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100 95 90 80 70 60 50 40 30 20 10 5 Product: ENQUIRER PubDate: 03-16-2009 Zone: Late Edition: 1 Page Name: A1.0 Time: 03-15-2009 22:51 User: jmeo1 Color: Cyan Black Yellow Magenta

YOUR LIFE B7

BOARD MEMBER HAS LIFELONG TIES TO CHILDREN’S HOME

THE CINCINNATI ENQUIRER MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009

CINCINNATI.COM

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m THOUSANDS PROTEST GOVERNMENT SPENDING

‘Tea Party’ says stimulus bill too steep By Amber Ellis

aellis@enquirer.com

DOWNTOWN – Dawna Frost had a simple message for anyone who glanced her way: “I live off what I make. Government needs to live on what they already take.” The Mason resident was one of thousands who showed up Sunday at Fountain Square for the Cincinnati Tea Party, an effort designed to show disapproval for “wasteful govern-

ment spending.” The group wants Congress to repeal the $787 billion stimulus package that President Barack Obama has championed as a way to create jobs and give the economy a boost. “The thought of all this spending makes me angry,” Frost said. “I’m tired of being angry.” Other protesters wore Revolutionary War-era costumes, sported “Got Tea?” shirts and raised signs with messages

like, “Give us Liberty, not debt” and “No more bailouts.” “There is a movement going on in this country,” said former U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. “You can see it here today.” Sean Lynch of Colerain Township brought his children. His 8-year-old, Isabel, held a “Stop spending my allowance” sign, and 5-year-old Kate raised one that read “Stay out of my piggy bank.” “I’m frustrated with the way things are going in Congress.

Protesters wave signs at the Cincinnati Tea Party, a demonstration on Fountain Square against government spending.

They need to remember that they work for us, and right now, we don’t approve,” Lynch said as he propped up a sign for his son Charlie, 2. “This is not a Democrat thing or a Republican thing,” he said. “It’s a government thing.” The Sunday rally was one of dozens that have taken place across the country in recent weeks.

The Enquirer/ Amie Dworecki

See TEA, Page A6

m PREMIUM IN THIS EDITION: NCAA TOURNAMENT COVERAGE

Muskies Boise-bound; no NIT for UC, Miami

Challenges to tax bills hit record Auditors can’t keep up with property values’ fall By Gregory Korte

gkorte@enquirer.com

The Enquirer/Amie Dworecki

Xavier coach Sean Miller said his team’s tough nonconference schedule paid off with a No. 4 seed.

SPORTS, C1 m Complete coverage of Selection Sunday and what local teams will be up against.

ONLINE m More coverage at Cincinnati. Com, including brackets, photos and more. Search: ncaa

WEATHER

No. 4 seed Xavier starts with Portland State The Xavier Musketeers will travel to Boise, Idaho, to play Portland State at 7:25 p.m. Friday in their NCAA Tournament opener. XU earned a No. 4 seed Sunday in the East Region. Portland State is seeded 13th. Meanwhile, the University of Cincinnati, which finished 18-14, was snubbed by the National Invitational Tournament on Sunday. Coach Mick Cronin said last week his team wouldn’t play in another tournament if it wasn’t selected by the NIT. Miami (17-13) also was not picked for the NIT. NCAA Midwest Region top seed Louisville will play the winner of Tues-

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day’s play-in game between Morehead State and Alabama State in Dayton at 7:10 p.m. Friday. Louisville will be joined in Dayton by Ohio State, which earned a No. 8 seed. OSU will face No. 9 seed Siena at approximately 9:40 p.m. Friday. Midwest Region No. 11 seed Dayton will travel to Minneapolis to face No. 6 seed West Virginia at approximately 3 p.m. Friday. Kentucky, which did not make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991, will play Nevada-Las Vegas at 9:30 p.m. Tuesday at Memorial Coliseum in Lex- Jon Diebler ington in the NIT.

3 sections, 168th year, No. 341 Advice .............B9 Obituaries .......B2 Business .......A10 Opinions .......A11 Comics ...........B8 Sports .............C1 Lotteries ..........A2 TV ...................B9 Movies ..........B10 Your Life ..........B7 Legals ............................................C15 Copyright, 2009, The Cincinnati Enquirer Portions of today’s Enquirer were printed on recycled paper

Many cases, little time

Under Ohio law, property valuation appeals are heard by a three-member panel made up of appointments from the county commissioners, the county treasurer and the county auditor. See TAXES, Page A6

m MASON FEUD PITS FOUR MEMBERS AGAINST ONE

Bad blood runs through school board Watch the videos

By Michael D. Clark

mclark@enquirer.com

INDEX

Property owners upset with the county auditor’s tax appraisals of their properties are lining up in record numbers to appeal their assessments. And, if history is any indication, at least 70 percent of those who appeal will see some reduction in their tax bills, according to an Enquirer analysis of assessment data from the past three years. The spike in cases before the county tribunals – known as boards of revision – comes after county auditors in Hamilton, Butler and Clermont counties conducted three-year revaluations of all properties. (Warren County is conducting its reappraisal this year.) With home values in decline in many neighborhoods, homeowners are arguing that the auditor’s value – which helps determine the property tax bill – is outdated or inflated. In Hamilton County, appeals are more than double what they were at this time in 2006, after the last three-year mass reappraisal. More than 2,300 property owners – the vast majority of them homeowners – had filed appeals as of Friday. The deadline is March 31.

About 70 percent of property owners who appear before the tribunals receive some decrease. For single-family homes, the percentage is even higher – about 80 percent. Tax rates vary wildly. But a typical reduction in property value could be $40,000 or more, saving some homeowners up to $1,000 a year, according to the Enquirer analysis. Overall, however, only a small percentage of homeowners appeal. “We’re talking about a selfselected universe of people who file,” said Hamilton County Auditor Dusty Rhodes, whose office revalued about 340,000 parcels last year. Owners of only about 1 percent of those parcels likely will appeal. “If 80 percent of those got a reduction, that does not imply or infer that 80 percent of parcels in the county are misvalued,” Rhodes said.

MASON – With verbal fireworks and lingering bad blood, public meetings of Mason’s school board continue to be some of the most contentious in Greater Cincinnati. And Tuesday’s meeting is expected to deliver more of the same, as embattled school board member Jennifer Miller and her four colleagues face off in a feud that started soon after Miller’s 2005 election. Miller set off the latest skirmish last month by ignoring

Go to Cincinnati.Com to see videos of Jennifer Miller’s clashes with the Mason school board. Search: video

board policy and publicly stating the name of a Mason teacher who was up for a parttime coaching contract. The teacher had been arrested two years ago, but all charges were dropped. Personnel issues typically are discussed in non-public executive sessions.

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That wasn’t good enough for Miller, who contended in an open meeting that the teacher was unfit for employment. “It was irresponsible to keep this man as a teacher or coach. This man is a role model for our students?” Miller said. When Miller refused to stop talking about the teacher, the board scrambled to immediately adjourn. The unusual move left half the board’s agenda unfinished and dozens of audience members staring in disbelief.

“They just wanted to shut me up and they are trying to find any way to silence me because they don’t want the truth to be told. They literally hate my guts,” Miller contends. Miller quickly left the meeting, but her four fellow board members huddled afterward, expressing frustration that continues. Their dilemma: how to carEnquirer file ry on with business when one board member refuses to fol- Jennifer Miller has had several public clashes with low the rules. fellow members of the Mason school board. See BOARD, Page A6

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