Saturday, November 8, 2008

We're All in the Same Boat (in the Same Storm)

There was a lot of discussion the past few days about our grim 2009 budget, and there'll be a lot more to talk about in the coming weeks.

A couple articles in this month's Governing Magazine help illuminate that we are far from unique in the dire situation we face. States, counties and cities across this country, who all have to balance their budgets (unlike the federal government), are equally strapped, with few good options.

For those interested in these issues, I recommend:

Friday, November 7, 2008

Educating and Welcoming Returning Veterans

A story ran in the Enquirer today about a project I am thrilled about--a new local effort to make this area as attractive as possible to returning veterans seeking an education and, ultimately, a long-term home for themselves and their families:

Basically, under the new GI Bill passed through Congress this year, there are very generous new educational benefits for returning veterans--something long overdue. But this also opens up opportunities for areas like our's, and strong universities and community colleges, to take advantage of these new benefits.

The strategy is simple: do everything we can to reach out to and attract potential veteran-students from across the Midwest and beyond, and to be as veteran-friendly as possible once they arrive, which also means being sensitive to the unique needs of veteran-students. (A great New York Times story recently highlighted some of those unique needs in stark terms --

This effort is further helped by the fact that Governor Strickland earlier this year signed the Ohio GI Promise--mandating that all veterans get to attend Ohio schools on in-state tuition.

The bottom line: this approach will pay off in numerous ways. Most importantly, it is the right thing to do because our veterans have earned it through their service and sacrifice. But for our region, putting out a clarion call that we are a destination to veterans seeking their education helps the educational institutions involved, and carries an even bigger long-term and strategic benefit in growing our population, and assuring that our population is as educated as possible.

For this reason, our County's Veterans' Service Commission, which works in all sorts of other ways to assist veterans, is excited about this opportunity, and plans to partner with and assist U.C. and the other institutions in any way that they can.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Impressive predictions: Chris, Jenny E.

While I was disappointed that people shied away from making predictions, "Chris" and "Jenny E" actually made very good forecasts.

Locally, Chris predicted the following--only getting once race incorrect!

1. President: Obama-McCain OBAMA 339 to McCain 199
2. Commissioner 1: Portune-Rothenberg PORTUNE 65/35
3. Commissioner 2: Dole-Hartman HARTMAN 57/43
4. Treasurer: Brinker-Goering GOERING
5. Clerk of Courts: Good-Clancy CLANCY
6. County Recorder: Coates-Groppe GROPPE
7. Common Pleas Judge: Holt-Davis - Dewine DEWINE
8. Common Pleas Judge: Luebbers-Mock LUEBBERS
9. Common Pleas Judge: Metz-Nelson NELSON
10. Congress (1): Driehaus-Chabot DRIEHAUS
11. Congress (2): SCHMIDT
12. Ohio House 28: Pillich-Lovitt PILLICH
13. State Issue 6, Casino (in Hamilton County): For-Against AGAINST
14. Issue 8 (Cincinnati, Proportional Representation): For-Against AGAINST

Nationally, "Jenny E." got 11 out of 12 toss-up states right (assuming Missouri and North Carolina stay where they are).

1. Ohio.............OBAMA
2. Virginia.........OBAMA
3. Pennsylvania.....OBAMA
4. Florida..........OBAMA
5. Indiana..........McCain
6. Nevada...........OBAMA
7. Montana..........McCain
8. Missouri.........McCain
9. Colorado.........OBAMA
10. New Hampshire...OBAMA
11. North Carolina..OBAMA
12. Georgia.........McCain

Congrats on your good picks!! I look forward to seeing you both in Pepper T-shirts.

More on Hamilton County Results

A great analysis in today's Enquirer about Hamilton County's results.

According to CNN's John Roberts, "It is probably Hamilton County that gave Barack Obama Ohio. That was what really began to seal the deal. Florida, Virginia - just gravy on top of that."
For the whole story, go to:

For maps of how Hamilton County voted, go to:

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Wow! What a Night!

There's nothing like election day and night--even when you're not on the ballot.

Last night will be one of those moments where we'll always remember exactly where we were when the news came down of the history-changing Barack Obama victory, including in Ohio and Hamilton County.

By the way, Hamilton County has become THE bellweather County for Ohio, and perhaps the nation--when we go Blue, so goes Ohio, and when Ohio goes blue, so goes the country. For the map, see

Time Magazine had predicted Hamilton County would play this bellweather role, including referencing the 2006 County Commission race . . .,9171,1855354,00.html

And there's a pattern here over the past 100 years:

And for real politicos, this is about the best Map of the vote yesterday you'll ever see:

On a Countwide level, I want to congratulate all the winners, including Todd Portune, new County Commissioner Greg Hartmann, new Common Pleas Judges Jerry Metz and Pat DeWine, Judge Jody Luebbers, Robert Goering (Treasurer), Patty Clancy (Clerk of Courts), and Rebecca Groppe (Recorder)--although we may have to wait for provisional votes to finalize results in a couple. These were hard fought races, in a wildly unpredictable and electric year, so making it over the finish line is an impressive feat for all. And now we'll all have to work together to get through a challenging time for our County.

Of course, the other big election at the local level was the late-night victory of State Rep. Steve Driehaus as our next Congressman from the 1st District. Having been friends with and worked with Steve for a number of years, I look forward to partnering with him to accomplish the many goals we both have for Hamilton County in the coming years.

We also have several new State representatives, including Denise Driehaus and Connie Pillich, who I also look forward to working with at the state level.

Finally, I also want to thank and congratulate those who competed and didn't quite make it--it takes a lot to run for public office, and, win or lose, those who put their hat in the ring and fight the good fight deserve our respect and thanks. And for those who have served our community for some time, such as Rep. Steve Chabot and Judge Fred Nelson, we thank them for their years of dedicated public service to our community.

All in all, there's nothing like the day where the people speak.

And boy did they.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Democracy in Action

Here's a photo of early voting at the Hamilton County Board of Elections today. This is just one of three sides of the building where the line is formed, and it was this long when I drove past this morning at 7:45 a.m., and when I stopped by to talk to voters at 9:00 a.m.

Candidates for all seats, including Congress, are walking up and down talking to voters.

Election predictions (part II)

One other set of predictions (in addition to below)--please post your answers. Closest answers win a t-shirt.

Who will win the following toss-ups, Obama or Mccain?
1. Ohio
2. Virginia
3. Pennsylvania
4. Florida
5. Indiana
6. Nevada
7. Montana
8. Missouri
9. Colorado
10. New Hampshire
11. North Carolina
12. Georgia

Tiebreaker: what will national popular vote be?

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Predictions anyone?

There's an interesting article in Time Magazine about Hamilton County being a key make-or-break county for the presidential election:,9171,1855354,00.html.

Speaking of Hamilton County, any political junkies want to make predictions? Go ahead and post the percentages you predict for the following elections, in Hamilton County. I will post them all. The person who gets the closest will win a free T-shirt, and much respect!

1. President: Obama-McCain
2. Commissioner 1: Portune-Rothenberg
3. Commissioner 2: Dole-Hartman
4. Treasurer: Brinker-Goering
5. Clerk of Courts: Good-Clancy
6. County Recorder: Coates-Groppe
7. Common Pleas Judge: Holt-Davis - Dewine
8. Common Pleas Judge: Luebbers-Mock
9. Common Pleas Judge: Metz-Nelson
10. Congress (1): Driehaus-Chabot (percentage in whole district -- not just Ham Co)
11. Congress (2): Wulsin-Krikorian-Schmidt (same)
12. Ohio House 28: Pillich-Lovitt
13. State Issue 6, Casino (in Hamilton County): For-Against
14. Issue 8 (Cincinnati, Proportional Representation): For-Against
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