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Saturday, December 01, 2007

They're Back

All nine Cincinnati City Council members were re-sworn in Saturday morning at City Hall.

Here's some of what you missed if you weren't there:

Vice Mayor David Crowley brought about 20 family members with him, including all six grandchildren. It's his fourth and final term because of term limits. Crowley said he'd continue to work for the poor, infirm, elderly, homeless and children.

Mayor Mark Mallory called it a "great and glorious day."

Chris Monzel, sworn in by his mother, got a little choked up talking about how supportive his wife was during the campaign. "She's the glue that holds this together," he said.

Laketa Cole gave "honor and glory to the heavenly father" and thanked her mom, sister and aunt.

Leslie Ghiz thanked her new husband, Steve Aziz. They got married two weeks ago, two weeks after the election.

Cecil Thomas said voters showed intellect in 2005 when they chose new leadership and proved it again by re-electing everyone.

Jeff Berding promised to continue being a cheerleader for the good things about the city.

Chris Bortz was sworn in by his dad, Neil, who added this onto the oath at the end: "And I'll listen to my father." Bortz repeated that, too.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Turner hires new communications director

Starting Monday, Rep. Mike Turner will have a new communications director – Brad Mascho, who was had worked for several years for Ohio Rep. Paul Gillmor.

Gillmor, a Republican from Tiffin in northwestern Ohio, died Sept. 5.

"I am excited to use my abilities to advance Congressman Turner’s goals for the future and look forward to my new opportunity to continue serving Ohioans," Macho said today in an e-mail to reporters.

Turner's former communications director, Andy Bloom, left on Halloween day after exactly four yeas with the Centerville Republican. Bloom, a former broadcaster, accepted a position with Sports Radio 610 WIP, a CBS Radio program in Philadelphia.

"I leave Washington neither jaded nor cynical and with all the enthusiasm that I came here with in 2003. My return to radio is for family and financial reasons," Bloom said in his farewell e-mail to reporters.

Kearney pushes for earlier primary, again

State Sen. Eric H. Kearney, a Democrat from North Avondale, renewed his call Thursday for Ohio to move up the date of its presidential primary from March 4 to Jan. 29, 2008.

Kearney, who introduced Senate Bill 202 earlier this year to change Ohio’s presidential primary date, said it’s not too late for Ohio to be "more relevant" to the primary process, citing the recent changes in the presidential primary dates for Montana and Connecticut.

"As it stands now, when Ohioans go to the polls in March the outcome of the primary race will already be decided," Kearney said. "Changing our primary date to January 29 places the proper amount of importance on Ohio’s voters."

Michigan moved the date of its presidential primary date to Jan. 15.

And the Montana Republican Party and Connecticut moved up the dates of their primaries to Feb. 5. Montana’s original primary date was June 3. Connecticut’s was the same as Ohio's, March 4.

Kearney said Ohioans should feel like their votes matter during the primary cycle.

"Just as in 2004, our state has once again been named a battleground state with electoral significance. It's not too late for Ohio to have a meaningful role in electing the next President."


Committees: Pretty Much Status Quo

Mayor Mark Mallory announced today which council members will lead which committees.

Mostly, it'll be the same after the swearing-in Saturday as it is now:

Chris Bortz: economic development
Laketa Cole: neighborhoods
Jeff Berding: rules
Cecil Thomas: law
John Cranley: finance

Two changes: Chris Monzel, who's now chairman of the education committee, moves to Arts, Culture, Tourism, Marketing, & Technology; and Vice Mayor David Crowley takes Education, Health & Environment.

There was some tinkering with the topics in each committee, too. Technology was added to arts, health went with education and environment, and recreation switched to Cole's Vibrant Neighborhoods, Recreation & Public Services.

Monzel's the only Republican with a committee chairmanship. Bortz is the only Charterite with one.

Roxanne Qualls remains chairwoman of council's only subcommittee - Transportation & Infrastructure. It's a subcommittee of the finance, economic development and neighborhoods committees.

Holidays at the White House, by the numbers

895,000 – Number of Christmas Cards sent by President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush.

60,000 – Number of visitors President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush are expected to welcome to the White House to tour the holiday decorations.

20,000 – Number of Christmas cookies for the White House holiday parties.

10,000 – Number of handmade tamales for the White House holiday parties.

1,000 – Pounds of shrimp for the White House holiday parties.

862 – Feet of Garland to decorate the White House for the Holidays.

700 – Number of holiday cakes and pounds of crab for the White House holiday parties.

600 – Pounds of Asparagus for the White House holiday parties.

400 – Pounds of Green Beans for the White House holiday parties.

347 – Number of hand-decorated ornaments on Blue Room Christmas tree.

320 – Gallons of eggnog for the White House holiday parties.

232 – Number of wreaths to decorate the White House for the Holidays.

33 – Number of Christmas Trees used to decorate the White House for the Holidays.

18 – The height, in feet, of the Fraser fir from Mistletow Meadows Christmas Tree Farm in Laurel Springs, N.C., which will be decorated and displayed at the White House this year.

CLICK HERE for more information from the White House.

Chabot, Boehner react to Hyde death

Former Illinois Rep. Henry Hyde, the Republican who steered the impeachment proceedings against President Clinton and was a hero of the anti-abortion movement, died today. Hyde had retired from Congress at the end of the last session.

The office of House Republican Leader John Boehner made the announcement.

Here is how Boehner, of West Chester, and Rep. Steve Chabot, a Westwood Republican, reacted to the news:


“I have long included Henry Hyde among my heroes, and for the 16 years I served with him in the House, I was honored to call him a mentor, a colleague, and a friend. Henry was a student of American history, a constitutional scholar, a thoughtful legislator, and a passionate orator. But above all, he will be remembered as a gentleman who stood as a beacon for the bedrock principles of liberty, justice, and, above all, respect for life. His work in crafting the Mexico City policy, for example, remains among his most significant accomplishments in Congress, and it will forever be remembered as a defining moment for the pro-life cause.

“What often struck me most about Henry was his keen sense of our nation’s history and of the gifts bestowed on our Republic by the Founding Fathers, whose actions and deeds were never far from his mind. In his respect for the institutional integrity of the House of Representatives, Henry took second place to no one. He was a forceful advocate for maintaining the dignity of the House and for recognizing the sacrifices and struggles Members make while in its service. Indeed, when Henry spoke in Committee or on the House floor, Members on both sides of aisle listened intently – and they learned. And while he had unquestionably strong views on domestic and foreign policy, Henry never allowed political differences to cloud personal relationships.

“Henry served his country with great honor and distinction, and it is only fitting that President Bush awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom just three weeks ago. Hard as it is to let go, we can be comforted knowing that God gave us a man of Henry Hyde’s character who did his patriotic duty to the fullest. I send my thoughts and prayers to the entire Hyde family in their time of loss.”


“The nation has lost one of the finest individuals ever to have served in the United States Congress. Henry Hyde was an American hero.

“Henry was the epitome of the wise and thoughtful legislator who won the undying respect of his colleagues on both sides of the aisle. He was fair and respectful and a man of the utmost integrity. I was honored to serve under him for 12 years on both the Judiciary and International Relations Committee and watched him wield the gavel with grace and humor.

“Henry was probably best known and admired for his role as the conscience of the Congress on pro-life issues. Nobody was more committed or more eloquent in the defense of the unborn than my friend and leader, Henry Hyde. He will be greatly missed.”

Court fight: Littner beats out Sundermann

Kimball Perry reports:

A City of Cincinnati Solicitor will become the newest Hamilton County Magistrate as soon as he agrees on a salary for his new job.

Jay Littner, a former assistant Hamilton County prosecutor before he began working for Cincinnati, was the unanimous choice today by a group of Hamilton County Municipal Court judges in a private hearing.

Littner admitted he’d been offered the job and accepted this afternoon.

Now making $67,500, Littner will be paid $76,000 when he takes the Magistrate seat.

A magistrate is a quasi-judge. There are six Hamilton County Municipal Court magistrates and 14 judges.

In this case, Littner will be hearing eviction and other cases. He is taking the slot vacated with the upcoming resignation of Anne Erwin.

Littner, 46, of Clifton, grew up in Westwood and graduated from LaSalle High, University of Cincinnati and then the University of Dayton law school. He’s been an attorney since 1986.

He beat out two other Cincinnati assistant solicitors for the job as well as assistant Hamilton County prosecutor Betsy Sundermann, daughter of Cincinnati-based 1st District Court of Appeals Judge J. Howard Sundermann.

Sundermann withdrew her name from consideration, she said, to avoid a fight after the judges were split between giving the job to her or Littner.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mayor: Dohoney's Worth The Money

Mayor Mark Mallory this morning defended his proposal to give City Manager Milton Dohoney a 7% raise.

During Mallory's press conference about his budget recommendations, Channel 9 reporter Jenell Walton asked the mayor several times about the raise, which would mean $12,950 more onto Dohoney's current $185,000 paycheck. She said people might have questions about the raise, given that the city is talking about needing to cut its budget.

"I feel very strongly in paying people what they're worth," Mallory said.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Jerry Falwell Cincinnati assassination plot?

Lori Kurtzman has the story here

Read the documents here

Dohoney: Mostly Ss and Gs, one SU

City Manager Milton Dohoney gets good marks from the council members who reviewed his first year's performance in August. Now, Mayor Mark Mallory's proposing to give Dohoney a 7% raise, which would take his $185,000 salary to almost $198,000.

Mallory says in a memo that council will take up the issue Wednesday.

Read Dohoney's evaluation here.

Task Force For Pension Solvency?

A majority of Cincinnati City Council members wants to set up a task force to advise them about how best to ensure the long-term solvency of the Cincinnati Retirement System.

This task force would present to the mayor and council at least two alternatives. It would be made up of City Manager Milton Dohoney, the chairman of the retirement board, representatives of city unions and as many as six residents. The community members would be appointed by Mayor Mark Mallory after consulting with council members, according to the motion to establish the task force. The motion will be on council's agenda Wednesday.

The task force would retain an independent actuary, recommend administrative changes, changes in contribution rates and any reforms. If council approves the motion, the deadline for the recommendations would be June 1.

Monday, November 26, 2007

A Bush in town Tuesday

Jenna, that is.

Here's the q & a reporter John Johnston did with her in October.

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