Saturday, July 27, 2002

Warren County GOP still snubbing Taft


Suburban Insider

By Compiled by Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A second helping: You'd think Gov. Bob Taft would try to steer clear of Warren County after the local party almost disinvited him from its Lincoln Day Dinner in March. His invitation stood, but so did about a dozen members of the central committee, walking out when Mr. Taft gave his speech. The objection was to Mr. Taft's choice of Columbus Councilwoman Jennette Bradley for his running mate. Councilwoman Bradley's stance on abortion — she has been called “pro-choice” — had committee members upset.

        The county's conservatives are no happier about the choice four months later, and Lebanon resident Debbie Smith is among several central committee members who let the governor know that when he showed up at the county fair Saturday.

        “I told him that I was disappointed and I probably would not be voting for him,” said Mrs. Smith, who opposes abortion and who voted for Mr. Taft in 1998.

        Mr. Taft tried to persuade her that he's the best choice in November, Mrs. Smith said, but she's inclined not to vote for any of the gubernatorial candidates.

        The turmoil over the governor's running mate has contributed to a rift in the county party that has kept its executive committee from picking officers since May. Incumbent Chairman Les Spaeth is on the outs with conservatives for exhorting members to support the state's top Republican.

        Back on track: West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker, Township Administrator David Gully and Hamilton City Councilwoman Kathy Becker met for lunch recently to discuss ways their two communities can set aside animosities. Ms. Becker instigated the meeting.

        Ms. Stoker and Ms. Becker agreed to talk with their colleagues about issues that West Chester and Hamilton can work on together.

        Relations between officials of the two communities hit a low point last month over whether the route of a proposed commuter rail line from Cincinnati to Cleveland should run through Hamilton or West Chester.

        Ms. Stoker said the route should run through West Chester and criticized Hamilton's schools and its crime rate. Hamilton Councilman Richard Holzberger responded: “I'm going to bite her butt like a hounddog.”

        “We want to raise the discussion out of the gutter,” Ms. Stoker says. “There's been so much name-calling.”

— Steve Kemme

        Heading north? Former Lebanon City Manager James Patrick has quit his job as manager of Plum, Pa., after just two months to take a job in Alaska, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. But the job offer is on hold, the newspaper reported, while officials in Ketchikan, Alaska, look into Mr. Patrick's indictment on felony charges while in Lebanon — charges that were later dropped.

        Mr. Patrick, who still owns a home in Lebanon, also was a candidate for administrator of Miami Township in Montgomery County, and city manager in Springboro. However, officials in both communities say he has withdrawn his name from consideration.

        Mr. Patrick was Lebanon's top official for 2 1/2 years, resigning in December in exchange for an $80,000-plus severance package.

        Take a swing: The Warren County Township Association will hold its sixth annual Elected Officials Golf Outing this month.

        The event takes place at Holly Hills Golf Club in Wayne Township, eight miles north of Lebanon, at 11:30 a.m. July 30. It's open to local officials — yes, even city officials — and “friends” such as developers.

        Registration deadline is Thursday; cost is $65 per golfer. Proceeds go to the townships' fire and police departments, said Hamilton Township Clerk Jackie Terwilleger.

        For information, call her at 683-8520 or Deerfield Trustee Bill Morand at 683-5558.

        Tips and comments on suburban politics may be relayed to reporter Cindi Andrews via phone, 755-4157, or e-mail, candrews@enquirer.com.

       

       



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