Heimlich Turns on Fellow Republican
One of Hamilton County’s top Republican politicians is helping people take public potshots at his GOP colleague, in an attempt to gain support for a sales tax increase.
In a mass e-mail to his supporters, Hamilton County Commission President Phil Heimlich’s “Pit Crew Alert” provides links to a newspaper article about fellow Commissioner Pat DeWine’s opposition to the proposed tax hike.
Heimlich’s e-mail also includes a letter critical of DeWine from Sheriff Simon Leis Jr., who supports the tax increase, and a column by Peter Bronson, the Enquirer’s arch-conservative columnist. Further, the e-mail provides links to several local media outlets — including WLW (700 AM), WKRC (550 AM), four local television stations, the Enquirer, the Post and the Community Press — so recipients can comment on the issue. Sadly, CityBeat isn’t on the list.
Earlier this month Heimlich proposed raising the county sales tax by a quarter-cent to pay for expanding the county jail. The tax hike was supported by millionaire financier Carl Lindner, a major contributor to many local politicians, including Heimlich, who is seeking re-election this fall.
Heimlich wanted to put the proposal on the November ballot to let voters decide, but his two fellow commissioners — DeWine and Democrat Todd Portune — were opposed. A tax increase should be the last option for funding the expansion, they said; instead, they prefer creating a task force to examine other alternatives.
Heimlich and DeWine were scheduled to appear together last Sunday on WKRC’s (Channel 12) Newsmakers program to debate the issue. At Heimlich’s insistence, however, the commissioners didn’t sit together or engage in a back-and-forth dialogue.
During the TV program, host Dan Hurley said, “I wanted to have commissioners Heimlich and DeWine discuss this issue together, but Phil Heimlich decided that he did not want to sit together, and consequently we are going to do these interviews separately.”
— Kevin Osborne