DAVID PEPPER: Maybe he’s feeling emboldened because he’s not seeking reelection as a Hamilton County commissioner, but Pepper recently proposed the best and most common sense solution to cover deficits in the county’s stadium account. Pepper wants the commission to cap the benefit received from a property tax rebate that began when voters passed a sales tax increase in 1996 to help pay for the Reds and Bengals stadiums. Noting that owners of more affluent homes receive an inordinate amount of benefit from the rebate, Pepper wants to limit it to the first $153,000 of a home’s value. The change would generate an extra $6.2 million annually. This is the best way to deal with stadium deficits, rather than cut county services. Commissioners Todd Portune and Greg Hartmann should get behind the idea.
MICHAEL EARL PATTON: The local blogger has been trying to get copies of Hamilton County’s audited financial statements for the past several years, to no avail.
Although the documents are most definitely a public record under the law, County Auditor Dusty Rhodes hadn’t released them, stating they had to be signed off by an outside agency. Frustrated, Patton filed a lawsuit in mid-April, demanding the documents be released. Only after the action did Rhodes finally post online the 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008 county reports — while still dubbing them “unaudited.” First, it shouldn’t have taken a lawsuit to get the documents. Secondly, why in the world is a report from 2004 still unaudited? Rhodes, get on the ball and do your job.
COURTNEY COMBS: “Who is Combs?” most of our readers probably are asking. He’s the state representative from Hamilton who’s backing a request from Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones to introduce an Arizona-style immigration law here in the Buckeye State. “If you are legally stopped for some violation, a traffic violation, suspicion of any type of crime, (then) a law enforcement officer ought to have the right to ask if you are here legally,” Combs has said. With Arizona’s law raising valid questions about racial profiling and likely to cost that state millions of dollars in lost business, emulating it here is foolhardy. If Combs can’t come up with better ideas than that, he needs to retire.
DAVID KRIKORIAN: We gave Krikorian, who’s vying for the Democratic Party nomination for Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District, the benefit of the doubt last week. Although some party leaders chastised Krikorian for allegedly making fun of Democratic opponent Surya Yalamanchili’s name, there was no proof he had ever done this. In fact, it was curious the complaint was raised just one week before the primary election. We know party leaders don’t like Krikorian, who’s a bit of a wild card that sometimes speaks before he thinks. But Krikorian didn’t help himself when he alleged a conspiracy concocted by Procter & Gamble was responsible for his selection as “Worst Person in the World” by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann.