Pass along a news tip by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Cincy GOP Councilwoman: Caught With Her Shirt On And Ethics Off

CINCINNATI (TDB) -- People have their Irish up at Cincinnati Councilwoman Leslie Ghiz over her vote to close down a popular East Side watering hole where she recently spent a day campaigning and raising funds for the American Cancer Society.

The Republican -- a lawyer who is seeking reelection this fall -- has been accused of wearing a "Vote Ghiz" shirt on the premises she now finds offensive to the Hyde Park neighborhood. The bar is R.P. McMurphy's and faces the loss of its liquor license.

Humorists have e-mailed The Daily Bellwether saying Ghiz shouldn't have worn a shirt at all -- then there really would be reason to vote to close the bar.

Ghiz has campaigned on a theme of "trust and accountability" but Jennifer McGuire found her woefully lacking in those qualities in a letter to the editor published in today's Cincinnati Enquirer, a letter that captured the views of many who see the councilwoman as something of a hypocrite.

"Less that a month ago, R.P's held a benefit for the American Cancer Society and raised $15,000 for the cause. And Ghiz spent the whole day there in her 'Vote Ghiz' t-shirt campaigning to the patrons of the very bar she is now voting to shut down. I supported Ghiz when she ran for council the first time. Her hypocrisy has cost her that support."

The full-text of the letter is HERE. There are nine Cincinnati City Council seats with only two held by Republicans. Ghiz has been active in portraying herself as someone who wants to make government accountable and the municipal environs as crime free as possible. She says,

"Trust and accountability are very important qualities to me . . . I have worked very hard to put Cincinnati first. And we have had some great successes. Things don't always move as quickly as I would like, but if you keep fighting the good fight, the City wins in the end. I have focused my efforts on the safety of our citizens and fiscal responsibility, and will continue to do so."

Her campaign website has a lot more information, including biographical data about the Capital University law school grad. Ghiz is going to catch serious flak over her soiree at the Irish pub.


  1. Gee Bill, my first reaction to a post shouldn't be to have to go to Google News to see what the fuss is all about. I ended up at the article cited in the letter writer's letter (which the Enquirer should have linked, but, more importantly, you should have linked).

    The vote appears not to have been over whether to "close the bar." It seems to have been over whether to allow the legal process over the alleged 2005 liquor-law violations to continue (which could, of course, lead to that, but might result in other actions short of closing it, I would think).

    Even the letter writer says the vote was about "stopp(ing) this nonsense," not closing the bar, although she said that was a "likely" result.

    All of that said, Ghiz comes off as clueless in the Enquirer piece with her (perhaps selective and incomplete) quote, "Ghiz said Monday hers wasn't a vote against the bar."

    The Enky article's end conveys a lot more uncertainty about the bar's future than you have: "He (Dyer the bar owner) said he doesn't expect to know the outcome of the appeal process until the end of the year." Unless you know something like I don't, like perhaps that liquor-license revocation proceedings are like going through a kangaroo court.

    Also, this piece from Oct. 2005 in City Beat would appear to indicate that neighbors had some very valid complaints a couple of years ago:

    If the vote could have stopped the process dead in its tracks once and for all, the letter writer has a point, but you would, it appears still be left mischaracterizing the Council vote as a "close the bar" motion.

  2. Bizzyblog --

    Here's some of the pertinent language from the August 1 motion that the councilwoman declined to support:

    "We are directing the City Administration in the form of the City Solicitor to inform the appropriate Ohio State agencies, including the Ohio Department of Liquor Control and the State Liquor Commission that the City of Cincinnati supports R.P. McMurphy's staying in business at its present location in the City of Cincinnati."

    So she did not vote in favor of keeping R.C. McMurphy's open. In effect, she voted in favor of the move to close it down, or closing it down, or to close it. It is quite clear that she passed on a chance to support "R.P. McMurphy's staying in business at its present location in the City of Cincinnati."

    And the city's view does carry weight in liquor control matters.

    So, the critics have a point. She campaigned in a place she later decided she does not want to remain open "at its present location in the City of Cincinnati."

  3. Yes, I agree that the critics have a point, but it IS a non-binding, sort-of weight-carrying "sense of the Council" resolution. "Doesn't support" isn't the same as "opposes" (there is such a thing as neutrality), but there really shouldn't have been a reason, at least one that she has articulated, for voting as she did.