GREG HARTMANN: When developers of the under-construction Cincinnati casino came to the Oct. 24 meeting of the Hamilton County Commission to give an update on the project, Commission President Greg Hartmann was nowhere in sight. That’s because Hartmann flew to his native Texas so he could attend two World Series games with his dad. That might not be so bad if it was a rare occurrence, but it’s not. An Enquirer analysis showed that Hartmann has missed seven of the group’s 67 meetings this year, or 10.7 percent. I wonder how many county workers could afford to travel across country to see a baseball game, and whether their bosses would be cool with them missing almost 11 percent of their workdays? Voters would be better served if Hartmann stayed home and dealt with the looming deficits caused by costs stemming from the Bengals stadium.
ABSENTEE LANDLORDS: It’s about time. After Cincinnati City Council delayed the measure for years (yes, years) in committee, the group finally approved an enhanced chronic nuisance ordinance. Of course, council only did so under pressure from neighborhood groups in an election year, but, hey, we’ll take what we can get.
Baby steps. The move will double fines against owners of multi-unit apartment buildings where criminal activity repeatedly occurs. Also, it shifts enforcement from the Police Department to a special position in the City Solicitor’s office. Residents in North Avondale, Over-the-Rhine, the West End, Westwood and elsewhere pushed for the changes. Some landlords have opposed the plan, saying they shouldn’t face criminal penalties for the actions of tenants. We say if you can cash their rent checks, you can do a better job of monitoring the units.
LOU BLESSING: Having held one state elective office or another for the past 28 years, State Rep. Louis Blessing (R-Colerain Township) wants to find yet another job paid for by taxpayers. Facing term limits on his seat in the Ohio House, just as he did with his Ohio Senate seat in 2004, Blessing has told reporters he wants to remain employed in state government, perhaps by managing the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel. In the past, the arch-conservative has backed legislation that restricted collective bargaining rights for public sector labor unions and required photo IDs to be able to vote, both measures pushed by the secretive ALEC group in multiple states. Thus, Blessing’s desire to to run the Consumers’ Counsel, which advocates for residents against utility companies, is both laughable and absurd. Hey, Mr. Conservative: Go into the private sector already.
OHIO PRIMARIES: It looks like Ohio voters will have two primaries next year: the first on March 6 for local races, U.S. Senate, state House and Senate and Ohio Supreme Court; and the second on June 12 for president and U.S. House seats. The GOP-controlled state legislature made the switch after the Ohio Supreme Court backed an effort by Democrats to hold a referendum on the new congressional map created by Republicans. The unanimous court said permanent changes to state law are always subject to a referendum, which Dems hope to put on the ballot early next year. The GOP’s gerrymandering gives the party likely dominance in 12 of the 16 House seats that Ohio will have in the next election, which Dems say is unfair. While Dems hope to negotiate a compromise map with Republicans, the GOP is pushing the dual-primary plan — which will cost taxpayers $15 million. This is fiscal conservatism?
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