Wednesday, November 5, 2003

Activists lead for Loveland council

By Sheila McLaughlin
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Neighborhood activists apparently blasted three Loveland council incumbents from their seats Tuesday in what many saw as a battle to keep commercial development out of a historic site.

In unofficial final results in Hamilton, Warren and Butler counties, Paul Elliott, Todd Osborne and Katie Showler led the race, with Elliott taking 21 percent of the vote in Hamilton County, where most Loveland residents reside.

Mayor Donna Lajcak trailed with 13 percent of the vote in Hamilton County.

Elliott and Osborne have been key players in a legal battle against the city over last year's rezoning of the 85-acre White Pillars site on Ohio 48, the former home of Loveland's first settler. The group is embroiled in two lawsuits to undo that zoning and force the city to hold a referendum that could halt spot zoning.

Growth, development, finances and other issues were at the heart of several mayoral and council races across suburban Hamilton County.

In Evendale, where redevelopment along Reading Road and the hiring of former Cincinnati Police Officer Stephen Roach are hot topics, residents voted in a new mayor, while only one incumbent hung onto his council seat.

Don Apking staged a victory for the mayor's seat, pulling in 52 percent of the vote to incumbent Douglas Lohmeier's 48 percent.

In a field of seven council candidates, incumbent Councilman Bill Puthoff Jr., former councilman Christian Schaefer and newcomer Carolyn Smiley-Robertson won council seats.

Finances in the shrinking village of less than 900 residents was key in the Arlington Heights mayor's race, where incumbent Joseph Harper led the pack with 54 percent of the final vote, compared to 37 percent for former interim police chief Mark Groteke and 9 percent for retired police chief Chuck Huff.

In unofficial final results, Democrats in Reading lost the mayor's seat with Republican Councilman Robert "Bo" Bemmes taking the lead with 46 percent of the vote in a three-way race with James Perdue Jr., an independent, and James Pfennig, a Democrat and former city councilman.

Republicans also maintained their stronghold on city council, where 16 candidates lined up for eight seats.


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