Live Blogging: Pepper/Heimlich Debate

6:56PM: Another Dem and jk are sitting in the auditorium here at the Cincinnati Museum Center waiting for the debate to begin. JK typing. Just prior to this, we were given a little tidbit of gossip. During David's press conference today announcing his "10 Simple Rules to Clean Up County Government", Chris Finney, the COAST ghost, took objection to rule number 4, "full disclosure and transparency". He accused David only including that rule because he's "a rich little fucking asshole". When Bridget Doherty attempted to calm him down, he said that she and David could "kiss my ass." Apparently, Steve Fritsch captured this on tape. The Enquirer also reported on it.

7:00: David graciously greets Dr. and Mrs. Heimlich. Always the gentleman.

7:05PM: Phil Heimlich, not realizing he's miked, has a George Bush moment, asking if he'll have time to go to the "little boys' room".

7:10PM: Apparently, Heimlich's minions don't bother handing literature out to African Americans. A DL'er in attendance here is ignored by the Heimlich staffers.

7:15PM: Introduction of the panelists. Can't type fast enough to get the names. There are five adults and five kids. Rules: opening statements, questions from media panel with time to respond. Each candidate will get three rebuttals total. Phil speaks first, based on results of coin toss.

7:20PM: Phil begins by blathering on about his minimal accomplishments. He also fibs about how his reduction of taxes has not impacted services.

7:22PM: David states how all the problems the area faces have county government at the center. The culture of corruption (not his words) extends to the county and has made it ineffective. It needs to be cleaned up.

7:25PM: First question to David first: county gov't has a projected deficit of millions. David reiterates problems with various programs. Points out how he capped spending in city government at 1.5% per year, one-fourth the rate at which county government increased (6%). Phil misunderstands how a debate works. He doesn't realize that he needs to answer. He says there is no deficit in the general fund, only in the stadium fund. Why, cutting taxes has resulted in there being a cushion to fund the jail with no tax increase! The family service issue: no fraud, no money missing.

7:27PM: How to address population loss in county, Heimlich first: There is no problem in the county. It's the city, because the city doesn't support the cops. He wants to extend sewers to undeveloped parts of the county. No mention about the fact that the sewers in the rest of the county don't work. (Check the Sierra Club's lawsuit against the MSD). David responds with facts: shows how every jurisdiction in the county has lost population. That's because county government is broken and doesn't care about the quality of life in Hamilton County. David addresses the young people in the audience, saying that we have to develop the urban core and the county so they'll want to stay here.

7:31PM: Metro government plan like Louisville and Indy, David first: Bad idea because people hate the county government. When he campaigns in Harrison, they say they can't vote for county commissioner; they're not even aware the county works for them. Do some things to save money, like bulk purchasing and common service, but you have to restore confidence in county government. Heimlich: wandering statement about how he likes stealing other people's ideas. He claims people don't want unified goverment because they don't want to governed by Cincy City Council. He talks about how he'll lend more county resources to local communities.

7:35PM: What about the jail...will you pass sales tax increase if the issue fails, Hemlich first: Talks about about how he mismanaged it for years, and had to cut services to be able to pay for it. David: What took so long? It's been a crisis for 20 years...why are we dealing with it in an election year. If it fails, it's because of mismanagement. Talks about how you actually plan for an build a jail, methodically and carefully, prior to budgeting and taxing. Says that Phil is passing a tax increase without planning. Interrupted by moderator and asked to answer question. David says he'll do it right and then go to voters. Phil responds with some nonsense about a slot parlor in over the Rhine. David responds with the fact that Phil's original plan sucked, David wrote an editorial about a better one, and David's plan is the one on the ballot.

7:41PM: Talk about the riots, David first: Points out that the riots were the crowning moment of Phil's council career, David was running for council at the time. Council spent that time trying to clean up the mess. Phil says the problem was with the response to the riots, both naming one of the "inciters" to the riots and the collaborative agreement. Points out that the FOP rejected the collaborative agreement two years after endorsing it. David responds by pinning the county with responsibilty for releasing criminals because of the lack of a jail.

7:45PM: First student, what to do with mass transit, Phil first: We have a model program for mass transit. David: learn from the voters, they rejected the light rail plan. Points out that the record needs to be corrected "before the mail goes out" because Phil will fib about David supporting it. He'd like to see it, but we need a plan that the voters will support without tax increases. We should have something which will revitalize the urban core.

7:49PM: What about Legacy Place, David first: Another example of county government out of touch. Developing an area that people don't want developed. Fix the first suburbs and the city first. No sprawl. Phil: Read the front page of the Enquirer, because there's not enough housing, people are moving. Building housing is the cure for declining population. He cast deciding vote on Legacy Place because all the Green Township trustees wanted it and he was the decider.

7:52PM: What will bring me back to Hamilton County in four years, Phil first: You're on your own as far as jobs go, kid. We have put together a plan where you're going to see stuff on the Banks in four years. A vibrant downtown and safer city. David: Well, the Banks will get done because the grownups took it away from county government. Everything the county did was wrong and had to be redone. We need to create an urban environment like Chicago or Boston. It's not just the city, but the city is key. Phil rebuts: Patronizes David for "trying to learn about the facts of the issue." Crowd groans. It was the city, honest, said Phil. He tries to spread his lies, but gets cut off.

7:57PM: Can't the city and county just get along, David first: It helps if you act like an adult and can count to five. Laughs from crowd. You need to be able to work democratically to work with City Council. David touts his record. Phil says he has lunch with Mallory a lot, Mallory never pays. No laughs. Talks about how the county and the city came to agreement on the major issues.

8:00PM: Can we have gambling, Phil first: Phil says he doesn't gamble. Blathers on about retail development. David points out that he and Phil discussed this at a blackjack table at a church festival a few weeks back. If we planned it right we could have used gambling to pay for the jail. Phil rebuts that David should stand up for the slot proposal.

8:05PM: Townships and unincorporated areas, how can you represent them, Phil first: Talk to the folks (like Green Township). I didn't want folks there to know I was on City Council when I ran because of the problems there. David responds, yeah, you hid that so you could beat up on them. Talk about getting along with them. David talks about his quality of life plan, which is about talking directly to citizens rather than their elected leaders. County leaders represent the citizens, in other words, and not the elected officials of townships and other areas.

8:08PM: Concentration of Section 8 Housing, David first: It's an issue for the folks running for Congress because it's a federal program. Phil says he'll keep it out, but he delegated responsibility to a non-elected board. Need to crack down on landlords who take the money and don't maintain their property. Applause from crowd. Phil responds that Section 8 is bad, bad, to scattered applause. It brings blight. I want to do away with it.

8:11PM: Question about protecting young people from folks like Foley, Phil first. We cracked down on someone sending porn and dismissed them. He spoke to the Amos Project, "a quite liberal group", and said the same things about section 8 the same way he did here. He doesn't say something different depending on his audience. David says it's important for leaders to not cover things up and cover their asses, to not fib about their records or about important issues. That's what we can learn about this issue.

8:15PM: Commission will be all white males, David first: Well, we need to both lose. The Commission has to represent the diversity of the county.

8:19PM: Freedom Center support, will you offer, Phil first; Absolutely not. One racist guy applauds. Chairman promised not to come back. Other places have boards that raise money. Enough is enough, raise an endowment like every other museum. David says he'll recuse himself because his dad is the chairman. He does comment on responsibility, talks about how Phil will talk tough on places like Children's and University, but not on the auditors who found the $1.7B misspent. We need real accountability in county government. Phil, David that's a dodge. You can answer the question about supporting tax money for the museum center. David says, look at the law, Phil. I can't talk about it and that means I can't vote on it.

8:23PM: Closing, David first. If I told you that safety was the most important thing, you'd expect me to do something about it if I had the power. Well, the jail was such an issue. Phil could have done something and did nothing. He put something he had the power to fix before the voters during an election year. It's time to fix this. Ends to applause. Phil talks about his record improving county government and rewarding employees to make things more efficient. Election comes down to what you've done and what you can do. David reaches over and shakes Phil's hand.

8:28PM: And now it's time for burritos and beer.

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