By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Cincinnati Mayor Charlie Luken is threatening to veto $242,000 in spending today - even though City Council Democrats appear to have the votes to override.
The vetoes could affect two ordinances that already have the support of council's six Democrats:
Spending $150,000 of the Neighborhood Reserve Fund to help build a Community-Oriented Policing Center in the new East End School. Sponsors John Cranley and David Crowley say the center will be an important community resource while also helping the Cincinnati Public Schools with construction costs.
Restoring a $92,000 cut to housing counseling services in the 2003-04 budget. Greater Cincinnati Mortgage Counseling Services and the Better Housing League help low- and middle-income homebuyers understand the mortgage lending process. The ordinance's supporters, Crowley and Minette Cooper, say the counseling is essential if the city is going to improve its 38 percent home-ownership rate.
Backers of both ordinances note that the spending comes not from the city's operating fund, but from "restricted" funds. Council created the neighborhood fund out of proceeds from the sale of Anthem Inc. stock. The mortgage counseling programs are funded with federal block grant money.
But Luken said spending is spending, and now is not the time to be sending the message that the city has disposable income. Luken and other city officials - all Democrats - protested loudly this month when Republican state lawmakers proposed cutting support to local governments that would have created a $17.5 million hole in Cincinnati's budget.
"The point is, it's hard to complain about the Local Government Fund cuts when you can find the money for these kinds of things," Luken said.
In threatening to veto the two ordinances, Luken was abandoning his previous position that it was futile to veto an ordinance that had more than the minimum five votes for passage. It takes six votes to override a veto.
Republicans Pat DeWine and Chris Monzel opposed both spending items when they came up for procedural votes last week.
Luken, a conservative Democrat, has used his veto once since gaining the power in December 2001 - on a $65,000 study to find out how people choose subsidized housing.
He said he might as well use the veto power to force City Council members to stand up and be counted on new spending in an election year.
"Plus, this veto stamp I have is atrophying," he said.
TRISTATE REACTS TO WAR
Family, neighbors mourn a soldier
Gold star banners for duo
Counseling, hot lines, Web sites
Keeping in touch
Soldier hit by shrapnel
IN THE TRISTATE
$400,000 gone from campaign
Faith brings joyfulness amid the tragedies of life
Luken may veto spending
Fire that killed 5 was no accident
'Summer' breezes into town
Hey, driving here isn't so bad
French Lick dares to breathe
Views clash in court on gun law
Evendale council rescinds 'blight' label for Reading Road corridor
Council to address use of Cleves fields
Tax Day filers form lively line on deadline
Tristate A.M. Report
SMITH AMOS: In harm's way?
BRONSON: Thank you
KORTE: City Hall
HOWARD: Some Good News
BUTLER, WARREN, CLERMONT
Middletown mayor put on leave at county job
Warren changes overseer
Hamilton Township police vote 7-1 to join Fraternal Order of Police
Liberty cuts list for top job to six
Putter's owner vows to fix parking jam
Obituary: Jack Groh, businessman
Money's pouring in for Voinovich second term
Water center to give residents price break
Place to eat? Buttermilk Pike
Senator his old self after surgery
Churchill alters policy on wagering
Lucas fund raising lags 3 in GOP
Ex-Dayton cop given home incarceration
Transportation building a waste, Lunsford says
'Palace' to spread peace through meditation
Candidate pitches higher cigarette tax