Voters have a lot to be angry about with Kathy Wyenandt: Remembering Todd Portune and his “people over politics” theatrics

Of course George Lang still needs to win the Republican primary in March before looking ahead to the Democrat challenger for the 4th District Seat for Senate in Ohio Kathy Wyenandt, but there are a few things about her campaign already that is disturbing, and they’ve come up before. One of the reasons Lang had to raise so much money for that 4th District Seat is because he needs to beat two Republican primary challengers then a very likeable Democrat in Kathy in a county that liberals would love to turn more purple than the hard red that it has been. Liberals hope to do that with women candidates who can cross over invisible political boundaries for voters earned and unearned and Kathy will be there with some money left from her previous attempt at the 52nd District House seat which she lost to Lang and a check from the now deceased Todd Portune that was sizable for the task of purple rain in Southern Ohio. Since he just died and its not fashionable to disparage the dead, I’ll save many harsh comments I have for Commissioner Portune for some other day but I do find it interesting that he thought enough of Kathy to give her a $2,500 check. Portune and I go back a long way and it was not pleasant. He was better late in life, but vicious political theater in the days of Dwight Tillery as the Mayor and Foxy Roxy as the Vice Mayor are stories I could tell that could dwarf the Bible many times over, but to put it mildly, I do not share with Rob Portman and many other conservatives any kind words. Yet it was the passing of Portune and of learning of his contribution connection to Kathy Wyenandt that reminded me of her campaign and the message she has for politics in general that I am very much opposed to.

Wyenandt and I have talked about this several times, her belief that politics has become so toxic that her campaign slogan is “people over politics,” as if to say, she is not a partisan and will listen to people over any other influence. Well, ironically Todd Portune told me something almost exactly to the same effect almost 30 years ago while I was in his office and we were discussing a solution to a nighclub incident where a bunch of drunk kids had died in a car crash coming home from the Cooters night club after the place had closed. I was proposing to him to solicit help from the city to get approval through the CBC a non-alcoholic nightclub that would operate in Coryville right next to the freshman dorms on the University of Cincinnati’s campus and give kids somewhere else to go once all the bars closed for the night and poured a bunch of drunk kids into the world as dangerous toxins. I was weary of the Democrat Portune who had pictures of prominent politicians in his office and I wasn’t sure if I could trust him with the intentions of the group I was representing. But he said to me much of what Kathy has said recently about the common good and people over politics, so I trusted Todd Portune with my idea.

Well, and there is much political theater that fills the book ends as mentioned but the gist of it was that I found myself in a lot of political trouble every which way you can imagine and as it turned out Todd Portune, as a member of Cincinnati City Council at the time was also the attorney for the nightclub Cooters and he had ratted out all my plans to all the wrong people which killed the financial aspects of the deal and left me hanging in a very bad way. I was young, so it was a good learning experience and it only took me 10 years to dig out from that mess, but to say the least, I learned what it means when politicians tell you that they put people over politics. What they really mean is quite the opposite. When it comes to Todd Portune, I figure fate sort of played out for him. While Rob Portman, whom I knew pretty well in those days of my dealings with Portune has lots of nice things to say about Todd, I’ll just state that I’ll leave the dead to rest and let whatever version of God the readers hear have sort out the details. The lessons of those experiences are more valuable than any other element and it reminds me a lot of Kathy Wyenandt’s campaign.

Each time I’ve spoke to Kathy she is always quick to tell me that she doesn’t read this blog site, yet she knows an awful lot about it, and she always pulls the conversation around to how divisive politics is and how she thinks we can all agree to taking some of the toxic relationship out of it. She is a nice approachable person so it would take a while to dig into the details so usually those types of conversations never get into the weeds too far, but as I’ve thought about it over time, and have learned that she has even enough of a relationship with an old political rival of mine, Todd Portune, I have much more severe opinions about Kathy’s “people over politics” platform. As a school levy supporter for Lakota on the last attempt, a political point she has choosen to capitalize on, it is clear what she represents and that makes the premise revolting of what she is asking people to accept. The toxic relationship people now have in politics is because they have learned too much about the bad dealings of people like Todd Portune and the double dealing that often goes on especially among Democrats when they say to your face, “people over politics.” What that usually means is “see you in court while you spend a fortune defending yourself from some political incursion.” Democrats for years have tried to put us to sleep while they’ve literally tried to screw our eyeballs out and the toxicity of modern politics is that enough people have woken up to the fact and people like Kathy want to ease people back to sleep to that reality.

It is OK to be angry that Lakota has wasted all the money Kathy helped spend through that last levy passage and is now looking to tax homeowners even more. Of course she doesn’t want people to fight or be angry, she wants to put them back to sleep—to the good ol’ days where Democrats could talk out of both sides of their mouth and get away with it. Of course the Democrats which Wyenandt is a member want everyone to suddenly get along now that the many evils that we have discovered from politics gone wrong in the past are clear to us now. If people are thinking of those things, no Democrat will get elected for anything ever. So Kathy’s only real strategy is to try to kill everyone with kindness and put everyone back to sleep so she can have a chance at a higher office. But to answer the question that she asked me, which I know she’ll read about here on my blog, and we’ll talk about the next time we see each other out and about, is that its good to be pissed off and angry at politics and that it is people who elect representatives that can recover their interests who are waking up and that they should be angry at how they have been treated. And because of the Lakota levy of 2013 voters have a lot of reason to be angry with Kathy—and then some.

Rich Hoffman