BILL SEITZ: The Republican state senator from Green Township often puts common sense before blind loyalty to ideology. For example, he wants to reform Ohio’s prison sentencing laws so low-level, nonviolent offenders are diverted to other punishments, to save on skyrocketing jail costs. But even we were surprised when Seitz told The Columbus Dispatch that he thinks the state GOP mishandled its approach to Senate Bill No. 5, which would eliminate collective bargaining for public-sector unions, which is the Republican cause du jour. “I would prefer a more-consultative process and a less-confrontational process,” Seitz said. What a welcome voice of sanity on his side of the aisle.
STAN CHESLEY: An official with the Kentucky Bar Association last week recommended the prominent local attorney be disbarred. The action stems from Chesley’s alleged misconduct involving a $200 million settlement reached in 2001.
More than 400 of the former plaintiffs who sued the manufacturer of fen-phen, a diet drug that was taken off the market due to dangerous side effects, said Chesley dipped into the money and took fees that exceeded what was allowed. The trial commissioner said his review indicated Chesley defrauded plaintiffs out of $7.5 million in fees. Chesley’s actions were a “a cover-up of thievery,” the official said, adding “his callous subordination of the interests of his clients to his own greed is both shocking and reprehensible.”
THE ENQUIRER: Most news junkies would think any media outlet that had laid off 121 staffers during the past two years would be pretty careful about how it deploys its dwindling resources. But The Enquirer seems oblivious to the dilemma in light of its Feb. 28 article about Hamilton County Sheriff Simon Leis Jr. receiving coupons from White Castle. White Castle’s marketing people decided to deliver a book of coupons for free coffee to Leis after the newspaper reported about a Feb. 15 break-in to the sheriff’s car while parked outside a downtown gym. Among the items taken were coupons and a cell phone. We’re pretty sure Leis can afford to buy his own coffee and would rather see White Castle give the perk to other victims of crime.
DUKE ENERGY: Ohio’s utility regulator rejected a request Feb. 23 by Duke Energy to change the formula about how much it charges customers. The electricity and natural gas provider wanted to abolish its capped rates and use an unregulated, market-based system to set electric rates, beginning next year. The system would’ve allowed Duke to vary the rates based on generation costs as set at auctions. The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) turned down the proposal because Duke wanted to convert over three years, instead of the mandatory five-year period. Since Ohio customers have been able to shop around for electricity starting in 2008, Duke — which charges some of the highest rates in the nation — have seen customers bolt to other companies.