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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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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Rhodes: Bike? How about a horse instead?

Auditor Dusty Rhodes won't be bicycling to work any time soon.

During a discussion at today's county commission meeting about the subject it was noted that Andy Dobson, a senior planner on the county planning commission, sent a memo to staff last month asking for suggestions for a "bike commuting program. "

Rhodes sent a sarcastic response suggesting the establishment of a "county stable" so employees could ride horses and buggies to work. Other suggestions: turn off the computers for two hours each day and write the county paychecks by hand.

Rhodes said he got some anonymous responses agreeing with him. A county stable must not be in the county's budget.

Commissioner Pat DeWine said Wednesday he is biking to work on Friday.

"The County Recorder twisted my arm," he said. Apparently Rebecca Prem Groppe and DeWine are meeting at Awakenings in Hyde Park around 8:45 a.m. to bike downtown.
Commissioner David Pepper suggested they stop in Mount Adams, where he lives, and he'd bike the rest of the way (downhill) with them. Commissioner Todd Portune commended the idea, though noted he didn't have a hand-crank cycling machine yet for himself.
UPDATE: Pepper says he was joking around about it at the meeting, but actually he had planned to bike to work. He thought just biking from Mount Adams would be cheating. So he's now biking to Awakenings to meet the others, then biking downtown.

Portune, suggested the county find ways to let more employees work from home and that all local governments should be looking at solutions to the fuel crisis.

On a side note, while David Pepper isn't biking on Friday, he has made a commitment to do a Tour of Hamilton County by running a 5K race every weekend in a different community.
"It's a great way to get out in the county," Pepper said. One weekend though, he couldn't find a local race so he had to run one in Kentucky. "They looked at me like 'what are you doing here?'"


at 3:42 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridiculous. Here's an idea on how to save money and be green- how about we get rid of every worker who is NOT needed, say about 70% of the staff at City Hall. Or, maybe they should just shut their pieholes- the air will not stink as bad.

at 3:59 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Dusty Rhodes' response is closer to the dying gasp of a dinosaur than the snorting of a horse. Rhodes displays his ignorance by scoffing at suggestions for healthier and more environmentally responsible living. Dusty Rhodes is the one trapped in the past--backward, out of date, and out of ideas. Maybe its time we folks in Hamilton County give Dusty the opportunity to stop commuting to his job altogether. It sounds as though his better days are behind him.

at 4:10 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...


Here we go again, the auditors office trying to justify all those, wRong wingnut whacko, crony 'farm (CAUV)' subsidies so they can provide reverse robin-hood hand-outs !

If you spend the county money, dusty won't have any to give away to this political cronies !

HAY, lets make a bike-trail through that county subsidized (CAUV), non-commercial timber-land at the CAMARGO Country Club or down that private CAMARGO Club Associations, multi-acre, private dusty road that only pays $ 25.00 in property tax each year !

PATHETIC 'family values' !

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE, for a real, DEMOCRAT 2008 !

at 4:12 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Dan said...

I think that riding your bike to work is a great idea. We need more bike lanes throughout town too! As a young professional, this was one reason that I considered moving someplace a little more liberal, in the political sense. To see our elected officials making comments like this is really disheartening.

I guess Rhodes loves sitting in his car, trapped in traffic, surrounded by strips of fast food joints and big box marts. Beautiful.

Wake up!

at 4:20 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Will Rebecca be driving her SUV with the bike inside from her home in Mariemont to Hyde Park? How much gas is that using?

at 4:21 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Poster #1: The County Commissioners and the County Auditor do not work at "City Hall". Maybe YOU should shut YOUR ignorant pie hole the air will not stink as bad.

at 4:22 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Jane said...

Why not ride a bike? Shouldn't we all be encouraged/ encourage each other/ to use more friendly means of transportation than a car?

at 4:23 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

W. Emerson Rhodes. Type to move on you nut. I have passes this guy walking downtown one time and he seemed to be struting like he was really somebody. Then that disc jockey gig. Playing that tired old music. It fits him to a tee -- tired and old. Don't you just love this cow town. All the workers going to and from in cars with just one person in them?

at 4:24 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous JGU said...

The funny and sad thing is that Rhodes' comments, like those of Anon 3:42, aren't conservative at all. My Father fought in WWII and my Mother was a nurse at the same time. They were thrifty with their use of resources then out of necessity, and they continued it throughout their entire lives. When they grew up, people used grey water from their cisterns for watering plants and washing clothes, they walked a lot and carried their own bags, they bought fresh fruit and produce and canned them for winter, and they recycled everything under the sun.

Sounds like a couple of liberal wing-nuts, doesn't it? Well, I can assure you my parents weren't that; that's what these new "conservatives" have done to sensible ideas about living to respect our bodies and our environment.

Rhodes should be ashamed of himself. I wish my Father were alive to tell him so.

at 4:31 PM, May 14, 2008 Blogger The World-Wide Wes said...

It is certainly sad when the most efficient form of human transportation is dismissed without any real investigation into the overwhelmingly positive effects it would bring.

I'm a year-round, car-free bike commuter. What do I do with all that money I save? Pump most of it back into the local economy and then travel the world in search of new ideas and perspectives with the rest.

It is time to wake up, Cincinnati. We're YEARS behind.


at 4:35 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dusty is completely out of touch with the reality of today if he is spouting off like this. I'm sure the Cincinnati Cycle Club would love to have him show up at one of our rides. We'll even come up with a bike for him, but he'll have to provide the spandex. At least you don't need to follow a club ride with a pooper scooper - can't say the same for them ol' horseys!!

at 4:38 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You should think about switching to the BT series... it's cleaner and safer on emissions

at 4:40 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think he is right for being sarcastic. Some of the ridicules ideas that are brought up supposedly being green. Who will really ride a bike to work? The only reason one is needed is for fitness. So instead of buying into what is popular it is best if we uses our tax money to come up with actual solutions and not just throwing darts at a board and hopeing we hit a bulls eye. I am glad he was elected to office to rule out a waste of tax payers dollars. Good job Dusty!

at 4:53 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the sheriff circling my house for almost an hour today in a helicopter searching for a guy who stole some cigarettes was a bit of a waste.

Parking the cop cars in high offense areas until a call comes in is a lot smarter than cruising around all day - the funds saved could be enormous and the practice is shown to improve response times to actual calls while saving money.

I think all county vehicles should be parked until the employee submits a "co-ordinated runs" plan that groups and plans their on the road work loads. Ie: If you're a social worker, then schedule all your visits for neighborhood "A" on the same day. If you are an inspector - mapquest your routes to assure minimal mileage and coordinated by neighborhood also. If you're the chief going to a fire, ride the truck instead of following in your suv, baliffs serving notice should map quest their calls. If you're appraising properties for the sheriff, car pool -- oh wait, they're already doing that, maybe for the money they're making they should drive their own vehicles, after all, it's not a county tour it's a contract.

All county vehicles should be parked one day a week unless specially approved by the director. No one should be allowed to take home a county vehicle unless they can prove an absolute necessity based on facts and urgent circumstances - not on convenience.

There - that should save taxpayers about $1M.

Now, let's do an emergency increase in bus transportation for one day from key points to key destinations. Let's put aside $10K in funding for gas and run buses for free from these areas - once people get the hang of it - reel them in to be permanent customers. we'll all save.

Let's designate the high speed lane the car pool lane across the county and the slow lane as the SUV (defined by weight) lane forcing us driving gas guzzlers to drive slower and reduce the demand in the biggest hogs on the road.

Better yet - let's pass an Anti-Inflation Act like they did in the 1930's and freeze the price of everything until we get the handle on this.

at 5:03 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

How is riding your bike a ridiculous idea? I am by no means anti-car, but definitely pro-bike. Hell, I'm not even bitching about gas prices. My car gets filled up maybe once a month. Why? Because I ride a bike every chance I get. To work, to play...whatever. A lot of people I know do this as well. It's getting more prevalent every day. I think I know a good place for the stable. Dusty's former office.

at 5:05 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is rediculous...tank buses in north kentucky are now hybrids, and cincinnati is still stuck in the dark ages of kinetic energy. I'm just waiting for city council and the auditor to pass a resolution banning lids on coffee cups or banning flowers due to the terrible allergies this time of year.

at 5:11 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The county stable should be in Dusty's office.
Ride a bike. It's easy. It's fun.

at 5:18 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's a nice photo of Dusty you used for this article, Jessica. But why did the photographer stand behind him?

at 5:38 PM, May 14, 2008 Blogger gumby said...

Rock on Dusty (sarcasm) - just don't hit me while I am riding my bike.

Bicycling in Cincinnati is a matter of public safety not a green issue.

If even a small segment of the Hamiliton county population used horse and buggy as a mode of transport, the county's interest should consider what would happen if the county and the county planning commission are neglegent in planning for the safty of buggy driving citizens! Buggy driver is killed by Hummer because of poor planning that did not allow for safe passage of Hummers and buggies - law suit - big drain on county budget.....

But thanks for the idea Dusty - my daughter really wants a pony and if I get two goats, for the back yard - and a sheep for the front, I'll never need to mow the lawn...I could be "green" and lazy at the same time...cool idea. I would be happy to pay permit fees to make that happen! oh wait - I forgot the 3 unpermitted pitbulls that run around my Cincinnati neighborhood - that might cause problems with the local dog fighting community! Which I assume the dangerous dog permits are not enforced because of the negative impact on the local economy.

Ok have I made enough stupid comments in response to ignorent comments.

BTW - don't our tax $s support stables already? The county sheriff or the CPD maybe?

at 6:47 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riding a bicycle to work in downtown Cincinnati is a great idea. Especially if you live in Colerain Township or Finneytown. But be careful going through Over the Rhine.

It'll be swell to add an extra hour and a half to a commute on I-75 on a bicycle, getting all dirty and sweaty going to work. Great fun in the rain or snow, too.

While we're at it, let's repeal the 20th Century and the Industrial Revolution. Maybe we should also live in tents...use candles... huddle around fires for warmth.

Once again, Dusty is telling it like it is. Thank goodness there is at least one person with common sense in county government.

at 6:56 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dusty Roads...how appropriate for somebody living in the 50's. His vision (if he ever had one) is as backward as his hand-entered payroll process. Who has human time keepers anymore?

at 7:11 PM, May 14, 2008 Blogger Quim said...

FWIW, HP to downtown is pretty much downhill, too. It's also pretty much all uphill going back out to HP. :-)
Fortunately, Madison, like most of the major roads in Cincinnati, are wide enough that bike lanes are not warranted.
I can't believe 3CDC wouldn't set up horse stalls in the FSQ garage if people actually wanted them.

at 7:16 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that the bloggers who are ignorant about city and county government do not exercise their privilege to vote. Oh, apparently they do, or we wouldn't have the incompetent elected officials that we have.

Please, learn the truth about government in the area (you'll have to refer to more than these political blogs) and make smart choices.

at 10:14 PM, May 14, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

"WHo would ride a bike to work?"

Me! Every day for the last 3 years. And pretty ften before then. Rhodes is a political dinosaur thats needs to be made extinct.

at 12:22 AM, May 15, 2008 Blogger The World-Wide Wes said...

>>Who will really ride a bike to work? The only reason one is needed is for fitness.

I will CONTINUE to ride a bike to work. And do you really think the only reason to ride a bike is fitness? I'd truly love to educate you a bit, my friend.

>>So instead of buying into what is popular...

And when exactly did biking or bike commuting become popular? I've been at it for years and years and rarely see anyone else during my commutes. I sport a ridiculous smile when I see another bike commuter. Sad but true.


at 2:01 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good for DeWine, Pepper and Groppe for biking to work. Now we need our Commander-in-Chimp doing something about $4-a-gallon gas. ANY other president would have taken some kind of action by now...but then again, he's an Texass OILMAN!!!

And it's time for our state legislators to pass some MEANINGFUL bills. How about changing Ohio's archaic bike laws?....Riding anywhere in the road and turning lanes like a car? No helmet requirement? This ain't China, folks. (except for the air pollutants, maybe.)
Why not allow bikes on sidewalks along busy, dangerous roadways? Or at least paint in some bikeways. Time to get into the 21st Century Buckeyes!!!!!!!!!!!

at 2:06 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Wes.

Why doesn't the Enquirer and other major news media get on the bike-wagon, so-to-speak and start promoting alternatives to gas-guzzling cars, particularly the use of hybrids, carpools, buses, trains and bikes? How about a property tax break for bikers, Dusty, or sales tax break, Pepper?

Time to WAKE UP to our 40-plus-years addiction to OIL as Bushwhacker puts it -- yet does NOTHING about it.

Come on Cincinnatians, suggest some solutions.

at 8:07 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are two people who live in P. Ridge and Mariemont meeting in hyde park to bike downtown? Are they both biking to Hyde Park?

at 9:29 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Riding downtown and back to Finneytown is no major feat. I do it all the time. Not to mention the fact that you could ride or walk to a bus stop (take the 20 for Finneytown-Downtown) Spend $3.00 for busfare and save what... a hundred dollars a month on downtown parking?

at 10:41 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

"BTW - don't our tax $s support stables already? The county sheriff or the CPD maybe? 5:38 PM, May 14, 2008"

The county tax revenue dollars are also reduced for, wRong wingnut whacko, 'Friends of dusty' !

They get 'muti-million' dollar reduced valuations in property tax because they have a 5 horse stable / barn and 5 personal riding horses !

The county doesn't get $10,000 in tax revenue each year so 'Friends of dusty' can have personal horses to ride the 'green acres' trail !

That's why dusty is so full of horse manure !

So, the tax paying citizens are paying for the personal recreation of Indian Hill and then the county wants a regressive sales tax for jails !

Talk about getting a real 'PHONY RIDE' !

By the way dusty, how much is a bale of hay ?

How much hay can be grown on an acre of Indian Hill land ?

How many, so called, farms have you audited to make certain they commercially earned that stack of hay income ?

How much unearned hay money have you recouped, in property valuations, for the tax-payers ?

Perhaps, if dusty spent more time doing his JOB, he would have less time shucking his walmart solutions ?

Fill-er up boys, get er done !

The problem is: The wRong criminals are being locked-up !

What a greaser !

PATHETIC 'family values' !

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE, for a real, DEMOCRAT 2008 !

at 11:22 AM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tin Hat 10:41
You've convinced me. I'm voting Republican.

at 12:43 PM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anonymous said...Tin Hat 10:41
You've convinced me. I'm voting Republican. 11:22 AM, May 15, 2008"

You won't have the opportunity or the choice, PERIOD !

Seems the tin-man has exposed a lack of courage !

So a real Democrat is a RINO ?

Once again, it's XXX judge Tryintofoolyou !

Wait until heart-less is Dole-d another defeat !

PATHETIC 'family values' !

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE, for a real, DEMOCRAT 2008 !

at 4:27 PM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous liberalism is a mental disorder said...

Yes, folks...it's now the foot-tapping, tin hat-wearing bold typist!!

at 7:17 PM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

David Pepper is such a pill!

Proposal: all candidates and politicians forego all motorized vehicles in all parades from here on out. Non-motorized transpo only.

at 11:00 PM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...a mental disorder said...Yes, folks...it's...the foot-tapping, tin hat...4:27 PM, May 15, 2008"

Once again it's XXX judge Tryintofoolyou !

PATHETIC 'family values' !


at 11:08 PM, May 15, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

You've....you've....this is a joke right? There's no way that someone in this day and age would really say that, would they?

Maybe Dusty should be in charge of marketing the region too. "Cincinnati....still partying like it's 1999."

Good on Andy Dobson for at least talking about alternatives to the status quo.

at 11:47 PM, May 16, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only "joke" is by those who think any meaningful number of county employees are going to risk life and limb and spend an extra two or more hours a day bicycling to downtown to work.

Get real, cyclists. Andy Dobson can talk until he's blue in the face. This is one "alternative" that's pure pie in the sky and anyone with half a brain knows it.

Thank the Lord we've still got a few honest politicians like Dusty Rhodes who are willing to tell it like it is and accept the abuse of the nutcases for doing so.

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