Thursday, October 9, 2003

Council hopefuls fail to inspire

By Gregory Korte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MOUNT WASHINGTON - Cincinnati City Council candidates spoke at a forum Wednesday night, but left many of the community leaders disappointed with their command of east side issues.

Among the candidates who did get high marks for talking about issues were two polar extremes: Republican Pete Witte and independent Damon Lynch III, both challengers.

Witte blasted "lazy, profit-minded absentee landlords" and proposed requiring absentee landlords to register with the city. Too many of the worst Section 8 landlords hide behind partnerships and corporate names, he said.

Lynch defended the endangered Nature Education Program and promised to be a voice for environmental justice in the Little Miami Valley.

The event, which attracted more than 100 people, was sponsored by neighborhood groups in California, Columbia-Tusculum, the East End, Linwood, Lower Salem, Mount Lookout and Mount Washington.

Few candidates addressed a major east-side issue: the possible expansion of Lunken Airport.

"I will continue to fight to make sure that the master plan and the noise study are complete before we do anything there," said Chris Monzel, a Republican incumbent. "Because it's important that we understand how it affects you."

Independent Marilyn Hyland said only that City Council should listen to neighborhoods, and independent Brian Crum Garry cast the issue as a struggle of "rich versus poor" - with expansion interests being the rich.

Many of the remaining candidates stuck to stump speechesRepublican John Connelly pushed a district representation plan.

Community leaders were unimpressed.

"All of us spent so much time on this. The thing that was so disappointing was that we gave them the damn questions ahead of time. Address the damn issues," said Rich Lindhorst, president of the Lower Salem Neighborhood Association.

Charterite John Schlagetter's answers were the most detailed. He came with a three-page response to each issue.


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