Wednesday, November 29, 2000

Portune rates possible council successors

Democrat differs with some party officials

By Robert Anglen
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Cincinnati Councilman Todd Portune is ranking and scoring the seven candidates who are vying to take over his seat.

        He has already gotten responses from some constituents and today will pass out his hand-drawn chart to some council members and various trade unions and some city employee unions he hopes will help narrow the choices.

        “There needs to be an objective process,” Mr. Portune told the Enquirer on Tuesday.

        “I have been frustrated by some party leaders who fail to understand, and refuse to accept, my belief that the seat should go to someone with a broad array of experiences.”

        Mr. Portune, who on Jan. 2 will take office as the first Democrat elected to the Hamilton County Commission in 36 years, is scheduled to resign from the council at 5 p.m. Thursday.

        A successor is supposed to be chosen by the four remaining Democrats on City Council. . But since the election, Mr. Portune has complained that some are pushing one candidate without giving consideration to others.

        “I have taken out the paperwork to change who would make the appointment,” Mr. Portune said Tuesday. “I have not filed it yet.”

        Instead, he has created a scorecard that he calls, “the grid.” It lists eight categories and asks respondents to rank the seven candidates on a seven-point scale in each category — with one being the best and seven being the worst.

        The categories are: Ability to hold the seat, meaning would the candidate be able to win the seat in the 2001 election; electability without getting the seat, meaning would the candidate be able to get elected without an appointment; Democratic Party experience; fund-raising ability; life experience; issue compatibility, meaning how does the candidate differ with Mr. Portune on city issues; independence; and intangibles.

        More than seven candidates have interviewed for the position, but Mr. Portune said he considers five as serious contenders.

        • John Cranley, 26, of Price Hill, who lost to Republican incumbent Congressman Steve Chabot in this month's election.

        • Scott Seidewitz, a 36-year-old East Walnut Hills resident who ran in last year's City Council election.

        • Jane Anderson, 59, of East Walnut Hills, adjunct professor of political science at the University of Cincinnati, who also ran in last year's council election.

        • Denise Driehaus, vice president of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission.

        • Melanie Bates, 47, of North Avondale. She is a member of the Ohio Board of Education who lost against Republican Rebecca Prem Groppe for Hamilton County recorder.

        Also on the scorecard are small business owner Dave Crowley and former Hamilton County Recorder Eve Bolton.

        Mr. Portune said he doubts a successor will be chosen by the time he leaves.


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