workers and retirees. And we gave law enforcement better tools to fight terrorists.”

Here’s the zinger, delivered by DeWine as he shakes his head: “Incredibly, Congressman Brown voted ‘NO’ each and every time.”

Finally, in case you didn’t get his point: “I’m Mike DeWine and I approved this message because working together is the only way to solve our problems.”

DeWine called the Enquirer to talk about the ad, letting loose some more zingers not featured on a television set near you:

“I have a proven record of working with Democrats and Republicans in a bipartisan way to get things done,” he said, ticking off a list of bills he’s worked on with Democrats: Great Lakes restoration with Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, funding for AIDS prevention in Africa with Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., legislation to prevent underage drinking with Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn.

Then this: “My opponent in this race (Brown) in 14 years in Congress has been unable, unwilling to reach across the aisle. He’s partisan. He’s ineffective. He prefers to talk about problems instead of doing what it takes to solve them.”

Brown campaign reaction?

Joanna Kuebler, Brown's communications director, was all over it. Here's what she said:

“Mike DeWine, in an attempt to try to keep his job will say and do anything. Sherrod has a very proud record of working with Republicans, Democrats and independents. Instead of talking of about the issues that Ohioans care about, Mike DeWine is trying to hide his record of siding with big oil and big drug companies, giving billions in tax subsidies to the wealthiest one percent.

“Sherrod Brown has voted for tax cuts for middle class families and worked with Senator Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) on the first ever bio-terroristm legislation and ... with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) to close loopholes for prescription drugs, and led the bipartisan opposition to the Central American Free Trade Agreement last summer.

“Mike DeWine is part of the problem, not the solution.”

What do you think? Watch the ad, which is posted on DeWine's campaign Web site HERE.

People with too much time on their hands

Joe writes: "Not a Schmidt supporter but....Attached please find a quick study that shows Shmidt's shadow is obscured by the runner in front.

Any decent art student could figure this one out. Guess Nate should have thought this one through."

Blackwell and Strickland announce debate schedule

The University of Cincinnati will be the site of one of the four gubernatorial debates, it was announced today.

The Ohioans for Blackwell and Strickland for Governor campaigns today officially released more details about the four debates they will conduct before the Nov. 7 election.

The four debates are as follows:

Sept. 5 at noon in Youngstown, sponsored by the Youngstown Vindicator and WFMJ-TV.

Sept. 20 at noon in Cleveland, sponsored by WEWS-TV and the Call & Post

Oct. 4 at 7 p.m. at the University of Cincinnati, sponsored by the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce and Debate USA Alliance. It will focus on the economy.

And Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. in Columbus, at a location to be announced.

Each debate will have a moderator and either media or citizen questioners.

Both independent candidates, Libertarian Bill Peirce and Green Party candidate Bob Fitrakis, have repeatedly objected to being excluded from the gubernatorial debates.

All debates will be 60 minutes in length, using a format similar to Presidential debates, with three minute opening statements from each candidate, then questions answered via 90-second responses, 60-second rebuttals and 30-second clarifications, if necessary. Each candidate will then have a two-minute closing statement.

Beyond a shadow of a doubt

Based on e-mail and blogger response, readers clearly are intrigued by the debate over Rep. Jean Schmidt's shadow, or lack of one, in her 1993 Columbus Marathon finish-line photo.

One reader even asked if Schmidt is wearing sweatpants in the photo...

What do you think?

Nathan Noy, a write-in candidate for Congress in Schmidt's district, who alleges Schmidt is exaggerating her marathon feats, says he plans to call photo experts to a September hearing before the Ohio Elections Commission.

Schmidt's attorney, Joe Braun, said he has called on race photographer Thomas Madine to swear by the authenticity of the photo.

And Braun and Noy said they both have tried to locate Pamela Saylor of West Chester who is listed as finishing less than a second behind Schmidt.

At Thursday's probable cause hearing of the Ohio Elections Commission, Chairman William Booth asked about the finish-line shadows -- or lack thereof.

Noy alleges that because Schmidt cast no shadow, and her body breaks someone else's, it indicates the photo was doctored.

"I can’t explain the shadow," Braun said. "I wish I could. . . I would submit there’s overwhelming other evidence such as the official results, the plaque and I’ve got a slew of medals I can start going through over here if we need to."

Read some of the original debate over the photo on this earlier blog entry

Murtha jumps into the Chabot-Cranley race

After being called a coward on the floor of the House by Jean Schmidt, decorated vietnam war hero John Murtha might be inclined to help the campaign of Democrat Victoria Wulsin in the 2nd Congressional District.

But Wulsin's campaign to unseat Schmidt is not one of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's targeted races, while the Ohio 1st District is.

So, the Pennsylvania congressman is wading into the fight between Steve Chabot and John Cranley as the featured guest at Thursday, Aug. 31 at the Cleveland home of Subodh Chandra, the former Cleveland law director who ran for Ohio attorney general in the primary and lost.

Chandra, who also had a hand in drumming up donors for the Ted Strickland fundraiser at Joel Hyatt's home tonight, is suggesting contributions of "at least $100" for the Murtha fundraiser.

Ted mines California gold

Don't look for Ted Strickland stumping in Ohio today. Like the Cincinnati Reds, the Democratic candidate for governor has a big game on the West Coast tonight.

Strickland, along with running mate Lee Fisher, will be in the affluent San Mateo County village of Atherton Friday night for a $5,000-per-couple fundraiser, where Al Gore is the featured guest.

The Strickland-Fisher fundraiser is at the home of Joel Hyatt, the son-in-law of former U.S. Senator Howard Metzenbaum and the one-time Ohio Democrat who took a beating at the hands of Mike DeWine in the 1994 Senate race.

Hyatt has been in California ever since, but keeps a hand in Ohio Democratic politics, prinicipally because he is known as one heck of a fundraiser. Hyatt sold his chain of storefront law offices years ago, but is now Gore's business partner in a news and information cable channel that caters to 18-to-34 year olds.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Cheney now here

Vice President Dick Cheney's Air Force Two landed punctually at 3:30, Howard Wilkinson reports from CVG.

He's here for a West Side fundraiser on behalf of Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood.

Cheney spent a few seconds greeting the eight members of his welcoming party - mostly Chabot campaign staffers and GOP fundraiser Stuart Dornette, who is also the Bengals' lawyer.

The media was kept "half a football field" away, Wilkinson reports.

Cheney left immediately in his 12-car motorcade for the Green Township home of Dennis and Patricia Ott. The event is expected to raise $250,000 for Chabot's re-election.

Yes, it's true

The state’s elections commission will investigate whether Rep. Jean Schmidt told the truth – about how well she fared in, or whether she even ran, a 1993 marathon.

Read the whole story here

Winburn to lead local Blackwell campaign

From the Blackwell campaign:


COLUMBUS - Gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell announced today that former Cincinnati City Councilman Charlie Winburn will lead his Hamilton County campaign leadership.

"Ken Blackwell is offering a bold agenda to rebuild Ohio and create jobs. I am honored to lead his campaign here in Hamilton County," said Winburn. "Ken is one of the finest sons of Cincinnati and has made our city and county proud."

"Charlie is a tremendous campaigner and well respected for his leadership. I am pleased to have him leading my campaign in Hamilton County," said Blackwell.

Winburn served seven years on Cincinnati City Council and is a commissioner on the Ohio Civil Rights Commission.

In addition to Winburn, Blackwell named Hamilton County Republican Chairman George Vincent, Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis, Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters and community activist David Miller as Hamilton County Blackwell Campaign Co-Chairs.

Dusty: You botched it

It turns out Hamilton County residents won’t save as much on a proposed property tax rollback as previously announced.

Auditor Dusty Rhodes sent commissioners a letter late Wednesday noting their calculations on what the owner of a $100,000 house would save on a property tax rollback was wrong – and he criticized them for doing work he insists only his office can correctly do.

Earlier this week, commissioners voted to place on the fall ballot a proposal to increase Hamilton County’s 6.5 percent sales tax by a quarter-cent for 10 years. That is planned to pay for a new 1,800-bed, $225 million jail and roll back property taxes by a total of $30 million for three years.

Hamilton County administrative staff provided a memo that provided a “very rough estimate” to the owner of a $100,000 house for the three years of the rollback – a total $49.59.
Rhodes’ letter noted the actual savings will be $44.83.

That number also can’t be guaranteed, Rhodes noted, because Ohio law mandates that his office do a property re-evaluation in 2009 that could alter the calculation for the final year the rollback will be in effect if voters adopt it.

Rhodes’ also chided commissioners and county staff for releasing the original number, suggesting they aren’t as qualified as Auditor employees to make those calculations.

“The first problem with other offices attempting to provide estimates or make these calculations is that they are often unaware of the complexities of state law or recent changes with which our staff works on a daily basis,” Rhodes wrote.

“The second problem is that inaccurate or exaggerated numbers undermine the very credibility so necessary to inform taxpayers as to higher or lower levels of taxation.”

Today is the deadline to place issues on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Marathongate: The legal brief

What lawyers are getting paid to argue about. Read it here

If you love U.S. Senate debates

You won't be able to catch one in Cincinnati.

Here's the schedule:

Senator Mike DeWine (R-OH) and Congressman Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today announced the debate schedule for the 2006 U.S. Senate Race in Ohio

The campaigns negotiated four debates between October 1, and October 27. These debates will provide Ohio voters an opportunity to make informed decisions on November 7. Mike DeWine and Sherrod Brown look forward to lively and engaged debates.

The 2006 U.S. Senate Campaign Debate Schedule is as follows:

October 1, 2006
Meet the Press
Check local listings for air times.

October 13, 2006
Dayton Ohio
Cleveland Plain Dealer, Columbus Dispatch, Dayton Daily News, Ohio Public Broadcasting
Time: 8:00– 9:30 p.m.

October 19, 2006
Toledo, Ohio
Toledo Blade and Channel 13 WTVG
Time: TBA

October 27, 2006
Cleveland, Ohio
Cleveland City Club
Time: 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.


Schmidt's attorney responds

In a legal response filed with the Ohio Elections Commission today, Cincinnati lawyer Joseph J. Braun calls Nathan Noy's complaints "frivolous entitling respondents to an award of attorney fees," and requests all five be dismissed.

In a 10-page brief with photos of race results and medals, Braun wrote that the complaints filed against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt and various campaigns "are without merit and fail on their face" to meet the probable cause requirements of state code.

"Mr. Noy's filing of this complaint can only be intended to harass Congresswoman Schmidt,'' Braun continues.

Schmidt-Wulsin debates: Round 3

First, it was Victoria Wulsin challenging her marathon-running opponent, Jean Schmidt, to a 5-K race and a pledge to debate seven times in the seven counties of the 2nd Congressional District.

Then it was Schmidt telling Wulsin (in effect) the two of them would perform all the singing parts in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers before there would be seven debates in seven counties. What's more, she dismissed Wulsin's invitation to race her in the "Race for the Cure" for breast cancer research and upped the ante by challenging her to take her on in an Aug. 27 half-marathon (that's 13 miles) in Morrow.

At first, Wulsin communications director Ady Barkan said his candidate wasn't interested in a half-marathon. But, Wednesday, Wulsin said she would run in the half-marathon, but only if Schmidt agrees to the seven debates.

Bottom line: You are more likely to see the two of them push peanuts with their noses across a barn floor in Adams County than you are to see a Wulsin-Schmidt foot race of any distance. Same goes for seven debates in seven counties.

Noy says he's pushing ahead with Schmidt complaints

Despite rumors to the contrary early today, independent congressional candidate Nathan J. Noy says he will press ahead Thursday on four of his five complaints filed last week against U.S. Rep. Jean Schmidt, alleging she embellished her marathon feats.

Philip Richter, executive director of the Ohio Elections Commission, said he has a conference call later today with attorneys for Schmidt and Noy. While hearing some of the same rumblings that Noy might withdraw some complaints, Richter said nothing definitive is in writing.

"I don't want to get ahead of the game,'' Richter said this afternoon. "I don't have anything in my hand that says he's withdrawing."

The elections commission is set to hear the complaints against Schmidt, a Republican from Miami Township, during a 9 a.m. probable cause hearing Thursday.

Noy claims Schmidt misrepresented the number of times she ran various marathons and how well she placed. He even alleges she fabricated a finish line photo after the 1993 Columbus Marathon. A spokesman for Schmidt called the accusations crazy, releasing photos of all her race medals.

Noy, who is an attorney, said he obviously will defer to any advice from Richter. "If he tells me to withdraw a complaint, it wouldn't make any sense for me to not follow his advice."

A fifth complaint by Noy says Schmidt made false statements about who was responsible for reporting she had a second undergraduate degree during an April 28 interview on Local 12 Newsmakers, saying "it was a mistake made when some people were helping me put together a web site."

Joe Braun, Schmidt's attorney, reportedly will argue that that issue already has been heard and decided by the state elections commission.

In April, Schmidt received a public reprimand from the elections commission for claming she had a second degree from the University of Cincinnati that she never received.

Noy said he only plans to withdraw one complaint about Schmidt's ranking in Lead Clermont, a community college class, when she wrote on her web site: "Graduate of Lead Clermont, # 1 Class, University of Cincinnati, 1993."

"Technically it was the first class ever of Lead Clermont,'' Noy said today, "even though I believe she intended it to lead people to believe she graduated #1 in the class."

"My other four complaints are still rock-solid as far as I’m concerned and I have no intention of withdrawing them,'' Noy said. "We will let the OEC decide if they pass the probable cause criteria tomorrow."

Buckeye State becomes comedy battleground

The mid-term elections will be previewed from Columbus as part of Comedy Central's "Indecision 2006" coverage.

Comedy Central announced today that it will present "Battlefield Ohio: The Daily Show's Midwest Midterm Midtacular" from Ohio State University's Roy Bowen Theatre.
The show premiers at 11 p.m. Monday Oct. 30 through Thursday Nov. 2.

"Host Jon Stewart will be joined by his team of award-seeking commentators and correspondents as they seek to answer the age-old question: Just what the hell is a buckeye?" according to today's news release.

Stewart will be covering (or mocking?) the Nov. 7 elections live from New York City.

This marks the fifth time the series has made a road trip but the first to Ohio. It previously taped shows in Philadelphia and Los Angeles (2000), Washington, D.C. (2002) and Boston (2004).

"Midwest Midterm Midtacular" election coverage episodes will feature in-studio interviews and surprise guest appearances by top-level politicians and newsmakers.

For tickets to any of the four broadcasts at Ohio State University, viewers can send requests to osutickets@thedailyshow.com

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Hackett plugs Sherrod on Hardball

Iraq war veteran and Indian Hill native Paul Hackett took on Republican congressional candidate Van Taylor of Texas, also an Iraq war veteran, in a lively exchange over the Iraq war on tonight's Hardball with Chris Matthews.

You really should watch this 9-minute segment yourself. Both Matthews and Hackett were all over Taylor and his GOP talking points about the war. Very entertaining.

At the end of the interview, Matthews told Hackett: "You're very passionate and vigilant on this issue. It's too bad you're not the candidate up there. It looks like the candidate's way ahead in the polls. Is this bugging you, that Sherrod Brown's got the nomination and not you?"

Hackett's response: "Absolutely not! Absolutely not! Send money to Sherrod Brown. He's a hell of a guy and we hope he's our next senator from Ohio."

Following up, Matthews asked if there's any chance Hackett would run for election, to which Hackett retorted: "I'm running Paul Hackett Law Offices. If you need a lawyer, call me."

Cheney here Thursday

Malia Rulon reports:

Cheney attends Chabot fundraiser this week

Vice President Dick Cheney is headed to Cincinnati on Thursday to headline a private fundraiser for Rep. Steve Chabot's re-election campaign.

Chabot faces Democrat John Cranley, a Cincinnati City Council member from Price Hill. Chabot, a Westwood Republican, will host the vice president at the West Side home of Dennis and Patricia Ott. The event costs $2,100 per person or couple to get a photo with the vice president; $1,500 per couple or $1,000 per person to attend the reception.

The Cheney event comes three weeks after a Chabot fundraiser with first lady Laura Bush had to be postponed due to a soldier funeral. Cheney previously helped Sen. Mike DeWine’s campaign at a Jan. 26 fundraiser in Washington.

Ohio senators at bottom of list

Survey USA just released a list of all 100 U.S. Senators in order of their approval ratings. But you have to scroll down to the very end of the chart to find Ohio Republican Sens. Mike DeWine and George Voinovich.

DeWine, who is up for re-election this year, is #98 with a 42 percent approval rating, compared to a 48 percent disapproval rating.

Click HERE to see a chart tracking DeWine's approval ratings.

Voinovich, who was handedly re-elected to another six-year term in 2004, is #97 with a 43 percent approval rating and 47 percent disapproval rating.

Click HERE to see a chart tracking Voinovich's approval ratings.

The complete ranking list can be viewed HERE.

To read the questions used in the Aug. 17 survey, click HERE.

AFL-CIO endorses levy

A group representing 90,000 area workers is endorsing a Hamilton County property tax to help pay for health care for the poor.

The Cincinnati AFL-CIO Labor Council has endorsed the health and hospitalization levy that will be on the Nov. 7 ballot.

That levy is being offered for renewal at less than what it now collects.

Now, the five-year levy generates $55 million per year but will generate $45.6 million per year if approved by voters.

Now, it costs the owner of a $100,000 house $51.78 annually for the levy. If adopted by voters in the fall election, it will cost $47.24 per year. The levy has been in effect since 1966.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The 2nd District: all about running

Howard Wilkinson reports:

Democratic congressional candidate Victoria Wulsin, as part of a push to get incumbent Republican Jean Schmidt to commit to a series of debates, challenged the congresswoman in her own sport Monday, suggesting they take each on in a 5-K charity race next month.

“If she whips me in a foot race, then I want to totally whip her in the debates,’’ said Wulsin, who said she has run in a 10-K race and crossed the finish line.

Schmidt, a marathoner who runs at least six miles a day, declined the 5-K, a run of a little over three miles, and upped the ante – challenging Wulsin to run with her in a half-marathon later this month in Morrow, a run of about 13 miles.

Barry Bennett, Schmidt’s chief of staff, said the 2nd District congresswoman can’t run in the Sept. 10 Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure, a charity event raising money for breast cancer research, because she will be running 20 miles that day to train for an upcoming Columbus marathon.

He said Schmidt suggested Wulsin enter the half-marathon event in Morrow Schmidt will be running in on Aug. 27.

The Wulsin campaign passed on that suggestion.

“Vic will be running to end breast cancer in the 5-K while Jean Schmidt is out training for a marathon,’’ said Ady Barkin, communications director for the Wulsin campaign.

The Wulsin campaign issued the challenge to call attention to their earlier demand for public debates in all of the 2nd Congressional District’s seven counties – a proposal that the Schmidt campaign says is impractical.

Bennett said he expects that there will be “several” debates between the two in October, after Congress has gone into recess.

Pepper: Blame Heimlich

It took less than three hours for David Pepper to attack Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich, who led the push to place a sales tax increase on the ballot to pay for a jail.

Heimlich and fellow Commissioners Pat DeWine and Todd Portune unanimously voted this morning to place the sales tax increase proposal on the Nov. 7 ballot.

Pepper, the Democratic challenger to Heimlich's bid for re-election, released this at 2 p.m.

Immediate Release:
Contact Bridget Doherty for more information

Heimlich Finally Addresses Jail Issue
After Four Years, Thousands Released Early on His Watch

Hamilton County, Oh [August 21, 2006] Three years and eight months into his four-year term (1,326 days), and after thousands of prisoners have been released over that time, Commissioner Phil Heimlich FINALLY did something on the jail.

He didn’t build it. Construction hasn’t started. There is no location. And there is no real understanding of what it will cost, outside of guesswork. And the original financing scheme he tried to sell to the citizens over recent months has been all but abandoned after strong criticism.

But, lo and behold, 1,326 days into his term, he agreed to put a tax increase on the ballot for the voters to decide.

If the tax increase passes, it will take another four years to actually build the jail.

“I have to give him credit—he finally listened to the rest of us that something needed to be done,” said Candidate for Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper. “But the fact that four years have passed and this is all that has happened on our top priority is mind-boggling. The result of the mismanagement of this issue since 2002 is millions of dollars wasted (paying Butler County to house prisoners) and high crime.”

Having worked closely with Cincinnati Police on the issue, Pepper began demanding action on the jail years ago, and pledged to solve the problem when he announced his bid for Hamilton County Commission.

Only election-year pressure prompted Heimlich to propose any solution to the jail—an issue he had largely ignored for the past three years. (see attached timeline).

“To have done nothing for four years while our police and citizens have cried out for action is simply not doing your job,” Pepper said. “We will be paying the price of his mismanagement and inaction for years to come.”

Timeline: The Jail Crisis

Even Phil Heimlich admits that we have known for years that there is insufficient space at the Hamilton County Justice Center. Early in Phil Heimlich’s term, prisoners began to be released early, or not let in the Justice Center at all. That number has now reached almost 9,000.

Despite repeated lip-service, Heimlich failed to act. Mismanaging this issue has led to more crime, and will ultimately cost the taxpayer millions (above and beyond the cost of a new jail).

The Timeline : Years of Inaction and Rhetoric as Prisoners Go Free
· 2003: Phil Heimlich is fully briefed on the need for a new jail when he becomes a County Commissioner
· 2004: First year of early releases—180 inmates released early; 2,361 undergo “process only”June 2, 2004: Heimlich states need for new jail in Cincinnati Enquirer: “There’s nothing more important than having a jail cell for someone who deserved to be locked up for committing a crime.”August 5, 2004: Sheriff is forced to release prisoners due to overcrowding; Heimlich says news jail needed.

  • 2005: 266 inmates released early; 4,251 undergo “process only”June 9, 2005: More than one year after saying a new jail is needed, Heimlich votes to spend $161,000 to study if new jail space is needed. Sheriff Leis tells the Enquirer that the study is unnecessary because “we know exactly what we need—we need a jail”December 21, 2005: Not surprisingly, the study “validates what Sheriff Simon Leis and many of the judges are saying about the need for new jail space.” Cincinnati Post, December 21, 2005;
  • 2006: 67 inmates released early just through March 27; 1600 undergo “process only”April 5, 2006: Heimlich repeats rhetoric from two years before: “Overcrowding at the jail has been an issue for two decades." Despite repeated promises since 2004, he announces that he needs 60 more days before coming up with jail plan. In the meantime, after doing nothing for three years, the County will begin paying millions to other counties to house Hamilton County prisoners. Of course, none of those dollars will be spent on creating a permanent solution. As The Post summarized: the County’s only solutions are “stopgaps, and rather expensive ones at that. Commissioners need to get off the dime and come up with a permanent solution.”;
  • June 6, 2006: With great fanfare, Heimlich announced a 20-year tax increase to pay for jail. Unfortunately, he never informed fellow County Commissioners of his idea. No one seconds his proposal;
  • August 21, 2006: Heimlich abandons his failed financing scheme after it endures months of criticism. 1,326 days into his term, he essentially agrees to second his colleague Pat DeWine’s revised tax increase.

    Costs: As with the Banks, the costs of mismanagement will ultimately be astronomical:
    Millions: Every year that has been wasted (at least three, and counting) will now cost millions in dollars being paid to Butler County in “rent” to house Hamilton County prisoners—and it will take at least three years to build a permanent solution. Based on initial cost projections by the County, this could ultimately reach tens of millions of dollars.

    High crime: Police officials, starting with Chief Streicher, blame much of the high crime of the past several years to the “revolving door” at the Justice Center.
    **Note** Figures from Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.

    Bridget Doherty
    Communications Director
    Citizens for Pepper Committee

A visitor with a different experience

Here's what the Chicago Tribune had to say about Cincinnati:

CINCINNATI -- It's been called the City of Seven Hills.

And Porkopolis.

And the Queen of the West.

It could also be called: The City With Lots of Friendly People. The City With Cool Architecture. The City With Its Very Own Chili. The City With Lots of Culture and History.

Read the rest here

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