Monday, January 28, 2002

Dog license increase has owners yelping

        Be careful when you open your voicemail. A dog owner's bark can hurt more than Rover's bite.

        “I am absolutely furious over the raise in the tag fee for dogs. I'll vote against the Republicans whenever I can.” — Marion Eisenberg, Wyoming.

        “ "Boo' for the guys who did this. Every dog has his day and I don't mean the ones with fur and wagging tails.” — Ruth H. Lakes, Carthage.

        These dog owners are mad. And they travel in packs.

        One hundred and one other readers wrote, called or sent e-mail about my column on Hamilton County's 44 per cent price increase for dog tags (Jan. 18 column). Voting along party lines, the county commissioners upped the fee from $9 to $14.

        With Hamilton County issuing 63,224 dog licenses last year, the ill will created by the increase could wind up biting the Republican Party right in the ballot box.

        The county's two Republican commissioners — lame ducks Tom Neyer and John Dowlin — voted for the increase. Democrat Todd Portune opposed the hike.

        “Todd Portune was only the second (Hamilton County) Democrat I voted for. Dusty Rhodes always gets my vote. The Republican Party in this county has lost its mind.” — Chris Heather, Colerain Township.

        “I may be developing some Democratic blood.” — Darwin Yung, downtown.

        “We already got one rotten apple out of the county office. I can see a couple more leaving come election time!” — Bill Rehkamp, White Oak.

        “The 44 percent increase could only have been conceived by commissioners who can't understand that five bucks is real money to some of their constituents.” — Larry Mills, Forest Park.

        John Sefton of Norwood e-mailed his surprise that a “Republican-biased paper would allow you to write an article on the dog licensing increase. The same paper would endorse a monkey if it ran on the GOP ticket.”

        There's something wrong with backing a relative of J. Fred Muggs?

School daze

        Old schools are landmarks of a community's soul. My recent column hoped Cincinnati Public Schools' leaders would remember that as they decide which schools to renovate, close or build anew. (Jan. 9 column).

        “New schools will give us a chance at a fresh start. These old schools, or the stigma our fair city has bestowed upon these grand old schools, cannot be washed away with a coat of paint.” — John Whitling, West End.

        New schools, wrote Jim Haney of Hyde Park, “would be modern, utilitarian structures built on the lowest bid that would look akin to Hyde Park Plaza and other ubiquitous strip malls.”

Birdman of City Hall

        Councilman John Cranley gave a one-finger salute to Mayor Charlie Luken during a recent City Council meeting at City Hall. Reaction to my column about the inappropriateness of the councilman's obscene gesture drew some signs of the times (Jan. 16 column).

        “They want serious consideration at City Hall. If they can't do any better than that, I can understand why they don't get it.” — Dorothy E. Kemp, Northside.

        “It was done in jest, he apologized and said it will never happen again. What else do you want? My conservative wife also believes this is ridiculous and much ado about nothing.” — Mike Geygan, Landen.

        “He admitted he was acting childish,” said Earl Hatt of East Walnut Hills. “You're acting like an old fart.”

        Columnist Cliff Radel can be reached at; 768-8379; fax 768-8340. Past columns at


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