Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Democrats' slate covers spectrum

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        They're five men and four women. Five are white and four are black. They range in age from 27 to 64.

        “You can't get more balanced than our ticket is this year,” boasts Tim Burke, chairman of the Hamilton County Democratic Party.

        The Democrats are the only political party to field a full slate of nine candidates for Cincinnati City Council this year: Jane Anderson, Lawra Baumann, Paul Booth, Minette Cooper, John Cranley, David Crowley, Akiva Freeman, David Pepper and Alicia Reece.

        And with four incumbents in the race, it's the only party with a reasonable chance to form a majority on City Council on Dec. 1.

        • Ms. Anderson, 60, of East Walnut Hills, is a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati.

        Her campaign slogan is “Maturity is an asset,” and she's behind the campaign ad that portrays recent appointees to city council as twenty-something lightweights.

        She proposes hiring an “expediter” to move projects through the city hall bureaucracy, and is a leading supporter of a campaign finance reform proposal that would provide matching funds to candidates.

        • Ms. Baumann, 42, of Mount Auburn, is the vice president of the Fifth Third Foundation. She also has a Ph.D. in political science.

        If she could get voters to associate only one word with her campaign, Ms. Baumann says she would choose “neighborhoods.”

        She professes to be the only candidate with an intimate knowledge of the development challenges of the city's 52 neighborhoods.

        She also has a long list of civic projects she's involved in.

        • Mr. Booth, 47, of Bond Hill, owns a property management company and operates McDonald's restaurant franchises.

        He barely finished ninth in 1999, and lags all other incumbents in fund-raising.

        Although he's kept busy during his term — sponsoring or co-sponsoring more ordinances and resolutions last year than anyone else on City Council — he's been hampered this year by the lack of a city hall staff.

        At campaign events, he often speaks of “equitable, efficient, effective delivery of basic city services.”

        • Ms. Cooper, 54, of North Avondale, is the longest-serving incumbent with six years on City Council. And with term limits in effect, Ms. Cooper is running for what will likely be her last term.

        Ms. Cooper proudly refers to herself as the vice mayor, and notes that she's served on every committee on council. She's now chairwoman of the powerful Finance Committee.

        Ms. Cooper has cultivated a reputation as a stickler for protocol and procedure, and often tries to put the brakes on issues she feels have not been thoroughly studied.

        • Mr. Cranley, 27, a lawyer from Price Hill, is the youngest candidate in the field.

        He was appointed in February to replace Todd Portune, who was elected to the Hamilton County Commission. But in those eight months, Mr. Cranley has tackled more controversial issues than some council members do in eight years.

        He's been involved in combating racial profiling, hiring 75 police officers and pushing through a housing ordinance that would limit low-income housing in areas such as Westwood, Price Hill and College Hill.

        • Mr. Crowley, 64, of East Walnut Hills, is the oldest candidate in the field.

        If any candidate has run on his resume, it's been Mr. Crowley.

        Former Gov. John Gilligan appointed him the first director of the Ohio Agency on Aging, and he later became a leading lobbyist for senior citizens in Washington, D.C.

        At 45, he embarked on a career in international relations. His first assignment was in the eastern Caribbean, where he was deputy director of the U.S. Peace Corps program.

        He's also received more major endorsements than any other candidate, including most labor unions and many activist and business groups.

        • Mr. Freeman, 28, of Avondale, is a professional property manager.

        He has supported two issues — the hiring of 75 additional police officers and limiting new low- income housing in the city.

        “It's interesting that people are quick to criticize issues by saying there haven't been studies done about them, but they don't take the same approach on issues near and dear to them,” he said.

        Mr. Freeman, a former council aide, has stressed development on three fronts: downtown, in neighborhoods and in city services.

        • Mr. Pepper, 30, of Mount Adams, has that most valuable commodity for a political newcomer: name recognition.

        It's not only his slogan, “Just add Pepper.” His father, John Pepper, is chairman of Procter & Gamble.

        Mr. Pepper was one of the first candidates out of the gate — raising money, shaking hands and developing detailed positions before anyone was even paying attention.

        A graduate of Yale University and Yale Law School, he's held jobs as a newspaper writer, a clerk to 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Nathaniel Jones, and as an economic development staffer in St. Petersburg, Russia.

        He said he wants to end “politics as usual” by getting all members of City Council on a retreat to decide on a common agenda.

        • Ms. Reece, 30, of Bond Hill, was first elected in 1999.

        Her campaign ads portray her as a boxer, and she certainly has some fight in her.

        She was author of a resolution to send a bill to the Ku Klux Klan for more than $10,000 after the Klan's visit cost the city extra security.

        While other candidates were talking about the need to spend more on police for most of the year, Ms. Reece pushed to spend more on firefighting.


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