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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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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Big doings at the state Dem convention

Marc Dann was excommunicated, as much as Democrats can do that.

Read Howard Wilkinson's story on that here


Even Hillary Clinton's own delegates want her to get out of the race.

Read Howard Wilkinson's full story here


Friday, May 09, 2008

Gehring Out Of The Race

It's true, Scott Gehring's getting out of the state rep race.

He said he told the county Republican Party about a month ago that this likely would be coming so party officials could start talking to other people who might face Denise Driehaus in November. He said he knows they've talked to some people. The party has until Aug. 20 to come up with someone.

He plans to stay on as a board member of the Westwood Civic Association.

Here's what Gehring sent out this afternoon:

May 9, 2008

To Whom It May Concern:

It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to resign my candidacy for State Representative in Ohio's 31st House District. Due to an unforeseen family illness, I have decided it is in the best interest of my family to no longer pursue this seat at this time. While I remain dedicated to working to improve our great Westside community, I simply must put my family first. My wife and I ask that everyone keep our family in their thoughts and prayers, as we have a difficult road ahead of us.

The Hamilton County Republican Party should have an individual to replace me on the ballot within the next few weeks. I am eagerly looking forward to working with my replacement and remaining active in the community, albeit in a less demanding roll, as we continually work to improve our neighborhoods.

The Westside is a very unique part of Ohio; as I step down from the political arena today, I would like to ask every Westside resident to take pride in our community and vote this November for representatives that will work as hard as I have to better our neighborhood.

In closing I would like to thank everyone in the 31st House District for all of their support, and I look forward to working together further down the road.


Sincerely,

Scott Gehring


Happy Mother's Day?

In a weird procedural move this week, House Republicans, including several Cincinnati lawmakers, seemingly voted for motherhood before sort of voting against it.

The whole strategy is a bit confusing, but essentially, everyone in the House voted (412-0) to pass the seemingly uncontroversial H. Res. 113, "Celebrating the role of mothers in the United States and supporting the goals and ideals of Mother's Day."

Then Republican Rep. Todd Tiahrt of Kansas asked for the vote to be taken again and recorded.

“Mr. Speaker, I ask for a recorded vote because I’m sure every member wants their mother to know that they have supported the goals of Mother’s Day,” he said.

That's when Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., asked to table Tiahrt's call for a do-over vote.

So in the vote over whether or not to table Tiahrt's call for the do-over vote on mothers, local GOP Reps. John Boehner, Steve Chabot, Jean Schmidt, Mike Turner and Geoff Davis all voted "no," as in they did not want to set aside the call for the do-over vote.

Then, if you are still following this mess, Republicans called to adjourn, which would have left the Mother's Day resolution without action. And in that vote, Boehner, Schmidt and Chabot voted to adjourn.

Asked about the GOP strategy later, Boehner said: “Oh, we just wanted to make sure that everyone was on record in support of Mother’s Day.”

CLICK HERE to read The Washington Post's take on what happened.

And, to watch the whole melee unfold, CLICK HERE, courtesy of Think Progress.


GOP fires back on Driehaus-Dann $



Republicans have renewed their call for Democrat Steve Driehaus to return money raised at a fundraiser hosted by tainted Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.

Read the Ohio GOP's original news release on this topic HERE.

Driehaus told The Enquirer earlier this week that he had the fundraiser, not Dann, and that Dann was just an invited guest. And on top of that, Dann didn't even end up attending the event, he said.

But Ohio Republican Party spokesman John McClelland says this advertisement about the event (above) seems to say otherwise.

"Steve Driehaus clearly listed Marc Dann as the host for his event and used Dann's name to raise money from Cincinnati attorneys," he wrote in an e-mail. "Clearly, the influence of the attorney general's office played a role in the cash he raised and is therefore tainted."

Driehaus is running to unseat Republican Rep. Steve Chabot in Ohio's 1st Congressional District.

The invitation above came from a screen shot provided by the Ohio Republican Party.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Hamilton County JFS gets kudos

Hamilton County's Department of Family Services recently got some praise for its work involving food stamps.

Specifically: food stamp accuracy.

It may not seem too exciting, but it's actually a lot harder then it sounds, said JFS officials.
Put simply, food stamp accuracy is the process of making sure the person is getting the amount of food stamps they're supposed to be getting. The county annually issues more than $91 million in food stamps. An average 72,000 people use the program every month. So ensuring accuracy is no small task.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition Service department, which oversees the food stamp program, sent a letter to local JFS director Moira Weir noting Hamilton County JFS is possibly the only county in the country to hold a payment accuracy conference dedicated solely to the subject.

"We believe that with continued effort Hamilton County can be a national leader in pursuing innovation in its administration of the Food Stamp Program," stated the letter.
Read the whole thing here.



SPCA CEO: We Don't Enforce City Laws


Harold Dates, CEO of SPCA Cincinnati, talked today about the proposed changes to Cincinnati's pit bull ordinance.

He doesn't mind the part about training 10 officers (five in each district) in how to identify a pit bull. The SPCA, he said, is happy to do that training.



But what he can't do, he said, is "be compelled to remove pit bulls." The private, non-profit agency enforces only the Ohio Revised Code, he said, not city ordinances. State law does not ban pit bulls, while Cincinnati does.



And he doesn't like the idea that the SPCA would be stuck in the middle between pit bull owners and the police/prosecutors who might encourage the owners to give up the dogs in order to have charges dismissed.



"I don't think that's fair to us," Dates said. "We get enough animals as it is." (More than 16,000 dogs and cats in 2006)



He also disagrees with the ordinance's proposal that owners be able to voluntarily forfeit dogs to the SPCA. "It seems to me that they should be forfeiting custody to the city of Cincinnati because that's the law that they violated."



The SPCA would, then, house the dog under its contract with the city police department, which agrees to pay up to $100,000 a year to house pit bulls confiscated as part of court cases. It costs about $20 a day to house a dog.



Council discussed the ordinance, put forth by Cecil Thomas, for more than 30 minutes Wednesday before Mayor Mark Mallory decided to hold it a week.



Winburn: What's He Up To?

Charlie Winburn's been popping up here and there lately.

Three weeks ago, he and Judge Nadine Allen pitched their plan to Hamilton County Commissioners that would erase old warrants.

Then, Monday, he took to the steps of City Hall with representatives of the NAACP, COAST and other groups to announce that they'll try to gather 6,000 more signatures to put an initiative on the November ballot that would prevent Cincinnati from using cameras to catch red-light runners.

What do you think: Is he getting ready for another run? If so, for what?


Driehaus Fundraiser Tonight

The invitation doesn't say how much it'll cost you, but Brian Garry's inviting people to a fund-raiser tonight in Clifton for Steve Driehaus, who's running for Congress.

It's at the home of Beverly Thomas and Michael Ramundo and lists former Gov. John Gilligan and former Congressman and Mayor David Mann as among the hosts.

It's 6-8 p.m. tonight. Call 513-221-5807 or e-mail mike@mcr-marketing.com


Cincinnati: City of rare salads


Several blog commenters (thanks) pointed out this story, headlined "Meet Caspar the friendly Swiss intern," in The Hill, a Capitol Hill newspaper. It's about Caspar Oertli, a Swiss 18-year-old, who briefly interned on the Steve Driehaus campaign.

Oertli did not much like Cincinnati, it turns out.

Oertli is friendly and shy with shaggy brown hair that hangs in his eyes and a big smile he exposes every so often. One thing Oertli is not so friendly about is Cincinnati. He dislikes it thoroughly and throughout the interview sprinkles in the many reasons why he does not care for the Southern Ohio town.

Food? Not so much in Cincinnati. “In Cincinnati it was rare to get a salad,” he says. “You can even do your vegetable greasy.”

The weather also didn’t cooperate. “I didn’t have a car and it was raining most of the time,” he noted.


Driehaus tells the Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson that Oertli, in his month-long internship with his campaign, "never complained about Cincinnati that I know of."

"He was a nice kid, a hard worker,’’ said Driehaus, adding that the Swiss youth was referred to his campaign by a local booster. He did express some disappointment when told his young intern had gone to work for a Republican congressman.

"When I get to Washington, mabe I can switch him back,’’ Driehaus said. "I’ll bring him a salad."

Read the full story here


Suburban view of Cincy: 'Bodies piled in the street'


Mayor Mark Mallory recounted today:


“I stopped at a car wash out in Colerain Township and a woman out there told me that maybe she would come downtown if there weren’t so many bodies piled up in the streets. And I thought she was joking, but she was absolutely serious,” Mallory said. The woman later told him she hadn’t been downtown in 17 years.


Read Keith Reed's full story here


CPS audit

Last week, state auditors published the annual financial audit of Cincinnati Public Schools. Here's an accompanying management letter.

The district routinely makes news for its money problems, but auditors found only limited problems with how CPS complies with state budget law and accounting protocol, and how it controls its own spending. Four shortcomings outlined in pages 7-9 of the report indicate potential problems in the future, but didn't cost CPS any money, said Steve Faulkner, spokesman for the state auditor's office.

Assuming you're enough of a wonk to find this interesting in the first place, check the statistical tables at the end for some enlightening tidbits. There, you'll find a list of the 10 largest employers in the CPS district today and nine years ago, average salaries over time, and more.


Paid sick days drive starts today


Here's an AP story, followed by the press release announcing the 2 p.m. press conference:


From AP: Thursday is the deadline for state lawmakers to act on a proposed bill that would require most Ohio companies to provide workers with at least seven paid sick days each year.


The bill’s supporters say that, without action by legislators, they plan to collect enough signatures to put the issue on the ballot in November.


The coalition had collected 268,000 signatures to submit the Ohio Healthy Families Act to the Legislature. It would need an additional 120,683 valid signatures to place the measure before voters.


The bill would affect businesses with 25 or more employees. It is heavily supported by organized labor, whose members tend to vote overwhelmingly Democratic.


From Ohioans for Healthy Families


Columbus - The 200 member Ohioans for Healthy Families coalition is set to announce its plan to take paid sick days to the November ballot.


WHAT: PAID SICK DAYS NEWS CONFERENCE
WHEN: 2:00PM, THURSDAY, MAY 8, 2008
WHERE: PROGRESS OHIO HQ (251 S. 3rd Street, Cols)


Ignoring the 270,000 Ohio voters who signed petitions calling for enactment of paid sick day legislation, the Ohio General Assembly has failed to pass or even vote on the Ohio Healthy Families Act within the time allotted under the "initiated statute" provision of the state Constitution. Accordingly, the coalition sponsoring the legislation will begin gathering the additional petition signatures necessary to place the measure directly on the November, 2008 ballot.


Said Communications Director Dale Butland:


"It's hard to imagine how the leadership of the General Assembly could have been more disdainful of the 2.2 million Ohio workers and families who lack paid sick days and were counting on their elected representatives to help them out. Since receiving the Healthy Families Act in early January, those who control the legislature have given the bill exactly one pro forma hearing, cancelled two others, and refused to schedule a vote.

Though many individual legislators have made it clear that they support and would vote for paid sick days ---and though polls show overwhelming public support for such legislation ----the leadership's message to the voters is clear: 'Drop Dead.'


And since a ballot fight is clearly what they want, a ballot fight is what they will get. At Thursday's news conference, OEA Vice President Bill Leibensperger will explain why the Ohio Education Association has decided to join the fight, and small business owner John Semachko of Cleveland will relate his personal experience with granting paid sick days to his company employees. Coalition Campaign Manager Brian Dunn will detail the next steps in the campaign to bring paid sick days to hardworking Ohio families.


And to the hypocrites in the General Assembly who enjoy paid sick days themselves at taxpayer expense but refuse to pass it for others, we say: 'buckle up.'"


Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Was This A Filibuster?


Cincinnati City Council talked for more than half an hour Wednesday about vicious dogs and pit bulls. On the table for a vote was an ordinance from Cecil Thomas that would train 10 police officers to learn to identify pit bulls and order any officer or dog warden to remove from premises any improperly confined vicious dog or "any dog identified as a pit bull terrier."

It wasn't just the ordinance itself that prompted the 30-plus minute discussion. Chris Bortz wanted to know why it didn't say specifically what training the officers would get. He did most of the questioning and wanted more time to do more, but Mayor Mark Mallory wouldn't give it to him. Bortz also dropped in a key piece of info: Harold Dates (he's the CEO of the SPCA, aka the head dog warden) was against the ordinance too.

Council members seemed more interested in how the ordinance got to the floor of council without debate first in Thomas' law committee (that's because he didn't have a quorum there Tuesday afternoon) and without the knowledge of members of a task force established last fall to study the city's vicious dog law and make fixes to it.

Bortz's aide, Tracy Schwetschenau, was a task force member. She only knew of one meeting. James Tomaszewski, an attorney, thought he was co-chairman of the task force and presented an update to law committee two weeks ago in that capacity. He showed up at council Wednesday, saying he'd only just heard about the ordinance. His update said the task force planned to take the summer to collect more information about dog complaints before coming back to council to propose changes. So imagine his surprise when he saw changes already Wednesday. Thomas said subcommittees of the task force had been meeting.

So Bortz, Jeff Berding and Laketa Cole started asking questions about how the task force, of which they thought council approved the members, got changed. Thomas said he changed it after deciding the task force had too many city workers on it. He wanted it, he said, to be "community-driven." That, of course, made them ask how one council member could unilaterally change the makeup of a group council had helped set up.

Thomas said the whole thing needed to be handled as an emergency to get the ordinance in place as summer and dog complaints start heating up. He insisted it was only a first step to be done while the task force continued its work. The extra officers are needed, he said, to collect more information about dog cases - information the task force needs to make its decisions about what to do next.

Cole said she's opposed to breed-specific legislation. The motion that established the task force in September 2007 did say the task force should investigate non breed-specific issues. Cole also said she "was not told this was about training of our officers." She suggested sending the ordinance back to committee for more study, but that motion failed 5-3. (Roxanne Qualls was absent)

Cole wanted to know how much it would cost to train the officers to be able to spot pit bulls. Thomas said it would be free, courtesy of the SPCA. That made people even more confused, since Bortz had said Dates was opposed to the ordinance.

Mallory finally cut the debate off, saying he'd hold the ordinance for one week.

In the end, Leslie Ghiz said, "Is that a filibuster, what I just witnessed?"

Mallory responded: "Probably the closest thing to it so far."


Council serenade


A Danish journalist visiting the Enquirer today stopped by City Council - and shot this video. Brother Steven Gerard Sidlovski of Cincinnati was was singing on behalf of anti-abortion event "40 days for life."

The song is "Most High Powerful God," according to Brother Steven's fellow activisit JoElla Manella, who also spoke at council.

Video by Tue Bladel of Danish National Radio

video


Marc Dann? Can you help with impeachment?

AP reports:

Ohio House Speaker Jon Husted says lawmakers determining whether Attorney General Marc Dann should be impeached over a sex scandal need help from an unlikely source: the attorney general himself.

Husted said Wednesday the House isn’t equipped to investigate whether Dann has committed any impeachable offenses. He says it would be helpful if Dann appointed an independent investigator to review all the information from the scandal.

Dann, the state’s top attorney, admitted an extramarital affair with an employee that he said contributed to an atmosphere in his office that led to sexual harassment claims against an aide.
Officials in both parties are calling for Dann, a Democrat, to resign. The House speaker’s request for an independent investigator is another sign that lawmakers are struggling with whether his offenses warrant impeachment.


Driehaus: There's no Dann $ to return

The Ohio Republican Party today called on state Rep. Steve Driehaus to return money raised at a fundraiser at the Aronoff Center last year with tainted Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.

Driehaus, the Democrat running against Republican U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot in the 1st Congressional District, has called for Dann to resign.

"If Driehaus truly believes Dann should go, he would reject Dann's financial support and return the tainted funds," ORP spokesman John McClelland said in a news release. "Condemning Marc Dann while lining your campaign coffers with money he raised is just pure hypocrisy."

The only problem?

Dann never made it to the Dec. 3 fundraiser, Driehaus told The Enquirer.

"Marc didn't have the fundraiser for me. I had a fundraiser for Cincinnati attorneys in which Marc was the invited guest - and he couldn't make it," Driehaus said. "Sometimes those Republicans don't get their press releases exactly right."

So ... That would be a "no" on the returning of the money?

"I find it ironic that the Ohio Republican Party is chastising me for bringing in the Ohio attorney general, whose actions I was unaware of at the time, when the congressman (Chabot) has held a fundraiser with (former House Speaker) Newt Gingrich," Driehaus said.

Gingrich left the U.S. House in 1999 after facing ethics scandals.

"It's just silly," Driehaus said.


County spies way to save jail beds

A committee working to solve jail overcrowding in Hamilton County has come across a simple way to empty more beds without letting inmates out early.

It changed the procedure relating to "holds" by other counties.

A hold means the inmate is wanted by a police agency in another state or a non-adjoining Ohio county.


In 2006, Hamilton County held roughly 1,000 inmates a total of 19,480 days for their crimes here and on holds. Some of those jail days--though it's unclear how many-- were spent just on that inmate awaiting transport to the other agency.

Why? Because the county wasn't holding extradition hearings for inmates until right before he or she was to be released. Extradition hearings are special hearings required before inmates with holds can be handed over to the outside agency.

The practice of holding extradition hearings at or near the inmate's release date has been in place as long as anyone can remember, according to Sheriff's Office Director of Corrections Joe Schmitz, who is on the committee. They've now determined it is legal to hold the hearings early, thereby cutting down on the number of days the person is waiting for the other jurisdiction to pick him up.

So they're changing the policy.

Commissioner David Pepper estimates the change could save the county up to 10,000 jail bed days a year based on the 2006 numbers. Last year the jail housed 878 inmates with holds.


Qualls, Leis Dance This Weekend

Councilwoman Roxanne Qualls joins Sheriff Simon Leis, Lincoln Ware and others as the celebrities Saturday in a Dancing With The Stars-type event to raise money for the Cincinnati Arts Association.

Read more here.


Fee discussion leads to fight

Update: Turns out Hamilton County already levies a convenience fee for credit card property tax payments. Check it out here.

If you get a traffic ticket in Hamilton County, it might soon cost you a little more to pay it--at least if you're planning to do it with a credit card.

County Commissioners voted 2-1 Wednesday voted to explore charging "convenience" fees for credit card transactions. The county is spending more than $700,000 a year to absorb the transaction fees, which are levied by credit card companies. Commissioner Pat DeWine dissented.

Comissioner Todd Portune initially suggested charging the fees for check transactions as well, which elicited a mini-showdown between him and DeWine, who opposes the transaction fees.

DeWine: "So the only way someone could avoid paying this is by sending cash in an envelope?"

Portune: "In parking tickets they could avoid it by not getting a citation in the first place."

DeWine: "What about property taxes? Should they not buy a property in the fist place?"

Portune:"It's about being equitable across the board. This doesn’t put it in place, it just goes forward to see what the most equitable way is to do this."

DeWine: The whole thing borders on absurd. If the idea is to compensate the county for what it is statutarily required to do, it borders on outrageous. If you want ot raise fees, raise fee. Don’t say you’re going to just charge $2 for a credit card or check. At a time when we’re trying to be more customer friendly and keep people in Hamilton County it seems we’re going in the wrong direction."

Portune, who seemed somewhat frutrated at this point, said it would be up to department heads to decide how to handle the fees, but finally agreed to remove the language relating to checks. "I didn’t realize I was going to create World War Three by suggesting we look at checks," he said. "The request came from an elected official who is doing exactly what we are asking department to look at. Lets not create a federal case here where none exists."

All the surrounding Ohio counties charge convenience fees to recoup their costs for some types of transactions like utility bills or property taxes. None of them charge fees for traffic tickets.


Ohio's top superdelegate speaks

The morning after Sen. Barack Obama won a decisive victory in the North Carolina primary and Sen. Hillary Clinton narrowly defeated Obama in Indiana's primary, Sen. Sherrod Brown is still undecided about who he'll support.

Brown, a Democrat from Lorain in northern Ohio, is among the last remaining super delegates who have not endorsed a candidate. He's the highest ranking super delegate in Ohio to remain uncommitted.

"I will probably not endorse until the primary's are over in early June," Brown said this morning, speaking at a breakfast forum sponsored by the Johns Hopkins SAIS Center on Politics & Foreign Relations.

Last night's primary results have put pressure on some super delegates to make a decision, but Brown said he still isn't ready to announce who he's supporting.

"I don't know. I really don't know," Brown told The Enquirer after the breakfast. "You all think I have this plan and I've already decided. I'm not sure. I'm undecided. I mean, I'm talking to both of them. I'm talking to their staffs."

Brown said President Clinton called him at home recently and Chelsea Clinton has called his wife, Connie Schultz of The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, who is a Hillary Clinton supporter. His said his chief of staff and one daughter also are supporting Clinton while his mother, brother and two daughters are supporting Obama.

Brown, a longtime opponent of NAFTA and other trade deals, said he made a decision early on not to endorse because he wanted to talk about trade and Ohio and jobs.

"I spent much of 2007 … lobbying the presidential candidates on those issues," he said.

Also at the breakfast:

-- Brown said doesn't think it'll lead to a brokered convention in which super delegates would select the Democratic presidential nominee behind closed doors.

"It's going to work itself out," he said. "I never believed it'd go to the convention. I also didn't think it would go this long."

-- Brown doesn't think the protracted primary has been bad for Democrats.

"As this is played out, it's shown the big ideas and the energy on the Democratic side. … You can look at what happened with turnout in every single state," he said.

The primary also has "gotten the country used to seeing a woman or an African American as being a significant, major candidate," he added. "That was good for the country and I think that's good for the Democratic party."

-- He supports having Obama and Hillary on the same ticket.

"I'd still like to see them run together, but I think that's looking less and less likely," he said.

----------------

CLICK HERE to listen to Brown's remarks yourself. Audio courtesy of Johns Hopkins SAIS.


CongressDaily's take on Ohio 2nd

Patrick Crowley gives Washington readers and political junkies the lowdown:

If there is any House race in the nation that is primed for a compelling rematch, it is in Ohio’s 2nd District.

In 1996, Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt held off Democrat Victoria Wulsin, 50-49 percent to retain a seat that was once held by Rep. Rob Portman — a vice presidential short-lister — and has been in GOP hands for years.

Read the full story here


Tuesday, May 06, 2008

2,500 rally in support of payday lenders

An estimated 2,500 supporters of the payday-lending industry held a rally today at the Statehouse to urge the Ohio Senate to reject new legislation to regulate the industry.


Read the Dispatch's story here


A picture is worth....$13


Kathleen Akin of Wyoming was featured in The Enquirer April 24 for her decision to be a single mother. But it was her dog that got the attention of the Hamilton County Auditor's Office.


After a photo showed Akin, 45, and her children walking with Sophie, the family's King Charles spaniel, Akin got a letter from the Auditor's Office.


"We saw a picture from Thursday's Cincinnati Enquirer of you in the 'Single Women Who Choose Motherhood" article,'" stated the letter. "When we checked our dog registration database, we didn't find any references you had licensed your dog Sophie."
Akin's response: "I was like, 'Oh my God.' There are so many people out there not paying their child support and they're wasting their time on a $13 dog registration."

Jessica Brown has the story here


Monday, May 05, 2008

Portune asked about AG job


UPDATED. Here's the Plain Dealer's list of possible replacements. Portune is not listed.

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune said he was approached over the weekend asking if he would be interested in Marc Dann's job.

He wouldn't specify who the phone calls came from - whether they were state officials or local officials. He did say though, that some were from people in positions of influence.

"I said I didn't know if I would be (interested) or not," said Portune, a Democrat who is up for re-election in November.

Since then, the Ohio Democrats issued an ultimatum to Dann: resign or be impeached. Portune said it would "be better for the state of Ohio if he would step down at this point," but wanted to make clear that he's not saying that because he wants Dann's job.

"I believe I would be a good attorney general and would do the job very well, but I also know this is a very critical time for Hamilton County," he said, referring to unfinished work on the budget, The Banks, the environment, infant mortality, the sewer district and economic development.

"There is so much important stuff going on in the county level right now that I think it would be a tough sell for me to consider the attorney general's position."

Meanwhile, Hamilton County Democratic Party Chairman Tim Burke, who is out of town on business declined to name names of any potentials to fill Dann's shoes.

"I don't know who's being talked about," he said. "We've got some great Democrats down here. This one would have to be a lawyer." He said it's premature to be naming potential replacements.

As for the ultimatum letter, here's what they had to say.

Burke: "I'm exceptionally disappointed to the events that brought us to this point. It's not going to be possible for him to stay."

He said Dann's scandals have damaged the reputation of the office, and could damage the reputation of the Democrats. "that's what all our other major office holders are saying. They don't want the problems created by one person's misconduct to affect the party."

Portune: "I would just urge that he seriously consider withdrawing for the good of the state."


Pepper: "I think it’s best for everyone that we have an attorney general that can focus on the job of attorney general not these other things. I was glad to see the letter and glad it came out quickly. As I said before, I didn’t think the clean up job could be done with him in office."

Pepper said he hopes Dann resigns before he is impeached. “This just isn’t going to work. Hopefully as days go by he will see this. We need the full attention paid to issues every day like crime and consumer practices and mortgage fraud and you name it. Not dealing with these sorts of issues. I hope it doesn’t come to impeachment.”


Two commissioners run in the Pig

Hamilton County Commissioners David Pepper and Pat DeWine ran for the "Finish Swine" in separate relay races for the the Flying Pig Marathon Sunday.

Pepper was invited to be the last leg of the "SWOFCA" team's relay (Southwest Ohio Family Care Affiliate.) He said he was asked to participate several weeks before the race and practiced by running 5K or 10K runs every weekend leading up to it. The team, which included county Job and Family Services workers Mary Eck, chief of the foster care section, and Jeff Felton, assistant director of Children Services, Ashley Roberts, a teacher and friend of another participant, finished in 4:07:08. They placed 126th out of 387 in their division (coed relays) and 234th overall.

"It was neat," said Pepper "running in the last leg you get to see what the marathoners experience at the end. The crowds and bands, it was really energizing."



DeWine, also ran the last leg of the race in his relay, "Slow As Schmitt" made up of a group of friends. Turns out, Schmitt, whoever that is, must have been pretty fast. The team finished in 4:01:22 ranking 100th out of 387 in their division and 194th overall.

"It's always great fun. I love doing these things. Just how positive everyone is on the course," said DeWine, who a runner and has tackled the full marathon before by himself. "I feel guilty because you're running with these people who are running for 26 miles and you start at mile 20. You try to encourage them."

DeWine must have passed Pepper somewhere in the final leg, but says he didn't see him.

Several other Hamilton County employees also ran in the Pig including Assistant Prosecutor Jim Harper, who was on a relay team from the prosecutor's office.


Every top Dem in state asks Dann to resign.

UPDATED: Congressional candidate and State Rep. Steve Driehaus - who would be invovled in any impeachment proceedings - has joined the call for Dann to resign:

Statement from State Representative Steve Driehaus

"It is time for Attorney General Marc Dann to resign. Previously, I had called on the Attorney General to cooperate with the investigation and the investigation now shows unacceptable behavior by the Attorney General and staff. I join Governor Strickland and elected Democrats across the state of Ohio in asking the Attorney General to do what is best for the state of Ohio and the Office of Attorney General by stepping down."

And while she's not a Democrat, she is from Greater Cincinnati:

"As Ohio's top law enforcement officer Marc Dann should indeed resign immediately" said Rep. Jean Schmidt.

And so did Schmidt's opponent:

Cincinnati – Democratic Candidate Dr. Victoria Wulsin issued this statement in response to Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann.

“Marc Dann’s behavior has tarnished the reputation of the Ohio Attorney General’s office. I join Governor Strickland and other Democrats, asking for his resignation.”





This story will be updating all day.

Meanwhile, here's the letter from Gov. Ted Strickland and Marc Dann's response.

Governor Ted Strickland, U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Lt. Governor Lee Fisher, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, Treasurer Richard Cordray, House Minority Leader Joyce Beatty, Senate Minority Leader Ray Miller and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern called for Attorney General Marc Dann’s resignation last night.

The text of a letter sent to Attorney General Marc Dann last night, Sunday, May 4, 2008, follows:

Dear Attorney General Dann,

We write to you tonight to ask that you resign your position as Attorney General of the State of Ohio.

We believe that your actions have irreparably harmed your ability to effectively serve the people of our great state.

The work of the Office of the Attorney General matters more, and is far more important, than any one person. In many, many cases it is all that stands between the people and the powerful. Sadly, we no longer have even the most remote hope that you can continue to effectively serve as Attorney General and that is why we are asking for your resignation.

We also want to make you aware that if you do not choose to resign, Democratic members of the Ohio House of Representatives will immediately introduce a resolution seeking your impeachment. We sincerely hope that this action will not be necessary and that you will act in the best interest of the people of Ohio by tendering your resignation Monday morning.


Dann's response:

Below is the text of an e-mail sent today by Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann to all associates of his office.

All --

Last night, I received a call from Governor Strickland advising me that he and the other statewide Democratic office holders along with the minority leaders of the House and Senate were planning to ask me to resign today.

That letter has been sent.

I wanted to share with you what I told the Governor.

I told him that he and the other officeholders, as well as the members of the legislature, should continue to expect that we will continue to provide high-quality legal services to all of them. I told the Governor that we will continue to make our law enforcement partnerships work to protect the people of the State of Ohio.

I told him that our consumer protection and environmental protection and civil rights work will continue on behalf of the State of Oho

That is exactly what I am doing today. I am in the office, have rolled up my sleeves and am working on behalf of the people of State of Ohio.

I hope all of you will do the same.

I think that there is a great chance that we can continue to do great work for the people of the State.

I know that this is difficult, and I am truly sorry to have put all of you in this position. But our work is too important to do anything but our jobs today.

Marc Dann





Dann roundup


AP reports a sexual harassment scandal inside Attorney General Marc Dann's office began about seven months ago when aides overlooked the concerns of a staff member who tried to raise the issue with human resources, according to transcripts of a recently concluded investigation.


Read that story here



Howard Wilkinson reported Sunday that the last thing the GOP wants is for Marc Dann to resign, really.


Read that story here



William Hershey in Dayton reports that former Ohio Democratic Chairman James Ruvolo has called for Dann to resign


Read that story here


The Dispatch explains how Dann can be removed, and what happens if he is:



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