Friday, October 27, 2000

Candidates pledge teamwork

Listen to Covington neighborhoods, some say

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        COVINGTON — Better planning, more attention to Covington's neighborhoods and downtown development, and a pledge to form a city government open to new ideas and teamwork were among the top issues raised at a Thursday night forum for Covington City Commission candidates.

        Six people are vying for four, two-year terms on the nonpartisan commission. With only two incumbents running, at least two new members will be elected on Nov. 7.

        The race is among challengers Craig T. Bohman, Alex Edmondson, Tony Milburn and write-in candidate Jimmy Williams and incumbents Jerry Bamberger and J.T. Spence.

        Mr. Spence, 47, a former city planner who is ending his first term on the City Commission, echoed the sentiments of several challengers when he called for the new commission to develop a long-term vision for Coving ton, instead of dealing with issues on a piecemeal basis.

        Mr. Spence also pledged to avoid the backstabbing, bickering and “culture of fear and mistrust” that he said has marked Covington's city government for too long.

        As an example of the atmosphere that he said exists in City Hall, Mr. Spence said Covington police are investigating the possible bugging of a city employee's office.

        Mr. Spence later referred all questions on the matter to City Manager Greg Jarvis. Reached at home Thursday night, Mr. Jarvis said that Covington Police were investigating the recent discovery of a device in City Hall, but had not yet determined what it was, or how it got there.

        Mr. Edmondson, a 25-year-old lawyer, called for a city government that is accountable for its actions and sticks up for its staff. The son of Kenton County Attorney Garry Edmondson drew applause from the audience at Holmes High School on Thursday when he said that he would enter elective office with no preconceived notions or political alliances, and would work to end Covington City Hall's image as “a fortress on a hill.”

        Mr. Milburn, 39, owner of The Milburn Group and a civic activist, said that he would emphasize cooperation and accountability if elected, and would involve Covington's neighborhoods and business community in the development of a strategic plan for the entire city. He also pledged to lower taxes.

        Also supporting more neighborhood input in city matters were Mr. Edmondson; Mr. Bohman, the 27-year-old former president of the Wallace Woods Neighborhood Association and frequent visitor to city meetings; and Mr. Williams, 40, a write-in candidate with a background of neighborhood and civic involvement.

        Mr. Bamberger, 57, a retired computer programmer for Cinergy, cited his many civic involvements, his nine years as a city commissioner and his ability to work with his fellow commissioners as reasons why voters should support him.

        Mr. Bamberger disagreed with fellow candidates' claims that Covington City Hall lacks adequate economic development staff and a cohesive plan for develop ment of Covington's downtown. He said the current city government has a good relationship with its neighborhoods and businesses.

        While the city is developing a tot lot in south Covington, Mr. Spence agreed with challengers' claims that the city's fastest-growing area needs its own full-sized park. Mr. Williams also called for more park improvements on Covington's east side.


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