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, February 16, 2007

Do you have a story to tell?

Specifically, do you have a horror story to tell about being trapped on an airplane for hours on end, sitting in your cramped seat wondering why the plane is parked on the runway, going no where, instead of whisking you to your fabulous destination?

If so, then Rep. Jean Schmidt wants to hear from you.

The Miami Township Republican launched a probe on today into why so many people have been trapped on airplanes going nowhere, sometimes for as long as eight hours. She's asking folks to aid in her investigation by submitting their stories to her office.

“We have all heard of horror stories about passengers being trapped for extremely long periods of time. I plan to investigate why this is happening and under what conditions these events occur,” Schmidt said in a news release. “I am asking the public to share with me their experiences.”

She's also meeting with the major airlines “to try and gain an understanding of how and why this continues to happen.”

“Airline passengers do not deserve to be treated like cattle. It is outrageous that some passengers have been so mistreated. It is bad business for the airlines and a maddening imposition on their customers. I intend to find out why this keeps happening. I hope to work with all the parties involved and get to the root cause of these horror stories,” Schmidt said.

According to Schmidt, a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, there were more than 7,600 instances last year where airline passengers were forced to sit in their seats on airplanes for more than two hours before taking off.

“It is my hope to determine the cause of these delays as soon as possible. As our nations air traffic system gets more and more crowded the problem is bound to get worse. Passengers are suffering because we have let our air traffic control system become antiquated,” Schmidt said.

Jean Schmidt's floor statement

From the Congressional Record:


Madam Speaker, I rise tonight after another long day out of disappointment--disappointed that we are not having a real debate about how we win in Iraq. We have spent countless hours in what is little more than political theater.

This body is scheduled to meet 145 days this year. Just to open our doors, we spend over $8 million for each legislative day. This debate will cost some $30 million, yet it will yield nothing but a partisan vote on a nonbinding resolution after literally hundreds of speeches designed to do no more than charge up one's own political base.

I am deeply disappointed. The people expect more from us. They expect solutions, not grandstanding. They expect both parties to work together. There will be no victory when our votes are tallied. We will have every problem we began with, but be even further apart politically.

Tonight, I believe we embarrass ourselves before our brave men and women in uniform, before the American people and before our enemies.

Boehner's speech on Iraq

From Rep. John Boehner's office:

Boehner Closing Floor Speech on Iraq Resolution

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) delivered closing remarks on the Iraq resolution brought to the floor by House Democrats. Below are Boehner’s remarks as prepared:

“I thank the Gentleman for yielding and for the opportunity to speak once again on the task we face as a nation. The resolution before us is non-binding. But it is a first step down a treacherous path – a path that, if followed, will endanger Americans for generations to come.

“Iraq is the central front in a global war between the United States of America and radical Islamic terrorists – a war that began long before the horrific events of 9/11 – a war the American people did not seek, and did not start. It is mind-boggling to consider how fanatically committed our enemies are to destroying America, even at the cost of destroying themselves in the process. Our enemies recruit young people, fill them with hate and rage, and then send them on suicide missions to kill innocent victims. We face an enemy who loves death more than life.

“As Americans, we cherish freedom and democracy. Ours is a way of life. Theirs is a way of death…of murder…of suicide. The global reach of radical Islam stretches from North Africa, through the Middle East to South Asia, to Indonesia, and to the Philippines.

“The other side wants Americans to believe the war in Iraq is separate from the war on terror. They even say we’re not fighting al-Qaeda in Iraq, ignoring the fact that al-Qaeda has made it the central front in their war against Western Civilization. According to the experts – and according to their own words –radical Islamic terrorists will never stop fighting until much of the world is under Islamic law.

“In 2004, Osama bin Laden said the following about the conflict in Iraq: ‘The whole world is watching this war and the two adversaries; the Islamic nation…and the United States and its allies on the other. It is either victory and glory or misery and humiliation.’

“And our enemies are watching this debate. Through the Arab media we know what they’re saying. Recently the second in command of al-Qaeda issued a warning to moderate Muslims in Iraq and Afghanistan who are working and dying to build peace and security. He said, and I quote: ‘These traitors in Iraq and Afghanistan must face their inevitable fate, and face up to the inescapable facts. America…is about to depart and abandon them, just as it abandoned their like in Vietnam.’

“The consequences of failure in Iraq would be catastrophic for America and the world. Last month General Petraeus spoke of the very real possibility of Iraq’s neighbors taking sides in sectarian violence. Failing in Iraq would jeopardize Israel and greatly benefit Iran, a nation governed by a fanatic and actively building nuclear weapons.

“The battle we fight in Iraq is the biggest part of a global war. If we leave, the fight will follow us home. And what we’ll leave behind will be chaos – the same kind of chaos we left behind in Vietnam, Lebanon, and Somalia.

“As Americans we’re fortunate in so many ways. We have so many blessings including a great and proud history to inspire us.

“Earlier this week I talked about President Lincoln and the challenges he faced during some of America’s darkest days. During the Revolution, America faced down what was then the most powerful empire in the world with a rag-tag army. We survived a Civil War that would have permanently divided any other nation.

“After a crippling depression in the 1930s we defeated Japanese imperialism on one side of the globe and Hitler’s Germany on the other. We then defeated Soviet Communism in a test of wills that lasted a generation.

“The greatness of America is exemplified in a simple, short letter about duty and sacrifice. The letter was written by a Marine, Staff Sergeant Daniel Clay, husband of my former staffer, Lisa Bell Clay. Sergeant Clay was one of 10 Marines killed in Fallujah a little over a year ago. He left behind a letter to his family to be read in case of his death. In it, he said: ‘What we have done in Iraq is worth any sacrifice. Why? Because it was our duty. That sounds simple. But all of us have a duty. Duty is defined as a God given task. Without duty life is worthless.’

“Our troops are not the only Americans who have a God-given task. If a non-commissioned officer can understand his duty, then certainly Members of Congress should understand theirs.

“Congress has a duty to protect the American people now, so the next generation can enjoy prosperity and freedom. Congress also has a duty to our men and women in uniform when we send them into harm’s way – a duty to provide them with the full support and resources they need to accomplish their mission and return home safely.

“My friends on the other side have described this non-binding resolution as a ‘first step.’ It IS a first step. It’s the first step in a plan to cut off funding and reinforcements for American troops in harm’s way.

“The next step is to micromanage the war through the budget process. To quote the gentleman from Pennsylvania, Mr. Murtha, who said yesterday: ‘They won't be able to continue. They won't be able to do the deployment. They won't have the equipment, they don't have the training and they won't be able to do the work..’

“Madame Speaker, at this very moment, American troops are fighting radical Islamic terrorists thousands of miles away. It is unthinkable that United States Congress would move to discredit their mission, cut off their reinforcements, and deny them the resources they need to succeed and return home safely.

“The American people will not support a strategy that involves pulling the rug out from under American troops in the combat zone by cutting off their reinforcements and forcing them to face the enemy without our full support.

“This resolution is non-binding, but it is a first step toward that tragic, unthinkable goal.

“Four years ago this body agreed that fighting this war was a worthy cause.

“There have been setbacks and Members on both sides are rightly dissatisfied with the results. But this is a war. We face a sophisticated, determined enemy who wants to annihilate our way of life.

“We have a duty to stand and fight against those who seek to destroy America and the freedom that defines us. Our troops are committed to fighting and winning this global war. We owe them our unfailing support.

“I urge my colleagues to stand with the Marines and the soldiers, the sailors and the airmen, and vote down this resolution. I urge my colleagues to think about our duty: our duty to support our troops; our duty to protect the American people; and the duty to leave for our kids and theirs a safe, secure, and free country.

“Our soldiers are dying to protect us – upholding their duty. Do we have the courage to uphold OUR duty?

“Vote no on this resolution.”

Boehner represents Ohio’s 8th District, which includes all of Darke, Miami and Preble counties, most of Butler and Mercer counties, and the northeastern corner of Montgomery County. He was first elected to Congress in 1990.

Resolution "disapproving" of Iraq troop surge PASSES

UPDATE below.

As we reported was likely to happen in today's paper, not one of Greater Cincinnati's all Republican delegation voted in favor of it.

Just to clarify: That means Reps. John Boehner of West Chester, Steve Chabot of Westwood, Jean Schmidt of Miami Township, Mike Turner of Centerville and Geoff Davis of Hebron, Ky., all voted "no" on the resolution.

In fact, every Republican member of Ohio's congressional delegation - except Rep. Steve LaTourette of northeastern Ohio - voted AGAINST it. Every single Democrat on the Ohio delegation, however, voted FOR it.

Check out the Roll Call vote for yourself HERE.

Boehner's statement after the vote:

“Republicans may have lost the vote on this non-binding resolution, but we won the debate.

Over the course of this week, the American people heard two very different messages from the House of Representatives: one from Democrats that destined the cause of freedom to certain failure, and one from Republicans that offered a compelling case on the disastrous consequences of anything short of victory.

Indeed, for the sake of our security and that of future American generations, victory is our only option in this global war against radical Islamic terrorists. Republicans know our troops are up to the task, and we will stand strong in the coming weeks to ensure they have full, complete and unfettered access to the resources they need to achieve victory. The American people will not support a ‘slow-bleed’ policy that cuts off funding and reinforcements for our troops in harm’s way.”

Steve Chabot's Iraq speech

From Chabot's office:

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH), a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke on the House floor today in opposition to the non-binding resolution, House Concurrent Resolution 63.

The text of Chabot's statement follows:

Prepared Remarks by Congressman Steve Chabot

February 16, 2007

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I first want to express our appreciation to the brave men and women of our armed forces. I have met with our troops in Iraq and in Afghanistan, wounded soldiers at Walter Reed and Bethesda Naval Hospitals, and the families of those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice defending our freedoms. We thank them for their unwavering commitment to our country and believe we owe it to them to have an open and honest debate regarding our next steps in Iraq.

"Mr. Speaker, there is no question that the war in Iraq has been challenging. We are fighting a war against terrorists and radical Islamist militants who are determined to kill as many Americans as possible. They believe that killing American soldiers will drive us out of Iraq and out of the Middle East - allowing radical terrorists free reign and a base to expand their influence around the world.

"These are the same radical Islamist militants who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 and the Khobar Towers in 1996, the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, and the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. We surely can't forget the slaughtering of 3,000 innocent American citizens on our soil. And just last year, a couple arrested in Britain planned to use their six-month old baby as a human bomb to destroy a civilian airliner over the Atlantic Ocean. We must acknowledge that we are dealing with irrational, radical, maniacal monsters who will not respond to diplomatic niceties.

"Mr. Speaker, we all know that the vast majority of Americans do not support an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, just as they do not support a never-ending deployment of U.S. forces there. They want us -- they expect us -- to work together, and with the President, to find a way to win the War on Terror while bringing our troops home as soon as possible.

"We should be past the point of political posturing when it comes to Iraq. Yet this resolution is more of the same -- once again placing politics over policy. Instead of encouraging substantive conversation on our options in Iraq, the Majority has once again shut us out of the process and refused to consider any alternative to their own point of view. That's truly unfortunate because this non-binding resolution does nothing to increase the accountability of the Iraqi government, provide support for our troops, or even propose a 'new course' in Iraq.

"We all agree that this Administration has made mistakes in Iraq. Most harmful, I believe, has been the slow pace of training Iraq troops and security forces to take responsibility for their own country. Early lapses in this area are a principle reason why our troops remain in Iraq today.

"But the Administration has taken action to accelerate this training and better prepare Iraqi forces. So now it is time for the Iraqi government to demonstrate that it has the ability to confront the problems facing their country - both politically and militarily. That is why it is so important that we hold the Iraqi government accountable for what they say they are going to do and require them to take the lead in securing their nation. The Iraqi government and the Iraqi people must recognize that they, not American troops, are responsible for the future of their country.

"With that being said, we must continue to support our troops and commanders on the ground by giving them the resources they need to be successful. It would be a tragic mistake to cut off funding or limit support for our troops fighting against terrorists abroad. We must be very careful about the messages we send to our allies and our enemies - and most importantly, our troops in the field, who have performed with great courage.

"The bi-partisan Iraq Study Group has stated that it could support a shorter redeployment or surge of American combat forces to stabilize Baghdad, or to speed up the training and equipping mission. The commanders on the ground, including General Petraeus say that we can be successful, but they need more troops to get the job done.

"Clearly, the path forward must include military and political strategic benchmarks so that we are in a position to measure the progress and commitment of the Iraqi government. But we must also be willing to give our troops - who have sacrificed so much for our nation - the opportunity and resources to be successful and provide the short-term support needed to achieve increased stability in Iraq.

"There are serious consequences to our national security if we fail in Iraq. Cutting off funding, limiting military options or pushing for immediate withdrawal will only make our future more dangerous. It is time to stop the politics. Stop the games. Stop the finger pointing and do what is best for America. Let's put partisanship aside and discuss concrete plans on how we can defeat radical terrorists and protect our nation from those who mean us great harm."

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ken Blackwell has a new job

Ken Blackwell has a new job as a distinguished fellow at The Buckeye Institute.

Here's the release:


COLUMBUS – The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions today announced former secretary of state, state treasurer and 2006 Republican gubernatorial nominee Ken Blackwell has joined the organization as a Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow. Blackwell will focus on state issues with national significance such as taxes, energy, education and health care reform. Also, he will lead the institute’s effort to evaluate public policy based on the principles of limited government, economic empowerment and personal responsibility.

“Conservatism was not repudiated in Ohio’s last election,” Buckeye Institute Chairman Rick Segal said. “Economic stagnation, high taxation, uncontrolled spending and political corruption were the objects of voter scorn. The Buckeye Institute is committed to asserting conservative ideals as loudly and aggressively as ever before, and we now have in Ken Blackwell a new colleague who is inarguably Ohio’s most eloquent herald of those ideals.”

“I am honored to be affiliated with this community of well regarded academics and scholars united in the sole purpose of making Ohio a better place to live and an easier place to do business,” Blackwell said. “Ohio will again be the focus of national attention during the 2008 presidential election. The Buckeye Institute’s research and analysis will play an important part in shaping the public policy discussion.”

“Ken Blackwell is a strong advocate for free market enterprise and a respected leader in the conservative movement nationally and statewide,” Buckeye Institute President David Hansen said. “I welcome him as an important member of our team who will provide us with a national presence as we grow and stake our claim as a leading conservative public policy voice.”

Blackwell’s public service includes terms as mayor of Cincinnati, an undersecretary at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission. In 1994, he became the first African-American elected to a statewide executive office in Ohio when he was elected treasurer of state.

An advocate for tax simplification and government reform, Blackwell has testified before Congressional committees on taxation, government operations, election systems, education reform and banking matters. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration and a former member of the federal senior executive service.

He is a trustee of the Association of the Government Accountants’ Academy of Government Accountability. He was co-chairman of the board of directors of the Campaign Finance Institute in Washington, D.C. and a member of the Harvard Policy Group on Network-Enabled Services and Government. In addition, Blackwell is a former chairman of the U.S. Census Monitoring Board.A certified government finance manager, Blackwell was a 1999 recipient of the Government Finance Officers Association’s Excellence in Government Award. In 2006, he received the prestigious National Leadership Award from the National Forum for Black Public Administrators. He is on the board of directors of the National Taxpayers Union and the John M. Ashbrook Center for Public Affairs at Ashland University.

Blackwell holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Education degrees from Xavier University, where he later served as a vice president and faculty member. He has been a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Harvard University’s Institute of Politics, the Aspen Institute, the Salzburg Seminar in Austria and the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University (British-American Project). His continuing education has included executive programs at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.

The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions is a nonpartisan research and educational institute devoted to individual liberty, economic freedom, personal responsibility and limited government in Ohio. It assists policymakers, scholars, entrepreneurs, the media and the public by providing objective analysis and sound solutions to state and local policy questions, particularly in the areas of taxation, government spending, regulation and education. The institute neither seeks nor accepts government funding. It enjoys the support of foundations, individuals and businesses sharing a concern for Ohio’s future.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Watch your lawmakers! UPDATED

Tune in to C-SPAN, folks:

Rep. Mike Turner, a Centerville Republican, is now scheduled to speak on the House floor at 6:30 p.m. tonight, so any minute now. Turner ended up speaking at 7 p.m. last night. Read his comments in the Congressional Record HERE.

We hear Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Republican from Miami Township, might speak later tonight, at around 10 p.m. Due to schedule changes, Schmidt is now expected to speak sometime after 6:30 p.m. tonight (Thursday).

Rep. Geoff Davis of Hebron, Ky., is tenitively scheduled to speak at 11:30 a.m. tomorrow. Davis just spoke, right on schedule! Read his comments on the Iraq resolution HERE. We'll put up his full remarks when they're available.

Rep. Steve Chabot, a Republican from Westwood, is also planning to speak tomorrow, not sure yet what time.

BUT, if you miss your lawmaker's speech - or want to see someone from another state - check out C-SPAN's collection of all the House speeches HERE. Note that you'll need to install RealPlayer in order for the links to work.

FYI: The members of Congress covered by the Enquirer include those U.S. House members who represent parts of the Greater Cincinnati area (Chabot, Schmidt, Boehner, Turner and Davis) and all four U.S. senators from Ohio and Kentucky (Voinovich, Brown, McConnell and Bunning). This may answer a few previous questions about why Enquirer coverage tends to be GOP-heavy: All of these lawmakers except Brown happen to be Republicans.

Schmidt, Chabot dismiss City Council resolution

Cincinnati's two U.S. House members, both Republicans, downplayed a resolution passed today by the Democratic-controlled Cincinnati City Council opposing President Bush's plan to put 21,500 additional troops in Iraq.

This while the U.S. House is itself spending all week (read previous blog posts HERE and HERE) debating a similar resolution, also backed by Democrats, "disapproving" of the president's troop surge.

Said Rep. Jean Schmidt, a Miami Township Republican: "This is just another example of why, what is taking place isn't a debate about how to win in Iraq instead it has turned nothing more than political theater. With all due respect, I am much more interested in what the Joint Chiefs have to say."

Schmidt's congressional district includes the eastern half of the city and Clermont and Warren counties. The city's other U.S. House member, Rep. Steve Chabot of Westwood, who represents the city's western side, Hamilton County and part of Butler County, also dismissed the resolution.

Said Chabot: "I certainly respect the views of each individual council member, but their views don't carry any more weight than any other individual constituents of mine."

"I'm not going to second guess them, that's for them to decide, whether it's an appropriate use of their time," said Chabot, himself a former Council member.

Oh, by the way, one of the Council members voting for the resolution? None other than former Chabot challenger John Cranley, who lost a challenge to the congressman last November.

UPDATE: Read today's story in the newspaper HERE.

U.S. House debate on Iraq troop surge continues ...

It's Day 2 of the winter snow storm sweeping across Ohio and the East Coast. And it's also Day 2 of the intense debate in the U.S. House over President Bush's decision to send more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq.

If you're snowed in or near a TV, go ahead and tune into C-SPAN right now. Rep. Steve LaTourette, a Republican from northeastern Ohio, is speaking. Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce, a Republican from the Columbus area, spoke recently. And we're expecting local Rep. Mike Turner, a Centerville Republican, to speak at about 2:45 p.m., give or take. (UPDATE: Due to a schedule change, Turner is now expected to speak at 6:30 p.m. tonight.)

Yesterday, the federal government in Washington shut down at 2 p.m. Today, they opened up two hours late, due to the "wintry mix" of snow and ice. So what about Congress, you may wonder? Has the weather affected the congressional debate over the Iraq troop surge?

Not so much.

Majority Leader Steney Hoyer, D-Md., said this yesterday: "Our men and women in Iraq are not shutting down because of rain, heat ... sandstorms ... We're going to do our job!"

House Minority Leader John Boehner, a local Republican from West Chester, led off the debate yesterday. You can read his remarks in the Congressional Record.

UPDATE: You can also READ Boehner's remarks and watch a VIDEO of him on his Web site.

Check back here for updates on when our other Greater Cincinnati lawmakers are planning to speak - and what they say. The final vote on the Democratic-sponsored resolution "disagreeing" with the troop surge is expected to happen on Friday.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Mallory to media: Get out there and shovel

After being grilled at his weekly press conference by television and print reporters over the city's response to snow and freezing rain that has hit the region over the past two weeks, Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory had some advice: Do some real work.

"For as much as the media is out there reporting on snow," the mayor said, "ya'll could be shoveling and plowing."

What do you think?

A suggestion from a reader:

To Enquirer Political Reporters.

Simply announce that the bold type guy is no longer welcome on the site and stop posting his bile.

Trust me, anyone with a brain on these blogs will cheer and be supportive. Are his/her ridiculous posts freedom of the press?

You wouldn't print a letter to the editor from namecalling, no substance person.

U.S. House debates Iraq troop surge

If you get snowed in today, there's always C-SPAN.


All day long, the public affairs network will be broadcasting members of the U.S. House taking turns speaking for or against a proposed resolution "disapproving" of President Bush's decision to send more than 20,000 additional troops into Iraq.

Just to make sure we are all on the same page here, take a look at the resolution. It's really not that complicated:

The Text of H. Con. Res. 63 follows:

Disapproving of the decision of the President announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That—

(1) Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States Armed Forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq; and

(2) Congress disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush announced on January 10, 2007, to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq.

House Minority Leader John Boehner, a local Republican congressman from West Chester, already said last Sunday on MSNBC's "Meet the Press with Tim Russert" that he won't be voting for this resolution.

Read a transcript of the show HERE.

Watch a Netcast of the show HERE.

We don't expect any of our other local Republican members of the U.S. House to vote for it either… But there's nothing like a heated debate on a snowy day.

UPDATE: National Public Radio will also be offering "live continuous coverage" of the House of Representatives debate on the Iraq Resolution on air and online starting at noon today.

Coverage will continue each day until the expected vote on the resolution this Friday.

If you need the cliff notes of the day's debate, tune in to NPR for a special program summarizing the day’s events from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight, tomorrow and Thursday.

Dohoney now a credentialed city manager

Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. has received a credential from the International City Managers Association, making him one of about 1,000 managers in the country to have displayed the acumen to get the organization's nod.

Dohoney's lack of credential was cited over the summer by council member Jim Tarbell as a reason he should not be considered for the Cincinnati job, when there was quite a battle between Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory, who wanted to hire him, and four council members who said the mayor was in violation of the city charter by not bringing forward at least two managers for council to interview and consider for the job.

The council members voiced quite a bit of concern over Dohoney's qualifications for the job at that time.

Dohoney was eventually confirmed for the job by a 6-3 vote, with Tarbell, Chris Bortz and Leslie Ghiz giving him a thumb's down. Council member Jeff Berding also expressed concerns over Dohoney's hiring, but eventually voted to confirm him.

Since that debate, all council members have said Dohoney is doing a good job, particularly when he put together the city's budget. There was quite a fight over the budget, but that squabble had nothing to do with Dohoney's vision for the city.

Here's the press release, put out Tuesday by Mallory's office, annoucing the credential:

Cincinnati - City of Cincinnati City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr. recently received the Credentialed Manager designation from the International City Managers Association (ICMA), the premier local government leadership and management organization. Dohoney is one of 953 local government management professionals currently credentialed through the ICMA Voluntary Credentialing Program. Currently, there are approximately 8,000 ICMA members.

“We are lucky to have him,” Mayor Mark Mallory said. “In his first 6 months, Milton has brought professional management to City Hall. I am confident that he is making the tough changes that we need to bring excellence to the operations of city government.”

Milton Dohoney becomes the first Cincinnati City Manager to be credentialed while serving as Cincinnati’s City Manager. Two former Cincinnati City Managers, Gerald Newfarmer and John Shirey, are credentialed managers. However, they both received their credentials after their service to the City of Cincinnati.

To receive the prestigious ICMA credential, a member must have significant experience as a senior management executive in local government, have earned a degree, and demonstrated a commitment to high standards of integrity and to lifelong learning and professional development.

Dohoney has 25 years of experience in local government, and has worked for five Mayors. Among his other accomplishments, Dohoney is recognized as the founder of the Regional Neighborhood Network, an organization comprised of 18 cities in five states which partner community-based organizations with local government to improve conditions in neighborhoods. He was also a three-term president of an international organization called Neighborhoods USA, serving on its board for nine years.

He assumed his duties as Cincinnati’s Chief Executive Officer in August 2006.

So, what do you really think, John?

John Eby, the Westwood Republican who is making his second run for a Cincinnati City Council seat this year, blew a gasket Monday when he learned that five members of council - a majority - were backing the resolution by Democrat David Crowley putting council on record as being opposed to the surge of 21,500 U.S. troops in Iraq.

Laketa Cole, John Cranley, Cecil Thomas and Jim Tarbell voted with Crowley, while Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz and Leslie Ghiz opposed the resolution.

Eby fired off the following e-mail to the anti-surge council members:

"I'm glad to see that the problems of the city have been solved and we can move on to Iraq. What a relief knowing you five are on the job and solving the problems of the city. Did you lie awake last night and think to yourself, 'Thank God we have the banks built, the problem of violent crime solved, and the new housing developments we’ve built are absolutely spectacular.' We can all rest easy now. We no longer have to worry about the 500 murders that occurred on your watch. We can marvel at the completed riverfront and the economic opportunity it brought to the city. Our drop-out rates have never been lower and our graduation rates have never been higher. Our neighborhood business districts are thriving and the streets have no snow. It’s a bright sunny day in the world of Osama Bin Crowley.

Let me ask you, how hard was it to cast this useless vote and get your name in the paper? In case you are unaware, this is not why you were elected to City Council. This is why our city fails. Stop patting yourself on the back and hiding behind clever language, it took NO courage to make this vote. I am deeply disappointed in you John, Laketa and Jim * you should know better. Now get back to the work you were elected to perform."

There was, as you might imagine, no smiley face or "Have A Nice Day" message at the end of Eby's e-mail.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Heimlich's an expert now

He’s out of a job.

He (hint hint) may want more exposure to take on fellow Republican, Congresswoman Jean Schmidt.

He had nothing better to do.

He was asked.

Those are the reasons former Hamilton County Commissioner Phil Heimlich agreed to become a “legal expert” for WCPO television as it covers the Liz Carroll murder trial in Clermont County.

“I’m still thinking about what I’m going to do,” Heimlich said Monday night, moments after he appeared live on Channel 9 to give his expertise on the jury selection for the Liz Carroll trial in Batavia.

Carroll is accused of murder in the death of her foster son, Marcus Fiesel.

Heimlich hasn’t had a job since the incumbent Republican was ousted by Democratic challenger David Pepper.

Heimlich, who sounded in a good mood, said he was more than qualified to serve as a legal expert with his 9½ years as an assistant Hamilton County prosecutor, where he prosecuted some capital cases.

He wasn’t real talkative, though, when it was suggested he was serving as an expert in Clermont County -- in the heart of Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District – as part of that uncertain future.

That district, which stretches from eastern Hamilton County east to beyond Portsmouth, now is held by Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township.

Heimlich has been rumored to be interested in a possible primary race against Schmidt since before he lost his commission seat.

“I’m working on a few things,” Heimlich said of his future, without being specific.

Some see Schmidt’s seat as vulnerable even though she has staved off two challenges by Democrats in the last two years.

-- posted by Kimball Perry

It's official: city council is against the surge

Five members voted in committee for the anti-surge resolution today.

Here is Howard Wilkinson's story

Here is a statement from Leslie Ghiz:

Councilmember Leslie Ghiz expressed her opposition to the passage today of an arbitrary resolution in Finance Committee concerning the federal policy on the Iraq war. Ghiz noted that the resolution is being considered at a time when the City is faced with over $1 million in new costs associated with the new Fraternal Order of Police Contract as well as the recent ruling regarding police medical benefits.

“I cannot begin to understand the rationale behind addressing a federal policy prior to taking care of our own business,” Ghiz said. “We stand today with a $1 million bill in our hands for our police officers’ salaries, yet we are wasting time stating our opinion on the war in Iraq.”

Ghiz told citizens that they should direct their opinions about the war in Iraq to their representatives in Congress as well as President Bush.

Brown County engineer gets ODOT job

Brown County Engineer James Beasley, 57, of Georgetown was named director of the Ohio Department of Transportation today by Gov. Ted Strickland. It is Strickland's 17th cabinet pick and his first from southwestern Ohio.

"Jim understands that an efficient and reliable transportation network contributes to and enhances economic growth," Strickland said in a prepared statement. "I am confident that he will not only be a tremendous leader in developing and maintaining safe roads for Ohioans, but will guide the department in a way that helps create jobs."

Strickland said he has known Beasley for more than 30 years. "I know, without a doubt, that he has the character and integrity needed to manage this crucial department."

Beasley begins March 5 in the job that pays $124,758 annually.

Beasley has served as Brown County engineer since 1980. He worked for the state Department of Natural Resources from 1973-1975.

He graduated from Ohio State University in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and received his master’s degree from OSU in hydraulic and hydrologic engineering.

Beasley has served two separate terms as vice chair and chair of the District 15 Ohio Public Works Committee.

"I am eager to work with our state’s various regions and cities to ensure that all Ohioans have access to a quality, statewide transportation system," Beasley said. "This cooperation is absolutely necessary to ensure that economic development and job creation in every part of the state remain key priorities of the Ohio Department of Transportation."

The Ohio Department of Transportation has an annual budget of $2.1 billion and maintains nearly 20,000 miles of highway.

Reuters reports on Muslims in US - from Cincy

CINCINNATI (Reuters) - Tala Ali, 25, has seen the good and the bad of being a Muslim in heartland America. People have leaned out car windows to scream at her: "Terrorist go home." But strangers curious about her headscarf have also approached her apologetically to ask about Islam.

"I love it, actually, when people ask me questions," said the pink-scarved Ali, who came to the United States with her Jordanian father and Palestinian mother when she was five.
"Out here, I'm the only Muslim some people may meet," said Ali, waiting for friends after Friday prayers at a Cincinnati mosque. "I always keep in mind that I'm an ambassador of Islam."

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