COMMON CAUSE: Common Cause Ohio is urging its members and other people concerned about the influence of Big Money on elections to call Congress and ask that they support passage of the Fair Elections Now Act. If approved, the act — known as Senate Bill 752 and House Resolution 1826 — would would allow federal candidates to choose to run for office without relying on large contributions, big money bundlers or donations from lobbyists, and would free them from the constant fundraising so they can focus on what people in their communities want. The act has the backing of more than 140 legislators but it will need a lot more to be enacted as law. It will take grassroots lobbying to overcome the corporate special interests that control Congress, and we're glad to see Common Cause take up the fight.
MCMILLAN & TAFT: How motorists use the main thoroughfares to East Side neighborhoods might soon change. Cincinnati City Council approved a resolution last spring asking for the return of two-way traffic on both McMillan Street and William Howard Taft Road, between Victory Parkway and Interstate 71. The streets now are one-way but Walnut Hills merchants believe the change will help their business district.
City engineers also are considering converting McMillan and Taft to two-way traffic for the remaining sections further west, between I-71 and Clifton Avenue. Although the engineers want to wait until a comprehensive uptown traffic study is completed to make the changes, a council faction — led by Vice Mayor Roxanne Qualls — is pushing for quicker action. In this economic climate, retailers need all the help they can get. Act now.
PAT FISCHER: We like Fischer, a Pleasant Ridge neighborhood activist and all-around nice guy. But we're beginning to believe he's the local Republican Party's version of Democrat Martha Good, the perennial candidate for all seasons. First, the guy blows $2.5 million on a City Council race in 2007 and only finishes 14th in a 25-candidate field. Now he's concurrently running for 1st District Court of Appeals Judge and president of the Ohio State Bar Association. (Maybe this means the GOP's other golden boy, Dr. Brad Wenstrup, ex-mayoral candidate and Iraq War vet, will be the party's choice for county coroner next time.) Is there any office Fischer won't run for? We're still waiting for the Pleasant Ridge Community Council — which gets taxpayer funding — to get its wrist slapped for endorsing Fischer in its newsletter three years ago, a violation of the rules.
GREG HARTMANN: Just a month before elections, the usually quiet Hartmann — the sole Republican on the Hamilton County Commission — grabbed headlines by proposing to stop offering Community Shares as a payroll deduction for county employees. The organization, an alternative to the United Way, contributes funding to groups that support a variety of causes — including environmental activism, along with gay and abortion rights. Community Shares has been an allowable deduction for three years but Hartmann suddenly says it's “overtly political.” In reality, Hartmann is using a non-issue to energize the conservative base for next month's commission election and help his buddy, Chris Monzel, get elected. If Hartmann's proposal was successful, it also likely means an end to payroll deductions for the United Way and ArtsWave, too, to avoid lawsuits. All are optional for workers, so we suggest leaving them alone. The sad thing is that this is probably the most significant action Hartmann has taken during his two years in office.