GREG HARTMANN: When a Republican-controlled Hamilton County Commission persuaded voters to approve a sales tax hike in 1996 to pay for new stadiums, it included a property tax rollback to make it more palatable. Years later, sales tax revenues aren’t enough to pay for stadium debt and the sole GOP commissioner — Hartmann — is loathe to reduce the tax rollback for wealthy homeowners. Instead, he’s proposing the county cut $22 million from the indigent health care levy to offset shortfalls in the stadium account.
Taking money from poor people who need medical treatment to subsidize stadiums and give tax breaks is misguided. Hartmann and the Republican Party should be embarrassed by this cowardly “plan.”
TIM BURKE: While it’s true that some local Democrats dislike Burke, calling him imperious and secretive, they’re also aware the Hamilton County Democratic Party chairman knows the ins and outs of the political system like few others.
That’s what has kept him in power for 16 years.
Maybe that’s why — despite some misgivings — the party’s central committee reelected Burke to another two-year term last week by a 198-64 vote. It was an overwhelming victory, to be sure, but we hope Burke takes a note from challenger Darren Tolliver and gets more proactive about recruiting candidates and involving precinct executives in important decisions and not kowtowing to movers and shakers like Dwight Tillery and Stan Chesley.
THE 9/12 PROJECT: As local blogger Coleman Kane noticed first, the Cincinnati 9/12 Project plagiarized an article from Neil deMause posted on CNN’s web site and tried to pass the piece off as its own. The article was about alleged hidden costs of the recent health care reform legislation, a topic that the 9/12 Project — a group of loony Glenn Beck followers — loves dearly.
Once Kane notified deMause, he confronted the 9/12 Project. Presto, change-o, the article was quickly replaced by deMause’s original, credited piece.
We know Beck likes to make up facts wholesale, but at least he doesn’t try to claim authorship of works that aren’t of his making. We recommend the 9/12 crowd spend less time protesting and more time studying ethics.
MICHELLE PINALES: We dislike aggressive panhandling as much as anyone, but we also think Cincinnati tends to overreact to minor problems while ignoring significant ones. City Council is again trying to curb beggars who are rude and abusive by approving a new set of rules for homeless shelters that includes requiring facilities to discourage panhandling and keep the city abreast of those efforts.
To make his case for the rule, Councilman Jeff Berding cited the wedding of Pinales at downtown’s Plum Street Temple. Although The Enquirer initially reported a beggar jumped the reception line and caused problems, the bride said that wasn’t true. The beggar stood near the line, was cordial and had a good attitude, she added. We like Pinales’ own great attitude.
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