Dems Delay Decision on Berding

Local Democrats interviewed the last few people Saturday that the party is considering endorsing for this fall’s Cincinnati City Council elections but held off on a vote to allow debate about Councilman Jeff Berding.

The Cincinnati Democratic Committee’s endorsement group will meet again Tuesday evening to decide on its recommended council slate. Some Berding supporters on the committee pushed for an immediate vote Saturday after interviews were completed, but some members wanted to further discuss Berding’s council record and related activities at another meeting.

Berding, who is sales director for the Cincinnati Bengals, has rankled many rank-and-file Democrats with his budget positions and frequent alliances with Republicans. Among other complaints, they dislike that Berding formed a coalition with two Republicans and a Charterite on city council, along with Democrat Laketa Cole, to oppose the budget priorities of council’s other Democrats and that Berding’s contributors include many big name Republicans.

Also, critics are upset that Berding told a crowd that Republican John Eby should be elected to city council at a recent Westwood Concern meeting, allegedly promising to help Eby with campaign fund-raising, and that Berding helped Republican Bob Bedinghaus in his unsuccessful 2000 campaign to be re-elected to the Hamilton County Commission.

Berding was the last candidate interviewed Saturday, and former Democratic Mayor Dwight Tillery appeared to appeal to the committee on his behalf, party sources said. Tillery also is Cole’s political mentor. Berding was interviewed for 30 minutes, during which he tried to show he’s also worked with Democrats.

One question not asked of Berding was whether he planned to stop campaigning with Republicans, although the issue is expected to come up Tuesday, according to party sources.

If Berding gets an endorsement, the nine-candidate Democratic slate for city council is expected to be incumbents Berding, Cole, John Cranley, David Crowley and Cecil Thomas, along with former Councilwoman Minette Cooper and challengers Brian Garry, Greg Harris and Wendell Young.

Despite rumors to the contrary, former Vice Mayor Alicia Reece decided not to seek a return to office.

— Kevin Osborne

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12 Comments on “Dems Delay Decision on Berding”

  1. The Dean Says:

    This is great news!

  2. Anonymous Says:

    Good for the comittee! Cut Berding lose.

  3. Boehner Says:

    Tim Burke and his feederfarm of profiteers spinning off of Dick Weiland are almost in control of the HCDP. Strange that people would go after poor ol JeffBoy when he’s been the most upfront of the pack. Cole got about $3500 in her last two runs for council and now her Daddy Dwight wants both her and her Mommy Minette on coucil to bring forth more of Dick’s programs. Check your scenes behind the curtain Democrats! See the wold in Dem clothing. Weiland gave close to $70,00 in the last 6 years to national Republicans while you were out pounding the pavement for Democratic candidates. He only forked over 24K to Dems. Look at the profiteers behind the candidates.

  4. Sick of It Says:

    This is ridiculous. The City is rapidly sliding down a hill to oblivion, and the party is concerned he’s working TOO CLOSELY with those from other parties. He should be praised for being a Dem (albeit not a traditional bleeding-heart liberal one) that can appeal to both Dem and GOP voters. Shame on Tim Burke et al. Obviously it’s more important for the Party to elect good partisians, than to support those able and willing to work for the betterment of the City.

  5. Lynn W. Says:

    This is incorrect information. I am a member of the nominating committee and, although I will not speak to what went on in our meetings I can tell you that the reason we decided to delay voting and meet again is because we had our meeting room until noon, it was 11:35 when we finished interviews, and we wanted to have time for some discussion before we made any decisions.

  6. Anonymous Says:

    Lynn W. – It’s pretty sad given how far you are behind the Repub’s and Charterites that you’d delay the endorsmeent process even longer. Couldn’t the NominatingComm have just stuck around on Sat and decided on recommendations? How much more time to you need? You must be staffed by a bunch of lazy union goons.

  7. Anonymous Says:

    Berding doesn’t need the party endorsement. He has lots of money and will continue campaigning with Bortz, Ghiz, Cole and Monzel to re-election.

    Wednesday, January 24, 2007
    An election season? Already? Again?

    It’s true. So decreed Westwood Concern co-founder Mary Kuhl (right) at the group’s January meeting Tuesday night. And if Tuesday was any indication, it’s going to be an interesting, topsy-turvy year of campaigning.

    Kuhl started the festivities by calling out Democratic Councilman John Cranley — the chairman of the Finance Committee and the only true West Sider on City Council. Cranley didn’t get invited to the Westwood Concern meeting because he “didn’t play nice” with City Council’s so-called “Fiscal Five”[22] on the biennial budget, Kuhl said.

    “A council member that I supported in the past is acting like a spoiled brat,” she told the smaller-than-normal audience of about 60 people. “And I’m not going to support him again.”

    Instead, Kuhl gave the coveted platform to Democrat Jeff Berding, who acted as the master of ceremonies for a campaign rally for a tripartisan group of colleagues: Charterite Chris Bortz, Republican Chris Monzel, and Democrat Laketa Cole.[23]

    Yes, Laketa Cole — the same councilwoman who was snubbed by Westwood Concern in 2005.

    It was Cole’s first opportunity to speak before Westwood Concern, which has become one of the city’s largest, most influential and controversial neighborhood groups. Cole drew frequent applause by speaking about the need to reduce people’s dependence on City Hall — even repeating a favorite aphorism of compassionate conservatives about teaching men to fish. And she praised Westwood Concern for not asking for city funding and not waiting for government to solve all of the neighborhood’s problems.

    (Standing in the back of the room, two Republicans couldn’t help but remark on Cole’s speech. “Look at Laketa,” said John Eby, a 2005 council candidate. “A year ago she wouldn’t have been allowed in the building.” Deadpanned Pete Witte, a 2003 GOP candidate: “She might be our Republican candidate for mayor.”)

    Kuhl ended the meeting by applauding the Fiscal Five for holding the line on the city budget, and ranting about the “crazy whackjob psycho people” who lobbied City Council not to cut the Human Services budget.

    [22]They are Jeff Berding (D), Chris Bortz (C), Laketa Cole (D), Leslie Ghiz (R) and Chris Monzel (R). “Fiscal Five” was the moniker given to the coalition by Enquirer columnist Peter Bronson — and enthusiastically accepted by the coalition, which even had special “Fiscal Five” letterhead drawn up for a news release declaring victory in their budget battle.↩

    [23]Ghiz was also invited but was “having her hair cut and highlighted.” Apparently this was not a joke. Berding said she already had cancelled one hair appointment. She was represented at the meeting by aide Scott Gehring.↩

  8. Lynn W. Says:


    I know a lot of union people and none of them are ‘lazy goons’. And no, we could not have just ‘stuck around’, we had to vacate the room by noon.

    The fact is that this committee is responsible for making endorsement recommendations to the entire CDC body (Cincinnati Democratic Committee) and we are required to give 7 days notice for the meeting of that body. If we had finished up on Saturday, the first available date for the CDC meeting would have been on Easter Saturday, which we were asked to avoid, so the next available date to hold that meeting would have been Monday April 9.

    If all goes well this Tuesday, which I believe it will, announcements will go out immediately and the CDC will probably meet the following Tuesday to vote on the recommendations, one day later than we would have scheduled that meeting if we had finished up on Saturday.

    Considering the seriousness of this task, I think waiting an additional 24 hours in order to ensure a fair discussion is warranted.

    And that is all I will say on the matter.

  9. Kevin Osborne Says:


    I stand by my report.

  10. Anonymous Says:

    I hope there really are nominating people reading this blog.

    Maybe one will tell us that they are distinguishing between Democrats who disagree and Democrats who make pacts with Republicans to hurt Democrats.

    Jeff Berding is the ringleader of “The Fiscal Five” who launch personal attacks on Democrats Mallory, Cranley, Crowley, and especially Thomas. He did it to Portune before.

    These are not disagreements, but nasty attacks on Democrats led by Berding and launched by his three Republican allies (Bortz, Ghiz and Monzel). These attacks, like Berding’s constant attempts to steal issues from Cecil are well documented on the blogs and in the newspapers.

    Please tell us that you will not let Berding escape responsibility for his actions.

    If Jeff Berding wants to attack Democrats with a gang of Republicans, then let him become a Republican.

  11. WestEnder Says:

    With all the talk about Berding, let’s not overlook the good news that Alicia Reece isn’t running again.

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