Tuesday, September 2, 2003

Korte: Inside City Hall

When council votes, some miss boat

To be sure, there's a lot more to a council member's job than showing up once a week and voting.

But some council members haven't even done that well, according to an Enquirer analysis of 1,471 recorded votes from Dec. 1, 2001, through the last meeting.

Minette Cooper missed 117 votes (7.9 percent); Alicia Reece, 116 votes (7.9 percent); Chris Monzel, 111 votes (7.5 percent); James R. Tarbell, 58 votes (3.9 percent); John Cranley, 44 votes (3 percent); Pat DeWine, 31 votes (2.1 percent); Y. Laketa Cole, 4 votes (1.3 percent); David Crowley, 11 votes (0.7 percent) and David Pepper, four votes (0.3 percent).

Cole replaced Paul Booth, who missed 158 of his 1,158 votes, or 13.5 percent of votes cast.

Pepper vowed to improve on his 99.7 percent attendance in the next term.

Among the four items he missed was a Tarbell-sponsored resolution congratulating members of the Civic Garden Center of Greater Cincinnati for "baring it all" on a calendar featuring judiciously placed garden equipment covering up key anatomical areas.

• • •

Republican City Council candidate Pete Witte has added a count to his list of allegations against independent candidate Damon Lynch III.

Not only does Lynch not live in East Price Hill as he claims, Witte said in an amended complaint with the Hamilton County Board of Elections - Lynch also submitted too many signatures to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.

Witte may be right.

Article IX, Section 2, of Cincinnati's charter reads that a nominating petition must be signed by "not less than 500 nor more than 1,000 electors."

Lynch collected 3,235.

"The city's charter is so screwed up that you can actually get too many petitions. It's sad but true," said Witte, who admits even he doesn't think the Board of Elections will take his argument seriously.

Elections director Julia Stautberg said she doesn't know if anyone's ever challenged that provision before. "It would appear to be contrary to the democratic process," she said.

Besides, she said, it was never an issue before because board workers stop counting signatures once they get to 500.

Lynch, who faces a hearing on his residency Friday, called the latest complaint "typical Cincinnati Republican tactics."

"What we did was energize the electorate. For them to even think to be that punitive is ridiculous," he said.

• • •

Broadcast news: Move over, Courtis Fuller.

The latest addition to the lineup of talk shows on WCIN-AM (1480) is called Mayor in the Morning. It features, of course, Mayor Charlie Luken.

The show runs 9 a.m. Tuesdays beginning today, giving the mayor a weekly opportunity to explain how he must have been misquoted in this column.

• • •

Overheard: "I had no intent to defraud anybody. This is not a protagonist/antagonist situation with the whole plot of a literary analysis."

Larry Frazier, independent City Council candidate, attempting to explain how 96 people were registered to vote from his Walnut Hills campaign headquarters.


E-mail gkorte@enquirer.com

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