Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Tarbell most efficient at wooing voters

Inside City Hall

Greg Korte

More money chased fewer votes in the 2003 Cincinnati City Council campaign, according to a final accounting of campaign finances filed this month with the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

The most important numbers in any election, of course, are the ones counted on Election Night.

Before that, candidates try to gain big fund-raising numbers. Afterward, it's the opposite, with the winners trying to show how frugal they were on their way to victory.

On that score, Charterite Jim Tarbell has bragging rights. He was most efficient in his campaign spending, with a cost-per vote of $2.92. (Still, he's no Tyrone Yates, who used to win with just 99 cents per vote.)

Laketa Cole, following in the tradition of mentor Paul Booth, was second with $3.14. Fellow Democrat Alicia Reece spent just a penny more at $3.15.

Other cost-per-vote totals for winning candidates were: Republican Sam Malone, $4.36; Charterite Christopher Smitherman, $4.38; Democrat David Crowley, $6.31; Democrat John Cranley, $7.10; Democrat David Pepper, $9.24, and Republican Pat DeWine, $10.08.

CASE CLOSED: Former City Manager Sy Murray lost his lawsuit against the city and the Knowledge Works Foundation, which paid the tab for his 2001 stint running the mayor's race relations commission.

Murray claimed he was owed $44,362 for work he performed while billing $1,440 per day. But Hamilton Council Common Pleas Judge Patrick Dinkelacker said this month that Murray's contract specified a cap of $100,000 - and he ruled that Murray has to pay back $30,108 that was mistakenly overpaid.

Here again are the three recommendations Murray came up with for his $100,000:

• Police should use better judgment in firing their weapons.

• The race relations commission should be more open.

• The city's religious and civic organizations should promote racial understanding.

SOFT LANDING: Peg Moertl landed on her feet after resigning as the city's director of Community Development and Planning.

She's now the vice president for community development at PNC Bank.

The 47-year-old Hyde Park resident left the city a month ago after a series of development scandals.

POWER PLAY: Reece, heading the Committee on Committees, has quietly and unilaterally wrested more power for the other committee she chairs.

It used to be called the Health, Social and Children Services, Small Business Development, Employment and Training Committee. That was a mouthful, so now it's called the Health, Tourism, Small Business and Employment Committee.

Thus, she wrested tourism from the Arts & Culture Committee, where chairman Tarbell didn't want it anyway.

FALLEN HEROES: The family of fallen firefighter Oscar Armstrong III is an indirect beneficiary of Cincinnati's 1884 riot.

City Manager Valerie Lemmie has given the Armstrong family a $1,320 Desmond Fund Award. Armstrong died March 21 in a Bond Hill house fire.

The award is named for Ohio National Guard Capt. John J. Desmond, killed in the courthouse riot of 1884. His estate went to support his mother and the descendants of other guardsmen killed in the riot.

When the last descendant died in 1971, the Hamilton County Probate Court set up the fund to help Cincinnati public safety officers who are injured or killed protecting life or property.


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