Chris Bortz and little Leslie Ghizzy
There comes a time when City Hall observers have to put personal likes/dislikes aside and call a person out when they are doing wrong. I like Cincinnati City Councilmember Chris Bortz personally, but I don't like what I saw during yesterday's Finance Committee meeting. I watched the whole, long, 3 hour meeting last night and it seems to me that Bortz and the other members of his faction -- Leslie Ghiz, Jeff Berding, and Chris Monzel -- collectively referred to on this blog as the "fascistic five," made a promise in December and have now reneged on it. (As deceased General Kabaka Oba humorously reminded us once, any person who reneges on a promise can properly be referred to as a reneger.)
Here's how the Cincinnati Enquirer's Howard Wilkinson describes the dispute. (link)
The budget agreement signed by all nine council members last month put $2 million of the 2006 surplus into the city's bank account and gave each of the two factions $1.2 million to spend.
The minority - Cranley, Cecil Thomas, David Crowley and Jim Tarbell - came up with a plan to spend $1 million that added $400,000 to the $2.2 million already budgeted for human service agencies.
In December, Bortz signed a motion with the four minority members on how that $1 million would be spent, leading several of the minority to say Monday that he had broken his word to support their plan. Cranley said he was told that Bortz was signing off on the document for "the fiscal five."
Bortz said Monday that he was acting on his own. "When I give my word, I take it very seriously. I told them all along that I would support their plan if the city's budget position would allow it. I'm not sure of that now."
The question is: did Chris Bortz say that he would only support the plan put forward by John Cranley, David Crowley, Cecil Thomas, and Jim Tarbell (and backed by Mayor Mark Mallory) if the City's budget position would allow it? Did he make this up? Did he mean to say this but fail to do so? This is easy enough to prove (and I wonder why no one did it yesterday). Somebody needs to produce the document signed by Bortz and lets see if it says what he claims it says.
I'm going to City Hall today and I'll get the document. (I wonder why Howard Wilkinson didn't do this and post it on the Enquirer's weblog.) Then we can put this issue to rest.
On another note, during the meeting Leslie Ghiz continued to act like a person with Tourette Syndrome. (Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder. The major symptom is tics. Tics are sudden, brief, involuntary or semi-voluntary movements -- motor tics -- or sounds -- vocal tics.) Hardly a meeting goes by when Leslie loses control of herself and blurts out something inappropriate. Yesterday, she continued to speak before being recognized by the chairman of the committee. Then, in the middle of the meeting, she blurted out something about John Cranley running for Congress. This type of comment is totally out-of-order and is becoming commonplace for Leslie. For some reason, no one on Council has the nerve to stand up to Leslie and bring her back in order.