SIMON LEIS JR.: Yes, you’re reading that right. We’re giving kudos to Sheriff Simon for having the cojones to publicly say what many politicians agree with privately: Local governments could save mounds of money and provide more efficient services if Hamilton County took over some functions that are duplicated by cities and townships. Leis said last week that Cincinnati and the county should combine dispatch and communications centers, adding he thinks it’s ridiculous that every jurisdiction has its own law enforcement agency. Metro government is used elsewhere — like Columbus, Indianapolis and Louisville — and it’s time Cincinnati join the club. (Si is still an irascible old cuss, though.)
DUSTY RHODES: Hamilton County’s auditor speaks with a forked tongue. On a neardaily basis, he ridicules county commissioners for the Bengals stadium deal and The Banks project. Then last week Rhodes proceeds to defend the guy who led the campaign for the stadium tax and pushed for The Banks construction, Cincinnati City Councilman Jeff Berding. Rhodes appeared at a press conference with Berding after the councilman was unendorsed by the Democratic Party for battling with fellow Democrats over the years. Perhaps “Democrat In Name Only” Dusty fears he’s next on the party’s hit list?
FREEDOM CENTER: The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on Cincinnati’s downtown riverfront has been a frequent target of conservative groups since it opened in 2004.
They’re angry that a museum executive once promised the now struggling facility wouldn’t require taxpayer funding but has since received at least $875,000 from Ohio and $800,000 from Cincinnati to help pay off construction debt and handle other problems, and it has sought millions of dollars more. Sources say state lawmakers are seeking to have the museum become a part of the National Parks Service, so it can get federal aid and stop causing them headaches.
BERNIE FIEDELDEY: Colerain Township recently received draft copies of state audits for 2006 and 2007 that found the township had conflict of interest violations. As CityBeat’s reported before, Fiedeldey — a township trustee — has hired his grandchildren for seasonal work in Colerain’s park department for several years. Fiedeldey claims he didn’t know it was a violation, though Trustee Joseph Wolterman warned Fiedeldey in April. Then Bernie went ahead and voted to hire his grandkids again this year. In the words of Saturday Night Live comedienne Michaela Watkins, “Bitch, please.”