Friday, October 22, 2004

Pro-repeal has $556K

Drake also spends for levy

Enquirer staff report

Election 2004 page
Gay-rights activists trying to rid Cincinnati's charter of Article XII have had $556,244 to spend this year, compared to $145,081 for their opponents, according to campaign finance reports filed Thursday with the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

While the pro-repeal Citizens to Restore Fairness claims more than 2,000 individual and business contributors, the sources of support for the anti-Issue 3 campaign are a mystery.

The entire bankroll for the Equal Rights Not Special Rights Committee comes from conservative activist Phil Burress and his Citizens for Community Values, a Sharonville-based organization whose primary goal is "public awareness of the destructive impact of obscenity, pornography and indecency."

CCV does not publicly disclose its contributors.

Article XII prohibits Cincinnati City Council from passing a gay rights ordinance. A vote for Issue 3 is a vote to repeal the 11-year-old charter amendment.

The largest cash contributors to the "Yes on 3" campaign include $30,000 from Procter & Gamble, $25,000 from philanthropist Otto Budig, $20,000 each from Federated Department Stores and the New York-based Human Rights Campaign, and $10,000 each from Christ Church Cathedral, former Mayor Jerry Springer, arts patron Richard Rosenthal, GE Aircraft Engines and Hewlett-Packard.

The repeal opposition has put some key African-American leaders on the payroll, including the Rev. K.Z. Smith, pastor of Corinthian Baptist Church, who gets a $4,250 monthly consulting fee, and former Councilman Charlie Winburn, member of the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, who makes $3,125 a month.

The two sides of Drake Center's levy issue have amassed more than $640,000. On Drake's side, the vast majority - $500,000 - came from a line of credit opened by Citizens for Drake. The loan is guaranteed by Drake Center, according to Kay Nolen, the hospital's general counsel, but it wouldn't come from levy money.

The hospital seeks a tax levy that would raise $80 million over five years - $68 million of it going to Drake and the rest to unrelated county programs. It would cost the owner of a $100,000 home about $25 a year, up from $24 a year now.

The Drake Wastes Money Committee raised $119,250, much of it coming in $10,000 increments from nursing home operators who could pick up patients Drake would turn away.

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