Howard Wilkinson

Some final, very random, thoughts on Tuesday's election:

Mega-bucks mayoral race: Does it really take something in the neighborhood of $3 million to get re-elected mayor, in little old Cincinnati, the 65th largest city in the United States?

When you are on the road with a presidential candidate, campaign press aides will promise you the moon and stars to make you happy.

They promise to make sure you are fed, that you have plenty of time to file your stories, that you will have dependable transportation to get from one event to another.

They may even promise you some quality time with the candidate.

After a while, though, you learn to take these promises with a grain of salt.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

 

Candidates for Cincinnati mayor and city council make their final push before Tuesday's election as supporters and opponents of Ohio Issues 1 and 2 ramp up their campaigns.

Provided

 

Next Tuesday voters will decide who will lead the City of Cincinnati over the next four years, Yvette Simpson or John Cranley.

WVXU

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik  Monday morning about the Cincinnati City Council election. It's the second the city has held where candidates are elected to four-year terms instead of two-year terms. Is it working; or should it be be changed? 

I've done a lot of traveling in my years as a reporter, from one end of this country to the other. Lots of airports; lots of airport hassles; lots of long cab rides from airport to hotel.

And I've learned a thing or two about travel.

Jim Nolan/WVXU

 

As we near election day there is increased interest in how much current Cincinnati City Council members have accomplished this year, and the race for mayor between John Cranley and Yvette Simpson heats up. Ohio teachers say DACA, the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, is an education issue.

Provided

 

This week President Trump engaged in Twitter battles with two members of Congress, Republican Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona called the President's actions "a danger to democracy" from the floor of the Senate, and a congressional committee announced it would investigate a uranium deal with Russia under President Obama.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Mayor John Cranley's attack ads on opponent Yvette Simpson over her stand on the Children's Hospital Medical Center expansion. (Ed. note: Yvette Simpson has pulled out of a Monday night debate sponsored by EmpowerU. The debate was mentioned in the beginning of the chat.) 

Ask just about anybody who knows John Eby of Westwood – Republican, Democrat or Charterite – and they will tell you the same thing:

John would have been a fine Cincinnati city council member.

But he never got that chance; and doesn't seem inclined to try again.

Eby, a director of engineering services at KZF Design, is most passionate about making his neighborhood, the largest in the city, an even better place for all residents to live and work and raise their families.

Meeting very famous people in politics and the media has always been part of the territory in my line of work.

It generally doesn't impress me much, especially when it is at a presidential nominating convention, where you don't have time to stand around and gape at celebrities. (With one exception, which I wrote about in this column a while back, when I encountered supermodel Christie Brinkley and chatted for a while at a taxi stand outside a Los Angeles hotel in 2000. That got my attention.)

Wikimedia Commons

This November Ohioans will vote on Issue 2, which would require state agencies to pay no more than the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for prescription drugs.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about whether or not the endorsements both candidates for Cincinnati mayor are piling up really matter to voters. 

Mark Mallory is a fellow who plays his cards close to his vest.

The former mayor really hasn't been heard from much since he finished up his eight years as mayor nearly four years ago; and when he does say something publicly chooses the occasions carefully.

But now he's stepping out front again; and testing one of the age-old arguments of politics – do endorsements mean anything to voters?

Dan Quayle.

Now, there's a name from the past you probably haven't thought about lately.

The 44th  vice president of the United States.

Wikimedia Commons

Civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin, Jr. founded the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) in 1971. Since then the civil rights organization has battled white supremacist groups though the courts, winning multimillion-dollar jury verdicts on behalf of their victims.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday morning about the Cincinnati Board of Education's task of combing through 25 applicants for the seat of school board member Chris Nelms, who died last month. All of this is taking place while there is an election on the November ballot for four seats on the school board. 

Ohioans have until the end of the day Tuesday to register to vote in the November 7 election.

Wednesday begins Ohio's period of early voting, for both absentee ballots and those who wish to vote early in person at their county boards of elections.  

"The easiest way to register is actually online,'' said Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections.

There's been all sorts of excitement in Cincinnati political circles this year – first, because there is a highly-contentious mayor's race between incumbent John Cranley and challenger Yvette Simpson.

Secondly, the city's politicos are wound up because there are no less than three open seats on the nine-member city council – the one held by Simpson, who can't run for both mayor and council; the one held by Republican Charlie Winburn, who is term-limited out; and the one held by Charterite Kevin Flynn, who could run but has chosen not to.

WVXU

Four of the seven seats on the Cincinnati Board of Education are up for re-election. One incumbent, Elisa Hoffman, chose not to run again. The race has drawn a large field of candidates – three incumbents and 10 challengers.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about Rob Richardson's run for Ohio treasurer and how it is emblematic of the rise of a new generation of Ohio Democratic candidates from the Cincinnati area. 

Over the years, we have seen hundreds upon hundreds of candidates for political office who get their names on the ballot for offices big and small, and end up getting walloped on election day.

And, very often, those candidates are never heard from again. Maybe out of embarrassment at their poor showing. Maybe because they find that campaigning is too hard and not worth the effort. Or maybe just don't see any way to avoid being walloped again.

Rob Richardson, the labor lawyer and former chairman of the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees, is not among them.

First Lady Barbara Bush was one of the most popular presidential spouses of my lifetime.

She was also one of the most politically savvy First Ladies we've had.

I found that out in early October 1992 in, of all places, a chili parlor in downtown Cincinnati.

She was here for the day campaigning for her husband, President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States. Her husband was locked in a brutal and ultimately unsuccessful re-election campaign.

WVXU/Pete Rightmire

North Korea's Foreign Minister says President Trump's tweets serve as a declaration of war, giving North Korea the right to shoot down U.S. jets, even in international airspace. The special counsel is looking into the flow of money with ties to Russia into Trump political funds. 

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics writer Howard Wilkinson spoke with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about the origin of his off-beat politics column, Tales from the Trail, and where it is going from here. You can find Tales from the Trail here.

The Jerry Springer show continues.

No, not the syndicated slime-fest of a TV show that is now in its 27th season, dealing with important topics such as Mark, The Guy Who Married A Horse; David, The Kung Fu Hillbilly; Heidi, The Adult Baby; and many more far too salacious to name here.

As Springer himself says, when he is out and about and talking politics, "my show is stupid."

One drawback to covering politics for a living is that you end up riding on a lot of campaign buses.

I've been a passenger on hundreds of them – some very fancy, others very plain. Some were reasonably comfortable; others were hot and sweaty and gave one the distinct impression mechanical failure was imminent and you might have to find an alternate mode of transportation.

But there was only campaign bus I rode on that was pulled over by the Ohio Highway Patrol for speeding.

WVXU-FM

WVXU politics reporter Howard Wilkinson talked with News Director Maryanne Zeleznik Monday about how, with seven weeks left until Election Day, the candidates for Cincinnati mayor are ramping up their efforts and their rhetoric. 

We've sort of become accustomed to candidates meeting in debates and spending as much time ripping into each other as they do talking about their own ideas.

This was not the case last Tuesday night, when the four Democrats running for Ohio governor met on a high school auditorium stage last Tuesday night in Martins Ferry, an Ohio River town in Belmont County.

Ed. note: Tales from the Trail is a column that will take you behind the scenes of politics to see some of the funny, and sometimes outright bizarre things that happen on the campaign trail, based on Howard Wilkinson's recollections of 43 years of covering politics. 

Every presidential administration has its own way of getting its message out to the American people.

That's something we expect. Something we didn't expect was presidential communication via Twitter.

But that's another story for another day.

Pages