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

Friday, December 14, 2007

The full Strickland

Gov. Ted Strickland likes Mike Huckabee. Read it here

To read Jon Craig's full interview with Gov. Ted Strickland, click
here (Word document.)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Brinkman primaries Schmidt

Read the story here

Here's the release from Jason Gloyd. Hey, that name sounds familiar...

Tom Brinkman for Congress


December 12, 2007

Contact: Jason Gloyd
Mobile: (513) 240-4996
Email: jason.gloyd@cbws.com

Brinkman joins the race for 2nd Congressional District

Cincinnati, OH - State Representative Tom Brinkman today filed a notice with the Federal Election Commission that he is a candidate for Ohio's 2nd Congressional District.

In his seven-year career as a State Representative, Brinkman was twice voted "Most Principled" legislator by members of the media, the Governor's staff, and his own colleagues in the House.

"It will be my goal to earn the same honor in Washington D.C.," Brinkman said.Brinkman's record also includes winning the Family First "Champion" Award for his leadership on pro-family issues, including legislation promoting adoption and other pro-life causes, his efforts to make higher education more affordable for families, and his work defending the institution of marriage.

But perhaps his most well-known achievement, even among Democrats and environmentalists, was his leadership in eliminating the highly unpopular "E-Check" program.

"I promised to eliminate E-Check, and when I got to Columbus, I delivered on that promise. I will represent Ohioans in Washington as I have for eight years in Ohio, by pushing for common sense in government."

Brinkman takes his job as a representative of the people, and his promises to his constituents very seriously. Over the span of his seven-year career as a State Representative, he has maintained an active presence within the community and has never voted for a tax increase.

Tom Brinkman, age 50, a lifelong resident of Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District, resides in Mt. Lookout with his wife and six children. He is currently serving his fourth term in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Leis didn't like jail contract, but inmates did

Hamilton County is ending its contract to house more than 300 overflow inmates in Butler County's jail. Read the Enquirer story here.

For the record, Sheriff Simon Leis said he never liked the contract to begin with.

"I think it was an outrage what we had to pay for those bed," he said. "I think its way to costly. Like sticking a gun in our back."

He does, however still advocate for a permanent solution in the wake of the defeat of the jail tax.
"I don’t know what the alternative is. It's going to be done through the sales tax, that’s for sure," he said. "But the problem has to be solved by getting beds in Hamilton County."

But some inmates say they like Butler County's jail better anyway, according to Butler County Chief Deputy Anthony Dwyer.

"We get a letter once a month from inmates saying 'This is the best jail I’ve been in and I’ve been in a lot,'" said Dwyer. "Other than visits (because Butler County is so far away) I think they were happier to spent time here."

If He'd Only Spent That Money

Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher's probably wishing he hadn't said he'd return about $2 million to city coffers this year, or at least that he hadn't gotten into a heated public debate about it at finance committee Monday.

Because today, his request for $100,000 to help host the International Police Executive Symposium next year didn't even make it to the council floor. It was on the agenda, but Mayor Mark Mallory announced that it wouldn't be taken up - presumably because he didn't have the votes to pass it. The ordinance would have transferred the $100,000 from personnel funds.

The request fell to Mallory's discretion because it failed to pass out of finance committee Monday. Councilmembers voted 3-3, with two abstaining. Councilman Cecil Thomas, a former police officer, asked Mallory to shepherd it.

Some councilmembers have been a little annoyed about the heated exchange between Streicher and, mostly, Leslie Ghiz, who wanted to know why council's directive to spend $2.7 million on walking patrols wasn't followed. Streicher said he thought he accomplished the goal of reduced crime without spending all the money, and that he thought that would be seen as a good thing in a budget-tight year.

Guess not.

Hamilton County turns blue? Purple, at least...

Caleb Faux, the Hamilton County Democratic Party's executive director, tossed a graphic up on the party's Web site recently that is most interesting.

It charts Hamilton County's performance in presidential election back to 1960; and it shows clearly that, since Ronald Reagan, the GOP vote in Hamilton County has been steadily declining while the Democratic vote has risen, just as steadily.

There was only one presidential election in those five decades where the Democratic candidate outpolled the Republican in Hamilton County -- 1964, when Lyndon Johnson defeated Barry Goldwater. No surprise there; that election was a rout; even many Hamilton County Republicans of the mid-60s were scared silly by the bellicose Goldwater.

Hamilton County's GOP vote for president peaked in 1972, when Richard Nixon won re-election in a landslide even bigger than Johnson's eight years earlier.

Reagan, of course, stomped Walter Mondale in 1984, here and elsewhere, but the GOP vote in Hamilton County has been heading south ever since -- except for a slight bump upwards in the 2000 George W. Bush-Al Gore contest.

For the past 20 years, Republican leaders in Hamilton County have watched as their most loyal voters have fled the county by the thousands, taking up new addresses in places like Landen, West Chester, and, worst of all for the Ohio GOP, Kentucky.

The last entry in the chart is not of a presidential contest, but of last year's Ohio gubernatorial race. It shows that, last year, Democrats pulled nearly dead even with the GOP in Hamilton County.

Ted Strickland came up only 1,923 votes short of Ken Blackwell out of 287,496 ballots cast. that's a difference of 0.66 percent. And Blackwell, of course, is a Hamilton County Republican.

Faux's take on all this? That next year's presidential election will be the one where the chart lines will cross; and blueness will reign in Hamilton County.

Check out the graph for yourself: http://www.hamiltoncountydems.org,

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pepper's Budget Survey

Hamilton County Commissioner David Pepper, wants to know what you think about the county's budget.

In his most recent newsletter to constituents Pepper offers an easy-to-navigate survey.

Questions like: What should the county's priorities be? How can the county save money?

The commissioners must pass a budget by the end of the month. They'll likely decide next week whether to accept deep cuts proposed by the administrator.

Want to weigh in? Click here for Pepper's survey.

Sheriff Gilligan?

With three veteran members (plus a secretary) set to leave the Cincinnati school board this month, the board's meeting on Monday was abnormally full of political pageantry.

Atop the list of was a lengthy resolution honoring John J. Gilligan, the former Governor of Ohio and two-term school board veteran.

The resolution noted his "decades of additional public service," highlighting his Silver Star he earned in World War II, six terms on Cincinnati City Council, one term in Congress, one term as Ohio Governor and two terms as a school board member, along with other non-elected positions he's held.

Gilligan, 86, has not said whether he intends to remain in public life. But throughout his final year on the board, he's joked that he intends to challenge Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. in the 2008 elections.

"I always wanted to drive a tank in a parade," he said once.

Also honored were Rick Williams, who lost his bid for re-election, and Florence Newell, who retired along with Gilligan. The trio all were first elected to the board in the 1999 elections. Another resolution honored board secretary Suzann Tragesser, who's leaving after 30-plus years.

Three new members -- Eve Bolton, Chris Nelms and Michael Flannery -- will replace the exiting trio.

From The Mayor's Weekly Briefing

UPDATE, for those who questioned the mayor's residency: Mallory insisted today that he lives in both his houses, on Dayton Street in the West End, and in Mt. Airy.

Here's what Mayor Mark Mallory offered today at his regular 2 p.m. Tuesday talk with reporters:

1. "My team" is definitely going to win the Crosstown Shootout. He, of course, was trying to be funny, given that he attended both the University of Cincinnati and Xavier University. Get it? Whichever team wins would be his alma mater.

2. Council members shouldn't be proposing major new ideas - like the red-light cameras to catch more speeders - during this budget process because it's supposed to be time only to update the policies that were set out last year. If some want to propose the cameras, they should do it in next year's budget cycle.

3. Re the controversy Monday at finance committee over the police department not spending all the $2.7 million given it for walking patrols this year: "As mayor, my goal is to see to it that crime is reduced. And the police department did that. I think it's a win-win."

4. Visit the Hauck House museum, on Dayton Street in the West End (where the mayor lives). "I think this is a great Cincinnati institution. It's a great piece of Cincinnati history." And The Taft's pretty cool too.

5. Go Nick Lachey! The Cincinnati boy is one of the directors for NBC's new reality show, Clash of the Choirs. "We're certainly going to be watching it and cheering Nick on."

6. He taped a Crosstown Shootout promo to be aired on ESPN before the game. It was another opportunity, he said, to talk about Cincinnati to a national audience.

7. The chocolates at Marble Hill Chocolatier in O'Bryonville are fantastic. The place will be featured on an upcoming Black Enterprise Business Report.

Sykes resigns from Ohio Civil Rights Commission

Hours before her scheduled Senate confirmation hearing today, Barbara Sykes, resigned as acting chairwoman of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission. Gov. Ted Strickland appointed Sykes in August, but recently said he was disappointed in the Akron Democrat's handling of a proposed maternity leave rule change.

Sykes had pushed legislators for a state law requiring small employers to provide 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave, opposed by business groups and Republican legislators.

Strickland asked Sykes to spend more time considering the rule change before bringing it to the Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review this month. Last week, JCARR asked the Civil Rights Commission to provide a fiscal analysis of the rule's impact next year.

In today's letter, Sykes said her resignation would remove a distraction and allow the commission to protect all Ohioans’ rights:


Maybe this will work

The Cincinnati school board had a different seating arrangement when they met on Monday for a lengthy debate over a possible March tax levy. Instead of all sitting side-by-side in a slight curve (just as City Council does), their tables were arranged in a u-shape, with Superintendent Rosa Blackwell and Treasurer Jonathan Boyd facing into the scoop of the U.

Results were mixed. Usually good seats in the auditorium had obstructed lines of site, and members of the public only saw Blackwell's and Boyd's back. At least two board members had to twist in their seats to make eye contact with most speakers.

But, on the other hand, they all were making eye contact with each other. Apparently, that was the point. For months, the CPS board has struggled with particularly hostile meetings, full of insults and exasperation, especially when financial matters arise.

"I guess it's so if they're looking at each other they'll be more collegial," said spokeswoman Janet Walsh.

Board members did indeed appear more calm and respectful of each other, though the 4-hour meeting wasn't without fireworks. Then again, it's all moot going forward -- three of the seven board seats will turn over at the new year, reworking many of the intra-board relationships.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Oh, What Fun At Finance Committee

Leslie Ghiz was mad. Council allotted $2.7 million last year for the police department to spend specifically on high-visibility overtime (walking patrols, mostly, council thought). And the department didn't spend it all.

She started the conversation in Monday's finance committee talking about the committee meeting from the week before, when she learned the money hadn't been spent. "To say that I was upset is putting it mildly."

Then she went farther, saying had she known when she took part in City Manager Milton Dohoney's evaluation this summer that the money wasn't being spent, she "wouldn't have been so kind." And later: "The number 1 thing we wanted done wasn't done."

Dohoney, as usual, stayed calm. Police Chief Tom Streicher? Not so much.

The chief told Ghiz that for every complaint she said she got from residents in Avondale, North Avondale, Westwood, Price Hill and other neighborhoods, he had 10 compliments, or maybe even 100.

"Am I saying to you I won't do it? No, I'm not," Streicher said. "There is no intention to defy you."

One City Hall aide did the math and pointed out that with $2.7 million, every one of Cincinnati's approximately 1,100 officers would have had had to work more than $2,400 worth of overtime. That would be on top of the overtime for court that's mandatory and on top of any other overtime they have to do when they get involved in an incident that extends beyond quitting time. And on top of any extra hours they spend working uniformed details for private-paying customers, like Kroger.

Dohoney let the exchange go on about 10 minutes before jumping in with: "The administration needs to respond differently to your directive. And we will do that."

So now, how much money should council give the department for 2008, given that Streicher said he didn't need this much? All nine council members were re-elected last month after campaigns that focused much attention on how much they'd tried to fight crime.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Digging for delegates

The campaigns of Mike Huckabee and John McCain are scrambling to put together delegate slates for Ohio's March presidential primary.

John Becker, the Republican state central committeeman whose district includes Clermont County, reports in the latest issue of his newsletter, The Becker Report, that he's gotten written requests from the Huckabee and McCain campaigns for help in finding supporters who are willing to put their names on delegate slates.

Lori Viars, the anti-abortion activist from Warren County, sent Becker a note saying that the Huckbaee campaign has "a few vacancies in a few congressional districts, and a small number of at-large laternate slots that are still open."

GOP presidential contender Fred Thompson released his Ohio delegate slate last week, a list that includes a few Hamilton County GOP notables such as Blue Ash council member Rick Bryan, Sharonville mayor Virgil Lovitt and Anderson Township trustee Russ Jackson.

Given the early organization Mitt Romney has put together in Ohio - not to mention the money he has raised here - putting together a delegate slate is not likely to be a problem.

GOP delegates from Ohio will be allotted based on the March primary results in each of Ohio's congressional districts. Each of the 18 congressional districts is alloted three delegates. the winning candidate in each district gets that district's delgates. The overall statewide winner gets an extra 31 at-large delegates.

Democrats in Ohio, of course, have an entirely different system. They hold caucuses in each of the state's 18 congressional districts on the evening of Jan. 3. Democrats who show up will split up into smaller caucuses - one for each presidential contender - and those caucuses will decide on each candidate's delegate slate.

Hartmann looking to keep seat

Clerk of Courts Greg Hartmann, a Republican, is holding what is believed to be his first campaign fundraiser of the election season on Wednesday. Hartmann was appointed to the job in 2003 and ran successfully to keep it in 2004. He tried to get a job as Secretary of State last year but lost that election to Jennifer Brunner.
Here are the details:

Keep Greg Hartmann Clerk of Courts
Breakfast Fundraiser
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
7:30 to 9:00 AM
The Queen City Club
331 East 4th Street
Tickets are $150 per person.
Please RSVP to Susan Waidner at 513.791.6084
or to Susan@GregHartmann.com
Corporate contributions are prohibited.

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