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, March 02, 2007

"Who supports the war?... I do"

Incoming city hall reporter Jane Prendergast reports:

Cincinnati City Councilman Chris Monzel supports the war in Iraq, and he wants everyone to know it.

In his monthly Monzel Report to constitutents, e-mailed Friday and to be passed out at community council meetings, he reiterates this, printing the speech he gave on the council floor Valentine’s Day, the day council discussed Councilman David Crowley’s resolution opposing President Bush’s plan to increase troop strength. The resolution passed 5-4.

Monzel’s speech that day:

This past Christmas, my daughter received an American Girl Movie about Molly McIntire, one of her American Girl dolls, who grew up in the 1940s during WWII….Molly lived in a small town, thousands of miles away from the war that was raging in Europe. A war waged by Germany, who never attacked the US…a war that took 100,000s of American lives. During the movie it showed how much sacrifice that generation went through to support and fight the war in Europe…they planted victory gardens; they rationed butter, meat; they collected scrap metal and rubber; they practice air raid drills…watching this movie with my children made me realize just how easy we have it today.

Today, there is a war going on…once again thousands of miles away from us, but there seems to be little or no sacrifice on our part. The only people who have made any sacrifice at all are the families of the soldiers. Especially those soldiers who have made the ultimate sacrifice of their lives…soldiers who are fighting for our right to live in a free democracy today.

Mr. Crowley asked the other day, who supports the war and no one responded. Well, just like the Greatest Generation of WWII, I do…I support fighting for freedom and against tyranny…it was Hitler and Mussolini in WWII, today it’s militant Islam, Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Iranian President Ahmadinejad, who by the way recently hosted a conference about how the Jewish Holocaust did not happen. How can we stand by and say it is okay for other nations to call for wiping the nation of Israel off the face of this earth. Over 6 million Jews lost their lives during WWII…how many more deaths will happen on our watch. We cannot crawl into a shell and forget about it or wish it away.

This war must be won and if we must sacrifice then so be it. If that means less Federal dollars coming to our city, then so be it. I am willing to sacrifice…though in reality it is a very small sacrifice compared to past generations and our current soldiers’ sacrifices. And I see no difference between fighting against Germany in WWII and the war against terrorism that we are fighting today. A war being fought for the sake of those freedoms we all hold so dear. In order to make the world a safer place for everyone…Iraqis, Afghans, Kurds, Israelis, and Americans, we must sacrifice and we must win!

What secret is the government keeping from you?

As part of Sunshine Week, the Enquirer is compiling a list of government records that ought to be public -- but aren't.

Read more - and helps us out - here

Strickland picks Reece for state commission

Steve Reece of Monfort Heights, a one-time congressional candidate and longtime activist in Cincinnati Democratic politics, was named by Gov. Ted Strickland today to the Commission on African-American Males. It is an unpaid appointment. The commission reimburses for expenses only.

The commission works toward the improvement of the quality of life for African-American males in Ohio by identifying problems and solutions in the areas of education, health, economics and criminal justice.

Reece, an entrepreneur and community leader, founded "Operation Step-up," a group that engages nearly 1,000 young people and challenges them to become productive citizens by developing their musical talents.

He is an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati evening college and a visiting professor at Grambling State University and Northern Kentucky University.

Reece is a graduate of the Ohio Business and Technology College, Xavier University, and the Tuck School of Business Administration at Dartmouth College.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

What have the Dems done?

In conjunction with their party tonight, the Democrats issued this report

Petition fraud, right here in Cincinnati

Sharon Coolidge reports:

A Hamilton County grand jury indicted two women for elections fraud Thursday, accusing them of falsifying several signatures on petitions to put a referendum on whether gays should be protected against discrimination in employment and housing on the November ballot last year.
Ultimately the issue did not make it to the ballot.

A local attorney challenged signatures on the petition, prompting an investigation into possible falsification by the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.

Lois Mingo and Precilla Ward were each indicted on a charge of election falsification, according to court documents. Ward was indicted on a second charge of writing a false signature on an election document.

Each charge carries a possible year prison term.

She made them watch what?

Pete Bronson has the scoop on some odd doings in the city's law department.

Read it here

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Berry, Mallory: Separated at Birth?

Giving a speech about black history in Cincinnati, it’s difficult not to mention Ted Berry, the city’s first African-American mayor. He led the city from 1972 to 1975.

So when current Mayor Mark Mallory began researching the black history month speech he gave Monday night at Annunciation School in Clifton, he and his staff researched Berry. They were surprised to find a lot of similarities. Both men grew up in the West End, both graduated from Woodward High School, both worked shelving books at the library both graduated from the University of Cincinnati. Berry founded the Community Action Commission, and Mallory worked there in 1980 as a social service technician.

The theme the civil rights leader chose for his administration was "Togetherness." Mallory ran on a platform of consensus-building.

So far, Mallory has no park or street named for him. Berry’s name is on a riverfront park in the East End and on downtown’s Ted Berry Way.

Berry was 94 when he died in 2000.


Ney quotes country music singer

Disgraced former Rep. Bob Ney didn't exactly break into song... But he did quote Garth Brooks in a farewell e-mail sent to friends today - the day before the convicted lawmaker is scheduled to report to prison:

And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
I could have missed the pain
But I'd of had to miss the dance

Ney's e-mail, written in all lowercase with scattered punctuation, also contained his address at the federal prison in Morgantown, W.Va., where he will spend the next 30 months. He has been ordered to report to prison by 2 p.m. tomorrow.

"Someone asked me the other day, if I wish I had never ran for office," Ney wrote. "I answered that I am glad that I did. Nothing can erase the wonderful memories, thoughts, constituents, and changes that we, working together with the Republicans and Democrats, have been able to do."

Ney, 52, pleaded guilty last October of two felony counts for accepting gifts — free trips, including one to play golf in Scotland, gambling chips, meals and drinks, tickets to sporting events, and campaign contributions — from convicted former Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff and a foreign businessman in exchange for official favors.

"Would I change things if I could? Sure. Am I sorry for things that happened? Absolutely, and I will pay the price," Ney wrote.

Ney, who has requested that he be allowed to continue his alcohol rehabilitation program at the Morgantown prison, wrote in his e-mail that the "darkest days are not ahead" and that although Thursday means a "loss of freedom" for him, it also is a "day of enlightenment."

Ohio Republicans: Losing and loving it

There were lots of interesting things in the Bliss Institute's Ohio politics poll (see posting below for a link), but one set of numbers jumped off the page and conked us on the head, because they were so weird.

In a section where Ohio voters were polled about their satisfaction over the results of the 2006 election, 68.8 percent of all voters polled said they were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the election of Democrat Ted Strickland over Republican Ken Blackwell in the governor's race.

That's not particularly unusual; voters tend to like to pat themselves on the back during the honeymoon period after the election of a new governor or president, but the Bliss Institute's break-out numbers on how Ohio Republicans feel about the election of Strickland were astounding.

Nearly half of the Republicans polled (48.7 percent) said they were "very satisfied" or "somewhat satisfied" with the election of a Democrat as Ohio's governor.

Ohio Republicans are not generally into wearing hair shirts or self-flagellation, so there are only two possible explanations for this, and neither of them have much to do with Gov. Strickland.
they either (1) had no use for their own gubernatorial candidate; or (2) were so fed up with their party leadership that they were willing to endure a Democrat in the Statehouse for the next four years.

Or both.

Ken Blackwell, editor of Townhall.com

At the Statehouse, former Secretary of State Ken Blackwell got the nickname "Inkwell," because of his knack for snatching newspaper headlines.

Now, the Republican will be penning some of his own prose here at www.townhall.com.

His debut column can be found here.

Townhall.com, which bills itself as the largest conservative online opinion, news and community site today announced that Blackwell will be a contributing editor. Blackwell will write a weekly column for Townhall.com and provide a weekly 60-second radio commentary for the Salem Radio Network.

"Ken Blackwell is one of the most talented and passionate conservative leaders in America," said Hugh Hewitt, Townhall.com executive editor and host of a nationally syndicated radio show. "We are honored that he has chosen Townhall.com to be his online intellectual home."

"Townhall.com is the preeminent umbrella site for conservatives because it combines the time-tested power of talk radio with the cutting-edge power of the blogosphere," Blackwell said in a prepared statement. "It’s a tremendously potent combination, which is why I’m so happy to be a part of this outstanding organization."

Two weeks ago, the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions announced that Blackwell has joined its conservative research group as a Ronald Reagan Distinguished Fellow. There, Blackwell will focus on state issues with national significance such as taxes, energy, education and health care reform. Meanwhile, the Buckeye Institute has started a new Eye on the Statehouse blog here.

"As a former (Cincinnati) mayor, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Commission, and state Treasurer, Ken Blackwell brings unique qualifications and unmatched experience to Townhall.com,” said Joe Davis, chief operating officer of Salem Communications, which owns the web site.

Salem Communications is a radio broadcast company, Internet content provider and magazine publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content and conservative values. The company owns 98 radio stations including 61 in 23 of the largest 25 radio markets. More information about the company is here at www.salem.cc.

We like Republicans. And Democrats

A new poll shows we like split government. Read more here

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Better late than never

The Ohio Senate today unanimously passed a bill that officially designates February as Black History Month.

The bill was first introduced by State Sen. Eric H. Kearney, D-North Avondale, during the last legislative session in January 2006, but stalled in the Ohio House.

Senate Bill 26 would make Ohio the fourth state to statutorily recognize Black History Month.

"It is only fitting that Ohio, a state that has contributed so much to the history of African-Americans, should recognize this important event," Kearney said.

John Fleming, vice president of museums at the Cincinnati Museum Center, and Dr. Charles O. Dillard, military general, physician and philanthropist, testified in support of the bill during the last session.

Eighty-one years ago, Harvard scholar Carter G. Woodson created Black History Month in an effort to bring Black History into the mainstream public arena.

Senate Bill 26 now goes to Ohio House for its consideration.

Brinkman, Yates "champions of conservation"

It's not often we can report that a Democrat and Republican share a Statehouse prize. But State Reps. Tom Brinkman, R-Mount Lookout, and Tyrone K. Yates, D-East Walnut Hills/Evanston were named "Conservation Champions" today by the Ohio League of Conservation Voters.

In its annual legislative scorecard, the group rated the state lawmakers based on seven environmental votes from the last session. Brinkman, Yates and former State Rep. Catherine Barrett, D-College Hill, received perfect scores. They were among just 10 House members and five state senators who scored 100 percent.

State Rep. Steve Driehaus, a Democrat from Price Hill, was named a "conservation leader" for his environmental record, but missed one of the votes scored.

The full report can be found here or here:

Johnny can't get enough rubber chicken

After a Lincoln Day dinner speech in Clermont County where he laid broad hints that he wants to be Ohio's next governor, former congressman and GOP presidential contender John Kasich moves on to the Butler County Republican Party's Lincoln Day Dinner on March 30, where he is scheduled to be the keynote speaker.

Kasich, from Columbus, found a home on Fox News after his failed bid for the GOP presidential nomination in 2000. Now, despite the fact that Gov. Ted Strickland has been in office less than two months, Kasich told Clermont County Republicans earlier this month that he might run in 2010, if he doesn't like what he sees happening in Columbus.

It is not particularly surprising - we recall Kasich raising that as a possibility in a discussion we had with him nearly seven years ago, at, of all places, the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia, where Kasich was hosting a party for the Ohio delegation to the Republican National Convention.

The long campaign, apparently, continues next month, when the Butler County Republicans gather at the Oscar Event Center at Jungle Jim's Market in Fairfield.

(Footnote: The location of the Butler County GOP dinner is worth noting. Not because they can stock up on buffalo milk cheese while at Jungle Jim's. Because, for the first time in recent years, the Butler County Lincoln day dinner is actually in Butler County. They've been holding it in Hamilton County at the Sharonville Convention Center for years, mainly because they didn't have any place in Butler County big enough to hold it until Jungle Jim's Oscar Center came along.)

Monday, February 26, 2007

City hires new economic development director

Biz reporter Jon Newberry had the story today

Obama rakes in nearly $500,000

Even the event's organizer - State Sen. Eric Kearney - said he was astounded by the success of this morning's Barack Obama fundraising event at the Westin hotel downtown.

About 1,000 Obama supporters - including a handful of Republicans - crammed the main ballroom at the Westin to the point where there weren't enough seats at the tables to go around. Dozens had stand through the breakfast event, lining the ballroom walls.

Even so, it was something of a "stealth" event for the Obama campaign - no reporters or cameras were allowed inside; and a "press gaggle" promised by a campaign aide after the breakfast failed to materialize when Obama's security detail, concerned about moving the Illinois senator through a crowd of hundreds of supporters to where the media was camped out, whisked him out of the Westin through a side door, out of sight of the camera-and-notebook crowd.

The cheapest ticket for the morning event was $100, but those who paid $1,000 or more got to spend about half an hour in a private room with Obama before the main breakfast. Those who donated $2,100 - the maximum contribution allowed for the presidential primary cycle - had their picture taken with the candidate who is hands-down the rock star of the early campaign for the 2008 presidential nomination.

Asked afterwards how much was raised, Kearney - whose wife was a Harvard Law School classmate of Obama - said he didn't know for certain. $300,000?, he was asked. "Higher, higher,'' Kearney said. $500,000? "We'll bump up against it,'' Kearney said.

One of those inside the reception for large donors was Cincinnati's most high profile supporters of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Class-action lawyer Stan Chesley, who has raised millions for President Clinton and for Sen. Clinton's campaigns, said he was there because he has "enormous respect" for Obama.

"Of course, I am supporting Hillary, but, mainly I want to see the best Democrats run for president,'' Chesley said. "Sen. Obama is very impressive."

After the Cincinnati event, Obama was scheduled to go on to Columbus for a private fundraising event and then on to Cleveland for a late-day public rally.

Obama visit - no media, just money

Howard Wilkinson reports:

Several hundred supporters - some of whom paid as much as $2,100 - gathered in a Westin Hotel ballroom early this morning to see and hear Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama.

Obama, the freshman senator from Illinois, spent the night at the Westin after a Sunday fundraising event in Louisville; and was up bright and early for a 7:30 a.m. reception with donors who paid anywhere from $1,000 to $2,100 - the federal maximum contribution for the 2008 presidential primary campaign cycle - for a private session. Those who paid $2,100 had their pictures taken with the senator, one of the leading candidates for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination.

The private reception was followed by a breakfast in the Westin's main ballroom, where those who paid $100 or $500 to the Obama campaign could hear the senator's stump speech.

Both events were closed to the media.

Obama plans to go to Columbus for a private fundraising lunch later today; and will end his day of campaigning in Ohio late this afternoon with a public rally in Cleveland.

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