Thursday, December 02, 1999

Ex-mayor may be headed back to council




BY PATRICK CROWLEY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It looks like former Villa Hills Mayor Denny Stein is coming back to City Council.

        Mr. Stein has applied to fill the vacancy created by Bob Flaherty, who is leaving council because he is moving out of the city. Council is expected to choose a new member in time for its Dec. 15 meeting.

        Mr. Stein feels confident that he'll get the votes of four of the five members of council — Mike Sadouskas, Bob Kramer, Steve Kramer and Tim Sogar.

        “Those people supported me in the last election and I feel pretty good about being selected to council,” Mr. Stein said Wednesday.

        He's not just blowing smoke. The majority of council has so much admiration for Mr. Stein that when he left office last year, they named the city building after him.

        The vote he won't get is from council member Mary Koenig, the only real ally of Mayor Steve Clark on council. Mr. Clark beat Mr. Stein last year in a nasty race that was considered an upset.

        Mr. Stein doesn't expect the mayor to be too thrilled with what appears to be his inevitable return to council.

        “I don't think he's going to like it a whole lot,” Mr. Stein said with a chuckle, adding he will use his term on council to gear up for a challenge to Mr. Clark in three years.

        Since taking office Mr. Clark and the majority of council members have butted heads over even the simplest decisions, leaving residents frustrated with a city council that can't seem to get along. It will be interesting to watch what sort of political dynamic unfolds with Mr. Stein's return.

        • And they don't even have opponents. Two Kentucky Statehouse members from Northern Kentucky — one of the most powerful House Democrats and a rising GOP star — each raised about $20,000 at separate campaign fund-raisers Tuesday night in Campbell County.

        That's a good take, consider ing neither House Majority Caucus Chairman Jim Callahan, D-Wilder, nor Rep. Joe Fischer, R-Fort Thomas, has drawn challenges in the 2000 election.

        Both events drew about 200 people. Mr. Callahan's event was at the swanky Syndicate in Newport and featured a phone call — played over the banquet room sound system — from Gov. Paul Patton, who called Mr. Callahan one of the most valuable members of the General Assembly.

        During the event, Mr. Callahan formally filed to run for an eighth term in office and asked two people to sign his election papers: his wife, Diane; and longtime friend and former Southgate City Councilman Danny Heck.

        Mr. Fischer's fund-raiser was held at the elegant Fort Thomas home of Janet Grau. U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning was there, as were plenty of party and elected officials.

        Mr. Fischer has worked on most of Mr. Bunning's campaigns, and the two coached youth basketball together about 30 years ago at St. Catherine Church in Fort Thomas.

        • Trolling for help: Calling all Bill Bradley supporters — provided there are any Bradley supporters in Northern Kentucky.

        Well, we know there is at least one, Kenton County Magistrate and Democrat-to-the-core Steve Hoffman of Park Hills.

        Mr. Hoffman has just been named 4th District campaign chairman and coordinator for Mr. Bradley's bid for the Dem ocratic nomination in next year's presidential race.

        “I'm looking for people to volunteer on the campaign, and I'm looking for business people who want to get involved or contribute,” Mr. Hoffman said Wednesday. “People who really want to work on a grass-roots presidential campaign and want a shot at making a difference should give me a call.”

        Mr. Hoffman can be reached at 292-8883, or look him up at his office at 331 Court St. in Covington.

        Patrick Crowley covers Kentucky politics for The Kentucky Enquirer. His column appears Thursdays and Sundays. He can be reached at 578-5581, or 502-875-7526 in Frankfort, or by e-mail at crowleys@cinci.infi.net.