Tuesday, July 29, 2003

Korte: Inside City Hall

Luken's all praises now for one-time foe Fuller

When Courtis Fuller took his seat behind Channel 5's anchor desk Monday morning, he took another step through Cincinnati's revolving door of politics and broadcasting.

Charlie Luken did it, jumping from mayor to congressman to anchor and back to mayor.

Fuller is moving from anchor to mayoral candidate to anchor to - what?

As recently as last week, Luken called his former co-anchor, friend and mayoral rival. His message: that he would enthusiastically support Fuller if he ran for City Council this fall.

Both the Democratic Party and the Charter Committee, under whose banner Fuller ran for mayor in 2001, have been aggressively recruiting the 46-year-old broadcaster to run.

"He has a big picture approach. He's reasonable and visionary and I think he would help the chemistry of council," Luken said.

"I just believe the next two years his calming, reasonable influence would be helpful."

What a difference two years makes.

Luken, Sept. 6, 2001: "Courtis is clearly the Billion Dollar Man. The only way to fund all of his proposals is to double your taxes."

Luken, Oct. 12, 2001: "Never before has leadership, experience and strength been more important in a city in the United States of America - once again, Mr. Fuller has clearly demonstrated a lack of these characteristics."

Luken, Oct. 17, 2001: "His seven-point platform is in shambles, and his position on important issues is fuzzy at best."

When Fuller announced his candidacy for mayor two years ago - just a day before the filing deadline - he quit his anchor job, rented a house in College Hill and launched a frantic 24-hour campaign to collect the 500 signatures he needed to get on the ballot. (He got 4,539.)

Don't expect that to happen again in 2003.

Fuller told his WCIN (1480 AM) audience that he would do "double duty" - hosting the morning show on television and continuing his public affairs talk show.

Some insiders think he'll stick with broadcasting - for now.

"As he keeps saying to me, politics gets in your blood. But I think he has a different interest right now," Luken said.

Fuller's stint as a "special guest co-host" - replacing Greg McKinney, who resigned last week- is temporary, the station said.

• • •

Cincinnati undercover: City officials are rethinking security at 801 Plum St.

City Hall janitors will be asked to keep their eyes open. And some of those janitors may even carry badges.

With Convergys Corp. chairman Jim Orr in the audience Friday, undercover police officers sat inconspicuously in the back row.

A protester, noticing that all the uniformed officers were otherwise engaged, thought he could act up with impunity - and told the mayor so.

A man in a maintenance uniform confronted the disorderly protester.

It wasn't until Luken said, "Thank you, officer," that most people realized that Luken held the upper hand all along.


E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com or call 768-8391.

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