Wednesday, March 17, 2004

When he's not suing them, Chesley is suing for them

Around the suburbs

Legal matters make for strange politics.

Take the Hamilton County commissioners' hiring of prominent class-action lawyer Stan Chesley last week. Phil Heimlich and Todd Portune decided he's just the attorney to help the county join a taxpayer lawsuit that alleges the Cincinnati Bengals extorted a new stadium out of the community.

Political observers might expect Portune to be all for sending a fellow Democrat some business, but conservative Republican Heimlich?

"The way I look at it is, if you're going to put a car in the Indianapolis 500, you'd better have a driver who knows the twists and turns," Heimlich said. "If we're going to take on the big boys, we need somebody with the clout, expertise and toughness to do it."

(The Indy 500 runs on an oval track, but we get the picture.)

The other Republican on the board, Commissioner John Dowlin, took a different view on the matter: He opposed the county joining the suit without the approval of Prosecutor Mike Allen - a Republican who supported Dowlin's unsuccessful re-election campaign.

The other oddity about the commissioners hiring Chesley is that he's representing families who are suing the county for photos of bodies that Thomas Condon took at the county morgue about three years ago.

So on the one hand, he's representing the commissioners - while on the other, he's suing them.

"The county is a big place," Chesley notes. "There is absolutely nothing connected between the two cases."

Or maybe it's that Hamilton County isn't very big at all.

Cindi Andrews

GIVE ME A KUMBAYA: Mason and Deerfield Township officials seem to be making great strides in their ongoing attempt to play nice and close the book on their tumultuous past.

It started after then-Trustee Bill Morand visited Mason City Council last year at the invitation of Councilman John McCurley. Now, Mason Mayor Pete Beck says he and City Manager Scot Lahrmer have met with township representatives.

Plus, the two communities are coordinating their park schedules so local teams can make better use of the available ball fields.

Seems that all that talk is starting to go somewhere.

Erica Solvig

SLOW GO: The tedious pace of government hasn't dulled George Lang's enthusiasm - so far.

Lang, elected a West Chester Township trustee in November, was obviously frustrated when his two colleagues, longtime trustees Jose Alvarez and Catherine Stoker, couldn't decide on an alternative trustees' meeting date next month because of his scheduling conflict.

"If we got together this Sunday," Lang told them, "it would take us two hours to watch 60 Minutes."

The 21/2 -hour trustees meeting ended without a decision on rescheduling the April 13 meeting.

John Kiesewetter

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