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, October 27, 2007

Cole in fight with another woman

Jane Prendergast and Quan Truong have the story

Friday, October 26, 2007

Schmidt to run Marine Corps Marathon

Two years ago, Rep. Jean Schmidt said on the House floor during a debate on the Iraq war that "cowards cut and run, Marines never do."

Well, as it turns out, Marines do run – in the Marine Corps Marathon, that is.

And this year, Schmidt herself plans to run with them.

Speaking to the Enquirer before Sunday's race, the congresswoman said she hoped to finish the 26.3-mile race under four hours. Her personal best was 3:19 in the Columbus Marathon in 1993.

The race will be Schmidt's 69th marathon after running the Marine Corps Marathon once before in 1998.

This time, however, Schmidt will be running as a member of Congress.

"I'm proud that I can do this in our nation's capital and to be serving in Congress while I am doing this is an extra special treat," she said.

But as rain pelted down on Washington, she had just one request: "I want good weather!"

CLICK HERE to see The Washington Post's marathon guide, which includes a profile of Schmidt and video of her running.

Driehaus: Welcome, President Bush. (Not)

Monday afternoon, while Bob Castellini is busy tidying up his house for a presidential visit to boost Steve Chabot's re-election campaign, Democrat Steve Driehaus will be busy trying to rain on Chabot's parade.

Driehaus, Chabot's 2008 opponent, will be at the West End Community Center Monday afternoon, holding an event with some health care providers and families who have felt the squeeze of health care costs for their children - all to make the point that Chabot has voted in lockstep with the Bush admnistration in the S-CHIP fight. Having the president come in for a Chabot fundraising event, Driehaus, is political payoff for being a good soldier.

Barack's my guy, Tyrone says

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama had a pretty good day in Ohio Friday, with a Columbus fundraiser where Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman endorsed his candidacy.

As an added bonus, State Rep. Tyrone Yates, the Cincinnati Democrat who chairs the Ohio Legislative Black Caucus, came out for Obama Friday, too.

Yates, a deliberative fellow, took his time watching and listening to the candidates and finally came to the conclusion that Obama was the candidate who represents his party's future. He spent a good deal of time examining Obama's record as an Illinois state legislator, coming to the conclusion that Obama is "a prodigious legislator and skilled operator," not to mention "smart as can be."

But Obama's early and consistent opposition to the war in Iraq, Yates said, is what finally tipped him to Obama over Hillary Clinton, who voted to authorize the use of military force in Iraq.

Yates' endorsement puts him in the same camp as one of his fellow African-American legislators from Cincinnati, State Sen. Eric Kearney, who has helped raised money for Obama here.

The Obama campaign was crowing about both Coleman and Yates Friday, but Yates made it clear that he was speaking for himself and not the caucus of African-American legislators he leads.

"I'd say the caucus itself is probably divided right down the middle between Obama and Sen. Clinton,'' Yates said. "She has some strong supporters in the caucus, too."

Late change on campaign finance reports

Upon further review, Cincinnati school board candidate Eve Bolton has decided she does not have to file a financial report for her campaign to date.

By law, candidates who spent or collected more than $1,000 by Oct. 17 were obligated to file disclosure statements by 4 p.m. yesterday. After that deadline passed, Bolton said she was going to be late but did intend to file a report.

But after discussing the details of her financial activity with elections officials this morning, she's determined she was under the $1,000 mark on both donations and spending. As a result, she won't be filing, her campaign manager David Little said.

The Board of Elections will verify her decision once final campaign disclosures are filed after Election Day.

Issue 27 gets support of religious groups

UPDATE: A third religious groupo, the Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati, has also endorsed. Here's the press release.

The Baptist Ministers’ Conference, the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and the Faith Community Alliance jointly are endorsing Issue 27, the sales tax increase to build a new jail and fund public safety programs.

The sales tax proponents say the religious leaders support Issue 27 because "it is a comprehensive safety plan that addresses root causes of crime and high rates of recidivism, in addition to improving enforcement and corrections."

"Specifically, the ministers applaud the efforts in the Comprehensive Safety Plan to address at-risk youth, issues of addiction and mental illness, and the unacceptably high percentage of inmates who re-offend after serving a sentence."

The groups represent many churches working throughout Cincinnati. They did not endorse last year’s jail ballot issue, or prior efforts, according to the Issue 27 campaign, because those plans only were to build jails, and did nothing to address root causes of crime.

"We're thrilled to receive the support of leaders who work everyday, at the grassroots level, to lift the spirit and hope of thousands of members of the community," said Kathleen Binns, Issue 27 campaign manager. "They've studied the plan closely, and we're honored to receive their endorsement."

Here's that letter Leis' workers will get

Here's the letter that opponents of the jail tax are sending to Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis' employees. The sheriff must allow the letter to be sent as part of a settlement agreement with anti-taxer Jeff Capell. He filed a federal lawsuit against Leis for sending a pro-sales tax letter to workers a few weeks ago. Read the Enquirer story.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Campaign Finance Reports

Most of the 25 candidates for Cincinnati City Council made the 4 p.m. Thursday deadline. Two didn't: Michael Earl Patton and Wendell Young.

Here are a few things from the biggest cash-on-hand reports:

Jeff Berding: total funds available, $286,268; money spent, $174,396. $150 from former Mayor David Mann; $500, lobbyist Chip Gerhardt, former executive director of the Hamilton County Republican Party; $250, former city manager Gerald Newfarmer; $1,000, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister Better Government Fund; $800, Hamilton County Democratic Party; $1,000, Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper. He loaned himself $25,000 in August.

Chris Bortz: $279,437, $211,096; $1,000, Thomas Herskovits, City Lights Development (John Cranley's firm, which is converting Queen's Tower in East Price Hill to condos and redeveloping the neighborhood around it); $1,100 each, Susan and Robert Castellini.

Pat Fischer: $210,211, $110,211; many contributions from lawyers both from his firm and others; $150, Adoption Professionals; $250, Re-Elect Judge Sundermann Committee; $500, P&G's Multi-Candidate Committee; $500, Mike Allen Committee.

Cranley: $187,517, $151,908; $500, former Mayor Dwight Tillery; $100 from his mom; $500, lobbyist Dick Weiland; $250, former Mayor Charlie Luken; $1,500, Advocate for Effective Public Administration in Columbus.

Leslie Ghiz: $170,347, $132,152; $5,000, Hamilton County Republican Party; $100, Melody Sawyer Richardson; $250, Committee to Elect Michelle Schneider; $300, Leis for Sheriff Committee; $500, (Virgil) Lovitt for (Sharonville) Mayor;

Reports will be posted at http://www.cincinnati-oh.gov/.

AMOS Says It Found 1,500 New Voters

The AMOS Project leaders say they'll announce at their candidates' forum tonight that they knocked on doors in "forgotten neighborhoods" and found 1,500 people who were registered to vote, but never did. The 1,500 have promised, they say, to go to the polls Nov. 6.

They plan to illustrate just how many people this is by unveiling a paper chain tonight. Each link will represent one of the voters.

The forum's 7-9 p.m. at Friendship Baptist Church, 3212 Reading Road.

"We are returning our communities, our congregations, and our souls to the decision making table,” the Rev. Gregory Chandler, AMOS president, said in the announcement today. “We are building a more just, and more accountable, city government.”

Ghiz Is Getting Married

After a months-long wait for her fiancee's visa, Leslie Ghiz announced at council Wednesday that the wait is over and they'll be getting married less than two weeks after the election.

Her fiancee, Steve Aziz, is from Canada. They've got a house in North Avondale, and the wedding is set for Nov. 17.

That's the same day Ghiz's alma mater, West Virginia University, plays football here at U.C. since she'll miss the game, she videotaped a welcome message to be played for fellow alumni.

Deters For Fischer

One 1970s St. Xavier grad does a favor for another:

Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters, who graduated in 1975, is the special guest Tuesday at a fundraiser for Pat Fischer, who graduated a year later. The event's at the Anderson Township home of Chip Gerhardt, lobbyist, president of Government Strategies Group and former executive director of the Hamilton County Republican Party. It's $100 a person, or $500 if you're a member of the host committee.

RSVP: susan@patfischer.org.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Welcome to 2010

We may be getting ahead of ourselves - like three or four election cycles ahead of ourselves - but it is worth noting that Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland - nine months into a four-year term - has already started gearing up for his re-election effort.

Some of the governor's best deep-pocket pals, including some statehouse lobbyists, are getting together Nov. 16 at Columbus' Nationwide Arena for a "Circle of Friends" fundraiser.

Tickets for a private reception withteh governor and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher are going for $2,500 a couple. The less well-heeled riff-raff can scrape together $150 and get in the "Circle of Friends" reception that follows.

The checks will go to the Strickland for Governor committee, but chances are, some of this money could end up helping the Ohio effort of whoever ends up with the Democratic presidential nomination and making sure Ohio stays "blue" through the 2008 cycle and into 2010, when Strickland will be up for re-election.

And since there are already no less than three well-known Republicans - Rob Portman, Mike DeWine, and John Kasich - dropping broad hints that they would like to take him on in 2010 - there's probably no time that is too early to start thinking about the re-election campaign.

Bengals For Berding

As most of you well know, Jeff Berding works in sales and marketing for the Cincinnati Bengals. Well, he taps into that connection with a fund-raiser Nov. 2, inviting folks to a $150-per-person party with players TJ Houshmandzadeh, Rudi Johnson and Madieu Williams. Also promised: "Cheerleaders and more!"

It'll be at the Pleasant Ridge home of Allen Haehnle. The invite says it comes from East Side parents who want to "help keep our friend Jeff Berding on Cincinnati City Council!"

On the host committee: Jack & Karen Ankenbauer; Eric & Jane Combs; Jay Fagel; Alan Fershtman; Charlie Hall; Matt Howland; Will Kreidler; George & Kate Molinsky; Bill & Ann Moran; Matt & Cindy Stephens; Marc & Stephanie Trautman; Kristina & Mark Voytek; Stephanie Wong; James & Mary Zimmerman.

Mallory Supporting Crowley Too

You already know Mayor Mark Mallory's face appears in a television ad for John Cranley. But he's supporting Vice Mayor David Crowley too, in a lit piece.

The mailer's a letter from Mallory, with these quotes:

"I appointed David Crowley vice mayor because he has the courage to stand up for what's right."
Inside, Mallory writes:

"Every once in a while, an elected official comes along who is truly focused on serving the community. Vice Mayor David Crowley is one of those people.

He’s not afraid to take a stand for what he believes is right. He stood with me to protect pools, health centers, the Cincinnati Human Relations Commission, and social services from deep budget cuts. He also worked closely with me and other city leaders to bring Cincinnati a new approach to fighting crime—the Cincinnati Initiative to Reduce Violence (CIRV). He even opposed the war in Iraq, from the very start.

David Crowley’s whole life has been about service. He had the courage to serve his country and lead relief efforts during wars in Bosnia and Kosovo. He also served as an advocate for senior citizens at the state and national level. After serving three terms on City Council, it’s only fitting that he end his career of service as the Vice Mayor of his hometown.

I am proud to have David Crowley as my Vice Mayor. I hope you will support him for one more term on Council, so he can continue to provide the courageous leadership Cincinnati needs."

Bortz, Harris: Jewish Candidates

David's Voice, a Web site for Cincinnati's Jewish community, profiles both Chris Bortz and Greg Harris.

Read the story here.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

More Quotes from Monday Forums

UPDATE: Steve Pavelish did say "private" sector, not public. I stand corrected and his quote below is corrected.

This time, from Clifton:

Greg Harris: "I support The Banks. I don't know if I'd hang out there."

Andre Harper: "When I accepted the nomination from the (Republican) party, I said this: I'm doing it my way."

Eve Bolton: "The (CPS) levy is two years too late. It's not sound fiscal management to drain the treasury dry and then go to the people."

Steve Pavelish: "Stay away from the government plans. Be private-sector people...Be room mothers. Be involved. Control your own life." And in response to a question about lead poisoning: "I taught my children not to eat lead paint. Lead paint-eating is a behavior problem."

Mitch Painter: He wants a new tone for the city's building department. "We need to make sure we're not scaring investors off."

Joan Kaup: Does she have an agenda for The Banks? "Oh God, don't we all?"

Laketa Cole, on a question about her support for human services during budgeting last year: "I think it's time that we do begin to listen to our city manager. So when it came time to listen to our city manager, that's what I did."

David Crowley: Any city parade or event could get financial support under his new proposal - "as long as they're willing to open their books."

Justin Jeffre: The city has its priorities inverted, giving "a lot of giveaways to the favored few." On The Banks: "The issue that I see is we have a lack of imagination."

Pat Fischer: "You can pave the streets in gold, but if people are fearful, it's irrelevant."

Leslie Ghiz: "Everything flows from crime and the perception of crime."

Brian Garry, who'd been a victim the night before of theft, having his car broken into outside Democratic Party HQ: "I believe the way you address economic crime is you address economic inclusion." He also said he'd invented a new slogan for Clifton, where he lives: Where Everyone Wants To Be.

Michael Earl Patton: "Governing the city is more than just a sound bite." Re the proposed safety levy: "Most of the people in jail can't afford bail. They're just waiting for their court date."

Chris Monzel: Re a proposed restaurant in Burnet Woods: "I don't know if this is the best way to (generate more revenue for parks). But we've got to think outside the box."

Wendell Young: "City Council has no business trying to run the school system. I'm not supportive of that."

George Zamary: He decided to get involved in politics in part because someone recently said to him, "If you're not involved, you can't complain."

Chris Bortz: "A streetcar system will bring us all together."

Roxanne Qualls, re why she emphasized an increase in population while others said it declined: "Perhaps some of the other candidates might not have kept up."

John Eby: "We're attracting young professionals, but can we keep them?"

Cecil Thomas, re the decline in crime: "If you want to keep this momentum, folks, you gotta vote for Thomas."

Minette Cooper: "Healthy children build healthy communities."

Jeff Berding: "I created the evaluation process to hold the city manager accountable."

Melanie Bates: "About a year ago, my husband was murdered in our driveway...Crime is personal to me."

Rick Williams: CPS doesn't have that $70-plus million deficit yet. "It's something that we will have if we don't make changes...If we do not have a levy passed before March."

John Cranley: If the proposed streetcars linked downtown with Uptown, "we can create a 24/7 city that can be the San Francisco of the Midwest."

Sam Malone: "I'm certainly a loving and caring father...If more loving and caring parents would lawfully discipline their kids," crime wouldn't be such a problem.

Charlie Winburn: "I'm getting ready to announce a bipartisan effort that's going to blow your mind."

More From Cranley on Snagging Mallory

The only person Mayor Mark Mallory has publicly supported for City Council is John Cranley. That support comes in the form of an appearance in Cranley's one-minute TV ad.

Asked why he wanted the mayor in his commercial, Cranley said: "He's the mayor. Who wouldn't want him?"

He said they've had a good working relationship the past two years, with Cranley as chairman of the finance committee.

The ad focuses on Cranley's work with the Innocence Project, which puts University of Cincinnati students on cases of people believed to be wrongly convicted. The group freed Clarence Elkins in 2005 after he'd served time for the rape and murder of his mother-in-law. The Innocence Project used DNA to free Elkins. Another man now stands accused in the crimes.

Interesting that the ad doesn't focus on local crime or even a local case. Cranley said he hopes it "lets people have personal insight into my convictions about crime and justice" and that he's willing to try new things to fight crime.

Winburn on Harris

Speaking of two people you might not expect to get along ....

Charlie Winburn, after Monday night's candidates forum in Clifton, was talking fondly about Greg Harris.

Winburn described Harris as "really dynamic" and said, "He has a face you can trust."

From the West Side Candidates Forum

Here's former City Hall reporter Greg Korte's report from the Covedale theater:

BEST EXCHANGES: The format -- a series of five minute stump speeches -- didn't allow for debate. But that didn't prevent candidates from sniping at each other.

The question posed of all the candidates was this: What are the biggest problems facing the West Side, and how would you solve them? Three-term Democratic Councilman David Crowley said the neighborhoods knew their own problems better than City Hall. "We want to work with you to help you solve your problems. We can't solve them for you."

Republican challenger John Eby of Westwood pounced on that: "If a candidate for council -- and especially an incumbent -- comes in here and says, "Well you know your problems better than I do," then I have to ask: "What have you been doing since you've been on Council?"
Later, after Republican challenger Charlie Winburn proposed a five-year comprehensive plan for Price Hill, independent Steve Pavelish attacked the idea. "I hear about great plans, I hear about five-year plans," he said. "The Soviet Union had five-year plans."

BEST APPLAUSE LINE: Republican Councilman Chris Monzel commended Police Capt. Andrew Raabe, who's being transferred downtown after more than seven years as the District 3 commander: "Capt. Raabe has been a true crime fighter for you, and it’s a big loss that he's going to be moving on," he said, drawing applause from the audience of about 50 people at the Covedale Theater.

BEST MALAPROPISM: Democratic Councilwoman Laketa Cole said "abandoned landlords" were the biggest problem facing the West Side.

MOST UNLIKELY SUPPORT FOR PRESIDENT BUSH: Democratic challenger Greg Harris, an unabashed progressive candidate who twice challenged U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot, suggested that the housing authority was slow to implement the Bush Administration's Section 8 Homeownership Program. "We need to make sure the working poor are eligible for the homeownership society," he said, echoing a Bush refrain.

BEST STATEMENT OF THE OBVIOUS: "I'm a black man. I don’t know if anyone's noticed," said Republican challenger Andre Harper, who promised to return the city to the glory of Pete Rose and the Big Red Machine days.

BEST PANDERING: Democratic Councilman Jeff Berding said he told a Channel 5 interviewer that his core constituency was Westwood and Price Hill -- and he wasn't afraid to tell the whole city that. (Price Hill Civic Club President Pete Witte gave the speech a one-man standing ovation.)

DEFINITELY NOT PANDERING: After nearly every other candidate identified housing -- and especially Section 8 housing vouchers -- as the biggest issue facing the West Side, independent Michael Earl Patton admitted that he was, in fact, a Section 8 landlord. He suggested that instead of punishing bad landlords, the city should "reward landlords that do a good job."

BEST IMPERSONATION OF THE INVISIBLE MAN: (Three-way tie.) Democrat Brian Garry, Charterite Joan Kaup and independent Mitch Painter were no-shows.

DeWine's Plan B

UPDATE: After the debate the Blue Chippers held a straw poll among those in attendance. The results were 83 percent against Issue 27 and 17 percent for Issue 27.

Commissioner David Pepper said he doesn’t have a Plan B if the sales tax issue fails. But Commissioner Pat DeWine does.

“We’re looking forward to digging in after the election. We have a lot of ideas for what we want to do,” DeWine said Monday night at a Blue Chip Republican happy hour event at Mulligan’s in Hyde Park.

He and Joe Schmitz (standing in for Sheriff Simon Leis) gave both sides of the issue and took questions from the audience. Issue 27 would raise the county’s sales tax increase to pay for a new jail and public safety programs.

So what is his plan?

1) Fix the process issues in the criminal justice system. (He thinks people are held there too long awaiting trial)

2) Stop housing federal inmates at the Hamilton County Justice Center to free up those beds for local inmates

3) Fix up the Queensgate jail and continue to use it

4) House overflow inmates in Campbell County instead of Butler County (Butler charges more per bed)

5) Cut the budget to pay for those extra beds.

“The county can spend your tax dollars on the Film Commission and say there’s no money for the jail?” DeWine said when asked where he was going to find the money. He also referred to a list of cuts he’d proposed earlier in the year.

If either of the other two commissioners had been there, they probably would have given DeWine an earful on his Plan B. Commissioners David Pepper and Todd Portune say there is no money left in the budget to do the things DeWine wants to do. They’ve said his cuts aren’t enough and have lambasted him in the past for never coming through with a viable plan to solve jail overcrowding. Queensgate is unsafe and “falling apart,” Schmitz said Monday. And there is nothing left to trim in the tight 2008 budget.

But Pepper and Portune weren’t there. Many in the small audience were from DeWine’s camp. Among those in attendance:

Jeff Capell and Brian Wise, both of whom have filed separate lawsuits against the sheriff involving the sales tax issue.

Jason Gloyd, spokesman for WeDemandABetterPlan.com

Several other members of the anti-tax groups including Steve Dapper, who has been showing up recently at functions wearing a black and white striped jail jumpsuit.

In addition to the Plan B question audience members asked:

Does the sheriff have to provide mental health treatment?

Why is the plan so expensive?

Were the Baptist ministers offered money to support the sales tax? (Schmitz answered “that’s a rumor as far as I know.”)

Schmitz did a pretty good job filling in for the sheriff. He’s director of the corrections division at the sheriff’s office and seemed as confident as any elected official as he gave the pro-sales tax viewpoint.

He even managed to get in some digs – at one point saying DeWine was giving out misinformation about the tax. DeWine disagreed.The Blue Chippers said they’ll remain neutral on the issue since it’s pitted Republican against Republican.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Jeffre/Patton Go Mobile

Haven't seen it yet, but Justin Jeffre's campaign says he and Michael Earl Patton are touring Cincinnati's 52 neighborhoods in a Mobile Communication Unit. In an e-mail from the campaign, the MCU is described as a "graphically enhanced bookmobile that can be strategically deployed to distribute political messages and campaign information in an interactive, multimedia, street-level fashion."

Jeffre's friend, Nick Lachey, was scheduled to christen the MCU on Saturday with a bottle of Over-the-Rhine Ale.

Jeffre's quote from the MCU announcement: "A digital revolution and wireless technology allow for more efficient means of communication...We need to move beyond name recognition. Instead of drawing attention to our names, we need to draw attention to the presence of our ideas, so we can promote a deep discussion about the direction of our community."

Ghiz, Thomas on Loud Car Stereos

Here's more of that bipartisan activity council members have been talking about:

Leslie Ghiz and Cecil Thomas will introduce their plan Tuesday to council's Law & Public Safety committee, of which they are vice chairwoman and chairman, respectively. The proposed ordinance would increase penalties for violating the city's law against loud car stereos. The new fines: $250 for a first offense (it's $150 now); $350 for a second offense within a year and $500 for a third offense within a year. After the third offense, the ordinances proposes, police could impound the car and charge the owner fees to get it back.

Ghiz said police in Cleveland, Chicago, St. Louis, Lorain, Ohio and Akron already have the option of impound loud-stereo cars.

Law committee meets Tuesdays at 2 p.m. in council chambers.

Home Builders' Endorsements

We've told you most of these one by one, but here's the full list of candidates endorsed by the Home Builders Association of Greater Cincinnati. The organization sent the list out today:

Jeff Berding, Chris Bortz, Laketa Cole, John Cranley, Pat Fischer, Leslie Ghiz, Andre Harper, Chris Monzel, Roxanne Qualls and Charlie Winburn. The HBA will support them with money, the group's announcement says, and will encourage its members - there are 1,300 total - who live in the city to vote for these nine.

HBA Executive Director Dan Hendricks said in an e-mailed statement: “Our support isn’t tied to political affiliation or incumbency. We’re simply looking for candidates who share our belief that home builders have a right to pursue their craft and support their families, and that people have the right to pursue the dream of homeownership without government interference.”

Some stats from the HBA: New home building contributes $1.5 billion to the area economy each year, and new homeowners generate $340 million in economic activity every year. The new home building industry annually creates 30,000 jobs and maintains 7,600 permanent jobs in the area.

Sheriff backing out of debate?

Opponents of Issue 27 say Sheriff Simon Leis has abruptly pulled out of a debate tonight on the sales tax issue. Leis was scheduled to debate County Commissioner Pat DeWine at 7 p.m. at a Blue Chip Republican event --- both men are Republicans but stand on complete opposite sides of this issue.

However the Issue 27 opponents (DeWine's camp) say the sheriff pulled out because he's afraid of DeWine. Here's the press release.

The sheriff, through spokesman Steve Barnett, says that claim is ridiculous.

"That they would even fathom the sheriff is afraid of DeWine is unbelievable. He’s debated DeWine on a number of times in the past," Barnett said.

Barnett said the sheriff was asked awhile back to speak to the Blue Chips about the jail issue. The sheriff checked his calendar, realized he was going to be out of town and arranged to send Joe Schmitz, head of the corrections division, in his place. Barnett says the sheriff was never told it was to be a debate or that DeWine was going to be there.

As for the press release: "(Leis) asked me to let everyone know that’s a total fabrication. A lie," Barnett said. "That’s no different from antything else this group has been doing."

Who Does Mallory Support For Council?

Not surprisingly, he hasn't said.

But the mayor does show up in John Cranley's TV commercial. A lot of people talk about tackling crime, he says in the ad, but "John Cranley's actually doing something about crime in Cincinnati."

The ad focuses on Cranley's work as the co-founder and former executive director (2003-2006) of the Ohio Innocence Project at the UC College of Law's Rosenthal Institute for Justice.

Click here to see it.

Indian Hill turning blue? (Part 4)

Funny thing about the 2nd Congressional District. It stretches out from the wealthy suburbs of Warren and Hamilton County, where Republicans rule, all the way out to hardscrabble Appalachian foothills of Pike and Scioto County, where Democrats thrive.

And where do the two Democratic candidates for the 2nd Congressional District seat come from?

Indian Hill.

Go figger.

Steve Black and Vic Wulsin, the two Democrats vying for the chance to take on Jean Schmidt next fall, will show up in the same room Wednesday night with their Indian Hill neighbors for a meeting of the Indian Hill Democratic Club (yes, there is such a thing).

The fun starts at 6 p.m. at Livingston Lodge, 9350 Given Rd., with both candidates being asked to lay out their positions on the Iraq war and health care.

All are welcome, said Indian Hill Democratic ward chair Marilyn Hyland, although a $10 donated is suggested.

And, since it is Indian Hill, blue or not, there will be a light buffet, wine and beer.

Willke believes Romney

Many social conservative leaders have questioned the anti-abortion street cred of Mitt Romney because of his fairly recent conversion to the pro-life side, but Cincinnati's John Willke is not among the doubters.

Willke, who, with his wife Barbara, founded the National Right-to-Life organization in the early 1970s, hopped on the Romney bandwagon late last week. In a press release issued by the Romney campaign, Willke said of Romney that "every decision he made as governor was on the side of life."

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