Thursday, April 01, 2010

Commission Candidates Reveal Priorities

Because this is still primary season, the candidates to fill David Pepper's seat on the Hamilton County Board of County Commissioners are busy building support amongst their respective parties' bases. But I contacted them all and asked a simple question: If you are elected, what is the first resolution or motion you will pass? Each has responded.

Chris Monzel, the Republican Cincinnati Councilman who kicked off his campaign by announcing that he is a "son of the suburbs," has a plan for Hamilton County: The Wall. Monzel explained that upon election, he will immediately begin construction of a Berlin Wall-style barrier separating the City of Cincinnati from the suburbs. He said construction of The Wall would generate dozens, if not hundreds, of jobs. "We might even get stimulus funds for it; it's a 'shovel-ready' project, after all." Monzel also said that he would provide funds for Sheriff Leis to hire back several of his laid-off deputies to stand guard on The Wall round-the-clock. Monzel argued that the problem with Hamilton County's economy is the presence of Cincinnati. "We can't get rid of Cincinnati, but at least we can keep its residents out of our communities," he said. Monzel's plan also includes the relocation of all county buildings to Blue Ash. "The worst part about being on Council," Monzel said, "is having to be in Cincinnati all the time. Once I get elected to the Commission, I shouldn't have to endure the city any longer." When asked in a follow-up email about suburbs that are surrounded by the city, like Norwood and St. Bernard, Monzel replied that their residents should have relocated years ago. "I actually considered a series of tunnels that would connect those cities with other suburbs. That way, people from Norwood could get to Delhi or Cheviot without ever setting foot in Cincinnati. But that sounded too much like mass transit to my friends at COAST, who threatened to withdraw their support if I wouldn't take it out of my plan. What choice did I have?"

Jim Tarbell, who seeks the Democratic nomination, will enact the "More Me Initiative," or MMI. Tarbell explained, "We need to get our local economy moving. I'm the region's greatest cheerleader. What could be better for Hamilton County than more giant murals of me?" MMI would include adding paintings of Tarbell on all county-owned buildings, as well as offering free exterior paint to any property owner who would devote one full wall of his or her building to a Tarbell mural. Tarbell remarked, "Everyone got really excited when that Fairy Shepherd guy came to town. But the mural he painted doesn't really even look like me. What happened?" Tarbell speculated that both of the current commissioners would likely be receptive to MMI, as "I'm more photogenic than either of them."

Leslie Ghiz, the West Virginia native who majored in English at WVU, announced a sweeping social agenda. According to Ghiz, a Republican, she will immediately instruct Clerk of Courts Patricia Clancy to begin issuing marriage licenses to first cousins. "Because of long-standing but reprehensible bigotry," Ghiz tweeted, "first cousins in Ohio have been denied the right to wed for too long. That must change." When Ghiz was asked why her quest for marriage rights did not extend to brothers and sisters, Ghiz answered, "I'm from West Virginia, not Kentucky. We have to draw a line somewhere." Ghiz added that she had an additional, unrelated cost-saving measure to sell all county buildings and move all county offices and courts into trailer parks. "There's nothing like a good double-wide," Ghiz said. While the courthouse may look nice, according to Ghiz, it's expensive to maintain. "All that electricity and running water is a burden to the taxpayers. Our judges and other elected officials will have to learn to do more with less."

Cecil Thomas, the former Cincinnati police officer seeking the Democratic nomination, has a plan to re-expand the ranks of the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office: send all county employees to OPOTA (Ohio's police academy). Thomas's plan is that instead of taking ten "furlough" days, every county employee would instead spend ten days as a patrol or correctional officer. "I was a police officer for years," Thomas said. "If I can do it, anyone can." He added, "Plus, we're not talking about them taking over for CPD in Over-the-Rhine. How hard can it be to write the occasional speeding ticket in Green or Anderson Township?" Thomas suggested that he would personally oversee parts of training for the county, including Taser training, which requires participants to experience a Taser shock before being certified to carry a Taser.. He understands that some people might be slower than others. "For instance, I might need to tase Greg Hartmann [the only Republican on the Commission] four or five times before I feel he's fully qualified. We'll just have to see."

When Hubert E. Brown was contacted for this post, he revealed that he was among the 98% of Hamilton County voters who didn't realize that he is running in the Democratic primary. "I'm running for office?" he mused. "How'd that happen?" Brown thought for a moment, and then remarked, "If I'm elected--and really, let's not fool ourselves, it's not going to happen--I'll come up with something. I don't know what, but it'll be something that will make the voters remember who Hubert Brown is."

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