I’ve been covering City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz as a reporter and columnist since her first council campaign back in 2005. On a personal level, she can be funny and intelligent and prone to uttering newsworthy quotes. Like every public official I've covered, sometimes I agree with her, sometimes I don't. During this campaign season, unfortunately, Ghiz presented herself as a much harder-edged, angry and occasionally rude candidate.
If Mayor Mark Mallory isn't an expert on streetcars after visiting Portland, Ore., last week, then Michael Jackson isn't dead and Jeff Berding is respected by his peers. The Enquirer reported today that Mallory, fresh off a field trip to America's leading producer of progressive mass transit and Indie rocker boners, said that if Cincinnati's proposed anti-streetcar ballot measure passes that it will be an end to local mass transit (including Midwest commuter rail) forever.
Gov. Ted Strickland proposed an additional 50 percent cut in the state's Public Library Fund, the primary funding source for libraries. If approved by lawmakers, the local results would be catastrophic for Hamilton County.
As local officials bicker about who bears responsibility for monitoring defendants while they're out of jail awaiting trial, a related battle over a $2.6 million federal crime-fighting grant has been waged privately. The city of Cincinnati's initial plan for using the grant called for keeping the entire amount and giving none to Hamilton County.
Now that Congress has passed a $787 billion economic stimulus package sought by President Obama, it remains to be decided how the local portion of that money will be spent. One thing is for sure, though: There's no shortage of ideas about what to do with it.
Cincinnati City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz has an idea: Let's elect our council members. Seems like a great idea, huh? Straight out of the Democracy 101 textbook. Problem is, most city council members are already elected and the alternative to the current system has two shocking options: big costs and empty seats.
If you think voters always determine who occupies a seat on Cincinnati City Council, think again. Some of the most memorable names in Queen City politics got their entry to City Hall by means other than winning at the ballot box, including Jim Tarbell, Todd Portune, John Cranley, Roxanne Qualls and Dwight Tillery, among others. Now City Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz is asking her colleagues to place a charter amendment on the ballot that would seek to change how council vacancies are filled. She says her proposal is fairer to voters than the current system for selecting replacements.
Some Cincinnati officials are angrily alleging that the city manager went behind their backs and approved a deal with Duke Energy to raise gas and electric rates in exchange for the city getting $7 million that will help pay for the proposed streetcar system.