Monday, February 26, 2001

Deer Park Democrats on sidelines

No one files with party to run for council seat

By Allen Howard
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEER PARK — For the first time in 50 years, no Democrats have filed to run for City Council in this northeastern Cincinnati suburb of 6,000 people.

        Kathy Curran, administrative assistant at the Hamilton County Board of Election, said all candidates in Deer Park have until May 7 to file as independents. Thursday was the deadline for them to file as a party candidate.

        All Democrats in the Deer Park council race in November 1999 were defeated.

        Democratic Party officials are still puzzled why they all lost and why no Democrats are running again.

        Tim Burke, co-chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party, said he thinks the Democrats lost because of the light rail issue in Deer Park.

        A group against light rail, led by Donna Farrell, a resident, endorsed all candidates who were against the rail system. Those candidates won.

        “We would like to see Democrats on the ballot in Deer Park, but this is the decision they have made and we will work with them,” Mr. Burke said.

        Mrs. Farrell's group went door-to-door before the November 1999 election and passed out 1,600 pieces of literature, opposing plans by the Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments' plan to use a stretch of railroad tracks that run through Deer Park for the light rail system.

        Harvey Alcorn,73, the veteran council member among the Democrats who lost, said he wasn't afraid of the light rail issue, but that he tired of campaigning.

        Mr. Alcorn, the city ward chairman, has been in public office for 34 years.

        “For 46 years, I have either been campaigning for myself or for somebody else,” Mr. Alcorn said. “I am tired of campaigning. I wouldn't mind serving on council again because I liked that, but no more campaigning for me.”

        Mr. Alcorn was defeated along with incumbents Pamela Adkins, George Diersing and Cindy Gifford. Democratic newcomers Mike Hammond, Patrick Bowes and Mary Lenihan were defeated.

        But there may be some hope for the Democrats. Sandra Hall, a Republican who was elected, did not file to run this year.

        “I am still toying with the idea of filing as an independent before May 7,” Mrs. Hall said. “It didn't seem right on council the last two years with no Democrats. We didn't have the checks and balance system. I think an all-Republican council or any one-party council is a disservice to the political process and to the public.”


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