Thursday, March 20, 2003

Anonymous writer blasted


Suburban Insider

Compiled By Jennifer Edwards
The Cincinnati Enquirer

They don't know who sent it (although it apparently was a county employee), but Clermont County commissioners didn't appreciate a recent anonymous letter.

On Tuesday, before voting to rescind a previously approved pay increase for commission aide Elizabeth Haddad, Commissioners Mary Walker and Scott Croswell blasted the author of an anonymous letter critical of their March 12 vote giving Haddad the raise. President Bob Proud was out of town and absent.

Haddad, initially hired only as Proud's assistant, now does work for all three commissioners. The 3 percent raise was meant to acknowledge her additional duties and reward her for a job well done.

Walker and Croswell said they'd planned to reverse their decision Tuesday even before receiving the letter, because Haddad told them she didn't want to be singled out.

The unsigned, typed letter was marked personal and confidential. In addition, the county's postage meter was used to stamp the letter for mailing March 14.

It appears to be from a disgruntled county employee jealous of the raise given to Haddad. County raises weren't as significant this year because of cost-cutting and other financial constraints.

"At least be man or woman enough to put your name to the thought," Walker said Tuesday. "I do not appreciate the use of the county post office to send anonymous letters to us. We have ways of tracking this, and we are."

Marie McCain

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Norwood forum: Groups trying to head off proceedings that would ease Rookwood Commons expansion are holding a forum tonight on eminent domain, which is government's power to take private property for a public use.

Anderson Real Estate and Miller-Valentine Group vouchsafe that Rookwood Exchange - a $125 million development of offices, condos, apartments, shops and restaurants - would give a big boost to this city yearning for more earnings tax revenues.

The forum will be co-sponsored by three groups who oppose eminent domain. Citizens Against Eminent Domain Abuse, which was founded by the Norwood property owners who have refused to sell; Evendale business owners whose Reading Road properties already are deemed blighted, and Institute for Justice, a Washington, D.C.-based group which says it represents the little guy when it comes to eminent domain.

Keith Moore is one of nine council members pondering whether the city should pursue a blight study, which would open the door to eminent domain proceedings so that two developers can expand the already successful Rookwood Commons. He doesn't expect to be at the forum.

"I probably won't simply because I'll have to get a baby sitter," he said.

And, "I have no interest in voting for something that's going to face a legal challenge."

Susan Vela

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Meeting canceled: After starting a work session 35 minutes late last week, Warren County commissioners abruptly delayed and then canceled Tuesday's regularly scheduled meeting.

They had good reason.

Commissioner Pat South had a family emergency and spent most of the day at the hospital.

With Commissioner Larry Crisenbery in Washington, that left only Commissioner Mike Kilburn available, so there wasn't a quorum. Besides, there were no major issues on the agenda. But next week, the county has a couple of hot debates as officials try to slow growth.

Dozens of protesting residents are expected to turn out again Monday when the Hamilton Township Zoning Commission decides whether to rezone land for 648 houses and condominiums. At the last meeting on the issue, it was tabled.

Then, on Tuesday, the Warren County Rural Zoning Commission is expected to pass a proposal prompted by the County Commission that would require larger lot sizes and green space in new subdivisions. That issue, too, has been heavily argued at previous meetings.

Send insider news and tips to reporter Jennifer Edwards at jedwards@enquirer.com, or fax to 755-4150, or call 755-4147.




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