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, December 28, 2007

From Harris to Berding

Shawn Baker, campaign manager for Greg Harris' unsuccessful Cincinnati City Council campaign, now works for Councilman Jeff Berding.

Baker's name showed up on top of a news release sent this afternoon from Berding's office, announcing a press conference on New Year's Eve day at 10:30 a.m. during which Berding will talk about his motion to hold a council retreat with City Manager Milton Dohoney and Mayor Mark Mallory before March 31.

Baker and Earmon Powell replace Mel McVay, who is going to work in the city's planning office.

Cranley helps theater get $50,000

Jane Prendergast has the story here

NAACP will fight red light cameras

Jessica Brown has the story here

Updated: Here is Chris Smitherman's statement, emailed out today:

NAACP Membership voted last night, Thursday, December 27, 2007, to oppose the City Council's decision to install cameras at intersections.

City Council is attempting to increase revenue by photographing cars and mailing tickets to car owners. The Cincinnati NAACP will collaborate with other organizations to collect the signatures needed for a charter amendment.

The organizations involved will need to collect less than 9,000 valid signatures to get this issue on the November 2008 ballot. The Cincinnati Branch is confident that we will reach the threshold needed to place the issue on the ballot. In light of this information, the Cincinnati Branch of the NAACP encourages Council not to begin the purchase of equipment knowing that the public is engaging in the democratic process to put "Red Light Cameras" on the ballot for a yes or no vote.

These cameras represent the governments continued desire to have "Big Brother" watching citizens every move. City Council is attempting to balance the city budget with revenue from the "Red Light Cameras." However, it is yet another invasion of our civil rights and civil liberties.

Smitherman stated, " The Cincinnati NAACP Branch is not driven by political parties. The local branch is no longer a 'whipping boy' for any political party. We simply evaluate public policy and ask the question, 'What is in the best interest of the African-American community?'"

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Another would-be Brinkman replacement

The field of Republican candidates in the 34th Ohio District grew by 33 percent Thursday with the entry of Anderson Township lawyer Peter Stautberg.

Stautberg filed his petitions with the Hamilton County Board of Elections Thursday, joining another Anderson Township lawyer, Greg Delev, and Anderson Township trustee Russ Jackson in the GOP primary.

They are running for an open seat - the current occupant, Tom Brinkman, is term-limited out and is running in the 2nd Congressional District GOP primary.

The GOP primary was bound to draw a crowd - it's a very Republican district, with Anderson Township at its population center and Mt. Washington, Hyde Park, Newtown, Mt. Lookout and a few other very Republican areas thrown in for good measure.

There is one candidate in the running on the Democratic side - Jeff Sinnard

First filer for commission race

Anti jail tax advocate Ed Rothenberg Thursday became the first person to file petitions for a Hamilton County Commission seat.

Rothenberg, a Republican and Hyde Park realtor, turned in 90 signatures to the Hamilton County Board of Elections Thursday afternoon.

Candidates need 50 valid signatures to get on the March 4 primary election ballot. The filing deadline is Jan. 4.

Rothenberg intends to run against Democratic Commission President Todd Portune, who, along with fellow Democratic commissioner David Pepper tried to raise the sales tax without putting it on the ballot. Rothenberg and others were involved in efforts to forced the increase on the ballot and campaign for its defeat Nov. 6.

Among the items on Rothenberg's platform: he wants to change the law, making it illegal for county government to raise taxes without putting it on the ballot.

"I was so mad that they had the nerve to do it. But it's legal," he said.

The Board of Elections says Greg Harris has also taken out petitions to run against Republican Commissioner Pat DeWine but has only turned in a few so far. Harris has unsuccessfully run twice for Congress and once for Cincinnati City Council.

Newsletter: Sams Defuse Doomsday

Remember how the "We Demand" Coalition won an award for their efforts toward defeating the sales tax increase? The Sam Adams Alliance, which gave the awards, talked about the group in Wednesday's e-mail newsletter. To view this and other newsletter items, click here.

Here's what it said:

Modern-Day Sams Defuse Doomsday
December 26, 2007

In Ohio, Hamilton County Commission President Todd Portune has asked the county to “prepare for a doomsday scenario.”

Gee whiz, what’s going on? Is it terrorism? Global warming? Nuclear meltdown?

No. Nothing like that. It’s just that county voters said no to a sales tax increase. Portune and other politicians now feel honor-bound to scream that the sky will fall. But it won’t. Instead, as NAACP president Christopher Smitherman told county government, “You’ve got to tighten your belt.”

The tax increase was largely intended to build a new jail, which residents simply aren’t convinced they need. County commissioners met this voter skepticism with shrill arrogance. They passed a new sales tax increase, even though voters just a year ago turned one down.

Looked like voters would just have to lump it. Except that didn’t sit so well with Daniel Regenold and Jason Gloyd. So, they built a diverse coalition to fight the tax increase, including the NAACP, the Libertarian Party, Citizens Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes, the Green Party, as well as many volunteers.

Regenold started WeDemandaVote.com, which petitioned to put the tax increase on the ballot. Gloyd formed WeDemandaBetterPlan.com, which defeated the sales tax.

That’s why the Sam Adams Alliance just named the Daniel Regenold and Jason Gloyd of the We Demand coalition the 2007 winners of the Modern-Day Sam Adams award.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

Sinnard jumps from one uphill battle to another

Looks like Victoria Wulsin and Steve Black will have the field all to themselves in the 2nd Congressional District Democratic primary this year.

Anderson Township Democrat Jeff Sinnard had been all set for a third try for the 2nd District nomination, despite the fact that his first two attempts were less than a roaring success - dead last both times, with two percent of the vote in the June 2005 special primary and five percent in the May 2006 primary.

Party leaders apparently took Sinnard - a civil engineer by profession - off to the side and convinced him that Wulsin and Black were the candidates with all the money and name recognition and that his odds of breaking into double figures this time around have names - "slim" and "none."

But they found another nice race for Sinnard. Caleb Faux, the Hamilton County Democratic Party's executive director, said Sinnard will be the party's candidate in the 34th Ohio House District, now occupied by State Rep. Tom Brinkman, who is term-limited out and who recently jumped in the 2nd District GOP race.

If Sinnard thought running in a 2nd District Democratic primary was tough, wait until he gets a load of this one - he's running now in one of the most Republican districts in the state, one which includes Anderson Township, Mount Washington, Mount Lookout, Hyde Park and Norwood.

On the Republican side, Anderson Township trustee Russ Jackson has taken out petitions to run for Brinkman's seat; and GOP lawyer Greg Delev is already blanketing the district with yard signs.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

When was that agreement okayed?

After all the fanfare surrounding the approval of the Banks documents in October - just before Election Day - the agreement wasn't actually finalized for several more weeks.

Some "minor language changes" were still needed, according to Eric Stuckey, assistant county administrator. So all parties agreed to make the "effective date" of the contract Nov. 23.

That pushes the subsequent deadlines back a couple weeks, but Commission President Todd Portune said in an e-mail Wednesday that the groundbreaking will take place before the Reds' Opening Day (March 31).

Said Portune: "When the official groundbreaking occurs before Opening Day downtown will be converted to a sea of cranes [as opposed to a sea of parking] that will usher in a new era of progress for the region."

In the meantime a construction company is taking soil samples this week to help the county finish its garage designs. The big yellow drill rig is is working in the area between the Great American Ball Park and the Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

"The geotechnical work marks the first noticeable work on the project and, as such, stands as evidence that the Banks is moving ahead and is now a reality instead of a vision," Portune said.

City police disciplined

Kimball Perry has the story here

All quiet in Columbus

Associated Press Ohio Daybook for Thursday, Dec. 27.

No Scheduled Events.

The AP-Columbus!
AP-CS-12-26-07 1445EST!

Monday, December 24, 2007

County newsletter posted

Want to buy a car? Interested in seeing how Hamilton County spread some holiday cheer? Check out the latest county newsletter here.

Who's running for what?

Pages of people have taken out petitions to run for various seats in the March 4 primary. But so far only a few have actually filed their petitions with the Hamilton County Board of Elections. Follwing are lists of who filed, and who took out petitions. The filing deadline is Jan. 4.

Who's filed:
Wayne Coates County recorder (D)
Simon Leis County sheriff (R)
Joe Deters County prosecutor (R)
Rob Goering County treasurer (R)
Phil Heimlich Second Congressional Dist. (R)

Several of the judge incumbents have filed as well.

And, though his name wasn't on the Elections Board list, Tom Brinkman has also filed.

Who's takenout petitions:
Joe Deters, Prosecutor, R
Simon Leis, Sheriff, R
Bill Brayshaw, Engineer, R
Wayne Coates, County Recorder, D
Greg Hartmann, Clerk of Courts, R
Rebecca Groppe, County Recorder, R
Todd Portune Commissioner
Robert Goering, Treasurer, R
Pat DeWine, County Commission
Jim Weidman, County Commission, R
Vlasta Molack, County Commission
David Crowley, County Treasurer, D
Martha Good Clerk of Courts, D
Charles Winburn, County Commission, R
Ed Rothenberg, County Commission (1/2/09), R
Tim Deardorff, County Commission (was picking up for someone else), R

Alex Triantafilou, Common Pleas Judge
Lee Hildebrandt, Court of Appeals, R
Ethna Cooper, Common Pleas Judge, R
Bob Winkler, Common Pleas Judge, R
Karla Grady, Juvenile Division, R
Lee Hildebrandt, Court of Appeals (2/9/09), R
Jim Cissile, Probate Judge, R
Kim Burke, Drug Court (2/11/09) R
Beth Myers, Common Pleas Judge, R
David Davis, Common Pleas Judge, R
Melba Marsh, Common Pleas Judge
Charles Kubicki, Common Pleas Judge, R
Judge Nadel, Common Pleas Judge
Martha Good, Common Pleas Judge, D
David P. Davis, Common Pleas Judge, R

Greg Delev, 34th House District, R
Dick Hammersmith, 30th House District, R
Eric Minamyer, 35th House District, R
Scott Gehring, 31st House District, R
Jean Schmidt, Second Congressional District, R
Robert Mecklenborg, 30th House District, R
Denise Driehaus, 31st House District, D
Connie Pillich, 28th House District, D
Steve Driehaus, First Congressional District, D
Lou Blessing, 29th House District, R
Grace Kendrick, 35th District, R
Ron Maag, 35th District, R
Adam Noe, 29th House District, D
Rich Stevenson, First Congressional District, I
John Rabenold, 35th House District, R
Theo Barnes, 32nd House District, R
Bill Seitz, 8th Senate District, R
Steve Black, Second Congressional District, D
Phil Heimlich, Second Congressional District, R
Maryann Christie, w, Rep. Cty Central 7th State Senate
Carl Blackwell, 33rd House District, R
Victoria Wuslin, Second Congressional District, D
Steve Chabot, First Congressional District, R
Jeff Sinnard, Second Congressional District, D
Fred Sinnard, Second Congressional District, D
Dale Mallory, 32nd House District, D
Russ Jackson, 34th House District, R
Kathy Weithe Lippert, St. Central Committee, Dem, w
Tom Chandler, State Central Committee, Second Cong. R
Jim Raussen, 28th House District, Rep.
Kathleen Goedl, 9th Dem., w, State Central Committee
Joe Mallory, 8th Dem, m, State Central Committee
Mark Mallory, 9th Dem, m, State Central Commmittee
Martha Good, 34th House District D
Bob Klug, 30th House District, D
Tim Martz, Second Congressional, R

Robert Hill

Nadel gets top judge job

Kimball Perry reports:

Hamilton County's most senior Common Pleas Court will also be that court's presiding judge in 2008.

Norbert Nadel, who turns 69 on Jan. 3, is a Clifton Republican who has been on the Common Pleas Court bench -- hearing felony charges -- since December 1982.

Most of the presiding judge's responsibilities are ceremonial but internal disputes and other issues can come before the presiding judge for a determination.

Nadel became a federal prosecutor after attending the University of Cincinnati and then the Salmon P. Chase College of Law at night while supporting his family by operating his father's retail store while his father was sick with an illness that subsequently caused his death.

Nadel was the 2004 Hamilton County Trial Lawyers Association Trial Judge of the Year, has received the local Mothers Against Drunk Drivers Award of Judicial Excellence, is a member of the Advisory Board of the Ronald McDonald House of Greater Cincinnati and was twice past president of the Chase College of Law Alumni Association.

Mallory in court today - on the bench

Kimball Perry reports:

He's not been sworn in yet as a judge but Dwane Mallory was on the bench today.

Mallory, 50, of North Avondale, was monitoring Room A today in preparation for his official duties as a Hamilton County Municipal Court judge that start next month.

Mallory, a Democrat, was sitting with Municipal Court Judge Julia Stautberg (partially obscured) to see how Room A -- the arraignment, or first, court for those who have been arrested and couldn't make bond overnight.

He was learning the process, how the paper work flows in preparation for when he takes his judicial seat next month. Room A is presided over by the 14 Municipal Court jugdes who rotate there in addition to their normal dockets.

Mallory defeated current Municpal Court Judge John Burlew, a Kennedy Heights Republican, who had the District 1 judgeship since 2001.

Mallory is the brother of Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory and Hamilton County Common Pleas Court Judge William Mallory Jr. and state Rep. Dale Mallory.

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