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

Powered by Blogger

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hamilton County newsletter out

Find out what special guests got to attend a Bengals game, meet some new-hires and find out about a child in need of an adoptive home in the latest edition of the Hello Hamilton County newsletter.

To view, click here.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mallory's Press Briefings Are Back

After a few weeks off, Mayor Mark Mallory held one of his weekly Tuesday news briefings today. Here's some of what he said:

His new Grocery Store Task Force met Friday and will keep meeting to figure out how to attract a grocery store to downtown. On the task force: Holly Childs; and representatives of the Downtown Residents Council, his Young Professional Kitchen Cabinet, Downtown Cincinnati Inc. and the Cincinnati Center City Development Corp. (3CDC). "We'll have a series of these meetings to develop a strategy." There's no timetable or location chosen yet. The group will find a store first, he said.

Monday night, he spoke to the 17 graduates of the first Citizens Government Academy, which City Manager Milton Dohoney set up to teach people how City Hall works.

He's meeting with all City Council members, talking with them about committee assigments and possible reorganization of committees. "There've been no decisions made at this point," he said, but he expects to decide by this time next week. The official swearing-in, although the same nine are returning, is Dec. 1.

Speaking of that swearing-in, if you go, take some canned food for the Freestore/Foodbank. Mallory says it'll be a requirement to get in. Only the balcony of council chambers will be open to the public.

The Mallory family will do its holiday volunteering Dec. 8, from 1-3 p.m., at the Freestore. They'll be sorting food and bagging it into packages.

BCYRs: New Leadership

There's new leadership of the Blue Chip Young Republicans. In an election Monday night, members chose Jeff Capell as chairman. He's the guy who had words with Sheriff Simon Leis during the campaign about the jail tax. He defeated chairwoman Nickell Marsland.

Also elected: Jason Gloyd, chairman of WeDemandABetterPlan.com, the coalition that helped defeat the tax increase. He's the group's new secretary, defeating Corie Roudebush.

Other officers: vice chairman Collin Rink; treasurer Mark Imwalle, who ran unopposed; at at-large officers David Kern and Ron Richmond.

Capell said he, Gloyd, Kern and Richmond ran as a slate.

The group started in 1988, campaigning that year for Steve Chabot as its first project.


Monday, November 19, 2007

Courts: You're not my boss!

Hamilton County, in the midst of a budget crisis, wants the Common Pleas and Municipal Courts to reduce their budgets by a total of $3.6 million. Administrator Pat Thompson made several suggestions on how to do so.

But the courts aren't biting. In fact, they're flatly refusing.

"The Courts will not tolerate County Administration, which is a separate branch of government, dictating how the courts will administrate their business," said Court Administrator Michael Walton in a letter to Thompson.

He outlined why the courts legally do not have to comply with the suggestions. but noted the court remains open to other ways of helping, including increasing revenue or using money from restricted court funds.

Read the letter here.

Inmates to be licensed to drive

Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper Monday said a program is in the works that would make it easier for jail inmates to regain their driver's licenses.

The pilot program would start early in 2008. Details have not been finalized. The goal is to reduce the number of people jailed for driver’s license violations.

“Some of these citizens get arrested again and again on these traffic infractions, taking up police resources, valuable jail space and costing the taxpayer thousands of dollars to pay for their jail stays,” stated Pepper. Those beds should be freed up for more violent offenders, Pepper said.

Voters Nov. 6 defeated a sales tax increase that would have raise money to build a new jail and fund safety programs to reduce jail overcrowding.

To read the press release, click here.

Garry: I'll Be Back

In an e-mail Sunday night to supporters, unsuccessful Cincinnati City Council candidate Brian Garry says he'll run again in 2009.

He says he feels blessed to have raised more than $55,000 in his first run as an endorsed Democrat. He thanks his mom and dad, the Democratic party, the more than 400 people who gave him money and the groups that endorsed him.

From the email:

"I will, of course, appreciate any additional advice, feedback and support that you may offer along the way. My website remains up and our donate button remains functional. : )
Again, thank you all for your generosity and support. With your help, we will have a victory in '09!"

Sunday, November 18, 2007

'Roadmap" to budget nirvana

Hamilton County Commissioners David Pepper and Todd Portune have proposed a "roadmap" on how to fix the county's budget situation. They released it at their Wednesday meeting, then Pepper sent it out to his e-mail list too. If you haven't seen it, here you go.

Special Edition: A Roadmap Forward

November 2007

In light of the defeat of Issue 27 last week, and our difficult budget situation, many have been asking how the County will manage our safety challenges. This week, we outlined the broad strategy and specific steps we will undertake. It is both a responsible, and comprehensive, approach, and will allow us to do the most with the precious few resources we have.

We invite any and all citizens--whether they supported or opposed Issue 27--to bring forward their best ideas as we tackle these challenges together.

A Four-Point Roadmap Through Our Budget and Safety Crisis


The multi-million commitment to rent beds in Butler County made several years back, when there was not sufficient money to pay for that commitment, has drained the County's reserves to a precariously low level. If the County goes on fiscal watch, or its bond rating is downgraded, our problems only get worse. Priority number one is therefore to stop the bleeding, and make the tough decisions necessary to balance our 2008 budget and replenish our reserves to a more healthy level. This challenging process will occur over the next few weeks.


Our most fundamental work, and one issue that both sides of Issue 27 agreed on, is that to resolve both our safety and overcrowding challenges, we must reform and improve our criminal justice system comprehensively. Most important is to reduce our 70% recidivism rate, which drives the explosion in our jail population. But rather than spending money haphazardly on new programs, we must make these decisions responsibly and thoughtfully. Key steps will be:

-Retain the Vera Institute to consult the County on reforms, staff the Criminal Justice Commission, and create an accountability process for all public funded programs intended to reduce recidivism (use private and public dollars). A Vera report in December will provide a detailed profile and analysis of our current prison population, which will help shape future decisions on how to best reform the system and handle the inmate population we see.
Continue the Reentry Pilot Program, which is reducing recidivism through up-front intervention, and Project Disarm, which will help get the most violent offenders off the street.

-Continue the work of the Criminal Justice Commission. The CJC is exploring ways to expand the mental health court; implement a certificate of rehabilitation to help ex-offenders reenter the workforce; explore work release programs; and other reforms. Its work must move forward.

-Identify resources for prevention: We must creatively identify all resources to improve treatment/prevention, including working with the Sheriff to maximize asset forfeiture dollars for prevention/intervention and drug treatment issues, which are permissible (and required) expenditures under both state and federal law. (* the amount seized from asset forfeitures nets about $650-700K annually for the Sheriff's office)

-Create a robust accountability system for all programs that intersect with the Criminal Justice system and that are intended to reduce recidivism. We must ensure that every dollar is spent effectively, and gets results.

-Conduct a summit on Mental Illness and the Criminal Justice System early in the year, to examine broad-term reform to how our criminal justice system handles mental illness. This will not only improve our criminal justice but is a moral imperative.


We must do all we can to keep young people on the right path, and not entangled in the crime and violence in our community:

-Finalize creation of the Juvenile Justice Subcommittee (of the CJC), and begin its work to reduce juvenile crime and improve diversion opportunities.

-Roll out High School Dropout Prevention effort.

-Maximize After School and Youth Employment Opportunities.


We must make responsible short- and long-term decisions regarding jailspace, but do so only when we have come to grips with our overall budget picture. This will involve a number of factors:

-Explore lower-cost rental of space: we must continue to explore Campbell and BooneCounties in Kentucky as lower-cost alternatives to ButlerCounty; and continue to support a change in Ohio law that would allow us to rent space across the river at a time that we can afford it.

-Explore short-term revenue sources to help us through the crisis, including increasing the federal reimbursement we receive for space rented to federal prisoners; and more effective collection from local jurisdictions

-Explore our long-term options with the Queensgate location, and what to do with the CampWashington site.

While the road ahead is not easy, what we must do is clear. I look forward to your continued feedback as we move forward.

Thank you.

Jim Borgman
Today at the Forum
Paul Daugherty
Politics Extra
N. Ky. Politics
Pop culture review
Who's News
Roller Derby Diva
CinStages Buzz....
The Foodie Report
Classical music
John Fay's Reds Insider
High school sports
UC Sports
CiN Weekly staff