GEORGE VOINOVICH: Maybe it's easier to stand up for principle when you're retiring in a few weeks, but the Republican U.S. senator from Cleveland has never been afraid to buck his party, when needed. Now Voinovich is calling out skittish President Obama and dogmatic GOP lawmakers for their deal to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone — including millionaires and billionaires — for the next two years in exchange for extending unemployment benefits for 13 months and reducing the payroll tax for one year. If approved by Congress, the deal will cost the government $120 billion, which probably will be borrowed from China. “The American people should know that a lot of the reduction of their taxes is borrowed money from China. You’ve got to pay for it,” he said. “It’s completely irresponsible.” It should be noted Voinovich also opposed the cuts when they were enacted in 2001 and 2003. We'll miss your plain-spoken wisdom, George.
JOE DETERS: There he goes again. The Hamilton County prosecutor, who is the de facto leader of the local Republican Party, recently ordered his staff to intervene in a case before the 6th Circuit U.S.
Court of Appeals on behalf of his buddy, judicial candidate and fellow GOPer John Williams. In the brief it filed, the Prosecutor's Office supported Williams in his quest to investigate 849 provisional ballots that were cast aside as defective. Williams is in a tight, disputed Juvenile Court judge race with Democrat Tracie Hunter, and every vote counts. The problem is that Deters is attorney for the Board of elections, which split 2-2 (along party lines) on whether to intervene in the case, meaning no action should've been taken. The appellate court later approved segregating those ballots for an inquiry.
BENGALS & REDS: To help avoid a deficit in Hamilton County's stadium account, the two sports team agreed last week to pay rent at the county-owned facilities for the first time. The Bengals will ante up $7.4 million in rent during the next five years, while the Reds will pay $2.2 million over the same period. As part of the plan, county commissioners agreed to reduce a property tax rebate that was promised in 1996 to help secure votes for the sales-tax increase used to build the stadiums. The average homeowner will pay $86 more annually. Democrat David Pepper and Republican Greg Hartmann approved the deal, with Democrat Todd Portune opposed. It's not a bad start to handling the complicated problem but we agree with Portune, who is wary of the details. “They’re asking us to give up every penny we’d ever make on the stadium,” he said. “They’d be let out of the lease as early as 2017. If the offer didn’t come with strings it would be a very generous offer.”
DALE MALLORY: The mayor's kid brother, who's been the lackluster representative for Ohio's 32nd House District since 2007, doesn't seem to work too hard. His major accomplishment has been to form a task force to study Cincinnati's bedbug infestation problem. Now Mallory, a Democrat, has proposed constructing a Las Vegas-style boxing arena and museum next to the planned casino at Broadway Commons, and moving the Greyhound bus station to Queensgate. Mallory wants the place named after boxing enthusiast Buddy LaRosa and to include a “pizza-shaped” garden on the roof. That way, state and federal clean energy funds could be used to build it. Note to Mallory: A “pizza-shaped” arena or garden merely is round. Unless you're planning to include architectural details that resemble pepperoni and mushrooms, don't try to front. As the saying goes, "You can put lipstick on a pig, but it's still a pig." This one's a stinker.