The Un-Endorsements

Politicians and lobbyists inundate me with lies, half-truths and painfully bad commercials. Shouldn't I get to say why I won't be relinquishing to them my precious vote? Voting, and deciding for w

Politicians and lobbyists inundate me with lies, half-truths and painfully bad commercials. Shouldn't I get to say why I won't be relinquishing to them my precious vote?

Voting, and deciding for whom and what to vote, is emotional. A physical change comes over me.

Yeah, I take voting seriously. More importantly, voting is like a playground game, like choosing sides. You gotta chuck the chance to win it all by choosing the runt who'll make the game exciting.

For example, choosing a candidate I know will lose doesn't mean my vote doesn't count. Given a big enough showing, that loser might return next election to kick some natural ass.

For me, choosing a loser means the big-picture risk was worth the chance so that voting doesn't come down to winning or losing. Voting rests on involvement.

Here come my choices, scattershot as they are. Don't call them endorsements, 'cause my say-so isn't worth the paper it's printed on.

Listen without prejudice. And don't feel it necessary to elicit from me an explanation or defense. Just like a tree planted by the water, I shall not be moved.

U.S. Representative, Ohio District 1: Greg Harris. Who wants to hear the Comb-over King playing "Songs of Smug (The West Side Remix)"? Harris, a former teacher, is down with the elderly, universal childcare, affordable health care and a guaranteed living wage. He also supports repealing the city's hateful Article 12.

Ohio Governor: Timothy F. Hagan. Well, isn't this the evil of the two lessors? Bob Taft will win it, but even his supporters have stringent expectations. This is one of those times when any boring white guy will do, but I'm voting for Hagan because Taft is the anti-arts anti-Christ and, despite skimpy campaign coffers, Hagan did some flesh-pressing campaigning here (including a public stand-down of Coalition for a Just Cincinnati Co-Chair Nate Livingston). Hagan wants to go after Ohio's fair share of federal bucks for children's health care.

Secretary of State: Bryan Flannery: Because he's not J. Kenneth Blackwell.

State Senator, Ohio District 9: Mark Mallory. Local Negro name-brand recognition is so hard to come by that I gotta give Mallory my nod, even in an uncontested race. He comes from a West End family raised on public service and reciprocity. Besides, he wants to overhaul the state's funding public education to wean voters — and educators — off the tit of the property tax.

State Representative, Ohio District 33: Tyrone K. Yates. He's a weird cat who's not that way for show, and you gotta love that. He's eccentric, and we need that in politicians. Yates is rallying to elevate Ohio's public-education basement ranking. And he hails from The 'Nut — 'nuff said.

Hamilton County Commissioner: Dr. Jean Siebenaler. During a taping of Hot Seat I sat beside commission hopeful Phil Heimlich, and the entitlement radiated off him so thickly I raced home to take a shower. Days later when he showed up at CityBeat offices to see a news reporter, I told him I wasn't voting for him. I like Siebenaler because she's forward-thinking, is protective of reproductive rights (that might or might not be because she's a woman and a physician) and thinks about real problems like race and the city's loss of young talent to other cities. She knows they cripple Cincinnati. And, imagine this, she thinks commissioners should work cooperatively and not as autonomous bullies. She's no piranha politician and, in that way, Heimlich has her beat.

Issue 1: This pays for drug treatment over jail time for first- and second-time drug offenders. We overly demonize minor drug offenders who could benefit from treatment rather than sharing jails with violent offenders who eat addicts for breakfast.

Issue 2: During the next decade the Ohio Facilities Master Plan will overhaul our decrepit schools. Students deserve to learn from motivated and qualified teachers in clean and vibrant surroundings. And I don't even have children.

Issue 6: The senior services levy helps old folks maintain an independent quality of life. Who doesn't like old people? We're only as good as we treat the elderly and the young.

Issue 7: A half-cent sales tax will mainly build a crisscrossing light rail system and expand bus service. Opponents haven't offered any alternatives, proof that those in power hold regular meetings to keep things the same as it ever was. What's really at issue is class. Light rail naysayers don't want the ROC (Riders of Color) coming into and out of their neighborhoods. That makes for intermingling — and we can't have any of that.

Issue 8: I told you twice the first time. This is a navel-picking attempt to repeal the public funding of city campaigns we passed last time out. I'll vote "no" to leave it alone.

I'm just not moved by some of the races like state attorney general, auditor and secretary of state. On these, I tend to vote instinctively. But I'll carry to the polls my League of Women Voters' checklist — the non-partisan bible.

Last weekend I met former Cincinnati Mayor Roxanne Qualls. It reminded me of how reasonable a city this used to be, of how pettiness, classism and white male networks were more undercover and therefore less oppressive. And I began obsessing about voting.

Welcome to changes.

Hear Kathy's commentaries on National Public Radio's All Things Considered.

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