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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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Clermont County's ballots

Jon Craig brings you the sage of the missing ballots in Sunday's Enquirer. You can also read it here.


The groups behind the lawsuit say they have uncovered evidence of possible tampering in Clermont County, a traditionally Republican-leaning county where Bush won easily.

For example: oval-shaped stickers were inexplicably found on at least 10 ballots in Clermont County, for several several state and local races as well as president and the same-sex marriage ballot issue.

The tiny white stickers would have blocked an optical scanner from counting a vote for the pencil mark that’s visible below. Two of those ballots from Pierce Township were preserved and observed by Enquirer reporters Thursday.

Brian Green, an elections attorney at Brunner’s office, confirmed that the stickered presidential ballot – which negated a vote for Kerry – is perplexing and that the Bush oval above it clearly has a darker, wider pencil mark. None of the other ovals marked on the two-page ballot are as dark or outside the oval to the same extent.

Clermont County elections officials said they no longer use stickers to remake spoiled or mismarked ballots. The county has since purchased newer optical scanners that would not count stickered ballots.

Clermont County Board of Elections Director Mike Keeley, who became director in March 2006, said he is unaware of anyone misusing stickers during the 2004 election. The county’s newer optical scanning equipment would not count votes if stickers were placed on ballots today, he said.

“That would show as an invalid ballot,” he said Thursday. “That was old equipment, old procedures, old process.”

The county’s former Board of Elections director, Daniel Bare, did not return phone calls for comment, but Bob Drake of Anderson Township, a mathematical education professor at the University of Cincinnati, signed a sworn affidavit saying Bare and other county election workers acknowledged stickers were used to cover stray marks on ballots during the 2004 election.

In an interview with The Enquirer, Drake said he and others “noticed some ballots had stickers completely covering (a) Kerry vote. A different shade of pencil where the Bush bubble was filled in. ... There should’ve been an investigation. There was criminal activity.”

Brunner attributed the sticker problems more to inconsistencies in county procedures statewide, something she aims to iron out.

The checkmark present next to the Issue 1 oval is of concern to her, she said, because if it was there before the paper ballot was run through an opti-scan machine, that vote would not have been counted.

Brunner had no firsthand knowledge about the two stickered ballots, but said her staff is committed to painstakingly examining any lingering questions or concerns about 2004, while working to improve future elections.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Andre Harper: Candidate and Funny Man?

Andre Harper says he's "a public servant, not a politician." But he also might be a comedian. If you want to find out, he's doing a comedy show Aug. 23 at Mr. Pitiful's in Over-the-Rhine.

He promises some of Cincinnati's best comedians will join him on the stage that "unforgettable" night for an event to raise money for his campaign. "Political correctness will not be allowed...no one issafe when Andre Harper takes the stage." The Republican also says he won't be held liable for the comments of his alter ego.

To see his Harper Manifesto or order tickets, go to http://www.andreharper.com/.

Eby Welcomes Qualls Too

There's still a lot of talking about Roxanne Qualls. Here's something from Steve Newsome, campaign manager for Republican candidate John Eby:

"We are very excited to see how she does again on city council and hope that we can work with her on all of Cincinnati's issues. She's a great negotiator and could be a great asset for a new council."

His e-mail goes on to say the Eby campaign will be putting out its first signs this weekend and continuing the door-to-door.

Eby ran in 2005, spent about $30,000 and got 15,000 votes.


You Can Give More Money Now

The $1,000 campaign contribution limit imposed on City Council candidates by Cincinnati's charter goes up 100 bucks, the city tells candidates today.

Here's part of the letter from Jill P. Meyer, chairwoman, Cincinnati Elections Commission:

"Upon review of the “additional duties” listed for the CEC in Article XIII, Section 4 of the Charter (see bold text, below), it was determined that the contribution limits for the 2007 election are required to be adjusted by “the same percentage as the periodic adjustments to the salaries of the mayor and a council member, rounded up to the nearest one hundred dollars.” Per the terms of the Charter, such adjustments are required to be made “every four years.”

Based on the Council salary increases which took place in the last four years, the contribution rates imposed by Article XIII of the Cincinnati Charter for the 2007 Council election cycle will be increased as follows:

Total individual contribution: $1100 (increase of $100);
PAC: $2700 (increase of $200);
Political Party or Legislative Campaign Fund: $10,500 (increase of $500). "

Therefore, for example, if an individual contributor donated $1000 to a Council campaign prior to the reporting deadline for the 120-day filing report, that contributor could contribute an additional $100 to the same Council campaign during the 2007 election cycle. Likewise, for example, if a PAC donated $2500 to a particular Council campaign prior to the reporting deadline for the 120-day filing report, that PAC could contribute an additional $200 to the same Council campaign during the 2007 election cycle. Similarly, if an individual had not previously contributed any funds to a particular Council campaign, that individual could contribute a total of $1100 to that Council campaign during the 2007 election cycle. Likewise, if a PAC had not previously donated any funds to a particular Council campaign prior to the reporting deadline for the 120-day filing report, that PAC could contribute a total of $2700 to that Council campaign during the 2007 election cycle. The same analysis would apply to Political Parties or Legislative Campaign Funds, whose total contribution limits increased to $10,500."

And here's that bold text: 2) Every four years, the commission shall adjust the contribution limits in section 1 and the matchable contribution limit in section 3 by the same percentage as the periodic adjustments to the salaries of the mayor and a council member, rounded up to the nearest one hundred dollars.

Harris Happy to Have Qualls Back

Although many say Roxanne Qualls' reappearance at City Hall and her entry into the fall City Council race should strike fear in the hearts of many of the other candidates, Greg Harris says he's happy to have her back. He volunteered on her congressional campaign and has worked with her through his job at Knowledge Works.

"She has an incredible mind. She just very smart. And now, with her public policy background, she's just going to bring so much."

Over lunch yesterday at Kaldi's - he says the red beans and rice is great, by the way - he talked about the race and why, when it's difficult for a newcomer to raise enough money, he's in it:

1. He wants to focus on workforce development. "I know public policy sounds so academic, but it's really about helping people have access to money for job training. There are so many programs out there, but many people just don't know about them. I want to make that connection. I know how government works and where the resources are."

2. When he ran unsuccessfully for congress against Steve Chabot, he got 63% of the vote in the city of Cincinnati. He's hoping many of those voters remember him and vote for him again.

3. He wants to win, obviously, but he would prefer to do it with a healthy percentage of votes from black people. He believes people elected by mostly whites can tend to make policy without considering the effects on other demographic groups.

4. He's going door-to-door to try to offset the need for more campaign funds. "I'm just trying to do face time." He has passed out more than 5,000 of his magnets (they have kitchen measurement equivalents on them). "Those are 5,000 mini-conversations."


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Update on Guiliani around town...

From reporter Howard Wilkinson, now posted on Enquirer.Com:

Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani said today in Cincinnati that it's his image as a fighter against terrorism that will get him elected in 2008.

He didn't think his previously stated positions in favor of abortion rights and legal protections for gays and lesbians would hurt him with conservative Republicans.

"I have consistently argued that I'd like to see far fewer abortions and whole lot more adoptions take place, not just in New York but all across the country,'' he said.

He emphasized his role as mayor of New York when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

"Voters have to decide what is most important,'' he said. "And I think they will decide that being on the offense against Islamic terrorism is by far the most important issue. And nobody has more experience with that than I do.''

Giuliani, speaking during a brief news conference at Great American Ball Park, cited a recent Quinnipiac University survey that showed him nearly even with New York Sen. Hillary Clinton among Ohio voters.

He said it was evidence that he is the "only Republican who has a chance of winning Ohio. I think that's the case in a whole lot of states -- Connecticut, New Jersey, Michigan, all over the country. I am the most electable.''

Giuliani began his day at a fundraiser at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse restaurant on Seventh Street downtown. Ruby set up a valet parking operation on Seventh Street, charging those who are paying $2,300 for a private roundtable discussion with Giuliani an additional $7 to park their cars.

Giuliani followed the high-roller affair with a general reception at Ruby's, where his supporters paid $250 each.He came to the ballpark in the fifth inning to sit with Reds owner Bob Castellini.

"Let's keep this brief,'' he told reporters. "I want to see some of the game.''After the game, there will be a "Rally with Rudy" event at The Pub at Rookwood Mews on Madison Road, where he is expected to address a crowd of supporters.

By 7 p.m., Giuliani will be hooking up with conservative radio talk-show host Sean Hannity and a potential rival for the GOP nomination, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, at Kings Island. Hannity will also be broadcasting his national radio show live from Kings Island from 2 to 5 p.m.

Both Giuliani and Gingrich - who may enter the presidential contest later this year - will be speaking at Hannity's "Freedom Concert,'' a touring show that features country music stars Montgomery Gentry, LeAnn Rimes and Lee Greenwood.

Hannity's tour is raising money for a scholarship fund for the children of military service men and women killed or seriously wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Williams will re-run for CPS board

From CPS reporter Ben Fischer:

Cincinnati school board veteran Rick Williams said late Wednesday he intends to run for re-election, making him the board's only incumbent who will try to retain his seat in November.

The other two CPS board members whose terms expire this year, John Gilligan and Florence Newell, have said they would retire.

Williams, who has been one of Superintendent Rosa Blackwell's chief critics since her tenure began in 2005, will run in an open-field election where the top three finishers win seats. Williams has not formally filed yet, because he says he's "procrastinated" in getting the necessary 300 signatures filed at the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Just one candidate, A. Chris Nelms Jr., has formally filed

Since being appointed to fill an unexpired term of Virginia Griffin in May 1999, Williams has won two full terms on his own. He's served three separate terms as board president.

Ruby, Castellini host Giuliani

A group of Cincinnati police officers were assembled on the southeast corner of Walnut and Seventh streets downtown at 11:15 a.m., awaiting the arrival of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, in town to raise money for his presidential campaign. Giuliani has an 11:30 a.m. private roundtable discussion planned across the street at Jeff Ruby's Steakhouse on Seventh Street.

Ruby has set up a valet parking operation on Seventh Street, charging those who are paying $2,300 for the event an additional $7 to park their cars.

Giuliani's expected to arrive about 11:30, meet with the high-rollers in private and follow it up with a general reception at Ruby's where his supporters will be paying $250 each.

He'll head to the ballpark for a Reds game at noon, sitting with owner Bob Castellini for a few innings.

-- Howard Wilkinson

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Others' Thoughts on Qualls

Pretty much everybody interested in Cincinnati politics was talking today about Roxanne Qualls' appointment and entrance into the race to be one of nine in November. Here's what a few had to say:

Charlie Winburn, Republican former councilman running again: No question Qualls will win. "She is strong. I think she did a pretty good job as mayor."

Councilman Chris Monzel, also a Republican: "I welcome her to City Hall."

Charter Committee President Michael Goldman: "Roxanne Qualls is a long time Charter supporter and that she will be assuming a seat on council held for 25 years by Bobbie Sterne and for 9 years by Jim Tarbell."

Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz, who’s pleased to have a third woman on council: "I’m looking forward to learning from her. It’ll be fun to see the experience she brings. She called me today and left me just the nicest message."

Pete Witte, president of the Price Hill Civic Club and organizer of the West Side POWR PAC, was hoping Charter would give the seat to Melanie Bates. His group endorsed incumbents Ghiz, Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz, Chris Monzel, Cecil Thomas, John Cranley and challengers John Eby and Bates.

"Roxanne wasn’t all that well connected to the West Side when she was on council and when she was running for Congress,’’ he said. "That’s why she never did that well on this side of town."

Told that Qualls did mention the West Side and the importance of it several times in her announcement speech today, he joked that he'd believe her - as soon as she eats a Landmark at Price Hill Chili.

Qualls Isn't Wasting Any Time

Supporters of councilwoman-to-be Roxanne Qualls started gearing up even before she was announced Wednesday afternoon as Jim Tarbell's replacement.

In an e-mail forwarded to probably hundreds of people, Marilyn Ormsbee urges people to check local political blogs and alert her campaign about anything "particularly hateful." It said positive comments were welcome after 2 p.m. - that's the time of the press conference at which Qualls was announced as Charter's choice.

"It will be one tough campaign, and not only because she is starting late," the e-mail said. "There will be those who will try anything to keep her from returning to City hall. She will need all of the volunteers and financial aid you all will hopefully provide."

More from Bates on Qualls

Charter Council candidate Melanie Bates had a prior commitment and had to miss this afternoon's announcement that her party gave Jim Tarbell's council seat to former Mayor Roxanne Qualls.

Joan Kaup was there, sitting at the table with Tarbell, Qualls, Chris Bortz, Charter President Michael Goldman and former long-time Charter councilwoman Bobbie Sterne. Tarbell called Kaup the "epitome of volunteer, civic, servant interests" and said "one of the charming parts about her" is her newness. "She came to the table so fresh and untainted."

Here's more of Bates' conversation with Enquirer education reporter Ben Fischer:

“You know, it’s kind of like when you apply for a job and you don’t get it. It’s the same kind of feeling.”

She said she didn't have any advance warning, no time to ask that she be considered for the appointment: “I don’t think anyone did, I don’t think even Roxanne did. It was all of a sudden, there were rumors swirling. “How can you predict Jim Tarbell? That’s like predicting the weather in the Midwest. You just can’t.”

He asked her if she felt it was fair for Charter to appoint someone who wasn't already running:

“The Democrats did that with Eric Kearney for Mallory’s Senate seat. It doesn’t make it OK, but it’s politics. I’m not saying it’s OK, or feels good, or anything, it’s just the way it is. If you’re in the game, you have to roll with the punches.”

And what might this do to her chances in November?

“I don’t know. But then, having her in the race could, it may — I’m not ready to say it’s the worst thing that ever happened, or it’s the best thing that ever happened. Certainly, all else being even, it’s not good for me … But she would draw a base that would support me. So that might enable me, to bump someone else.”

“Her being there, it may be just fine for me. How it happened is a different story.”

“It’s obvious I’m not going to be sitting (on Council) in September, but in reality does it make a difference? If it was a conservative male they brought forward, I’d say that’s pretty crappy. But Roxanne can energize a base that could help me. So it may be a wash for me. I just don’t know.”

She said she believes there's room for both her and Qualls on council because there are "weak incumbents." She wouldn't elaborate on which incumbents she was referring to - after she noticed Pamula Thomas, CPS ombudsman and wife of incumbent Cecil Thomas, standing nearby.

Another school board member won't run

Ben Fischer reports:

Florence Newell, a veteran educator and one of Superintendent Rosa Blackwell's strongest supporters on the Cincinnati school board, said today she won't be running for re-election in November.

The decision was an about-face for Newell, who had taken out petitions to run for a third term earlier this summer. She joins colleague John Gilligan, who announced last week he would also be retiring from the board.

Newell said she's comfortable retiring now, because the district has improved dramatically since she began in 2000. But ultimately, she decided to quit because of her growing frustration with the board's four-member majority, which has overruled Blackwell and challenged the administration on a wide range of issues.

"The other reason, that is secondary, is that there are too many occasions when I believe this board acts as a boss instead of a governing body," Newell said.

The seven-member board is now guaranteed to have at least two new members in January.

The only incumbent up for re-election who hasn't announced his intentions is Rick Williams, but he is among 10 people who have taken initial steps to run. Also, member Melanie Bates still has two years left on her term, but is running for City Council and would resign her seat on the school board if she wins.

The board's 4-to-3 split (with Newell firmly with the 3) was most pronounced this year as the board fought over the terms of Blackwell's annual job review, which ended last week with no raise for Blackwell.

"I don’t understand why we would treat any employee the way we did the superintendent," Newell said today. "In that we didn’t establish the goals until the year was almost over, not allowing any time for her to improve in any of the areas. I think that’s what you do when you’re a boss, and I don’t believe a board should function in that way."

In retiring rather than standing for re-election, Newell makes it more likely that the current majority will retain, or possibly even strengthen, its control of the board.

But Newell said she's had her say, and that regardless of how new blood might affect the board's ideological balance of power, she thinks it could help calm the occasionally toxic atmosphere at the board.

"It could be a really great thing. In 2000, (Gilligan) and I came on in 2000, and (Williams) had been appointed earlier, and I think it was a great addition. It was fresh ideas, it was people who didn’t have a history and background, and who were more than willing to try to work very hard. So it was a different climate, so I think it could be healthy."

Yes, it's Qualls

Comment here

Talking budget cuts in Hamilton County

In case you haven't been watching them on ICRC TV, the county commission meetings lately have been quite contentious. The issues...well, take your pick: jail, budget, abortion.

In the next two days though the three commissioners, budget folk, administration and department heads will hopefully separate the rhetoric from the real when it comes down to the county's dollars.

They're holding all-day budget sessions (the public is invited) Thursday and Friday to look at suggested cuts. The specific goal is to find at minimum $1.8 million in cuts in order to continue housing more than 300 overflow inmates in the Butler County jail. Compounding the problem: the county's reserves are nearly dry and the administration is projecting a $27 million deficit next year. That sure doesn't help.

--Here are the cuts proposed by Commissioner Todd Portune (toward the end of the letter).
--Here are the cuts proposed by Commissioner Pat DeWine.
Commissioner David Pepper hasn't yet posed any in writing that we've seen, nor has the administration, which has frustrated DeWine.

UPDATE: An equally frustrated Pepper later responded to this:
He said he agrees with many of Todd’s cuts and will likely present more later in the budget process. But his suggested cuts to fund Butler County came in the form of the “comprehensive safety plan” he and Portune crafted and raised the sales tax to fund. Voters have since circulated petitions and forced the tax increase on the ballot.

Says Pepper: “We’re defining the problem as not just how do we get through Butler County for two more months. It’s how do we continue Butler County, build a new (jail) facility, operate a new facility and our plan includes cuts, efficiencies and a new revenue stream. No one else has come forward with a plan to do that.”

Hillary's got the numbers in Ohio

Sen. Hillary Clinton is tied with her top Republican foe, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, in Ohio, according to Quinnipiac University's Swing State Poll released this morning.

That's a slight backslide for Clinton in Ohio. In a July 12 poll, the New York senator lead Giuliani 44 percent to 42 percent in Ohio.

However, Clinton has maintained her Democratic primary lead over Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in Ohio. In today's poll, Clinton leads the Democratic pack with 41 percent, followed by 16 percent for Obama, 11 percent for John Edwards and 8 percent for Al Gore. That's compared to a June 27 poll in which Clinton led with 40 percent, followed by 12 percent each for Obama, Edwards and Gore.

Meanwhile, Giuliani is also maintaining his lead in the Republican primary, holding leads over Arizona Sen. John McCain or former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson of seven points in Florida, 18 points in Ohio and 13 points in Pennsylvania.

“Sen. Clinton is inching ahead. Not only does she lead by a nose in two of the most important swing states in the Electoral College, but she is turning around independent and Republican voters who previously viewed her negatively,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

CLICK HERE for more results on today's poll.

What does Rep. John Boehner have in common with ...

Football player Tom Brady, actor Daniel Craig, recording artist Jay-Z and Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Barack Obama?

According to Esquire magazine, they are among the 23 best-dressed men of 2007.

Garry Kicks Off Campaign

I thought Brian Garry's campaign already was kicked off, but apparently not. Because there's a Kickoff on Thursday at Crowley's bar in Mount Adams, 5:30-8 p.m. Among those listed as hosts: advocate for homeless people Georgine Getty; the Rev. Damon Lynch Jr.; council members Laketa Cole and David Crowley; Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 392.


Chabot loses chief of staff

Gary Lindgren, chief of staff for U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, R-Westwood, will be the new executive director of the Cincinnati Business Committee.

Cliff Peale has the story here

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tarbell's Out

Vice Mayor Jim Tarbell's not saying exactly what he'll be doing after his resignation's effective Sept. 3. And neither Chris Bortz nor Jeff Cramerding are returning phone calls this afternoon about who will replace Tarbell.

The Charter Party did e-mail out this statement:

"The Charter Committee respects Vice-Mayor Jim Tarbell’s decision to resign from city council, but certainly not without a great deal of sadness. There is no person in this city who loves Cincinnati more than Jim Tarbell. He has dedicated his life to preserving, improving, and building our city. He has always steadfastly believed in the bright future of Cincinnati and has effectively carried the message of our city’s beauty and potential throughout each of our neighborhoods and indeed throughout the country. Charter is proud of its long association with Councilman Tarbell for he continued the Charter tradition of putting the city’s interests first as well as focusing on a long term vision for our city.

The Charter Committee thanks Vice-Mayor Tarbell for nine years of stellar service to the city of Cincinnati. Jim leaves city council having accomplished a great deal, but we are sure he will continue working to make Cincinnati a better place. We know he will do this because that is who Jim Tarbell is."

Read the story here. More to come on who gets the two months of incumbency before the November election.

Anti-Coulter groups plan counterattack

Groups typically attacked by conservative commentator Ann Coulter said today they are happy she plans a visit to Xavier University next month. In fact, they are asking for $5 donations for student groups "who represent the values Coulter vilifies in her speeches and writings."

The visit, as reported by the Xavier University Newswire, is at a time to be announced on Sept. 6 at the Schiff Family Conference Center at Cintas Center. Groups opposed to Coulter's views are planning a separate forum and rally, also on campus, where they say they will distribute the funds.

Coulter's speaking fees range from $20,000 to $30,000, but funds are being raised by the College Republicans to sponsor her talk, which is open to the public. That equals about $5 for every student enrolled at Xavier, according to Bo Shuff, director of education and public policy for Equality Ohio, a gay rights group. "Donations are starting to come in,'' Shuff said this afternoon.

The groups leading the "counter Coulter" effort range from Xavier student groups to local groups like Equality Cincinnati, Democracy for Cincinnati and the Cincinnati chapter of the National Organization for Women. National organizations like People for the American Way and the Human Rights Campaign also have joined in.

"Our goal was to empower student groups on Xavier's campus that seek to expand the conversation beyond divisive rhetoric," Shuff said. "We hope the money helps students to promote real dialogue about American values like compassion and civil rights."

Coulter is a columnist, political commentator and best-selling author. Her candor, including remarks critical of the widows of firefighter victims from Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and, more recently, aimed at Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, attract national media attention.

"Every protest and every heckler she attracts wherever she appears means more publicity for her and bigger speaking fees," said Patrick McNearny, president of the Xavier Gay-Straight Alliance. "We are glad to be able to do something different that is a win for the Xavier community."

"Whenever someone as divisive as Ann Coulter comes to our state, we can't just sit on our hands," Brian Rothenberg, executive director of ProgressOhio, said in a separate news statement. "We can stoop to her level, or we can take the opportunity to promote important values like diversity, compassion, and equality. We chose the latter."

Berding on Balanced Budget

Here's something Jeff Berding wants you to know:

Council Commits to Real Balanced Budget in 2008
New law ensures City doesn’t spend more than it brings in

Cincinnati City Council unanimously passed a law last week ensuring that the City will not spend more than it expects to bring in during 2008. The new law also establishes a policy for spending unexpected revenue at the end of each year, a situation that was highly contentious at the end of 2006. The new policy, authored by Councilman Jeff Berding, ensures that the City will first build up their reserves to a minimum standard before spending year-end unexpected revenues. Additionally, once the City reserves meet the new threshold, any additional spending by Council is restricted to one time non-recurring expenditures that will not increase future operating costs.

For the last several years the City’s expenditures have been outpacing revenues, and the City has been able to balance its budget only by drawing down on the savings garnered in years past. The prior year carryover at the end of 1999 was $26.3M. In contrast, the budgeted carryover from 2007 to 2008 is down to only $2M.

Berding said, “This Council will be the first in many years forced to live within its means, and it is imperative that we do so to avoid being penalized from bond agencies. In addition, this new law will force Council to be honest with the public about our finances, and cause Council members to focus our money on our core mission of making the City safe and clean, reducing blight and improving neighborhood services. We will also end our reliance on unpredictable and often volatile unbudgeted revenues as funding sources for programs that cannot be sustained long-term, a practice that is bad policy and unfair to those who count on the funding.”

“Prior Councils worked hard to build up our reserves, and we should make the same investment in the future for our kids' sake. This good government policy starts by enacting laws to ensure Council never again spends more than it takes in.”


100 Years of Hats

Mayor Mark Mallory and his dad, former Ohio House Majority Leader William L. Mallory Sr., went to Batsakes hat shop downtown this morning to honor the store's 100th anniversary.

They surprised owner Gus Miller with a key to the city and a proclamation.

Ghiz: I'm Not Against R.P. McMurphy's

Leslie Ghiz is taking some heat for her vote last week against David Crowley's motion to direct the city administration to stop its legal battle over R.P. McMurphy's liquor license. She and four others - Chris Monzel, Cecil Thomas, Chris Bortz and Jim Tarbell - voted against moving forward with the idea immediately. The motion went instead to the neighborhoods committee for consideration later.

Ghiz says she's not opposed to the Wasson Road bar. She explained she voted against Crowley's motion because she had been told by Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann's office that the motion wouldn't do any good, wouldn't have any impact on the two-year fight over the liquor license. Bar owner George Dyer is appealing to Dann's office over the loss of his license, so the issue is now between the bar owner and the attorney general.

She acknowledged Dyer has made significant changes in his operation that have cut down on trash and other problems neighbors complained about in 2005. She said she hopes he doesn't lose the license.

Monzel was emphatic that he does oppose any plan to stop possible punishment for "crimes" committed by the bar in 2005. Crowley said he was trying to give the bar a reprieve from spending thousands more on legal fees since the operation has improved.

West Side News

There's another new Cincinnati blog out there - this one about Price Hill. It calls itself a "hyperlocal" site for Price Hill residents.

Click here to check it out.

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