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 17, 2008

Mallory: Send Me The Best Educators

Mayor Mark Mallory announces that he's starting something new to honor people who contribute the most to Cincinnati Public Schools.

There'll be one winner a month of the Mayor's Recognition of Educational Excellence Award for six months and each will be honored at a City Council meeting as well as featured on the mayor's Web site. Anyone working in a field that directly affects the life of CPS students is eligible, including teachers, administrators, volunteers, PTA members, etc.

The award was created by the mayor's Young Professionals Kitchen Cabinet, a group he established to advise him.

“Teachers are creating the next generation of leaders for our city,” the mayor said in a statement from his office. “Everyone has at least one teacher who changed their life. The award will recognize those teachers who go above and beyond.”

Applications, available at http://www.mayormallory.com/, are due May 30 to the cabinet and can be sent to mayorsypkc@gmail.com.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Boehner named 'worst person'

Would you buy a dish from this man?

The Associated Press reports:

Former Ohio Attorney General Marc Dann spent his first day after resigning helping his wife with her business selling dishes online.

Dann’s attorney Mike Harshman says Dann helped his wife, Alyssa Lenhoff Dann, with her side job selling Fiestaware on the Internet.

Dann walked two miles from his suburban Youngstown home Thursday to the office where he took orders and packed dishes.

Harshman says Dann is weighing career options that could include the law, teaching or another run for political office.

Dann resigned Wednesday after acknowledging an affair with a subordinate and ahead of a threat of impeachment.

Photo from the Homer Laughlin China Co.

Eby For State Rep? He Says No

Westwood Republican John Eby, who twice ran for City Council, will be at the St. Catharine's church festival tonight. Check in or around the beer booth.

Where he won't be, he says, is in the race for state representative against Denise Driehaus. Somewhere on this blog or another, someone suggested he might replace Scott Gehring, who got out of the race last week, citing a family issue.

Today at the kickoff of Cincinnati's Neighborhood Enhancement Program in Westwood, Eby said there's a host of reasons why the campaign job wouldn't be for him. First, that he's friends with Driehaus and likes her.

Hamilton County GOP opposes red light cameras

The Hamilton County Republican party this morning announced they opposed Cincinnati's plan to add red light cameras at intersections - a move the city hopes will add $1 million to city coffers.

From the Hamilton County Republican party this morning:

On May 15, 2008, the Hamilton County Republican Party Policy Committee met at Party Headquarters to discuss the issue of Red Light Cameras. The Committee voted unanimously to oppose the placing of Red Light Cameras in the City of Cincinnati and to support the referendum and petition drive to place this issue on the fall ballot. Simply put, the Hamilton County Republican Party opposes Red Light Cameras.

The Policy Committee looked carefully at the issue and considered both sides of the argument. After a thorough review and discussion, the committee found the cameras to be an unnecessary revenue generating program that unnecessarily intrudes in the lives of taxpayers and provides very little due process to protect the innocent.

Statement of Chairman Alex Triantafilou

“I am pleased that our Policy Committee unanimously voted against Red Light Cameras and in favor of a referendum to place this issue before the voters. Red Light Cameras are simply designed to drive up revenue on the backs of unsuspecting drivers and the proposal lacks some of the necessary due process safeguards that we should all expect under our Constitution. The Committee found no connection between public safety and these cameras and found that in many instances, the cameras caused “rear-end” collisions as drivers panicked to stop. Our Party urges citizens to support the petition drive to place this issue before the voters and to reject this unnecessary government intrusion.”

For more details on the Party’s position, visit http://hcrp.blogspot.com/.

'Ten things you didn't know about Rob Portman'

UPDATE: For what it's worth, Portman is in the "final four" of CQ's veepstakes bracket:

US News reported Tuesday:

10 Things You Didn't Know About Rob Portman

By Bobbie Kyle Sauer

Sen. John McCain disclosed that he is in the "embryonic stages" of selecting a running mate, whom he hopes to introduce at the Republican National Convention. While he refused to disclose any names, McCain told reporters that the list is about 20 deep, and "it's every name imaginable." This is one of a series of profiles on the candidates we imagine might be on his list and some things you may not know about the maybe-veeps. See the full list here.

1. On Dec. 19, 1955, Robert Jones Portman was born to Bill and Joan Portman in Cincinnati. Portman has an older brother, William, and a younger sister, Virginia.

2. Portman's father started a forklift company in 1960, Portman Equipment Co., which was sold in 2004 to a Dutch company.

3. Portman's interest in politics started in high school and continued through college and law school. His first run for office was in high school, for the secretary-treasurer of his freshman class at Cincinnati Country Day School.

4. Portman followed his father's footsteps and attended Dartmouth College, where he studied anthropology and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1979. Portman earned a J.D. from the University of Michigan in 1984.

5. Enjoying the outdoors, Portman likes canoeing and kayaking. In 1984 he traveled to China to kayak the Li River and a portion of the Yangzi River. He has also kayaked the entire Rio Grande.

6. Jane, his wife and a former Democrat, worked for Tom Daschle when he served as a representative from South Dakota. Portman and his wife have two sons and a daughter.

7. Besides serving in Congress for 12 years, Portman has worked for both presidents Bush. He served in many positions including as associate counsel to President George H.W. Bush. Most recently he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as United States Trade Representative. Portman left the position this past summer to move back to Cincinnati to be with his family.

8. Portman, whose ancestors were abolitionists, helped get federal money to build the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in his hometown, Cincinnati.

9. Matt Maupin, the U.S. soldier who was taken hostage in 2004 after his convoy was attacked outside Baghdad, was from the district Portman used to represent. He became close to the Maupin family and helped them in the search for their son, including going with them to a meeting at the Pentagon and attending his funeral.

10. This spring Portman is co-teaching a course on public budgeting at the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University. He is also a member of the school's advisory board.

Image from Wall Street Journal

If CPS spends money and no one notices...

At last night's Cincinnati school board public hearing called to discuss Superintendent Rosa Blackwell's proposed $445 million budget for next year, just two people who aren't on the CPS payroll or the board came.

One of them was me, a reporter who routinely attends as part of my job. The other was Jim Berry, an Over-the-Rhine resident who's a frequent schools volunteer and member of the joint CPS-community budget commission. So depending on your definition, there's between two and zero bona fide members of the "public" at the public meeting.

This very poorly attended meeting came 72 days after voters approved a 7.89-mill property tax hike for CPS, which will raise annual taxes by $233 per $100,000 of property value, beginning next January. Last night specifically, board members and Blackwell were making plans to spend about $18.7 million worth of those new taxes.

The next public hearing on the budget is June 12, and they'll probably vote on the budget June 23. Maybe better weather then will bring out a crowd.

UPDATE: Board member Melanie Bates called today, claiming the real problem isn't lack of interest, but a flawed method for soliciting input. For whatever reason, the old-fashioned hearing process just doesn't work for people, and the district hasn't bothered to adapt.

Her ideas? Giving principals finance training to host school-level hearings, more Web-based public surveys and off-site board meetings.

"We're paying someone $82,000 a year to manage community engagement," she said, referring to Dawn Grady, CPS coordinator of community engagement. "We ought to have the capacity to figure this out." (Grady, who actually makes $84,924, didn't immediately return a call for comment.)

Of course, Bates and her six colleagues earn a $125 per-meeting stipend, too. Hardly big money, but that doesn't exactly discourage calling meetings no one cares about.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Raise taxes? We didn't mean that

It wouldn't have been a total shock had Hamilton County's credit rating slipped after it spent $12 million of its reserve money on inmate housing fees, lawsuit settlements and elections equipment since 2006. However, the county made a ton of changes in the past 16 months and made a strong case to Moody's Investors Service and ended up salvaging its financial rating (read the Moody's report here).
"We were hopeful we would not be (downgraded) but we had to make a very very strong case to Moody’s," said County Administrator Patrick Thompson. "A lot of work went into preparation for it and they saw that."

County officials were thrilled that they get to keep their Aa2 rating and are off the "watch list."
Worth noting in the county's presentation are several potential revenue builders that the county said it could implement if needed. Check out page 58 of the county's presentation to Moody's

Commissioners, though, insist they do not intend to actually enact those taxes and fees.

"All those are are lists of all the various measures that the county has access to. It is not a proposal nor is it intended to be a proposal," said Commissioner Todd Portune. "Moody’s want to know what are all the things in your arsenal from soup to nuts."

Spandex sighting!

OK, so it's not the Tour de France, (see photo) but we hear there may be some spandex sightings. Three of your county leaders will be bicycling to work Friday for Bike-to-Work Day. Get the details here.

Gov: 'We clean our own house.'

Gov. Ted Strickland was in Cincinnati today.

Reporter Denise Amos was there, and filed this report

More Dann reaction

From House Speaker Jon Husted, R-Kettering: “His resignation is long overdue. We can now allow the Inspector General’s independent investigation – and others – to take their course so integrity and public trust can be restored to the office of the Ohio Attorney General.”

From Senate President Bill Harris, R-Ashland: "By tendering his resignation as the Attorney General of the State of Ohio, Marc Dann did the right thing. I believe it is essential that the independent investigation currently being conducted by Ohio’s Inspector General continue in order to begin the process of restoring the public’s trust.”

From new acting Attorney General Tom Winters: Memo to Office Employees.

It is with a great deal of emotion that I write to acknowledge that Attorney General Marc Dann has resigned. Until Governor Ted Strickland appoints a successor, I will—as the First Assistant Attorney General—act in his place.

It is a sad day, but I am confident in the knowledge that you—the more than 1,400 dedicated public servants of this office—will continue to do your jobs in the Office of the Attorney General. Collectively, you span the terms of seven Attorneys General. You enjoy a nationwide reputation as aggressive and professional advocates for the people of Ohio.

I know in my heart that your dedication will continue as I assume my new assignment. I am proud to be associated with all of you.

From former Attorney General Betty Montgomery:

“I have been saddened by the many problems the Attorney General and the Attorney General's office have faced over these past tumultuous weeks. This is an office with a proud history and an important mission. For many years I was honored to work with a staff which worked tirelessly meeting the needs of its clients and working to protect all Ohioans. They were competent, dedicated professionals, proud of their responsibilities, and proud to be stewards of the public trust.

“Because Ohio needs an Attorney General and an Attorney General's office which is focused on its mission and the needs of Ohio, and because these employees as well as the citizens of Ohio deserve better, I believe Marc Dann has done the right thing by resigning. I know this is a very difficult time for him. I wish him and his family the best.

“As the difficulties of the office continued to unfold over these past weeks, I have been encouraged by many to consider running in the special election to be called this fall. I have been flattered by these suggestions. It has been a very tempting possibility to consider for many reasons. I loved my time in the office, and with the help of the wonderful professionals in that office, I do believe we were able to accomplish a great deal in the area of consumer advocacy, criminal prosecutions and in service to Ohio’s most vulnerable populations. I will always cherish my time in the office. I was truly blessed to be able to serve as the Attorney General.

“Having said that, I will not be a candidate for Attorney General in this fall's special election. After over 30 years of public service as Prosecutor, State Senator, Attorney General, and Auditor of State, it is time for me to take some time for my family and friends. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to serve that I was given by the citizens of Ohio. I look forward to helping in any way I can to help the office and the new Attorney General be successful in serving the needs of Ohio and its citizens.”

McCain, in Ohio, praises Portman

Enquirer Columbus bureau reporter Jon Craig rode the Straight Talk Express Wednesday:
Sen. John McCain had nothing but praise Wednesday for Rob Portman, former congressman and budget director under President Bush, whose name often crops up as a potential running mate for the presumptive Republican presidential candidate.

Read the full story here
AP photo of McCain in Columbus this morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Pepper's Banks survey

Commissioner David Pepper wants you to weigh in on The Banks. Take his survey here.

Dann is gone

Read the story here
Here's Marc Dann's statement:
Twelve days ago I came before you to admit mistakes, to take responsibility, and to announce steps towards giving the office of attorney general an administrative backbone worthy of the great legal work that we were doing in this office.
I sincerely viewed it as my fiduciary responsibility to fix the problems on my watch, especially as it concerned my own actions.

Unfortunately it is now clear that the last step I must take to fix these problems is to resign as attorney general effective immediately.
It is my belief that this will preserve the great work being done by the office of attorney general.
We must continue to make effective use of Ohio’s law enforcement, consumer protection and bank regulatory machinery to aggressively take on predatory lenders and their co-conspirators who have decimated the neighborhoods of our state.
We must continue to bring environmental and consumer protection cases in this state to make sure that the quality of life is second to none here in Ohio and that law abiding businesses are protected.
And we must continue to make nonprofit health care institutions more accountable and health care more accessible to uninsured Ohioans.
And we must continue to save the state money in the office of attorney general, by maintaining an objective and nonpolitical process for assigning legal work both inside and outside the office.
It has been my priority over the past few weeks to try to restore those priorities to the forefront of the office’s work, and the vast majority of the 1,400 employees of the attorney general’s office have been doing outstanding, nationally recognized work.
I thank them for the incredible service over the past 17 months.
They deserve both to be recognized and to continue their work without the distractions that the political situation that I find myself in has caused them.
It is now clear to me that the only way to protect these priorities for the office of attorney general and for the people of Ohio is to remove myself from this situation.
It is now my highest priority to focus on my family.
I want to thank my daughter, Mia, for being here with me today.
And I’m anxious to get home to my wife, and my son, Charlie.
My daughter Jessie unfortunately is on her class trip to Washington so I won’t get to see her until Friday.
But I want to thank the people of Ohio for giving me the opportunity to serve in this great office.
Thank you.
Here's Gov. Strickland's statement:
“Attorney General Marc Dann did the honorable thing by resigning today,” Governor Strickland said. “This decision will allow the important work of the Attorney General’s office to continue without the distraction caused by recent events.”

“Today is a sad day in many ways. I think it is appropriate for us all to acknowledge the personal pain and anguish that these events have caused the Attorney General, his family members, his staff and others.”

“Marc has accomplished much during the relatively short time he has occupied the office of Attorney General. The Attorney General and his professional staff have done meaningful work to promote environmental and consumer protection, foreclosure prevention, and health care accessibility.”

“I’m hopeful that today’s announcement will allow the professional staff at the Attorney General’s office to continue the important work in these and other areas. As I have said in the past, the office of the Attorney General is more important than any one person because in many cases it is all that stands between the people and the powerful.”

Appointments Aplenty

Cincinnati City Council members, or most of them, agreed Wednesday to appoint these folks to these boards:

Bryn Lewis, Cincinnati Elections Commission; Michaele Pride, planning commission; David Rattenbury, Roger Burdorf, Ginny Corsini and Bill Wildeboer, Lunken Airport Oversight Advisory Board; Hamilton County Coroner Dr. O'dell Owens, Kenton County Airport Board Advisory Committee; and Jacqueline R. Edmerson, reappointed to the Cincinnati Board of Health.

Councilwoman Laketa Cole voted against Rattenbury, Burdorf and Wildeboer (say that three times fast), saying it's her policy to oppose appointments of people who don't live in the city. Mayor Mark Mallory pointed out to her last week that the appointees aren't required to be residents. She said she understood that, but still wanted to be clear that she'd be sticking to her personal policy.

So, More About Pit Bulls

On the floor of council today, Cecil Thomas' proposal to change the city's pit bull ordinance failed to get an immediate hearing. It takes six votes to do that; he had five.

He thought he had six, though, Thomas said later. He thought Jeff Berding would be that sixth. But Berding said he voted against it because he'd tried before the meeting to get Thomas to take out the part about training police officers to identify pit bulls, pass that and then send the rest of his proposed changes back through committee for more discussion. When Thomas declined to do that, Berding said, he declined to vote to hear the measure.

Also voting against immediate consideration: Chris Bortz, Roxanne Qualls and Laketa Cole.

Thomas said he'll introduce the ordinance at the Law and Public Safety Committee, which he leads, next week. It's a reworked version of his original and no longer includes a mandate that SPCA Cincinnati take custody of pit bulls. SPCA CEO Harold Dates objected to that. The SPCA deputies still will pick up the dogs, but only after Cincinnati police call them to do so.

Oh, and this might be the best part of the whole thing - with all this fuss over what should be done with pit bulls, the city's contract with the SPCA expired in January 2007. The private, non-profit agency's still picking up and caring for pit bulls pending city prosecutions under the terms of the expired contract, which says the city will pay up to $100,000 a year to house the pit bulls waiting for their owners' court cases.

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?'"

Commissioners Cyclones Fans

If you're a fan of the Cincinnati Cyclones Hockey team, Hamilton County's the government for you. Commissioners not only congratulated the Cyclones today on their impressive season, they passed a resolution to make it official.

The resolution called the team "fan friendly," and "model citizens," and that games are "fun to watch and reasonably priced."

It then encouraged the team to win:

"It is hereby proclaimed that Hamilton County proudly acknowledges and commends the Cincinnati Cyclones for a wonderful season on the ice and off as ambassadors of our region and further that we encourage the Cyclones to beat South Carolina and move on to take (for the first time) the Kelley Cup and bring it back to Cincinnati."

Read the whole resolution here.

What is going on in the AG's office?

UPDATE: The Dispatch reports that computers and files have been seized.

Read the full story here

First, there was supposed to be a noon press press conference. The Plain Dealer reported that here

The Dispatch quoted Dann's spokesman, Jason Stanford, saying this morning that Dann would have a press conference at noon. “ Attendance is mandatory,” Stanford said.

Reporters gathered outside Dann's office.

About 12:20 p.m. today, spokesman Jim Gravell said Dann had gone to lunch and there would be no announcement today, the Enquirer's Jon Craig reported.

Shortly before noon, Ted Hart, another spokesman in the Attorney General's Office, said, "We have nothing to say at this point. I don't know anything. He's in his office. I don't want (Dann) to go out and talk to half the media.'"

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Pit Bulls In Cincinnati

Cecil Thomas' changes to Cincinnati's pit bull ban are back on council's agenda for Wednesday - some of them, at least.

Interim solicitor Pat King sent out a revision of the ordinance that sparked some controversy this week. Dated today, it changes the things that SPCA Cincinnati CEO Harold Dates found objectionable, namely that the ordinance proposed to order the private, non-profit agency to confiscate pit bulls. Dates said his agency would continue to transport pit bulls, but only when the city ordered them confiscated.

So the new version says a police officer can remove any dog that is not properly confined or any that has attacked and severely injured a human. It also says any owner found to have harbored a vicious dog or a pit bull can voluntarily surrender the dog - but to the city, not to the SPCA.

Some council members tried to send last week's version back to committee for more discussion. It went to the council floor without much debate from the law committee, which didn't have a quorum last week. They also questioned why it hadn't been discussed by the full Vicious Dog Task Force, which council set up last year to study possible changes. Thomas said he'd whittled that task force because he wanted its work to be more community-driven.

The effort to send the issue back to committee failed, but Mayor Mark Mallory decided to hold the item a week to give everyone a chance to figure something out.

Irony alert: Griffey to sell Ohio tourism in ads

Reds field Ken Griffey - who may be leaving Ohio - will be appearing in a new Ohio tourism advertising campaign.

Here's the release:

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Tourism Division today unveiled a new consumer advertising campaign designed to drive travel to and within Ohio. The campaign was presented in conjunction with recognition from Governor Ted Strickland and Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher declaring May “Ohio Tourism Month.”

“This is an innovative, new campaign for Ohio tourism that showcases identifiable Ohio experiences including some of Ohio’s all-star talents with whom national television audiences are already familiar,” said Lt. Governor Fisher, who also serves as Director of the Ohio Department of Development....

The new advertising campaign, developed by Ron Foth Advertising, is designed to focus on a key economic driver – overnight travelers....

To effectively drive tourism, the campaign portrays Ohio as “Too Much Fun for Just One Day,” encouraging visitors to consider staying the night in Ohio. Specifically, the campaign encourages three-day getaways while highlighting the diversity of Ohio’s attractions and the ability Ohio visitors have to enjoy many experiences within a short timeframe. To bring greater attention to the marketing efforts, the Tourism Division is employing some Ohio star-power in the form of Columbus Zoo Director Emeritus Jack Hanna and the Cincinnati Reds’ baseball star Ken Griffey, Jr.

The campaign targets key feeder markets in neighboring states including Detroit, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Louisville/Lexington, and Charleston/Huntington. A majority of the paid media investment will be seen in these markets. During Ohio Tourism Month (May), the campaign also will target consumers in Ohio including Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, and Youngstown. The campaign will extend through June – the Midwest’s peak planning period for summer and fall getaways.

Guess who wrote this guest column

Guess who wrote this guest column which will appear in Wednesday's Enquirer?

I have never been a big women’s libber, bra burner or the like. But recently a number of anti-female biases have really sent me into a tailspin. You see, not only am I a member of Cincinnati City Council and a practicing employment discrimination attorney, I am also a soon to be mom. We are expecting our first baby in August, and never in my life has my hair stood on end as much as it does now when I’m asked, “How are you going to do this?”

Read the full column, and find the answer here

Jerry Springer and CPS

The identity of contributors to the successful Cincinnati Public Schools levy campaign has been public information for more than a month, but another interesting tidbit came out this week, courtesy of the Clark Montessori High School newsletter (see page 6):

Perfector of the sleaze/chat TV genre and former Cincinnati Mayor Jerry Springer gave $1,000 to the campaign. He's listed as Gerald Springer in the campaign finance reports, and he gave an address at 175 E. Delaware in Chicago.

Many elections experts believe another Chicagoan, Barack Obama, is the primary reason the levy passed, by ginning up liberal voter turnout to carry the tax hike. But Springer, one of the campaign's largest individual donors, also played a part.

McCain coming to Ohio

This just in from Sen. John McCain's presidential campaign:

McCain will make a speech at the Greater Columbus Convention Center in Columbus at 10 a.m. on Thursday. No word yet on what the speech will be about.

Ghiz Throws Out First Pitch

Cincinnati City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz - who is 6 1/2 months pregnant - is throwing out the first pitch tonight before the University of Cincinnati's baseball game.

She said in a news release this morning that she is confident she'll throw a perfect strike. Her aide, Zach Garrison, helped her toss a few balls last night to practice.

"I can totally do it," she said today. "Are you kidding me?"

No word yet on whether a pregnant woman has thrown out a first pitch before. The idea came up some time ago when Ghiz met the UC coach and they talked about Mayor Mark Mallory's pitch on Opening Day last year.

The team gave her a few dates to choose from in May, including Thursday. But that day, UC plays the Mountaineers of West Virginia, Ghiz's alma mater. She wouldn't do it then.

The game's at 6 p.m. at the stadium named for Marge Schott.

Read the Dann impeachment articles here

UPDATE: Marc Dann released this statement

The Attorney General has said that he does not believe there are grounds for impeachment, and he will continue to do the job that he was elected to do.”

The Democrats have prepared the articles of impeachment for Attorney General Marc Dann. There are nine counts, including obstructing the investigation, neglecting his duties, and "gross immorality."

They were introduced today, according to AP.

Read them here

Here's the report from Gongwer News Service, which covers state government:

The House State Government & Elections Committee today recommended legislation authorizing an Inspector General’s investigation of Attorney General Marc Dann. The amendment, which cleared the panel on a split vote with most Democrats in opposition, provides a budget of $250,000 and includes an emergency clause. A vote in the full House is expected later today.

Separately, Democrats in the House prepared to introduce an articles of impeachment resolution (
draft version) as an alternative to the inspector general’s probe.

“We have identified a pattern of misconduct that we believe rises to the level of impeachable offenses,” said Reps. Dan Dodd of Hebron, Jennifer Garrison of Marietta and Mark Okey of Carrollton, who were assigned to review the case on behalf of House Democrats. “We promised the people of Ohio to end a culture of corruption that existed in the past, and we are fulfilling that promise by cleaning our own house when events and circumstances warrant.”

The lawmakers said it is time for Mr. Dann to be held accountable for his actions, and the operations of his office. “We will not allow this pattern of misconduct to overshadow the important work being done on behalf of the people of Ohio. These Articles outline the case for us to move forward to address this situation and continue the work of promoting our state and protecting our constituents, undeterred by this distraction.”

Winburn still promoting Rapid Purge

Former city councilman Charlie Winburn has become a one-man promotion machine for a proposal to start deleting old misdemeanor warrants.

Winburn (who insists he is not running for anything) teamed up with Municipal Court Judge Nadine Allen last month to draw up a proposal and present it to the judges, who have to approve it. Read the story here. The judges haven't given a green light yet, but that's not stopping Winburn. He's been out drumming up support for his Rapid Purge proposal with community leaders and churches.

He also sent a letter to Cincinnati's Interim City Solicitor Patricia King. The letter, which urges support of the proposal, also takes King and the city to task for letting the old warrant problem get so bad. Winburn said 60 percent of the old petty warrants were generated by Cincinnati police and that the city should have tried harder to serve them.

"Instead warrants now just sit in the computers and cruisers until a person is caught running a red light, for example," he said in the letter.

He also suggests that Cincinnati may be violating the constitutional right to a speedy trial by failing to serve the warrants in a timely manner.

"The city solicitor, police and judges should convene to solve this administrative nightmare," Winburn wrote. "I will support any proposal they develop which equivocates my Rapid Purge Process and accomplishes the same goals to stop the waste of taxpayer dollars, misuse of jail space and unjust policies."

An Obama ad you'll be seeing here

The AP reports:

John Weiler is a Southern California police detective, a Republican, an Air Force veteran and self-described conservative. He is starring in a television commercial in support of Barack Obama.

Top entertainment figures, including Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, selected the ad in a contest run by the liberal group MoveOn.org for the best 30-second pro-Obama television spot.

"I'm a veteran, I served under President Ronald Reagan and under the first President Bush," Weiler says in the ad. "I've been a Republican since before I could actually vote. We need somebody in the White House that is strong. We need somebody who's gonna represent the left and the right, the Democrat and the Republican, everybody. I'm a lifelong Republican and I'm voting for Barack Obama."

MoveOn is spending $200,000 to air the ad for one week in Cincinnati, Denver and Milwaukee, all cities in states considered general election battlegrounds. The ad will also air nationally on cable networks.

Weiler, 43, stepped into his moment of fame because he didn't want his pregnant wife to attend an Obama volunteers meeting last fall by herself.

"She's a Democrat; I'm a Republican. It makes for a fun marriage," he said ...

MoveOn received more than 1,100 ads for its contest. They ranged from cartoons to musicals to puppet shows. The ad's producers were David Gaw and Lance Mungia of Monrovia, Calif.
The contest reprised MoveOn's "Bush in 30 seconds" ad competition in 2004. MoveOn organizers said the contest drew 5.5 million votes cast online. The judges chose the winner from a pared-down list of entries. Other judges included writer and film director Oliver Stone, singer and songwriter John Legend and author Naomi Wolf.

Monday, May 12, 2008

County getting more ankle bracelets

Hamilton County Commissioners approved the spending of $350,000 to lease 200 more ankle bracelets so more people can be put on house arrest. (Read the story).

The move came after the county ran out of the devices last month and asked for more. Sheriff Simon Leis supports getting the devices, but shook his head at the county spending money when it says it's broke. (the county says the money is coming from a fund that doesn't impact the general fund budget). The courts are picking up half the tab. The issue passed unanimously. Commissioner David Pepper sent out a news release supporting the proposal.

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