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, September 14, 2007

Snow ends White House stint

Tony Snow, a Cincinnati native, has left the White House grounds.

Snow put in his last official day as White House press secretary today, making the rounds on early TV shows to promote President Bush's remarks the previous night on the Iraq war.

He didn't, however, face media questions from the White House lectern.

Snow gave his 136th – and last – televised White House media briefing on Wednesday.

"This job has been the most fun I have ever had, the most satisfying, fulfilling job. I'm sorry I have to leave it, but I have got to say it has been a real honor and a pleasure working with everybody in this room. And I'll miss it," Snow said at the outset.

"You know, everybody talks about what a horrible job it is to brief the press. I love these briefings and I'm really going to miss them," he added.

Snow, a former TV commentator who was known for sparring with reporters, continued to do so until the end, inviting reporters who complained that they hadn't gotten a chance to ask a question at his last briefing to "be as rude as you want."

Finally, though, it was time for Snow to end the show.

"Let's not extend this so it becomes forced," he said.

Snow, 52, announced last month that he would depart the White House after 16 months so he could earn more money for his family. He is fighting a recurrence of colon cancer, but he said he's not leaving because of his health.

On Friday, the White House media team gathered in the briefing room to say goodbye.

"It's been a short tenure here, but I've had the most fun of my life," Snow told them.

Afterward, as he walked to his car, more than a hundred White House staff members, including chief of staff Josh Bolten, cheered him off. Snow smiled, waved, got into this blue car, and drove off.

Once Endorsed. Now? Not So Much

The West Side POWR PAC endorsed Cincinnati City Council candidate Melanie Bates back in July. At the time, Pete Witte, president of Price Hill Civic Club and one of the neighborhood leaders who interviewed 18 candidates, said the group chose Bates and eight others because members felt they were the ones who would hold the line on property taxes, could work together best and be the most likely ones to help out the West Side.

Today, this is what Witte e-mailed in response to a question about the status of Bates' endorsement:

"POWR PAC believes Melanie has unfinished business with the School Board, which we think she needs to work on. With the latest deficit revelation, subsequent tax levy request, and superintendent search, it is obvious the CPS School Board needs to stay focused and right their ship."

"Melanie would do us all a favor and stay on school board and work to fix the many problems they face."

No decision yet on whether to give the endorsement to someone else. That could come in a few days, Witte says.

Bates said Friday afternoon she hadn't yet heard about POWR PAC's change of heart. She planned to talk to Witte.

Schmidt on Petraeus report

Rep. Jean Schmidt issued this statement today:

"What I have witnessed in Iraq is quite similar to the testimony of General Petreaus. Significant progress is being made on the security front. In my meetings with Iraqi officials, I told them I was not happy with the pace of progress on the political front. I continue to be frustrated by this lack of progress. A more secure environment will certainly foster the opportunity to build trust and achieve reconciliation. I wish our mission were finished, but it is not. We cannot simply walk away.

"These are tough times. But given the investment we have made and the progress we have witnessed, I remain firmly committed to giving our troops the resources they need to achieve success. In my conversations with our young men and women in uniform in Baghdad, that is all that they have ever asked of me.

"Politics should not be a factor in these decisions. We have the best military in the world. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker say they are making progress but need more time. I think politicians who are trying to make political gains with this issue are ill-advised. My position may not be popular with everyone but it is what I believe in my heart is the right thing to do.

"I am confident that we can succeed in Iraq. I want to bring our troops home in victory, not in defeat. They are asking for more time. I believe that as long as we are making progress, we should let them have it."

Malia Rulon on "pool duty" today

What's a pool report? Find out here

POOL REPORT #1, 9/14/2007

Your pooler arrived at Quantico, Va., via helicopter and then watched as a second helicopter – large, green and white with an American flag and the words "United States of America" written on it – landed in a grassy lawn. We are assuming that POTUS was in the second helicopter but can't confirm that because your pooler did not personally see him disembark. Instead, the media was rushed into the chow hall to set up for the arrival of POTUS.

While waiting in the chow hall, your pooler observed that the food smelled very good. Also while waiting for POTUS, your pooler observed that the food being offered on this day included: roast beef, mashed potatoes, wild rice, chicken, fish, rolls, broccoli and a mixture of carrots and peas. Your pooler also spied several slices of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

POTUS walked into the chow hall through a side door and picked up a tray, then got in line for the food. He spoke to a soldier while in line, although we couldn't hear what he said. He greeted another soldier, saying, "How are you?" He then greeted the woman serving the roast beef by name. He remarked that he couldn't see the food choices (described above) because the glass under which the food was kept was fogged up. He then said: "Make sure you put some vegetables on there. Put some broccoli on there. Family tradition." This quote was confirmed by a wire reporter, so it's likely cq.

After POTUS got his food, POTUS turned and walked toward the soda machine. Your pooler attempted to get closer but was told to get back behind the desert table so unfortunately, your pooler does not know if POTUS got soda or if he did, what kind.

At this time, POTUS walked into the dining room, which was next door. The room was large and had three rows of rectangle tables that were about five tables deep in each row. Each table sat either 10 or 12 soldiers. POTUS was sitting at a center table, flanked by two soldiers on each side and five soldiers across from him. Your pooler did not get a good look at what specifically was on his tray, but we can assume from above comment that his lunch included a serving of broccoli. There should be photographs of POTUS at said chow hall table. The remarks were closed press.

Malia Rulon

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Questions For The Candidates

Want to ask the Cincinnati City Council candidates something about neighborhood revitalization? Here's how you can:

E-mail your question to Revitalize.Cincinnati@yahoo.com. That's a new Web site put up by owners of The Greenwich, the Walnut Hills bar/entertainment venue which will be the site Oct. 6 of a debate on this topic.

Send questions by Oct. 1. They'll be sorted through, and some will be asked by a moderator.


Smith For Cooper

Bev Smith, billed as the host of the only national African-American nightly talk show, comes Friday to Jordan's Crossing in Bond Hill to spearhead a rally for Cincinnati City Council candidate Minette Cooper.

“Bev has been a good friend for a long time,” Cooper said in announcing the visit. “I’m honored that she would take the time to come to Cincinnati and speak on my behalf.”

The rally's set for 6-8 p.m. in the Worship Center at Jordan's, formerly Swifton Commons. Smith's scheduled to speak for 30 minutes. The Cincinnati Super Choir also will perform.

Listen to Chabot question Petraeus

Rep. Steve Chabot, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, got the chance to question Army Gen. David Petraeus for himself last Monday. So what did he ask?

CHABOT: "Could you comment on the current morale of our troops in Iraq?"

PETRAEUS: "I believe that our morale is solid. But it is an individual thing and it depends on the kind of day that that individual has had. Our soldiers are determined. They know how import this task is and that it is a crucial factor in what they are doing. ... I've got to be up front, you know, none of us want to stay in Iraq forever. We all want to come home. We all have days of frustration and all the rest of that. But what we want to do is to come home the right way."

Listen to more of Chabot's exchange with Petraeus for yourself on THIS LINK from C-SPAN.

Kentucky Rep. Geoff Davis, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, which was also included at the Petraeus hearing, also asked Petraeus a question. Listen to him at the same place.

Note that Rep. Mike Turner also is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, although a clip of his questions was not available from C-SPAN.

Read the Petraeus' report for yourself HERE.

Kinship group asks for commissioners’ help

A group lobbying to get more financial support for those raising relatives’ kids took their case to the county commission meeting Wednesday.

Nearly a dozen members of the Over-the-Rhine-based Contact Center carried signs about helping poor children, and sung songs as they walked down Main Street toward the administration building. Once there, nearly a dozen people spoke at the commission meeting about their experiences caring for others’ children and asked the commissioners for help.

“The burden is overwhelming,” said Pat Jackson who is taking care of three children belonging to relatives.

Contact Center is a non-profit community organizing agency. Its mission is to end poverty. But on Wednesday it focused on the much narrow topics of seeking help for parents in danger of losing their kids because they are poor, and increasing the amount of money allotted to those who take in relatives’ kids.

The idea is to help those children stay in homes they know rather than going into foster care.
For Jackson and the others who spoke, it’s not an easy task.

“I had to retire early (to take care of them),” Jackson said. The children she’s caring for range from 13 to 16 and all are underdeveloped.

“I’m over the income for food stamps and they eat, eat, eat,"
she said. "I’m using resources through the church and community and its still isn’t enough. I’m running back and forth to mental health appointments, psychiatrists, it’s a never ending job. I have to buy school uniforms. $245 a month isn’t enough. We need help.”

Commissioner Todd Portune said keeping children with their own relatives one of the things being focused on in recent reforms within the Hamilton County Job and Family Services. The agency also has a financial assistance program that Director Moira Weir offered to share after the meeting.

Eby's "Bittersweet Symphony"

John Eby's new YouTube video starts with a picture of him and the rest of the 115 kids in his elementary school class at St. Williams in Price Hill, 1976. It's a prop Eby has used before - the picture, with blue dots over the faces of everyone who left the city. There are dots over all but seven faces.

The ad says people left because they wanted good schools, affordable houses and streets that are safe and clean. It says there's one boy in the second row (Eby) who says he's running for council to try to restore those "non-negotiables" so he doesn't have to leave, too.

See the video on his Web site, http://www.johneby.com/.

New member on MRDD board

Julie Holt of Western Hills is the newest member of the Hamilton County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.
Holt was appointed by Hamilton County Probate Court Judge James Cissell to the seven-member board. Her term will end in 2011.
The MRDD board oversees services for more than 5,600 Hamilton County children and adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities.

Here's her bio:
Holt has more than 15 years of management experience with The Jewish Hospital, The Drake Center, and University Hospital. She received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing administration from the University of Cincinnati.

Career honors include Forty Under Forty by Cincinnati Business Courier in 2006, Top Ten Leader in Nursing by Cincinnati Business Women in 2006, Health Care Hero by Cincinnati Business Courier in 2004, and the Rising Star award by the YWCA in 2002.

MRDD provides educational, vocational, and residential supports, programs and services to help those with mental retardation of developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Happy Birthday, Steve Reece

Wednesday was Steve Reece's 60th birthday. In case you don't know who he is, which would be difficult to believe if you follow Cincinnati politics at all, he's the father of former Vice Mayor Alicia Reece, who's now Ohio's assistant director for travel and tourism. The family owns Integrity Hall in Bond Hill.

Jeff Berding announced the occasion before City Council's meeting, calling Reece "someone who's given a great deal to the city." It was also his 37th wedding anniversary.

Reece took a seat where people usually testify before council and began to talk about how he started his business in his mother's basement. He said he has been an entrepreneur for 40 years.

Mayor Mark Mallory said: "You are someone who has beaten the odds. You have achieved what many people thought you never would."

Reece then posed for pictures with Berding and others.

Pavelish: I'm Using My Own Money

After last week's financial filings showed Cincinnati City Council candidate Steve Pavelish to have zero money, he called to let us know his campaign is still "alive and well."

"It might look like my campaign is dead," he said in a voicemail. "Steve Pavelish is alive and well. I'm financing myself...My campaign is coming from my personal account."

"Newly Revitalized" and "Renewed Dynamism"

Check out this press release, from a New York City firm, touting next week's Oktoberfest:

Dear Jane:

Cincinnati, at one time the nation’s “first boomtown”, is using its arts and culture to rebuild and to prosper once again-- attracting residents, businesses, and tourists alike.

We invite you to come and see for yourself this September—while celebrating the nation’s largest Oktoberfest!

On September 22-23, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati will attract more than 500,000 attendees eager to enjoy the rich German heritage of Southwestern Ohio, as well as sample of German-style music, food and beer. Every year, the world’s largest Chicken Dance also takes place at the festival, with a soon-to-be-announced celebrity leading the way…

The festivities will take place in Cincinnati’s Fountain Square, which underwent a $42 million renovation last year. Lined with restaurants, retail storefronts, and nightlife, Fountain Square has been a catalyst in the rejuvenation of downtown Cincinnati.

New arrivals to the scene will include the Bootsy Ruby nightclub and Buddakhan’s Classic Rock Café. New restaurants such as Minneapolis-based Oceanaire and Boca Restaurant Group’s Mexican restaurant Nada have opened within the past year. In all, Cincinnati is home to more than 4000 restaurants - and the largest concentration of chili restaurants in the world!

In addition to Fountain Square, the city’s recently renovated and new museums – all within walking distance of each other - offer a singular experience for visitors:
The Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art was designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
The Cincinnati Art Museum is consistently ranked a top national museum alongside the Met in New York and the Art Institute of Chicago.
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, opened in 2004, guides visitors through the legacy of the Underground Railroad.

I’d be happy to share more about the exciting development that is attracting increasing numbers to Cincinnati- raising average occupancy rates to 92% for downtown apartments and nearly 87% office space.

I look forward to following up with you soon to explore opportunities to share the city’s renewed dynamism with your readers.





215 Park Avenue South, 10th Floor, New York, NY 10003

T 212 725 0707 DL 718 399 2889

E karolyn.rancourt@dc-intl.com


Berding and Vicious Dogs

Here's Jeff Berding's press release about the ongoing debate over pit bulls and whether Cincinnati's existing laws are adequate and whether police have what they need to enforce the laws.

When the issue came up at law committee Tuesday, one woman brought a pit bull dog into CityHall for the hearing. She said the dog helped her with a handicap, but she wouldn't say what her handicap was.

Berding asked for the administration's report by Nov. 1.

Berding Calls for Re-Write of Vicious Dog Laws
Proposal Would Create Task Force

Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding introduced a motion at today’s Law and Public Safety Committee directing the City Administration to lead the formation of a vicious dog legislative task force. The task force will work on a comprehensive re-write of City dog laws, including new non-breed specific laws based on other jurisdictions’ best practices.

The City will seek to include the Hamilton County Auditor, Dog Warden and SPCA, as well as dog owners in the task force.

Berding said, “Our current laws are ineffectual and create a false sense of public safety. We need laws that penalize irresponsible and cruel owners, not their dogs. With the help of partners at the County and in the community, I am sure we can come up with a new strategy to protect both our citizens and their pets.”

Berding asked for passage of the motion, but was denied by the Committee’s Chair, Councilmember Cecil Thomas. The motion creating the task force was referred by Mr. Thomas to the Administration for a report.

Portune hopeful about Strickland chat

When Gov. Ted Strickland was here last week, he got an earful from commissioner Todd Portune-in a good way. Portune grabbed the Governor’s ear on everything from efforts to get a Findlay Market highway sign, to jail overcrowding. He and Commissioner David Pepper plan to condense some of the county’s objectives into a resolution that would officially ask for the governor’s help.

Among the things Portune and Strickland chatted about were:

  • the possibility of housing overflow inmates in jails in Northern Kentucky. Some jails there have extra beds and would rent them for far less than the $55 per bed per day Butler County is charging. However, because of prisoner transport laws, state lawmakers would have to craft an exception to allow Hamilton County to house inmates across state lines.

  • the possibility of relaxing of Ohio jail standards. The ones in this state are more strict than in most other states and therefore building and operating jails here is much more costly.

  • The Comprehensive Public Safety Plan (the proposed sales-tax funded plan to build a new bigger jail and add new safety programs). Portune said the governor, who has a background in corrections, understands the need for the plan to include rehabilitation programming and other safety measures. “Having the Ohio governor be willing to be a champion on these necessary reforms is a huge benefit to us,” Portune said.

  • the Job and Family Services audit. Auditors said the county owes millions because of problems in its JFS department. But the county-hired auditing experts disagree. Portune talked to the governor about the need for more cooperation between the two bodies. “We want the state department to work as a partner with the county JFS,” he said.

  • The proposed Banks riverfront development. Portune said there is still “significant interest” at the state level in helping the county with Banks-related projects like a rail line and decking over Fort Washington Way. He said the governor understands how important the project is to the region.

  • A highway sign promoting Findlay Market. Portune said the city has applied several times for a highway sign. After Strickland actually saw the place for himself last week, he told his aide to make a note for him to call the proper organizations to get the application looked at again.

    Portune is hopeful about the interactions and said allowing the Governor to see projects for himself was very helpful.

  • “These are all things that one or more administrative arms could help us with,” Portune said. “There are specific ways the governor can help. Just to show him what the vision could be and allow him to grasp it and understand and feel it. He knows if we all collaborate we have a much better chance of getting it done.”

Boehner's in Iraq

And here's the photo to prove it... Pictured above is House Minority Leader John Boehner of West Chester speaking with Maj. Gen. Michael D. Barbero, who is the Deputy Director for Operations for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, in Iraq earlier today. (Photo provided by Rep. Boehner’s office.)

Milford woman wins lunch with Hillary

A local woman is the winner of a Hillary Clinton campaign contest for lunch with the New York senator and her husband, former president Bill Clinton, at the power couple's Washington, D.C, home.

Recently, on her campaign Web site, Hillary Clinton said: “I think it would be fun to have you over for lunch, at my table, in my home in Washington.”

In an e-mail to supporters, the former president said: "I hear you might be having lunch with Hillary — do you mind if I drop in?"

To enter, supporters were asked to make a contribution by Sept. 7. Names were put in a raffle and the winner and their guest will be invited to lunch with the Clinton's in Washington.

The winner, announced by the Hillary Clinton campaign today, is Julie Lincoln (pictured above) from Milford.

The Clinton campaign says Julie plans to bring her husband, Dan, with her to lunch with the Clintons. The date of the lunch has not yet been set.

Sales tax survey out

Crime is a top concern of Hamilton County voters and whether they support the sales tax to build a new jail and fund safety programs will depend on how the proposal is worded.

Voters will decide Nov. 6 whether to approve a 15-year sales tax increase to fund a Comprehensive Safety Plan (which includes the new jail, the expansion of the juvenile jail building and funding of several new safety programs.)

According to a survey done by Lake Research Partners, if the tax is described to voters as "temporary" and the plan "comprehensive" with notations that it puts police on streets, expands youth intervention programs etc., it would pass and be supported by a majority of both Democrats and Republicans.

The survey also has some interesting findings on which elected officials are popular and which ones aren't.

The survey was paid for by Commissioner David Pepper.

Read the executive summary here.

Seitz it is


COLUMBUS – Ohio Senate President Bill Harris (R-Ashland) today announced that a screening committee is officially recommending State Representative Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati) to fill the vacancy in the 8th State Senate District left by Senator Patty Clancy, who recently announced she would accept a position as Assistant Chief Probation Officer for the Hamilton County Court of Common Pleas.

Members of the full Republican Caucus will vote on the recommendation on Wednesday, October 10th when Seitz will be officially seated as a member of the Ohio Senate.

“Bill Seitz will be an excellent State Senator for Hamilton County,” President Harris said. “His legal expertise, knowledge about a wide variety of public policy issues and uncanny ability to get at the root of a problem and solve it will also make him a strong addition to our caucus at a time when we face many challenges in Ohio.”

Seitz is currently serving his fourth term as the State Representative for the 30th Ohio House District. With the strong backing of his colleagues, he has risen to the rank of Majority Whip of the House. He also serves as a member of the Civil and Commercial Law Committee, the State & Local Government Committee, the Criminal Justice Committee and the Judiciary Committee. Prior to his service in the General Assembly, Seitz served seven years as a Green Township Trustee and four years as a member of the Cincinnati Public School Board.

Seitz is widely regarded as one of the best legal minds in the General Assembly and across the nation for that matter. He is a partner in the litigation department of Taft, Stettinius & Hollister LLP and was recently named as one of 2007’s “Best Lawyers in America,” selected by and among his peers. He graduated from the University of Cincinnati School of Law and specializes in antitrust matters, general commercial contract, zoning and real property litigation, RICO, public law and business tort litigation. In the General Assembly, he has put this knowledge to work, playing an instrumental role in the development of major public policy initiatives, including protecting private property rights, civil and criminal justice reform and improving Ohio’s climate for business to bring jobs to Southwest Ohio.

Seitz and his wife, Diane, reside in Cincinnati. They have two children.

Can Si promote the sales tax?

Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis is asking the County Prosecutor's Office to investigate whether he was within his rights when he promoted the sales tax increase.

The tax increase would fund a new jail and public safety programs.

The Cincinnati Beacon reported that pro-jail signs were posted on sheriff's vehicles during the Harvest Home parade and that Leis sent an e-mail to sheriff's employees encouraging them to vote for the sales tax.

Leis (through spokesman Steve Barnett) defended his actions.

"He as the sheriff of Hamilton County is in the business of public safety and it's his obligation and duty to encourage people to support a public safety issue that is beneficial to all the citizens of this county," said Barnett. "He will continue to do what is necessary to encourage people to support the comprehensive safety plan also known as the new jail. He feels very strongly about that.

"This isn’t a political issue it’s a public safety issue," Barnett continued, "and he will do what he thinks he should do as sheriff of this county an that’s continue to provide the citizens of Hamilton County the quality of public safety they deserve, and we need jail space."

Barnett noted that no county funds were used for the signs on the vehicles.

This issue was raised at a Monday commission meeting at which Steve Capell, a COAST member (the group is at odds with the sheriff and Democratic Commissioners David Pepper and Todd Portune about the jail issue) cited the Beacon articles and asked the commissioners to investigate Leis' "unethical" behavior.

It led to an exchange of words with the sheriff outside the meeting in which Leis threatened to sue Capell for calling him unethical. (read the Enquirer story).

Beacon writer Michael Earl Patton raised the issue again at Wednesday commission meeting and again, asked that the commissioners look into Leis' behavior.

Commissioner Portune then informed Patton that the sheriff had already taken it upon himself to ask the prosecutor's office to look at the issue.

"He’s turned the (e-mail) letter over to prosecutor’s office to tend to the matter. I think it speaks highly of the sheriff and his integrity that he has voluntarily done this," Portune said.

We also asked the commissioners to comment on the Leis/Capell exchange in the hallway. Did Leis cross the line?

Commissioner Todd Portune: "I didn't hear it. It seems it is a distraction to the real issue of public safety and corrections. Those opposed to (the sales tax for the safety plan) have had every opportunity to propose a better plan and they don't have one."

Commissioner David Pepper: He said he had not heard the exchange and had not received a complaint about it so he couldn't really weigh in.

Commissioner Pat DeWine: "I don't think it's appropriate to engage in that kind of behavior with citizens who have come down to exercise their right to speak at a public meeting. Everyone has a right to respond, but from the accounts I've heard I think the sheriff crossed the line."

Indian Hill turning blue? (Bluegrass edition)

Barbara Gould became one of the very best friends in the whole wide world to Ted Strickland and Sherrod Brown, raising a big pot of money to get them elected governor and senator, respectively.

Barack Obama probably has a soft spot for Barbara, too.

Now, Gould has set her sights on Kentucky, where Democrat Steve Beshear is taking on Republican incumbent Ernie Fletcher in the governor's race. She's throwing a $1,000-per-ticket fundraiser on Oct. 4 at her Indian Hill home for Beshear.

Strickland is stopping by; and Gould has lined up a fiarly impressive host committee - among them, Hamilton County party chairman Tim Burke, Stan Chesley (who is to the Hillary Clinton campaign what Gould has been to the Obama campaign), State Sen. Eric Kearney, former Ohio Democratic Party chairman David Leland, Hamilton County commissioner David Pepper, and philanthropists Lois and Richard Rosenthal.

If it is like most Gould political fundraising events, Ollie's Trolley will do the catering.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

If You Were Mayor of Cincinnati

This is the kind of stuff you might be doing. At least, it's the stuff Mayor Mark Mallory's doing:

Touring Lunken Airport: he went up Monday into the tower, saw the original hangars and said the control tower there is the oldest operating one in the country. He wants to get it on the National Register of Historic Places. "I always like to point out and talk about the assets of the city."

Commenting about Monday night's Monday Night Football game, which he watched downtown at Cadillac Ranch after walking amid the tailgaters before the game and stopping on Fountain Square, where he said all the seats to watch the game on the big screen were taken: "Boy, wasn't last night great? It was a lot of fun." With the tailgaters, he found "a lot of people cooking a lot of great food and just talking about how great the city is." Check out the pictures being put on http://www.mayormallory.com/. In case you're wondering, he wore a black suit and orange tie. Plus a Bengals lapel pin.

Taking a tour Tuesday of 2265 Loth St. in Mount Auburn, which young people in the Blueprint for Success program of the Cincinnati-Hamilton County Community Action agency renovated.

Talking with Willie Carden on Thursday about the 2008 operating budget.

Taking applications for his Young Professionals Kitchen Cabinet. He plans to announce the leaders of its 10 committees the week after next and release a report on the cabinet's first year.

Mayor: Chad Gets It Done

Re that yellow "Future Hall of Fame" jacket Chad Johnson put on after scoring a touchdown in Monday night's game against the Ravens...

While bloggers debate whether it'll win him votes to actually get in the H.O.F., Mayor Mark Mallory weighed in Tuesday during his weekly meeting with reporters with this:

"Chad is having fun. His antics are a lot of fun. In the end, isn't that what football's about?"

It might be different, the mayor said, if Johnson didn't deliver.

"Hey," he said, "the guy catches the ball."

Lawyer clarifies Banks complaint

Joseph Trauth Jr., the Cincinnati attorney upset that the conceptual Banks plans allow for 30-story buildings wants to clarify his point. He says his high-powered downtown buisiness owner clients aren't so much concerned about losing their views as the fact that the concept of the development seems to have completely changed and now will compete with downtown businesses, he said.

Read the Enquirer story
Read Trauth's original letter
Read Trauth's new letter

It'z Seitz

Gongwer News Service reports:


Rep. Bill Seitz was the only person to beat a Friday deadline for an appointment to a Senate seat that will become vacant in the short term, all but assuring what was already his likely selection to move to the upper chamber.

Mr. Seitz (R-Cincinnati) asked Senate Republicans to appoint him to the 8th District seat, which Sen. Patti Clancy will resign in the coming weeks.

Ms. Clancy has been selected to become assistant chief probation officer at the Hamilton County Common Pleas Court. (See Gongwer Ohio Report, August 17, 2007)

Caucus leaders were scheduled to meet with applicants for the job on Wednesday, but the fact that Mr. Seitz was the only person to apply makes that meeting a formality.
He currently holds the House Majority Whip position.

Gay Republicans For Ghiz, Eby

Cincinnati's chapter of the Log Cabin Republicans announced this morning that their endorsements in this year's Cincinnati City Council race go to Leslie Ghiz and John Eby.

The group, their statement says, endorses candidates who stand for conservative values but also demonstrate support for inclusion and fairness for gay and lesbian Americans.

Here's more from the press release:

"Councilmember Leslie Ghiz has established impressive conservative credentials by making public safety a top priority. On council she worked to put 60 additional police officers on Cincinnati streets, and supported the inclusion of Cincinnati in a statewide casino initiative that would have produced millions in revenue without taxation on the people. Leslie Ghiz also displayed a commitment to inclusion by supporting the 2004 campaign to repeal Article XII and voting to amend the Human Rights Ordinance to include sexual orientation in 2006. She received the LCR-Cincinnati “2006 Courage Award” for speaking up in council chambers for lgbt equality and was spotlighted at the LCR national dinner in Washington, D.C. that same year.

West-side candidate John Eby has been an active volunteer for the Republican Party and a community activist serving on the Citizens Complaint Authority and Hamilton County Community Action Agency. John has continued to run a campaign dedicated to new ideas and progress through ingenuity instead of wasteful spending. John has also demonstrated a willingness to reach out to the gay and lesbian community. In 2004 he supported the campaign to repeal Article XII and in 2006 he favored the addition of protections based on sexual orientation to the Cincinnati Human Rights Ordinance.

Both candidates also expressed a commitment to continued support for AIDS services in Cincinnati."

The Cincinnati chapter was founded in 2005.

Monday, September 10, 2007

County Economic Cabinet named

Hamilton County Commissioners on Monday announced the members of a new organization aimed at spurring economic development. And some influential names are on the list. The nine-member Cabinet of Economic Advisors will explore ways to increase the amount of tax revenue being generated in the financially-strapped county. It replaces the Economic Development Task Force.

Commissioner Todd Portune was particularly impressed by not only the talent, but the diversity of the group.

"Its a nine member body and includes four women and four African Americans," he said. It also includes a diverse set of skills and expertise.

All the members were appointed by Portune and County Commissioner David Pepper. Commissioner Pat DeWine, the lone Republican, was also asked for nominations but only submitted one name -- someone who has campaigned against the jail sales tax increase -- and the name was rejected by the other two.

Members are: Robert Richardson (President of AFL-CIO Labor Council), Steve Johns (Director of Citizens for Civic Renewal), Ellen van der Horst (Director of the Greater Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce), Jeanie Golliher (Director of Cincinnati Development Fund), Pete Blackshaw (CMO at Nielsen BuzzMetrics), Morris Williams (Hamilton County Community Reinvestment Group), Rev. Jim Vickers, Janet Reid (President, Global Lead Management), and Margaret Wyant (founder of Isabella Capital LLC). Rob Portman (Former. U.S. Trade Representative) will provide counsel to Cabinet.

UPDATED Federal inmates still call Hamilton County home

UPDATE: Sheriff Simon Leis (along with Commissioner Todd Portune and David Pepper) had made the point at this meeting that this is also a public safety issue: the federal inmates being picked up lived and worked (and often committed crimes) in Hamilton County. Wednesday, Leis sent out a press release, elaborating on this point.

Hamilton County doesn’t have enough jail beds for its own 2,000-plus inmates, yet on Monday two of the three commissioners approved a contract to continue to rent 35 beds to federal authorities – at least through the end of the year. (read the Enquirer story)

The county’s paying $55 per bed per day to house 300 overflow inmates in Butler County. The feds are only paying $49 per bed per day for the 35 beds it rents in the Justice Center.
Although it sounds like a financial no-brainer, there’s a little more to it, said Commissioners Todd Portune and David Pepper who voted for the agreement.

For instance, they said the county wouldn’t save any money by ending the contract now. In fact it would actually lose money because the Butler County beds are paid through the end of the year and the county is counting on the money from the feds to help it balance its budget. Plus, the county is hoping to cash in on the federal contract even more if/when a new jail is built. The feds have promised to rent 100 or more beds—generating some big bucks.

Commissioner Pat DeWine several weeks ago and urged the sheriff to discontinue the practice. He says (and a citizen echoed it at Monday’s commission meeting) that it’s fundamentally unfair to ask taxpayers to raise the sales tax to build a bigger jail if it isn’t even using its own beds.
Sheriff Simon Leis first agreed, then changed his mind. He came close to getting into another verbal sparring match with DeWine, (“If you knew anything about law enforcement and obviously you don’t” he managed to get out, before being cut off by Portune.)

Leis asked commissioners to continue the practice because of the good relationship between his office and the U.S. Marshal’s office. The two departments are on a joint task force that arrests fugitives wanted on local or federal charges.

U.S. Marshal Jim Wahlrab also spoke in support of the agreement saying it increases drive time and safety risks housing inmates in other counties.

Read the Pepper/Portune press release
Read the NoJailTax statement on the issue
And there was also an interesting letter/threat from COAST members on the legality of the whole thing. (Prosecutor Joe Deters said indeed, the agreement needs to be properly voted on.)

The Lou Blessing saga

State Rep. Louis Blessing Jr. secured $900,000 in state money to expand a park and ball fields that directly benefit his Colerain Township church and civic association.

Read the rest of Jon Craig's story here

Read Blessing's statement here

And Carrie Davis has sent in a rebuttal to Blessing's statement, posted here:

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