Blogs > Northern Ohio Local Politics

Politics is big in these parts, and we’ve got it covered. John Arthur Hutchison and other staff writers will offer their inside information on the events, big news and little moments of the local political scene in Lake, Geauga and eastern Cuyahoga counties.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Local officials' reactions to Obama's remarks

Wondering what U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, U.S. Rep. Steven C. LaTourette and others had to say about President Barack Obama's address on Iraq? Click here to see their comments.

-- Cheryl Sadler

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Strickland to appear Saturday in Euclid

Gov. Ted Strickland will be in Euclid to serve as a grand marshal for the 2010 annual North Shore AFL-CIO Parade. Ed Fitzgerald, a Democratic candidate for Cuyahoga County executive will also serve as a grand marshal.

The event begins at 10 a.m. and the parade route will be from East 222nd Street to Lakeshore Boulevard to Sims Park.

Parking and shuttles will be available at Euclid City Hall and Euclid High School.

-- John Arthur Hutchison,


Monday, August 30, 2010

Ohio now offers online smoking cessation tool

I'm passing this along from the Ohio Department of Health:

As a result of approximately $1 million in federal stimulus funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Communities Putting Prevention to Work grant, the Ohio Department of Health is funding a media campaign and an online cessation tool to raise awareness and assist tobacco users in the critical effort to stop tobacco use.

The multi-media Dear Me: Nobody Can Make Me Quit but Me campaign was just launched by ODH and is airing on radio stations in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, and Youngstown.

Other elements of the campaign include street kiosks, convenience store ads and bus signs; television ads will air later this fall. Dear Me features real people telling their stories of their desire to quit tobacco use.

“Quitting is hard,” ODH director Alvin D. Jackson, M.D. said. “It might be the hardest thing you ever do, but the improvements in your health start immediately and will be well worth the effort. It takes on average five to seven attempts to quit for good. This campaign shares the thoughts and struggles of real smokers and reminds Ohioans that when they are ready to quit, help is available.”

Ohioans who are willing to tell their story about quitting are urged to submit their own Dear Me letters to

In addition to the free Ohio Tobacco Quitline at 800-Quit-Now (800-784-8669), the state now offers a free online cessation program, Quitlogix, at

Quitlogix enables online users to access information and quitting support after registering. Quitlogix users who want to take advantage of two weeks of free nicotine patches still need to go through a phone counselor at the Ohio Tobacco Quit line. A combination of the online and telephonic counseling services is available to all Ohioans.

Approximately 2 million (20.3 percent) of Ohio adults age 18 and older currently smoke – 21.2 percent of men and 19.5 percent of women. The smoking rate among Ohio African-Americans is 22.0 percent, and among whites the rate is 20.1 percent.

The Ohio Tobacco Quitline and Quitlogix are provided free to all Ohioans who need the services and are funded by the Master Tobacco Settlement funds in addition to ARRA funds.

For more information about quitting tobacco, visit

-- John Arthur Hutchison,

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NRA won't back Senate majority leader, Harry Reid

In what could come back to haunt the National Rifle Association should the Democrats hold on to the Senate, the organization will not endorse the body's majority leader - Harry Reid - for reelection.

While he NRA flirted with possibly backing Reid the pro-Second Amendment group came under intense conservative pressure not to do so.

Reid had been courting the NRA, even going so far as to help secure $61 million for a shooting center in Reid's home state of Nevada. The NRA praised Reid's efforts and appeared on the brink of endorsing him for reelection. Just as it had for Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. The group likewise has contributed nearly $5,000 to Reid's campaign.

However, in an August 27 posting on the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action's web site, the NRA cited Reid's support to confirm both Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan to the U.S. Supreme Court. Both are widely viewed by gun owners as being intolerant of Second Amendment rights.

Interestingly, too, it took the NRA all the way to practically the end of its web page release to even mention Reid and that the organization won't be supporting Reid.

Also, it is being said in at least one Nevada newspaper that the NRA will not endorse Reid's Republican challenger on Nov. 2; Sharron Angle.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Mentor gets kudos from feds

Mentor City Manager Ken Filipiak reported to council in his latest weekly memo that the city received a plaque from the United States Department of Commerce in appreciation for the city’s help in raising awareness of - and, thus, inspiring participation in - the 2010 Census. The City had one of the highest early return participation rates, he said.

"We like to think this is, in part, (due) to the campaign our Public Information Department organized to make Mentor residents aware," Filipiak said.

The city certainly seems to have made every effort to communicate with residents, from newsletters to Mentor Channel 12 to radio to the city website, and plans for more.

The latest website report shows that, since the beginning of the year, there were 337,870 unique visitors to the site. The most visited pages recently involved employment, recreation and police.

Way to get the word out.

-- Betsy Scott,

Friday, August 27, 2010

Strickland in driver's seat to attract gun owners' votes

Honk if you want to re-elect Ted Strickland as Ohio's governor.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland is pulling out all of the stops to solicit the votes of the state's hunters, anglers, trappers and gun owners.

The Buckeye Firearms Association reports that Strickland has redecorated a large motor home that is embellished in a camouflage screen that includes a photographic image of himself and his brother, Roger.

The "Sportsmen for Strickland" motor home also features the Buckeye Firearms Association's endorsement position of Strickland as well as that of the National Rifle Association, which has awarded the governor an "A" rating.

On the motor home's tail end is found: "Vote Freedom first: Vote Strickland."

All of this is coupled with two Re-Elect Strickland for Governor campaign press releases that highlight Strickland's pro-gun, pro-hunting stance. At the same time the literature also notes his Republican challenger's generally unfavorable firearms stance while serving in Congress.

Former Rep. John Kasich is contrasted by illustrating 12 anti-gun positions taken by the-then congressman and as defined by the Strickland campaign.

Among them, says the Strickland campaign, is Kasich's support for the 1994 Clinton Gun Ban as well as his support to keep the ban in place two years later.

For sportsmen at least, this is going to prove an interesting election. Typically those voters who place high on the list Second Amendment rights have swung to Republican office seekers, not Democrats. All of which may turn on its ear November 2.

A copy of this blog is also posted on The News-Herald's outdoors blog.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

GOP rally Saturday in Painesville

State Auditor Mary Taylor, a Republican candidate for lieutenant governor?

She'll headline the Lake County Republican Party’s “Road to Victory” rally starting at noon Saturday (Aug. 28) at Veterans Park in Painesville Square.

Other GOP candidates?

That’ll be Bob Murphy for Lake County commissioner, Ron Young and David Fiebig for different state representative offices, and Lake County Judge Gene Lucci for an 11th Appellate Court bench.

Might want to bring your own seat for the 3:30 p.m. picnic and 4 p.m. rally. For more info, call GOP HQ at (440) 357-1200.

--David W. Jones

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Geauga, Lake--still low jobless rates

Geauga County exited July with the lowest unemployment rate of that month in Ohio’s 88 counties, the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services reports.
Geauga’s 7.1 percent July rate is down from 7.3 percent in June, both lower than 7.4 percent in July of last year.
Lake County’s rate dropped from 8.4 percent in June to 8.3 percent in July, both down from 8.6 percent in July last year. Mentor’s rate dropped from 7.7 percent to 7.5 percent between June and July.
Cuyahoga County’s jobless rate remained at 9.7 percent in June and July. Euclid’s rate rose from 9.8 in June to 10 percent in July.
--David W, Jones

Friday, August 20, 2010

Justice for all? Read on

Remember how it was once attorney Eric Brown, the former Mayfield School Board longtime member and Democrat activist seen often in Northeast Ohio, including Cuyahoga, Lake and Geauga counties?

Then it next became the same Brown down in Columbus as the former Franklin County Probate Court judge who got appointed as chief justice of the Ohio Supreme Court, for which he’s seeking election on Nov. 2.

Now it’s candidate Brown to headline a reception from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday (Aug. 23) at Gavi’s Restaurant in Willoughby.

Brown will be hosted by Lake-Geauga notables, many of them attorneys.
That includes Randy and Betty Klammer, former U.S. Rep. Dennis Eckart, union chief Bob Schiebli, Joe Weiss, Russ Meraglio, Paul Malchesky, Bob Leach, Francis Sweeney Jr., Ernie, Helen and Matt Lallo, Beverly Kurzawa, Matt Donovan and Keith Hocevar.

For RSVP, catch up with Randy Klammer at or (440) 487-8584.

P.S. Ohio SUPCO Justice Maureen O’Connor, a Republican running vs. Brown for the same chief justice gavel? Currently ahead of Brown in warchest money, she’s already been in and out of Lake County.

The Lake County Bar Association endorses O’Connor with high ratings. But the Lake County Bar didn’t know Brown well enough for him to garner 50 percent yes or no votes either way.

O’Connor also is now endorsed by the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police.

P.P.S. All of which means NE Ohio will be a decision-making battleground in this race.

--David W. Jones

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ABCs of Wickliffe superintendent

Hmm. Kathleen Cintavey leaves office as Wickliffe Schools superintendent after this or that controversy.

But at last look wasn’t she an applicant or finalist for the open job of superintendent in Youngstown, Loveland and Buckeye Valley school districts?

--David W. Jones

Ohio's gubernatorial candidates to square off

To illustrate just how important are Ohio's hunters, anglers and gun owners to Ohio's Democratic and Republican gubernatorial candidates, both candidates will address the annual confab of sportsmen hosted by the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.

The Alliance will host its hoe-down September 25 at the Aladin Temple in Columbus.

Promising to be there are Gov. Ted Strickland and his Republican challenger John Kasich.

As for me, my plans call for being in my camo ground blind for a couple hours in the morning and a couple of hours around sunset. That's because September 25 also happens to be the opening day of Ohio's archery deer-hunting season.

I gotta' keep my priorities in their proper place.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Home rule or ruler?

Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner, the state’s chief elections officer, will look at some municipal “home rule” charter amendments proposed for the Nov. 2 ballot, just as her staff will review new change-of-government Cuyahoga County.

But some state legislators are suggesting that elections watchdogs take a look at ballot wording in all such charter amendments to change the way village and town people create voter-approved charters and then ask voters to amend the same documents later.

The question: Is a proposed (or approved) village and/or city charter amendment as clear and strong as that of all the state amendments that make the Ohio ballot every year?

That is, the Ohio Constitution is tens of thousands of words longer than what it was a decade ago. But it’s upheld in any federal cases of challenge.

Would village or city charter amendments prevail after such challenges?

--David W. Jones

Friday, August 13, 2010

Generating Ohio YRs for Portman?

Latest on former Congressman Rob Portman, the Republican running for U.S. Senate in Ohio:

Just announced as the "Generation Portman Leadership":

--State Team chair: Highland Heights' Lisa Stickan, who chairs the National Young Republicans Federation.

--Co-Chair Ryan Johnson, lifelong Lake County resident who chairs Ohio Young Republicans.

--Co-chair Jonathan Snyder, co-chair of Ohio College Young Republicans.

Hmm. Isn't the Lake County Republican Party about to announce an Aug. 28 "Convention" at a place with headliners to be announced?

P.S. But by the time you read this, might it already be announced that President Barack Obama will be in Ohio by Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday to campaign and help raise big bucks for Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher, the Democrat running for the same U.S. Senate seat?

--David W. Jones

Murphy's Law again

As noted July 26 on the upcoming Nov. 2 contest between Wickliffe Republican Robert Murphy and Lake County Commissioner Dan Troy, a Democrat:

Yes, Commissioner Ray Sines does endorse fellow Republican Murphy as does the County Republican Party led by Chairman Dale Fellows, as stated here based on correct information.

But based on incorrect information provided to this writer, Murphy is not endorsed by County Auditor Ed Zupancic, a Republican who doesn't always take such positions in all contests.

And, yes, Commissioners Troy and Sines do remain civil at their joint public meetings and perhaps even humorous with each other over items like this one. Same goes for Fellows

Troy and Sines also have often voted the same way, though perhaps not always at the polling places on Election Day.

Sorry for the boo-boo.

--David W. Jones

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Party time, bar none

Sure, political parties and candidates host gatherings or fundraisers, often in restaurants or taverns where drinks are served or provided.

But has any of that, uh, self-serving gone on in a political party’s own main center within the five-county Northeast Ohio boundaries? You know, where maybe a state liquor license if required?

Just asking. Maybeit's not closing time yet as the Ohio Department of Liquor Control might say.

--David W. Jones

Monday, August 9, 2010

Chief Llewellyn DROP-ping out?

Mentor Police Chief Dan Llewellyn is among city safety force staff required to exit the Deferred Retirement Option Program and retire in the coming months.

The "DROP" program is a chance for police and firefighters in the Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund to save money while delaying retirement.

Sources say City Manager Ken Filipiak is considering rehiring Llewellyn and that a majority of council members are opposed. However, all council members acknowledge that it is the manager's sole call to make, per the city charter.

Council only has the authority to hire or fire council employees: the law director, council clerk and city manager. Yet rumor has it that Filipiak is taking council's opinion into consideration. More to come on this one.

--Betsy Scott

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Voinovich opposes Kagan nomination

U.S. Sen. George V. Voinovich, R-Ohio, said he opposes the nomination of Solicitor General Elena Kagan to be an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court.

Here are excerpts from a speech he delivered on the subject:

“As I said last August during the debate on Justice Sotomayor, the role of the Senate in the nomination of a Supreme Court justice is to give its advice and consent on the president’s nomination with the Senate to judge whether an individual is qualified based on a number of factors,” Voinovich said. “Among these factors are the nominee’s education, legal experience, prior judicial experience, written record, judicial temperament, commitment to the rule of law and overall contributions to the law. Based on my review of Elena Kagan’s record using these factors, I have determined that Gen. Kagan, at this time, does not meet the criteria for membership on our nation’s highest court.”

“Senate confirmations should not be a simple mechanical affirmation of the president’s selection, especially when the nominee will enjoy a lifetime appointment,” Voinovich continued. “A senator is duty bound to conscientiously review the qualifications of the president’s nominee and make an independent assessment of the nominee’s qualifications.”

“I believe a judicial nominee must have substantial experience in the law especially when that nominee is seeking a lifetime appointment to the highest court in our land. After reviewing her background, I believe Gen. Kagan does not have that relevant experience. For example, when the Senate considered Justice Sotomayor’s nomination, there were more than a thousand prior opinions one could review to decide if she was ready for the job; with Gen. Kagan, there are none. When I asked her to name opinions that she worked on with Justice Marshall with which she disagreed, she stated that she could not remember any individual opinion she worked on, much less whether she disagreed with Justice Marshall on any of them,” said Voinovich.

“Lack of judicial experience should not be an absolute bar on serving as a Supreme Court justice. However, Solicitor General Kagan not only lacks judicial experience, but has limited experience as a practicing attorney with really only the last year as solicitor general and two years as a junior associate making up her entire practice. Additionally, Gen. Kagan has an extremely limited written record, which should make all of us unsure as to what sort of justice she might be.”

During his tenure in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Voinovich has voted in favor of three prior Supreme Court nominations: Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Samuel Alito and Sonya Sotomayor.

To watch his statement in its entirety, visit

-- John Arthur Hutchison

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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Guns 'R Us - pro-gun group announces choices

The Ohio Buckeye Firearms Association has released its endorsements for the up-coming election.

Besides previously mentioning that the pro-gun group has endorsed for re-election Democrats Ted Strickland for governor and Richard Cordray for attorney general, it also has picked its U.S. Senate, State Supreme Court and U.S. House candidates as well as state legislature seats.

Locally, Steve LaTourette gets that nod with an A rating while his opponent - Bill O'Neill isn't even a blip on the group's radar screen. Democrat Jack Space gets the nod, too, and with an A rating as well.

John Husted (R) is picked with an A-plus rating for Secretary of State as is Treasurer candidate Josh Mandel, also a Republican.

In the Supreme Court arena only Republican Maureen O'Conner is endorsed, and that for chief justice.

- Interestingly, Strickland's running mate - Yvette McGee - gets a F While Republican challenger John Kasich - who gets a C rating while HIS running mate - Mary Taylor - gets the A rating.

Oh, yes, U.S. Senate candidate and Republican Rob Portman easily gets the group's nod over Democrat Lee Fisher, a long-time gun control advocate.

In the State House, Democrat Kenny Yuko gets the endorsement with an A rating.

And it's Republican Ron Young (A) over Democrat Mark Schneider.

To the west, Democrat Lorraine Fende picks up the endorsement with her A-minus rating while her Republican challenger Dave Fiebig can do no better than a D rating.

And down in Geauga County it is Tim Grendell all the way with both the endorsement and A-plus rating though Democrat Mary Biggs does get a B rating.

There is no endorsement for the District 10 State Senate seat.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn